As someone who has been the primary breadwinner of a family of 5 and often the sole breadwinner, I certainly fixated over money. When I did not like my work as a private sector attorney, I would think about what amount of money I would need to escape. Retirement was too far away at the time but I still spent energy calculating my financial freedom number. Since I started liking my work – and fortunately that has been since October, 2000, I think about money in relation to funding my children’s college educations and sensible retirement planning but not in relation to escaping. I mention because onne of my friends in the financial industry recently said to me “everyone has a number”, meaning the amount of money in the bank needed to quit or retire. For those who have been battling through tough corporate or other purely practical jobs, the “number” is part of their escape route from a job they don’t like. Success would be getting to that number as soon as possible so they can retire or do something else.
But, for those who are happy in their work, the “number” is rarely considered, except perhaps as part of sensible retirement planning. I have not met a single person who loved their work that ever talked about their “number” in terms of an escape from work. Their financial success includes paying their bills, funding college for their children, and saving enough for the inevitability of retirement. But, they loved their work – why would they be plotting to leave early?