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The freedom figure

AS the January gloom descends, a perennial conversation is being replicated in pubs, living rooms and around water coolers: how much money would it take for you to give it all up and live off the big fat bank balance?

My mother always swears £100,000 would be enough, while a friend reckons nothing less than £10 million would do (by the time she buys the yacht, two ponies and a property portfolio to rival Donald Trump's there won't be much small change left over).

According to a new report, £1m is the "magic amount" which most British people reckon would allow them to leave their jobs and live comfortably for the rest of their lives. That's a smidge more than eight weeks' salary for footballer Rio Ferdinand.

But then he clearly works hard for all the money, posting on Twitter last week: "While u guys around the world are out celebrating New Year spare a thought for me please ..."

It conjured up images of the Manchester United defender leaping from a search-and-rescue helicopter to save lives or toiling tirelessly in a laboratory to cure cancer. But, er, no. He continued: "I'll be in the team hotel sleeping!!" No doubt on expensive sheets.

The retort of one disgruntled punter – employing terms not printable in a family newspaper – became a viral hit. Another lamented: "Must be a hard life getting paid more in a week than most earn in a year."

In stark contrast is Dumfries man Barry Little who last week toasted a £1m EuroMillions win. Asked what he would do with his new fortune, Little, who two years ago suffered a back injury which forced him to give up work and sell the family home, said he would happily settle for a 3D telly and a family holiday. And that, Mr Ferdinand, is called perspective.

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