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What is Your Magic Number?

Coin Wrappers

When I was a kid I can remember trying to save a specific amount of money. I always wanted my coins to round to a nice even number. I wanted $5, not $4.99. I would sort my coins by type and then place them into neat little piles of ten. I can remember sitting on the floor for long periods of time counting and rolling pennies, nickels and dimes into those tiny cardboard sleeves.

More often then not I was just short of filling a roll. I always seemed to need two or three more quarters to reach $10 or one more penny to reach 50 cents. Of course, I always asked mom or dad for that extra penny or quarter to help me finish the roll and they willingly obliged.

When I got older I set similar goals for my money, but this time I focused on the balance in my savings account rather than the coins in my piggy bank. My numbers started out small, a nice even one hundred dollars, then a thousand, ten thousand, one hundred thousand and of course that infamous one million. Over time the money transitioned from a savings account to a brokerage account or from a 401(k) to a Roth IRA, but still that infamous magic number kept growing larger and larger.

These days I’m not sure I have a particular number in mind. When the market is high I wish for the number to grow one hundred thousand dollars in the blink of an eye and when the market is low I hope that it won’t drop by anything close to that amount.

I’ve run retirement calculations and attempted to figure out how much money I might need when I get older, but I can never seem to settle on a specific number. Honestly, I think if I reached that number I would quickly change my mind and increase the threshold.

I would like my non-retirement assets to be larger then my two mortgages. It would be nice to know if all else failed that I could write a check to pay off my homes. Mortgages are cheap these days, so I’d probably never do that, but it seems like a hell-of-a-place to start. Of course I’d need money to live on after that, but I’m not exactly sure what my magic, pie-in-the-sky number should be.

What about you? Do you look at the balance in your savings account and wonder if you’ll feel more secure or comfortable when you reach a certain number? Do you celebrate small milestones like adding another $1,000 or $10,000 to your savings account or 401(k)? Also, am I the only one that likes to see nice even numbers?

Shawn @ Forex news

Thursday 7th of February 2013

I also like to even number but more than $500 because now I am a father of two child. I am a forex trader and my profit and loss count in decimal number so I have been fed up to calculate pennies that are an import part of my business. Therefore earning complete number free from fraction number is my high desire.

PF Blogger

Wednesday 6th of February 2013

I feel the same way. I'm aiming for yearly networth increases of $25,000 because it's a nice easy number. When my student was at just a hair over $10,000, I made an extra payment just to get it under 5 digits. For me, it's all psychological, but it gives me the kick in the pants that I need.