The Surprising Amount Of Money Americans Would Consider ‘Life-Changing’

Bank roll - cash on the table

A wealthy benefactor offers to give you a “life-changing” sum of money. Their pen is hovering over the checkbook. What’s the smallest number they could write and you’d still consider it “life-changing”?

The average American’s answer might surprise you. And the average American millennial‘s answer is much smaller.

A Life-Changing Sum

According to a survey conducted by OnePoll and Self, the average American says $19,800 would change their life.

For millennials? The life-changing number is barely a quarter of that: a mere $5,000.

The latter figure probably shouldn’t surprise, given the generation’s dismal savings rate and flood of financial fears. Millennials are worried about social security running out, they’re scarred by student debt, and millennials and Gen Z account for only 5% of all the wealth in the U.S., with people under 30 holding alarmingly low 401k balances.

Spending That Life-Changing Money

So, what would Americans actually do with a life-changing amount of money? The overall answers were encouraging—mostly straying from disposable splurges like vacations or big-ticket items like cars. A slight majority (51%) said they’d put at least some of that money into a savings account.

Other responses were refreshingly practical: pay off credit card debt (31%, start a business (30%), and retirement contributions (27%) were common intentions.

Millennials had a more depressing top answer, and not for the reason you think. Millennials polled weren’t planning to make stereotypically impulsive purchases with their newfound cash—they were hoping to pay off medical debt.

More than one-third said they would use a large sum of money to pay off medical bills.

Get Your Own Life-Changing Money

Of course being visited by that wealthy benefactor would be a dream scenario, but building wealth isn’t a dreamers game. You need to take action, and put your future in your own hands.

Here are some recent articles that can help you take the right steps:

Now get that life-changing money!

Ryan Rabasa

Ryan Rabasa is an associate editor at Wealth Gang. His passions are technology, writing, business, and media. He won't trust an investment strategy that doesn't incorporate both technical and fundamental analysis.