They say that freedom from poverty is the ability to walk into a public square and feel no shame. I remember on Friday having lunch with friends from work and feeling ashamed because I earned less than they did. They also spoke about how inadequate they felt because they did not earn as much as others, but when these people reminded themselves that I earned less, they suddenly felt better about themselves.
The problem is that there is no objective definition of how much income is enough--until now. According to a Wall Street Journal article that cites a study by Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel prize winning economist, the perfect income is $75,000 per year.
My goal is to earn $75,000 by age 30 and $100,000 by 35. I am currently 27 and earn $60,000, consisting of approximately $55,000 salary and $5,000 investment income. It would be nice if I could get a promotion and earn more, but I am finding that I am just not good enough to get a promotion, which is disappointing. They say you should never give up on yourself, so I will keep trying to get a promotion, but my experience of modern capitalism is that hard work is not always rewarded in the workplace. In my opinion, this is a strong argument as to why you should aim to just have fun in life. If you work really hard and put off leisure, there is a risk that you will throw away your whole youth all for a higher salary that your employer may not even give you. Keeping this in mind, I believe it is essential that you diversify your sources of income. I have come to rely less on work to increase my income, now relying almost exclusively on my investments. My goal to getting $75,000 by 30 and $100,000 by 35 is entirely based on the pessimistic assumption that my employer will give me no promotions and I will remain on the same payscale forever.