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November 10, 2021

When it comes to making money, how much is enough?

Chances are you don't understand the secret language of money and the "money story" it has been trying to tell you since you were born, says David Krueger, author of The Secret Language of Money: How to Make Smarter Financial Decisions and Live a Richer Life.

Answer the following two questions with a single, specific figure ....

1. My current annual income is __________.
2. In order to insure financial contentment, with no more money problems and worries, I would need to make _________.

Krueger claims to have given this quiz to hundreds of people. In almost every instance, their answers indicate that they would need to make about twice their current income to feel happy and free from money worries.

What’s more interesting, he notes, is the trailing double effect: Those who actually see their income double over time also manage to double their “happy and content” amount at the same time.

In other words, once those who earn $50,000 achieve their hoped-for $100,000 goal, they quickly revaluate, admitting that it would probably now take about $200,000 to make them happy.

Even when you change the numbers, the story remains the same, he maintains. Just about everyone says: “I need twice as much as I actually have to be happy.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that always raising the bar like this isn’t likely to have a happy ending.

But making peace with our moving target isn’t about learning how to aim better, or creating a fixed target that doesn’t move even after we hit it, he argues. 

The key to a successful money story begins with determining not what it is you want to have, but who it is you want to be, he says.

Is he on to something? Do you struggle with this sort of moving target? Are you content with what you have? How do you balance the two?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...