The Floor and the Ceiling: How Much Money Is Enough?


When it comes to money, some people have a floor and some have a ceiling. The floor is the minimum amount of money to live reasonably well. The ceiling is the magic number of what you might possibly achieve in your wildest dreams.

Normally there’s nothing wrong with dreaming. But to be happier in life when it comes to money, choose the floor.

It’s important to note that the floor is not just the bare minimum for survival. It’s the bare minimum to live decently.

When Jolie and I were in college, we used to visit a pizza parlor that had an all-you-can-eat buffet for $2.99. At the time, this was a splurge! Sometimes we skipped lunch and then ate a lot of pizza for one big meal.

But it wasn’t a huge splurge. We went at least once a week, sometimes planned and sometimes spontaneously. It was fun and didn’t break the bank in the way that going to a “real” restaurant would have.

I wouldn’t want the $2.99 pizza buffet to be totally out of reach, even in the worst of circumstances. I wouldn’t want to suffer or lack for anything.

But if I had to budget and plan for certain expenses, like a big trip or new computer, that would be totally fine. In fact, it could actually be positive.

There will always be people who have more money than you, and people who have less. But if you can achieve “floor status” and learn to be grateful and content, you’ll be much happier than reaching for the ceiling.

It might be harder than it sounds, but it’s also more rewarding than you may imagine.


Also see: Having Money, Not Having Money, and The Number

Image: Schoe

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