Would $10,000 Change Your Life?

Would $10,000 change your life?

I am a massive fan of the cooking show Chopped. I don’t watch much TV these days (I’d rather spend the time with my son), but Chopped is one show I make an effort to watch each week.

I’m genuinely amazed at the meals the chefs prepare from a bunch of random ingredients. I dream of making 5-star meals from the leftover components in my pantry, and I often use the search capabilities of all sorts of websites to help me make everyday, edible meals.

Free Money to Change Your Life

One of my favorite aspects of the show is listening to the chefs describe how they will spend the $10,000 prize. Their desires run the gamut from opening restaurants to buying engagement rings, paying for weddings, and extinguishing debts. Some plan to use the money to move to new locations, while others hope to take their families on luxurious vacations.

What surprises me most, though, is how many chefs say that $10,000 will change their lives. I don’t know anyone in the food industry, so I looked around the Internet and found that salaries range from the low $20,000s for assistant chefs to $90,000 and upwards for executive chefs.

However, the average appears to range from $40,000 to $60,000. (If any of my readers have a better idea of salary ranges, feel free to leave a comment.) The less you make, the more $10,000 feels like a significant windfall, so this may be an ample reason for this repeating sentiment.

Is $10,000 a Lot of Money?

I am in a phase of my life where $10,000 would be very nice to have, but I wouldn’t consider it life-changing. I have no debt other than my mortgages, and $10,000 would barely make a dent in those.

I already own a car and could get to and from work if I decided to get a job rather than staying home with my son. While it would be nice to buy a larger vehicle to get my son in and out of that certainly wouldn’t be life-changing, and $10,000 would only partially pay for that.

I’m sure I feel this way in part because I previously earned a six-figure salary. If you make a six-figure salary, $10,000 might be a month or two worth of earnings. However, if you make only $20,000 a year, $10,000 is the equivalent of half a year’s worth of pay!

Don’t get me wrong; I think that $10,000 is a lot of money, and I clip coupons, search for sales and live frugally to save dollars and cents every day!

A Life Changing Amount of Money

I recognize that $10,000 would certainly help pay for a car that could get you to and from work. In addition, it will help fund all sorts of training and education programs if you need specific skills to acquire a higher-paying job.

Depending on where you live, it might even provide a significant portion of a down payment for your home. But in my case, I already own a car and a house and completed an undergraduate and graduate degree. I feel incredibly blessed and fortunate to recognize that $10,000 would not be life-changing for me at this point in my life.

So what do you think? Would $10,000 change your life?

14 thoughts on “Would $10,000 Change Your Life?”

  1. Wow – I hope your post doesn’t come off to other people as pretentious. Being where you are financially at your age is wonderful. We are currently in our mid-late 20s and on schedule to be debt free (student loans, car payment) by June 2012. By the time we are your age, we plan to build and pay cash for our forever home. This will put us at completely debt free. Right now, $10k would help us achieve these goals even faster. My husband begins working with a new company on Thursday, and with that came a $15k/year raise. This is HUGE for us right now.

    To answer your question, yes, $10k for us at this stage of life would be life changing. In 10 years, when we are in our mid-30s, I doubt it would be hugely significant.

    You should be proud that $10k seems like pocket change. You have worked hard to get where you are, and I admire you for that. We are on this same track, and it’s good to know that our goals are achievable.

    • I certainly didn’t mean it to sound pretentious. I feel very lucky and blessed to have worked in a high paying field for the last 10+ years. I wish you the best of luck!

  2. I tend to agree here – and I’ve never made even close to six figures! The husband, a fellow software developer, would be close in a year where he got a full bonus (not happening this year, probably will be none at all). My yearly part time accounting income is about at that 10k amount, after staying home w/ kids for a few yrs. That $ allowed us to upgrade an older vehicle and double our kids college fund contribs. If I got an unexpected 10k it would be nice of course, but all it would mean is my vehicle upgrade would come in a year rather than 2-3 – and if I thought that going from an 8 yr old Malibu to a 2 yr old Honda Crosstour was life-changing then I would consider myself a really shallow person! Likewise mortgage is only debt, and 10k would barely touch what we owe – don’t think it wouldn’t even bring us “above water” (we purchased in Michigan in 2003 and have lost about half of our purchase value). So yeah, wouldn’t turn it down, but life-changing, not so much!

  3. I really like the Chopped show too. Truly amazing what they can do.

    $10000 would be a really big deal to me. It would bring me very close to debt free and free up a lot of my cash flow. It would “change my life” in a few senses for sure. However, I agree that “Life Changer” does feel like an overstatement – but I guess that’s what entertainment is for.

  4. GlobalRichList offers a site to see where you stand in the world based on income.

    Half the world lives on $850/year.

    Median US income is $50K give or take. I agree with you, $10,000 is now less for me than the daily up and down to my savings from market fluctuations. I’m older, though, and can remember when $10K actually did change my life a bit.
    It was a settlement for a car accident, so no tax due. I used the $10K to pay down a mortgage a bit, to get to 80% LTV, and get a lower rate. The $10K turned into a $400/mo savings to me, and during a time when cash was very tight, this really helped a lot.

  5. It would change your life… you’d have $10,000 that you didn’t have before! How much of an AFFECT that change has on your life, well that’s another story, but regardless it does change your life.

  6. 10000 would definitely change my life I would no longer be living paycheck to paycheck wondering if we were gonna eat next week it may not be a lot to some people but it would be a big game changer for me and my family

    • I think $10,000 would impact a lot of people. It can provide the buffer for an emergency fund or the money to dig a family out of debt. Thank you for your comment.


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