I work with a couple who are probably the most extraordinary savers I have ever come across.

They’re not yet 60 years old, they’re schoolteachers, and they have more than $3.5 million invested in stock and bond index funds.

They also have a house that’s paid for, and they have put two kids through expensive U.S. universities.

But they worry about money.

They worry that they don’t have enough.

They worry about the cost of health care.

They worry about the dropping value of the U.S. dollar.

And they worry about the tax implications of rebalancing their portfolio.

For inspirational purposes, first of all, let’s have a look at how they could have amassed so much money.  Currently, they save far more than a full teacher’s salary.  In the past, they made less money, but look at what the following compounding scenario would have done:

If they started with nothing, 35 years ago, and if they invested $15,000 a year, they’d have $3.5 million, if they made 9 percent annually (a realistic historical return).

Of course, there’s no way that they were saving $15,000 a year, 35 years ago, but they have been saving far more than double that sum for the past 20 years.

By living on 4 percent of their portfolio (upon retirement) they’d have an annual income of $140,000 – which is far more than they have ever spent in a single year.

But they worry about money.

I have another friend who has been teaching overseas her entire life.  Closing in on 60 years of age, she doesn’t have any real estate, and her investment portfolio has less than $20,000 in it.  Because she taught at private schools, she won’t have a pension, and she isn’t eligible for U.S. social security.

When her grown kids are in financial binds, she skims off her paycheck to help them out.

But she doesn’t worry about money – at least that’s her claim.

A few years ago, I figured that those who worry about money are often those who don’t need to.  And those that don’t worry about money are often those who need to sort themselves out.

But I don’t know what to think anymore – because I’ve met poor people who worry and rich people who don’t.

So…to what extent could money worries be hard-wired?  Are we born as either “worriers” or not, regardless of how much or how little we have.

I don’t have the answer… but maybe you do.

And do you worry about money?  Why or why not?