I remember when I was about 7 years old and my family and I were about move across the country. I overheard my parents talking about closing the savings accounts they had opened for me and my brothers and I overheard a magic number – $100!
I couldn’t believe what I just heard! I asked my parents, “Do you mean that’s my money? I have $100 dollars!” They answered, yes it was mine, and probably tried to explain to a young boy how savings worked and I wouldn’t be able to use the money until… I’m sure I didn’t hear the rest. At that young age, $100 was a magic number – and all I heard was that I had $100!
Thankfully, my parents instilled upon me the importance of saving and spending less than I earn. With my parent’s help, I opened a savings account and deposited money I saved from gifts and my allowance. Eventually, that $100 turned into a couple hundred dollars.
When I started my first high school job I started thinking about another magic number – $1,000. I didn’t work many hours then, but eventually, I hit my new magic number. It was a very nice feeling to open my statement every month and see 4 digits staring back at me.
What was my next magic number? Well, I didn’t have one. $10,000 was too far away to even think about and I didn’t really have any firm financial goals. I was concerned with doing everything a high schooler is supposed to do. The money just sat in my savings account while until I joined the USAF.
My first few months in the USAF I earned just over $1,000/month after taxes. Thankfully, my room and board were covered and I had few other expenses. Before long, I had my sights set on a new magic number – $10,000. It took a little over a year to reach $10,000 including an IRA I opened, and about 2 years to get to $10,000 in cash savings. It was one thing to know I had a total portfolio of $10,000 including the IRA, but another thing to see $10,000 in cash savings! Seeing 5 digits in one account was exciting and it felt wonderful. I accomplished another savings goal!
I think everyone has a number that, to them, has a magical aura surrounding it. When I was 7, $100 was an enormous sum of money. I was rich! When I started working, $1,000 and $10,000 were exciting and realistic benchmarks. Today, my magic number is $1,000,000. No, I haven’t passed all the other milestones in between $10,000 and $1,000,000 yet. In fact, I’m not even close to most of them! But $1,000,000 is the number that gives me the most excitement just thinking about it. I know that one day, I will be a millionaire.
Your magic number doesn’t have to be your definition of wealth, it could just be a number that has a special meaning to you or gives you a positive feeling when you think about it. Your magic number could be anything – $0 (yes, getting out of debt is a wonderful goal!), $10,000, $100,000, $500,000, or even a cool $1,000,000. (It’s a fun number to write. Go ahead, try it!). Everyone has a financial goal, and their magic number usually plays a big part in that goal.
What is your magic number?
Photo credit: apostolic.