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How Much Money Do You Need to Feel Successful?

money and successHow much money do you need to earn to feel successful?

Fifty thousand a year? One hundred thousand? Two hundred thousand?

What’s the magic number?

A recent Harris Poll study attempted to unveil the answer. Right around 5,500 men and women were surveyed and the numbers are all over the board.

Unlike former studies that showed that earning $75,000 a year will bring you the most happiness the Harris Poll didn’t match up.

Here are the findings.

The Magic Number – For Women

Not surprisingly the number for men and women was different, but not by much.

The consensus came in and 32 percent of women were happy making less than $50,000 per year. Another thirty one percent felt they would be happier earning $50k – $70k per year.

The Magic Number – For Men

Even though most women would be happy with a salary less than $50,000 per year only 18 percent of the men interviewed felt that way.

Instead the majority of the men (29 percent) would feel successful with a salary of $50-$70k. Trailing close behind was the 70k – 100k range.

Here’s a look at the full results.

how much money do you need to feel successful

The Magic Number – For Me

I feel like this is such a hard question for many reasons.

First off the number is relative. It depends where you’re at income-wise now. I think as human beings we all strive to better ourselves. If we say that $50k will make us feel successful and we eventually reach that point that we’ll then need to make more money to feel that success.

It’s almost an unattainable goal.

Looking at it this way it would seem that the survey numbers could easily be skewed by polling men and women who currently make less than $50,000.

But if I had to answer now I think earning $40,000 a year would make me feel successful.

Your Turn

What about you? How much money do you need to feel successful? Or does it even matter?

Photo Credit: JSCreations

Link Love 7/25/14

Photo Credit: Jesadaphorn

Photo Credit: Jesadaphorn

Hey guys. Hope you had a good week!

Just in case you’re in need of some weekend reading here are a few of my favorite posts.


Have a good weekend!

An Easy Way to Evaluate a Rental Property

evaluate a rental propertySince discovering the recent foreclosure that I convinced myself I needed to swoop up, I’ve been doing a lot of research on what makes a good investment property.

With flipping, the calculation is easy. You simply need to sell the house for more than what you have invested in it. But the problem with flipping is that it’s not easy.

There’s huge risk associated with flipping a property – being the property doesn’t sell. In this event you’d either have to walk away without a profit, a possible loss, or rent the property.

And for me I’d definitely go the renting route.

Here’s the easy method I’ve discovered to evaluate a rental property.

The 1% Rule

The one percent rule for rental properties is simple: your gross rents should be at least one percent of the purchase price.

While I’ve contacted the bank that has the property I’m interested in, I’ve been thrown from place to place without any answers. So I can only guess at how much this property will go for.

I check real estate listings in my area regularly and my educated guess is that my property will sell for around $50 – $60k.

Using $60,000 as the purchase price and assuming rent of $700 (which I think is extremely reasonable for this property) I’d be in the clear. (One percent of $60k is $600.)

The Cash Flow

The property I’m interested in should definitely meet the one percent rule. But if I had to rent it out what about the cash flow?

Let’s take a look.

  • Purchase Price: $60,000
  • Down Payment: $12,000
  • Loan Amount: $48,000
  • Interest Rate: 5%

Monthly Mortgage: $257.67

  • Insurance: $100.00
  • Property Tax: $77.60
  • Vacancy & Maintenance: $100

Total Monthly Cost: $535.27

Monthly Rent: $700

Monthly Net: $164.73

The monthly net income on this property doesn’t get me excited. But I still believe that if this property is fixed up that it would have huge resale value. So again, I want to flip.

I feel like it would bring a pretty significant property.

The Plan

I still want to go for this property and even though I’m trying to save separately for it I have just enough cash to cover the down payment and hopefully the closing costs, should it come on the market soon.

In the meantime I’m going to keep trying to get ahold of the right person at the bank and see if I can’t make a deal.

And as promised I snapped a few pictures so that you could see what I’m getting excited about. Unfortunately, the front of the house is pretty hard to see due to overgrown trees and grass.

evaluate a rental property

front of the house

back of the house

back of the house

the garage

the garage

Where Should I Go on Vacation? (Plus a Credit Card Rewards Rant)

credit card rewards rantI’ve been thinking lately that I need to take my kids somewhere fun for a weekend and make some awesome memories, but I don’t know where to go.

Unlike, most of mankind I don’t really care for traveling. It doesn’t get me excited. But I would like to have a fun, inexpensive, low maintenance 2-3 day getaway with my two daughters.

Show Me the Money

Jamie has generously offered to cash in all the change he’s been hoarding over the last several years to use as vacation money for the four of us.

Take a look:

vacation change

It’s kind of hard to tell in the picture but this is a huge jar! So I’m only guessing, but I think there’s at least $500 in there.

Please Don’t Tell Me to Use Rewards Credit Cards

Over 99.999999% of the personal finance blogs I follow have at least one post a week telling you why you should sign up for a rewards credit card for vacation. #nothanks

Since I’m told so much that I need a rewards credit card I’d figure I’d tell you why it’s never going to happen.

I don’t care about travel.  I could care less about traveling to far off and exotic places. Really, I don’t care. Maybe it’s just because I like where I live but I’d rather be at home. You can call me boring but I’m just being true to myself.

I’m not signing up for twenty cards. So do you wonder how all these bloggers are getting free vacations every 2-3 months? It’s definitely not from one card. What you probably don’t know is that they sign up for 10-20 cards, maybe even more.

Can you imagine trying to track 10-20 credit cards? You’d have to figure whether you’ve met the spending requirement for each, pay off the monthly balances each time (because if don’t pay them off and are charged interest you just cancelled out all the card rewards), and cancel the card before the annual fee hits. That’s a lot of freakin work.

Credit Cards Make You Spend More. Sure credit cards don’t make everybody spend more, just the majority of the population. And it’s not by a small number either (12-18%.) Don’t believe me? Check out this study.

So if you’re subconsciously spending more money because you’re using a credit card you could have just saved the difference and paid for your vacation with cash. Then you wouldn’t have to worry about keeping up with a dozen cards.

My Expenses Aren’t Enough. My budget (not including taxes) doesn’t drift off far past the $1600/month. I’d have a super hard time meeting the minimum spending requirements on one card let alone 10.

So if you have a low expense lifestyle you’re really not going to bank on credit card points.

Sorry I just had to get all that in there.

I don’t what you to think that it’s not possible to use credit card rewards to fund vacations, because obviously it is.

I just don’t want you to jump in and sign up for ten credit cards at once and then get screwed. It’s very risky and attention to detail is absolutely crucial. You need to manage those credit cards like it’s a business.

Most people don’t have the discipline to do that. I know I don’t.

Funding Vacation with Cash

Since I don’t want to deter my savings the whole plan is to just cash in all the change we can find between the two of us.

I’m pretty confident that it’s going to be in the $500-$600 range. (But then I’m completely guessing so I could be way off.)

So the things I’ve thought of so far include

-camping (or renting a cabin for a couple of nights)

-two days at  Kings Island

What would you do for vacation with $600?

Link Love 7/18/14

Happy Friday.

I hope you’re having a good day.

And just in case you’re in need of some weekend reading here are a few of my favorite posts from the week:

Have a good weekend!!