Life is full of little philosophies, quotes and sayings we spend our lives by. One of the often-pondered questions in our times of billionaires and excess of everything is whether one should stop after earning a certain amount of money, or should they keep going like Scrooge McDuck or Riche Rich’s parents. To summarize, we ask ‘how much money is enough money’? As if it has an objective, single line answer, we will try and expand upon it and understand what is the concept of ‘enough money’, since there seems to be none, considering the likes of Bezos and Musk, who live among us but seemingly are not satiated enough with the money they have now.
Social satire aside, objectivity with human desire and wants can never be achieved, because, well, humans as an entity aren’t objective. We are subjective, and it is our surroundings and a whole myriad of determinants that decide on how and what we live like. For instance, to answer the question ‘How much money is enough money’ through human subjectivity, we can ensure that there is no single, ‘right’ answer. For an average American, being a millionaire might be okay, but what about the third world?
Are they content on the idea of being a pensioner, getting by on measly payments every month, thinking that just by marrying their kids and constructing a house for themselves, they’ve reached the ceiling of what is financially possible in this world? And what about the billionaires, of which there are nearly 3000 on this planet? Haven’t they gone beyond their American-ness by adding three or six more zeros next to their already impressive worth?
The passage beforehand should tell you all you need to know regarding the question how much money is enough money? But for the sake of the argument, let’s go along with the people who’ve tried to answer this question before.
How Much Money Is Enough Money?
This is one of those questions that everyone from philosophers to economists have tried to tackle, and yes, they have come up with different numbers, but the truth is, you can quantify human want. You can quantify human need, but not want. To explain this rather deep economic concept, consider this; need is what a person needs to feel satisfied. As a general rule of thumb, your ‘need’ for water is satiated after a glass or two of water.
It’s the ‘wants’ section where things get blown out of proportion a little bit. See, you need eight glasses of water a day, but you want SmartWater or Fiji Water, which costs certainly much higher than what water would set you back. Similarly, if you want a good time, you can easily have one with some Coke or Fanta; again, it’s the wants section that compels people to blow hundreds and thousands on designer alcohol and whatnot.
So, now that you understand the primary difference between needs and wants, let’s get into how wants dictate how much money is enough money.
- Wants – The Prime Determinant
How much money is enough money is irrelevant if you’re living comfortably and have all the things you need. For instance, if you have the need for a car for your daily outback and various incursions, buying it or financing it would not be extravagant or a show of wealth. However, getting an Acura instead of a Honda would be an example of wants overriding needs, since you could’ve easily done with a Honda, but you wanted an Acura, thus leading you to spend more, again, putting into question whether the money you spent on it was enough or you’re going to want a better Acura and go for the NSX.
Now that we’ve understood wants and needs and how wants get us to spend more, here’s how important money is to life. How much money to be set for life,
How Important Is Money In Life
Money has a considerable importance in life. In the words of a sitcom character, you can’t pay your bills with good wishes and hacky sacks; money is what makes the world go round. As such, one cannot deny the importance money has in all of our lives; be it a middle schooler in Taiwan or a member of the Parliament in the UK, money affects us all, drives us all but most importantly, decides for us our fates, our paths that we take in life and to some extent, the way we are perceived and treated by the rest of the people around us.
The last point may seem shallow, but it is pretty common to see people swarming around people with money, status and power. That’s because money buys you things that would otherwise require God-gifted abilities or natural talents, and we know all aren’t blessed with that. So, with being said, yes, money does make the world go round, and yes money does play a very significant part in our lives, our communities, our nations, states and the whole of the worldwide structure. Be it a dollar, a yen, a rupee or a lira, money is what makes or breaks us.
How Much Money to Be Set For Life? – Amount Of Money
The question of how much money one would need to get through their life comfortably is one that goes through every mind in this world. If we could have a universal number, an amount that would be applicable in both the USA and Somalia as the ‘final level’ of earning for a certain lifestyle, we are pretty sure there would be no billionaires and the rapidly increasing number of millionaires wouldn’t be as such. Once you’d reached that number, there would be no more reason for anyone to continue earning money, and therefore you would know how much money is enough money.
But that isn’t the case, at least with capitalism. With communism, yes, the state intervenes and sets the maximum level one can hoard. Not capitalism though. It’s a winner takes all policy, and indeed there have been winners that have taken. But capitalism isn’t to be blamed here; it’s the inherent human nature, the ‘want’ part of our brain that compels us to strive for even better. Yes, your need can be completed by a Toyota Camry, but why settle there when there’s a Lexus or a BMW just waiting for you to slam a deposit on the sales desk of the dealership. And that is what it all boils down to, this ‘enough money’ concept.
To surmise, there will always be a bigger house, a more luxurious, fast car, a better lifestyle and a better position for us to look for, and that is where the seemingly endless ‘enough money’ concept is rendered useless. We will never earn enough; people like Bezos and Gates will have regrets on their deathbeds and mankind will continue its struggle to acquire and consume. And that’s just the plain, simple reality.
How much would you need to earn for a set life? Is a couple billion enough or a few hundred thousand dollars is all it takes to allow you to kick back and relax? For that, we know now, thanks to political economists, that the place where you live in and the environment you adapt to determine it. In the USA, where the median income is roughly $69,000 per annum and out of the 2755 billionaires, 724 (the most) reside and earn there, a hundred thousand isn’t considered something to be extraordinary. But in Tanzania, where there’s only one billionaire in the entire country and the median income is $1080, to hit the ceiling you’d need far less than anybody would in America; $100,000 would get you very far.
This was just an example that demography and geography factor in heavily when it comes to how much money you would need to be set for life. Of course, there’s a question of quality of life, but the good thing about money is it buys the same quality of life that you can in both America and Tanzania, so really, these are the only major factors in this question.
How To Make Enough Money To Live?
Now there’s a question where objectivity can be defined (at least partially). How to make billions in America or hundreds of thousands of dollars in Jamaica. We’re taught that there are two ways; the right and the wrong and in earning money, there is no moral grey area; it’s either good or bad. To add on that, through popular media and general folklore, we’re also taught that if you earn through wrongful means, it won’t do you any good permanently (except for a short-lived flurry of a hedonistic lifestyle), as it has been portrayed by movies like Scarface, The Godfather and a hundred other movies and stories.
On the other hand, the righteous path has less money to offer, but to sweeten the deal, it throws in peace of mind and a puritanical lifestyle, meaning there are less chances for the person to end up getting riddled in bullets or meet their demise at the hands of the police or a person seeking revenge.
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But reality isn’t like that. There are instances of good people getting whacked for the slightest of offenses, and we have seen our share of bad people making it out of the world relatively unscathed. So, it really boils down to this, and this is a personal favorite; earn, but do so in a manner that befits ‘do unto others as you would like others to do unto yourself’. That’s pretty solid advice and we believe that that ends this passage here; money is important, there will never be enough money to be earned, we are inherently hoarders and greedy. But it is the good in us that has bought us up till here, and there is absolutely no reason fit enough to change it now.