“Every guy wants to make more money”

I’m still trying to get my hands on a copy of our appearance on the Steve Harvey show (apparently the producers don’t email back after they’re “finished” with you). We were on stage being interviewed for about 35 minutes. The segment, however, was only 12 minutes long. They had to cut out over 50% of what was talked about on the show.

As Steve was talking with us he got a little side tracked and started telling me every man wants to make more money, and that must be the case for a personal finance blogger. When I told him I didn’t necessarily agree with that sentiment, he challenged the point, almost trying to twist my arm in to saying I wanted to make more. We bickered back and forth, and I believe at some point I said something along the lines of “You are trying to get me to say I’m not happy with my income. That’s not true and I wont say I have a drive to make more.” He finally backed off. ย 

Girl Ninja and I already have a healthy income compared to US averages. What’s more, our expenses are fortunately very low in relationship to that income (no debt, cheap rent, no health issues, etc). I also don’t believe making more money would say anything about my value, drive, or goals. In fact, if I was driven to make more money then I think I would have to classify myself as greedy or materialistic.

Don’t get me wrong. If my boss called me and was like “Yo Ninja I’m gonna give you a fat raise because I think you’re pretty”, I would be creeped out that he called me pretty, but I would take the money in a second. Heck, if there was another job I wanted to do and it paid me more, I’d be all over that as well. But at some point, we need to realize our success is not measured by how many square feet our house is, the year/make/ or model of our car, or the number of zeros in our paycheck.

Steve could not comprehend my contentment. We already have more than we need, so if I made more, we’d just have more having more than we need. Haha.

I like my job. It affords me a lot of flexibility and a really cool title. If I’m going to take another job in the future, it better bring a lot more to the table than just some zeros.

What say you reader. Is your value decided by your paycheck? Anyone take a voluntary cut in pay (Girl Ninja did that when she decided to teach private school, to the tune of about $11,000 a year less)? What is the “perfect” salary for you ($50,000, $70,000 $200,000)?ย 

25 thoughts on ““Every guy wants to make more money”

  1. Unfortunately for me, I do feel undervalued because of my job and paycheck. Working in a tipping job, I’m basically a begger at the mercy of the customer. Not a good feeling at the age of 40 and I do feel trapped in this job, even “institutionalized” like Morgan Freeman said in Shawshank Redemption.

    Growing up relatively poor, I wanted more, a LOT more, sooner than later so I focused on work instead of school. Growing up in Las Vegas doesn’t help much either because there are many times the uneducated make more money than those with degrees here. I thought I could do the same, but I didn’t “luck out” with a “good” tipping job, only a “decent” one. Sorry about the vagueness, but I still like to be somewhat anonymous ๐Ÿ™‚

    So all in all, I think I make about 60% of what you make per year, Ninja. Enough to survive and enjoy some nice things, but far from being able to save enough for retirement and give to charity. Living in the city of bling doesn’t help either…the flaunting of money that some of these “rich” people do is obscene. Turns me into a jealous person :/

  2. I make a very good salary but in a job that I don’t really like. Unfortunately my job teaches people helplessness and after a while you just want to scream “why are you wasting my time. Just ^$#@# google the answer you lazy $#@%!” I can handle my job in doses.
    So because I am insane, in October when I meet with the boss to discuss my goals within the organization, I am going to ask if I can work 3 days a week. I am sure she will not understand at all because she is all about making more and more and more and spending more and more and more. For me, 3 days a week is enough. No matter how much I make, there is one thing I cannot make more of and that’s time. The other 4 days in the work week will be mine and I can do anything I want with them. That’s richness in my mind.

  3. My girlfriend was offered a job that would have provided about a 33% raise (roughly $14k more). She turned it down because she likes where she’s at and wasn’t too thrilled with the work environment she’d be moving to. While she was agonizing over this decision, I told her the extra money would be nice but we don’t need it because between the two of us, we’re doing fine, same as you.

    In hindsight, it might have been a better to switch jobs because she has a $1800 car repair bill and we have a $2800 plumbing bill. But thanks to our emergency fund, we can pay these without any problems, so we’re good.

  4. I make a very decent salary in my field, and I have some perks that not every employer offers (profit sharing, RSP contribution, pension); I have seniority, and a good amount of vacation time every year, but if we didn’t have a mortgage, I’d walk away in a heartbeat and get a p/t job. I go in ebbs and tides with my job satisfaction, and about every 6 months, I feel like I’ve hit a brick wall, but I know I’ll get out of my funk and it’ll get better. Having a 75K/year salary would be sweet, but with that would likely come more responsibility, longer work hours, and more stress… the trade-offs are not worth it.

  5. My current salary is perfect, and I would say I’m in the same boat as you in that I have more than I “need”. Right now it works great to have more than I need because it’s helping me pay off my house early, but after that is done, I’m considering taking a job with a lower salary that I would enjoy more. I have taken lower salaries in the past when switching jobs, I have no problem with it, although I assume most would disagree.

    I decided about 12 years ago that I didn’t want to move up any higher in the corporate ladder, primarily driven by the desire not to manage people, but also because I was happy with my salary. That was $35k+ ago, and have managed to get increases due to moving companies.

  6. Last year I did make the case for my boss that the job I was doing was worth more than what I was getting paid. I received a 20% pay raise and am currently at $48K per year. I love my job and (most of) the people I work with.

    In the past, I was worried about getting an advanced degree so that I could increase my earning potential – but that was because at the time I was married to someone who thought the word budget was: a four letter word, punishment, etc.

