Social Question

rebbel's avatar

How much salary is enough?

Asked by rebbel (24954points) April 4th, 2011

Sometimes when i read about managers or politicians or CEOs’ earnings and bonuses that some of them get when their company reached certain targets i am shocked to see how high these can be.
I am talking 500000 and million dollar/euros salaries here.
But when all their monthly costs are added up they must have something left, right, like….490000 or so?
Knowing that a lot of the world’s people are making (just) enough to pay the bills and save some dollars every month, that is a bit, yeah, i don’t know.
Don’t want to say it is not fair, because they probably deserve what they make, but how would you feel when you have tens of thousands left every month and get even a bonus at the end of the year?
Would you feel okay with it?
Feel ashamed?
Donate to charity?

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36 Answers

SpatzieLover's avatar

I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night unless I gave most of it to charity or utilized it for the greater good.

chyna's avatar

Yeah, I get mad every time I hear about how much Bernard Madoff bilked people out of millions and millions in his ponzi scheme. He had two huge yachts, who can sail two yachts at a time spent hundreds of thousands just to be spending. I have not read that he did anything good with that money. Only spent it on himself.

12Oaks's avatar

Whenever I hear about a sports guy making 5 million a season, my first though is “Go for 6, maybe 7, next season.” Them making that much takes nothing away from me, and I surely wouldn’t turn down an offer like that.

Make what you could, no reason not to. Then do with it what you wish, afterall, it would be yours.

zenvelo's avatar

Enough salary is twice what I am making right now. It is surprising how one can increase costs to match one’s take home pay. Nicer house, new furniture, higher property taxes, nicer vacations, more expensive equipment. It goes fast.

@chyna Madoff took Billions. And he took much from charities; even worse than not giving to any charities.

TexasDude's avatar

I don’t care what people earn, even if it’s an exorbitant amount, as long as it was earned legally. I harbor zero jealousy towards the wealthy. And that’s coming from someone with champagne tastes on a Bud Light budget.

With that in mind, if I made a huge-ass salary, I’d probably blow a lot of it on charity and my friends and family after a while. There’s only so much money you can spend on rare books and antique guns, and I’d probably get bored with the possibilities, after the… necessities have been covered.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Yes, I would be able to sleep at night….quite well. When one lives in abject poverty…how well does one really sleep (seriously?) When your stomach is grumbling and your are worried how you are going to feed your children? Or pay your electricity bill? Or your rent? Mortgage?

A poor person can never help anyone else financially. A wealthy one can choose to do that. I would rather have the choice to do that.

The problem with the astronomical amounts that wealthy people make…is not the money they make (same with the big banksters). The problem is how they hold on to it and live off-the-beam hedonistic lifestyles as they (metaphorically) _watch Rome
burn._ The lack of morality for others suffering is quite heinous. It borders on soulless. I am not talking about philanthropists (like Buffett) this is for the other ones who have made their billions by bilking the system.

I would never, ever be ashamed to be wealthy. But just to make sure, I’ll be posting when I get there. :)

cockswain's avatar

I think if you need a household income greater that 100,000 USD/year, you are missing the simple things in life. Like reading, , socializing, listening to awesome music, or playing sports. Maybe an occasional joint..

12Oaks's avatar

@cockswain Just curious. How does earning over $100,000 annually make it so you can’t read, play music, or play sports? Just curious. Especially since many athletes earn over $100,000 annually.

cockswain's avatar

That isn’t what I’m saying, it does not necessarily prevent you from doing those things. I’m saying if you make that much and feel driven to make so much more, you’re missing a lot of enjoyment in life. Kind of a missing the forest for the trees thing in my opinion. One is too focused on being acquisitive and “better” than others at that point, the way I personally see it.

I’m not saying I’m right, I’m just saying that’s how I see it.

cockswain's avatar

A Satisfied Mind by Johnny Cash is sort of what I’m saying, but way cooler and more badass.

