I had a situation somewhat like that (except I was JUST graduating from college and had never made more than 6,000 or so per year prior). It wasn't FU money, but certainly more than 99.5%of my friends and family would ever have at once. I was able to put a down payment on a home, pay off some student loan debt, and finance my current educational endeavour. I realized that the money was sufficent to increase my style of living for a period of time, but not enough to really ever live off of, so I took some to provide a means for sustaining an increasing quality of living for life (increased education credentials, better work experience). Of course, I've used some for stupid stuff and for paying for some things I probably wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise. I still have a decent portion invested or otherwise saved up, and I plan to maintain some of it to give my retirement savings a boost (I'm in my 20's, so even high 5 figures is a good jumpstart). One of the greatest perks came about a year ago. I had found a good job (not high paying but decent, interesting and with great benefits) straight out of college and had planned to stay there while working through a master's program and eventually working my way up in the company. It paid most of our bills, even before my wife's work authorization came through. Unfortunately, lay offs came just a couple of weeks before I was planning to apply for school. I was given the option of leaving the company in search of something else or taking a factory job with the same company (entry level, no responsibility, longer hours, same pay but no more raises). The schedule for that job would have meant no more school. Thanks to a small severance and some savings I've been able to take on a lower-paying job with a non-profit agency that has been very rewarding and allowed me the opportunity to take on MUCH bigger responsibility and develop greater skill sets without worrying as much about paying my basic bills. I'm doing something I love that develops my resume and allows me to go back to school. Ultimately, the money would never have been enough to change my life if I just spent it. Sure, I could have bought a car, taken bigger vacations, and partied pretty hard for a couple years, but it would have run out very quickly. I decided I could, instead, take steps to secure the sort of lifestyle I wanted long-term through investment, education, and paying off debt. I feel that my life will have changed when, at 30, I have no more student loans, my mortgage is at least 80% paid off (if not entirely), I have a modest amount of retirement savings beyond what my paltry current salary would allow me, and my new degree allows me a career in a field with many more opportunities and a starting salary roughly twice what I make now (and a chance for MUCH higher numbers long term). It may not be exciting as non-stop partying and 5-10 of the exact same car (a high school friend went that path), but I've been given the rare chance to re-do some of the ill-advised college and career choices I made at 18, live somewhat comfortably while serving the community, and after graduation I'll be set up for a very comfortable lifestyle well into retirement.
post #46 of 54
12/25/10 at 6:25pm