    That was years ago and now I am remarried and will be out of debt in around two years. I have no need for more. I am so happy with what I have now. I wish there were more people who could know this satisfaction.

  7. My husband makes $50K a year, which is typical for his field in our area. Unless he wants to move to a more generalized management position, which is NOT him at ALL, his income potential really won’t increase much more.

    It is getting increasingly hard to raise a family of 5 on that salary, esp as the kids get older, eat more, wear bigger clothes, etc. After I buy food and basic bills, there is nothing left for fun, debt payments, savings. The future is going to be very tight. I would like to see him making a little more, but he is not a managment personality, he is much more a follower than a leader.

  8. I think the answer to this kind of depends on your situation. Cost of living, size of family, accompanying benefits, and of course lifestyle impact the “perfect” salary number for everyone.

    Right now, I’m happy with what I make and would peg the perfect range for me between $70-90k for where I live and the pace at which I want to be debt-free. That said, once I’ve got the mortgage paid off, I don’t know if I’d care about making more than $40-50k. I want enough to put away for retirement, do some fun things with, pay regular bills and freely give.

    If I were in a rural area, I think I would put the perfect number much lower.

  9. I am happy with my current salary. My friend keeps pointing out that I could make more if I went out on my own, but I love my employer, my coworkers, the flexibility and stability I have, so the only things I would gain going out on my own are more stress and more money. The additional stress isn’t worth it to me at the moment. Of course, if my boss offered to give me more money, I wouldn’t turn my nose up at it-there are always more financial goals to achieve after all!

  10. Having just turned 64 (cue appropriate Beatles song), I am thinking less in terms of salary than of what I am likely to need in 1-3 years when I actually retire. And I think that (barring catastrophic health issues or market downturns โ€“ the worst of which would be at the start of my retirement), I should be OK. So even though raises have been few and far between at my company in the past five years, I am not overly concerned because I am not subject to age discrimination and I am the only person doing certain essential work for the business. More important than actual salary, in my opinion, is whether you can meet your expenses, have no debt or only manageable debt, and are saving a respectable amount for the future.

    My value is not decided by my paycheck because thereโ€™s more to me than my job. Of course, if my boss called me and was like โ€œYo Larry Iโ€™m gonna give you a fat raise because I think youโ€™re pretty,โ€ Iโ€™d ask him to have his eyes examined, before of course accepting. I am many things, but never pretty.

  11. I’m glad you stuck up for the concept of contentment! I value a lot of things about my life that I wouldn’t trade for a bigger paycheck. I guess I would peg what we make now – a bit over $50k/yr combined – as slightly lower than what I would like long-term as a minimum. (I hope I won’t still feel that way when we make a bit more money!) I’m considering a career that pays far more ($125k/yr starting) and is very interesting to me but requires travel and looooong days and I just don’t think that money would be worth being away from my husband and delaying baby-making even further. I’m hoping I can find similar work that doesn’t require the travel at some smaller firms.

  12. While I would never define someone by their income, I find myself always wanting more. As a household we will be in the top 6 percent of income next year. We still live modestly, drive used cars and have the same friends. The security net and options available drive me. My fears of how the government will continue to take our wealth and waste it leaves me trying to offset it. I don’t think it’s bad though to keep striving for more.

  13. I used to earn considerably more than I do now when I worked in private industry. My expenses were very different too. I had a large house, children in private school and other obligations. My children are grown, I downsized 15 years ago to a townhouse and have practically no debt. I am in great shape for retirement (again) financially so I do not need much money.

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  15. I honestly don’t think there is a “perfect” salary.

    I know from my own experience that every time I earn more money I always look to the next goal. I think that I could be earning 1 million dollars a year and still be looking to where I could find new ways to make money. Its like a bad addiction I can’t kick ๐Ÿ™

    The main problem is that my standard of living increases with every pay rise. Therefore I always feel like i need more…

  16. It was mentioned a couple years ago that 75k was the dividing line between those who were happy with their “life evaluation” and those who weren’t. Interestingly emotional well-being showed little correlation to income.

    I’m approaching that 75k financial milestone, and as a bachelor, and I can believe it. My life is very comfortable: providing everything I need and then some. A recent trip to Central America only reinforced how privileged I am as an American. I feel my salary is commensurate with my efforts, though I won’t turn down more money.

    Who here has reviewed budgets or financial goals from years prior and compared them to your current income and status?

  17. In my relationship, I am the one who will have a much higher earning potential in the long run. I would like to be in the 80,000 range before kids. Assuming we knock down our debt, that should be enough for the two of us to live on while my partner gets to take whichever job he feels most suited to.

  18. Our household income is close to $90K and we live pretty modestly. Had been debt free but took on a small car payment last week because we didn’t want to eat up our six month emergency fund. But we should have it paid off in a year or two, depending on our tactic. Beyond that we’re putting 15% in retirement and paying our house off with a nearly double payment each month. So, the fact that we can do all of this with what we make really doesn’t make me long for a job with bigger responsibilities in order to get more money. If I can get more money with the same amount of responsibility – then cool. But otherwise I have a lot else I want out of life.

  19. Mostly, I don’t WANT more money, but I NEED it because we’re are about breaking even on the year (because of side jobs and two extra paychecks a year), but negative every month. And contentment is not something that comes naturally to most Americans, so I say you’re in a pretty rare position. I gravitate toward more money because of my current position, but I do wonder what amount would make me content….I’m not really sure. Maybe like $100k…? I dunno…

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