12Oaks's avatar

@cockswain Maybe a side note, but I bet Johnny Cash, in his prime, made more than $100,000 a year. Not bad for a guy who, musically, made some simple songs (Ring of Fire). Just thinking out loud here…..

cockswain's avatar

Sure, but either you’re missing my point or I don’t get yours. I’m not saying there need to be salary caps per se, and a person has the freedom to do what they want with the money others give them. Hopefully something charitable for the system that spawned you such wealth. But I’m just talking about financial goals as they relate to what is a “comfortable” lifestyle. If you can’t be happy with 100K, you won’t be happy with 200K either.

YoBob's avatar

Just gotta say: GA, @DarlingRhadamanthus!

12Oaks's avatar

@cockswain No, I get ya. Was just origially wondering why you though that those who made a certain amount for some reason can’t read a book. You clarified brilliantly.

cockswain's avatar

Excellent, thanks.

WasCy's avatar

I like Mark Twain’s writings on the topic:

“I am opposed to concentrated wealth, but it would not be wise to offer me the position” but I don’t particularly agree with it.

It bothers me to see wealth wasted on frivolous spending, but I quite enjoy the process of concentrating it wisely and ethically, as Buffett and Gates and others have done. That process improves life for all of us.

WestRiverrat's avatar

I don’t need to make any more than I do now. I would like to, but I get by on my income with a fair amount left over for retirement investments. Other than my house, I don’t buy anything until I have the money in hand to pay for it. And even the house I could almost pay for outright if I wanted to dip into my savings.

cockswain's avatar

more time for LARPing

DominicX's avatar

“I don’t care what people earn, even if it’s an exorbitant amount, as long as it was earned legally. I harbor zero jealousy towards the wealthy.” Exactly.

This is always an awkward topic for me because my dad makes well over $100,000 a year. And despite what @cockswain said, he has plenty of time for all those non-business related things. :\

If I were to ever make that much money, I would be fine with it. There’s no shame in being wealthy (if the wealth was acquired through honest means, which I have no doubt it would be if I were to ever become wealthy). And of course I definitely would donate; my parents donate to charities, schools, and sponsor things all the time.

cockswain's avatar

Read what I said more carefully, that isn’t what I said.

DominicX's avatar

Well, I still disagree. I don’t think that just because someone has devoted a good part of their life to acquiring wealth like that that they have missed out on enjoying life. People enjoy life in different ways.

cockswain's avatar

That still isn’t what I’m saying. Fuck. I shouldn’t have to rewrite what is already written. If you aren’t happy with 100K, you probably won’t be happy with 200K. My point is about thinking attaining a higher salary won’t necessarily make you happy. That’s all. You’re chasing rainbows if you think that’s the source of happiness in life.

I am NOT saying that obtaining money necessarily prevents one from having time to be happy. Christ.

Taciturnu's avatar

People with those kinds of salaries don’t have all that money left over. Admittedly, much of it does go into investments for future wealth, but still…

As salaries rise, so does individual cost of living. These people are in as much debt percentage-wise as the majority of Americans. They go bankrupt and “lose it all,” too. Many of these wealthy people are philanthropists and financial donors. I like to think I’d do more of my own financial donating if I had more to give. I may sound sympathetic to something that doesn’t deserve sympathy, but hell- if I got there, I’d be pretty content with my earnings and I wouldn’t want someone to try to shame me into feeling otherwise.

As @cockswain said, it does come at a price. Less time for family gatherings, having to worry if your new friend is after your cash or being friendly in hopes of landing a business deal, etc. I think most of us aren’t willing to put a price on those little things and therefore would not open ourselves to those incomes.

DominicX's avatar


Oh calm the fuck down. Maybe you should be more clear next time because I’m not the only one who misunderstood your excellent comments. I never once said that I think obtaining a higher salary will bring happiness, but I don’t agree that striving to obtain a higher salary prevents enjoyment in life (and of course many wealthy people are content with their salaries and aren’t necessarily constantly striving for a higher and higher salary). And if you still don’t agree that that’s what you said, read your own fucking comments again.

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math_nerd's avatar

Bartlet : “It doesn’t matter if most voters don’t benefit, they all believe that someday they will. That’s the problem with the American Dream, it makes everyone concerned for the day they’re gonna be rich.”

