What’s Your “Set for Life” Amount?

This is truly a hypothetical question, just for fun: What’s the amount of money you would need to receive today to feel like you’re “set for life?”

The source of the money could be one of many options: You save up a certain amount of money, you win a contest or competition, you sell something extremely valuable, you’re granted a large inheritance…or maybe a combination of several options.

For me, this would likely come as a result of me selling Stonemaier Games, which is not something I’m currently exploring.

You could also receive the money all in one lump sum or have a guaranteed amount incoming for several years. Though, for the sake of this discussion, let’s say you receive the money over a relatively short period of time, as that will impact your long-term investment income. Though you may factor in future earnings that you’re already counting on, like your retirement savings.

Just because you’re set for life doesn’t mean you’ll stop working. You can continue to lead your life however you wish. However, the “set for life” amount should be enough that if you did decide to stop working, you could.

I rather enjoy working, so I would intend to continue running Stonemaier Games even if the company was purchased.

Some other elements that may factor into your decision are your dependents (partner, kids, pets), financial obligations (debts, board games, taxes, healthcare, etc), the level of extravagance with which you lead your life (I drive an old car, I rarely travel, and I wear clothes for 10+ years), and your current age retrospective to how long you think you’ll live.

I have two cats, healthcare, insurance, a mortgage, and various monthly expenses (food being the #1 expense). I’m 38, and I’m guessing I’ll live to around 80 years old.

There’s also the element of being able to not just sustain yourself, but also cover the occasional large expense. Vacations, cars, large medical bills, new housing, etc.

I rarely make these types of purchases by choice, but I’m always worried about the potential need for an unforeseen expense.

I think that covers at least some of the angles. So that brings us back to the core question: What’s your “set for life” amount?

Based on all of these factors, my calculations indicate that my pre-tax set-for-life amount would be around $8 million. That’s meant to cover 42 more years of life with plenty of padding for inflation and unexpected expenses. It also assumes that the amount would instantly drop to around $5.5 million after taxes.

How would you answer some of these questions? What other factors would go into your calculation?


3 Responses to “What’s Your “Set for Life” Amount?”

  1. Joe Pilkus says:

    Jamey,

    My number is far lower…around $2M which is around $1.5M after taxes. Unless my math is way off, I took your $5.5M figure ÷ by 42 (number of years until 80) and ÷ again by 12 for a per month amount…$10K! I think Biddie and Walter might be eating caviar at that level. 😉

    Cheers,
    Joe

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Yeah, my real monthly account is much lower than that, but I want to have enough to set aside a large amount for unexpected one-time expenses. Though maybe insurance will cover them just fine.

  2. TMac says:

    I haven’t run the calculations, but I had a few thoughts. First, I struggle to project my own lifespan. I’d like to hit 100, and I just can’t see myself dying by 80…I’d probably split the difference and be happy to make 90. Second, the variable I always struggle to account for when thinking of what I’d do if I were set for life is this: I know I’d stop working full-time. I may do other work for fun, but fundamentally, I’d use my time in very different ways. I’m fairly certain I’d spend more on whatever new things I’d do, and I’ve never been able to wrap my head around how much more I’d spend, thereby making “set for life” hard to plan for.

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