Financial Daydreaming: The Price is Right Style

Let’s say, hypothetically speaking, in another life I was offered an exorbitant amount of money to walk away from my job with just one string attached – the Price is Right rule is in effect. You say a number, but if it’s too high you lose. I think the first thing we’d all say is some ridiculously high number, easily $100 million or higher. But put the Price is Right rule into effect and things get a little more interesting.

A little background – I’m a new father of less than three months. My wife and I are still paying for college (and probably will be for quite a while), and to make matters worse we’re locked into a mortgage for another 28 years or so. At the end of the month, when funds are getting stretched I have to remind myself that I signed up for all this. Despite the stress, all the bills, and the lack of discretionary funds, I wouldn’t leave my house, I wouldn’t pass on the opportunity to go to college again, and I certainly can’t imagine life without my son.

Realistically I think it’d take somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000 dollars to get me to quit my job. The way I see it, $200k would allow me to pay off my mortgage, my student loans, and still leave me with roughly $20,000 worth of ‘play money.’

The responsible side of me feels like I should just pocket or invest that $20k and start searching for another job. That’d leave me with a nice little nest egg, or college fund for my son. But since this more daydream than anything else (I have no illusions that anyone would simply offer me $200k), there are a few things I could imagine doing with that money. I’d love to do some traveling with my wife. New Zealand is a place we’ve always dreamt about. But I could easily imagine myself salmon fishing for a few weeks in Alaska. Or better yet, I could sell the house I just paid off, move out West, and buy a nice little piece of remote property with a trout stream running through it. But odds are that’d cost a pretty penny, or two, so why don’t we bump that $200,000 up to about $300,000?

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