Keep on dreaming while your boss makes 50 times what you do.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

@YoBob…......Thanks, Bobster! :)


IMO, the amount of money you make does not affect your ability to play, have fun or not have fun. That ability depends on your emotional state of mind and your ability to live a happy, guiltless and sovereign life. Sovereignty over your life can come to you with 10,000 a year and/or 1.2 billion a year. And (in my idealistic view) I hope that if one makes a very healthy salary, one will share and give back. In other words, you can be enslaved to 10k a year…and 1.2 billion a year….you can still be enslaved by “lack” and in the latter possibly by both lack and possibly “greed”. I go for liberty with whatever you make…if that makes you happy. In a weird way, @cockswain….I sort of agree with you. (Heavens.)

SpatzieLover's avatar

According to this study/article it was on Oprah & The View, too above $75,000 per year, people are no happier than those making $75K.

cockswain's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus I agree with what you are saying, I read the article by @SpatzieLover and it supports many of the same things we are both saying. I picked the number $100,000 because I felt that is the reasonable point at which one then has enough money to enjoy life, save, have enough to weather problems, travel, and not have to be troubled as much by not having enough disposable income to obtain a comfortable lifestyle. And the article states “At that level ($75,000), people probably have enough expendable cash to do things that make them feel good, like going out with friends.

And to my point about being acquisitive and your point about feeling “lack” or “enslaved”, the article states,“Past research on money and happiness has also found that it’s not absolute wealth that’s linked with happiness, but relative wealth or status — that is, how much more money you have than your neighbors.”

I completely agree with that, and I see that as a big problem for a lot of people. One starts getting hung up on keeping up with the Joneses and their satisfaction in life becomes tied to this unnecessary standard of living.

The only thing I truly intend to assert is that people don’t need to strive for lots of money. I said $100,000 household income, the article says $75,000 (but it isn’t clear if they mean per person or household). Once you reach that level, if you aren’t happy, then more money will not be the cure. You might think it will solve your “problems,” and you might even surpass the Joneses, but your problems haven’t been addressed. Besides, then one might move to a better neighborhood and start competing with the Smiths.

If you have a job that pays $500,000, good for you. If you want to make $1,000,000/year, I think you’re missing out.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@cockswain Apparently it’s per household, but I think they also did a study during child-rearing years, which I’m still searching for. ;)

12Oaks's avatar

@SpatzieLover I don’t never buy studies like that. “Happier” is such a subjective term. Maybe making $200,000 a year makes one guy happy while baseball makes someone who makes $25,000 a year happy. I love going to baseball games, have season tickets even. I am happy there. Some who make more than me, and some who make less, would find that to be pure torture. Some would spend $200,000 for a super long European vacation and be happy as a Wal-Mart employee. I’d decline that even if it were offered at 100% free. Souveniers, food, F1 races, everything free, no thanks. That would be as painful as, well, European vacation to me.

Happiness=Subjective. Like most formulas, it’s as simple as can be.

augustlan's avatar

Enough money = All necessities covered comfortably, with enough left over to save for (and survive) emergencies; buy a little leisure/entertainment; and donate a little to worthy causes.

It would be very difficult to pin an actual number to that, though. Having lived just outside of Washington, DC, I can tell you that $100,000.00 per year (for a family of 5) just barely qualifies there. You are nowhere near rich on that salary, in that location. In Independence, MO, on the other hand, it would practically be a king’s ransom.

cockswain's avatar

That’s a good point, I live in Denver and $100,000 would be fine. My wife’s uncle owns a bank in the D.C. area and their 1.2 million dollar house is much smaller than I would have expected.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

The perfect salary is to make more while you are asleep then you can spend while you are awake. Should I be able to achieve that I could do amazing things once I have my fleet of Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and Aston Martins; along with my Green Techo Supper Dooper 12 bedroom, three pool MacMansion. I could build solar farms, buy up huge tracks of old growth redwoods that they never be logged. Have boarding high school for pregnant teen girls, work/training facilities for homeless men they can life at and learn a trade or small business to keep themselves off the street; a ton of things…..

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