Survey Asks What Average American Considers “Life-Changing” Money

Have you ever stopped to ponder how much money it would take to significantly change your life? This could mean the amount of cash it would take to get out of debt, have an emergency fund, or perhaps make a down payment on a home. Although for most people winning the lottery isn’t required for such a transformation to occur, the sum that the average adult quoted as their “magic number” might be lower than you think — especially among Millennials.

As Travel and Leisure reports, a new study conducted by OnePoll on behalf of credit-building loan company Self Lender sought to find out what the average American considers to be “life-changing” money and what they would do if such means came their way. Answering the first question, the survey found that the average adult believes it would take a sum of $19,800 to change their life in 2019. However, among Millennials, that figure was far lower. In fact, on average, those age 19 to 39 said a windfall of just $5,000 would be life-changing.

So what would respondents do were these funds to fall into their lap? Not surprisingly a majority (51%) say they’d immediately put the money into a saving account. Other popular responses overall included paying off credit card debt (31%), starting a business (30%), and contributing to a retirement account (27%). Once again those of the Millennial generation did have some slightly different priorities as 33% said they’d use their found funds to pay outstanding medical bills.

While the presumption for this study was that these life-altering funds would be gifted to respondents, the survey also inquired if respondents thought they could reach these financial goals on their own. Impressively more than two-thirds believed that they could attain such life-changing money within the next five years via investing, saving, and obtaining raises in their income. Notably, considering that response, it is somewhat surprising that the notion of investing found funds didn’t rank higher in the initial findings.

Ultimately the OnePoll/Self Lender study shows that Americans know what they should be doing with their money. Of course the real question is, if such a windfall were to come their way, would they stick to their practical plans or allow themselves to splurge? Meanwhile it is encouraging to see that that majority of those surveyed seemly have a plan to reach their financial goals on their own. These individuals likely understand that small gestures — such as creating a budget and regularly setting aside savings — can make a big difference over time. Hopefully by adopting some of these good personal finance habits, more people will soon be able to earn that “life-changing” sum they seek.

As i had observed, millennials are more cautious of their personal finance as compared with older generation at their age.

For most, life changing money would be something that could pay off debt specially student loan debt. Once you’re debt free you can already work for your savings and investments.

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Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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