The Portuguese, who is 51 next month, revealed his salary on his return to Chelsea, with whom he has a four-year contract, is less than it was at Inter Milan and Real Madrid.
But, ahead of Monday's Premier League showdown with Wenger, the Arsenal manager for 17 years, Mourinho would not be drawn on how long he could be at the Stamford Bridge helm, but it is clear he wants to stay for the long-term.
"If I was here for me I wouldn't be here," Mourinho said.
"I left Real Madrid because I wanted to leave, not because they wanted me to.
"I also had other clubs in other countries where it would be easier to go and find an 'easy' job immediately.
"I had three more years on my contract with Real Madrid, getting much more money that I get here. Clearly I came here not because the job was easy, not because I had a team ready to attack the titles or to win every title, or not because I was coming here for the best contract of my life. It's the worst (salary) of my last six years.
"I'm here because I love this club and I love the project. It's a different project for me."
Mourinho hopes he will be afforded something numerous other Chelsea managers have not had in the era of Roman Abramovich's ownership - time.
"My desire and my feeling is to work these four years and, after that, we analyse the situation," Mourinho said.
"I would say 12 years (left in club management). I'm 51 next month. I'd say 12 years, and two to go to a World Cup with a national team. I would prefer the Portuguese national team."
After prompting, he agreed England would be his second choice.
With Sir Alex Ferguson's departure after 23 years as Manchester United manager, Wenger is by some way the longest-serving boss in the Premier League.
Mourinho believes it is imperative managers are given the opportunity to make their mark, although the spate of recent sackings suggests many chairmen are unlikely to listen.
He said: "If you want to help players to grow up, you do that much better with stability.
"You look, for example, to Man United and everybody feels that David (Moyes, Ferguson's successor) will have his time to do his work in a calm way. That's fantastic."
One older Chelsea player who will eventually be phased out, perhaps sooner rather than later, is left-back Ashley Cole, who is no longer guaranteed a place in the first XI, with Cesar Azpilicueta preferred.
"I don't remember one Azpi defensive positional mistake," Mourinho said.
"And when we're going to face people like Mesut (Ozil) coming from the right or Theo Walcott making diagonal runs, or (Tomas) Rosicky attacking defenders with the ball at his feet, Azpi in this moment is a player who has to play."
Mourinho dismissed the notion that Cole could leave in January and stopped short of confirming Belgium forward Kevin De Bruyne will be allowed to depart.
De Bruyne signed for Chelsea in January 2012, but has spent most of his Blues career on loan, and has been frustrated by a lack of first-team opportunities.
"We are analysing the situation but no decision has been made," Mourinho said.
"The market is open until January 31 and we are not going to make a decision on January 1, for sure."
He has been linked with a move to Germany with Chelsea having a buy-back option, a scenario Mourinho did not dismiss.
Mourinho does not expect Chelsea to be active in the winter transfer window and insists the Blues will wait until the summer to sign the striker he covets, when his current strike-force of Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto'o could be offloaded.
Mourinho said: "We trust they can help us to the end of the season.
"In the summer, the picture changes because it's a market with different perspective from the winter market.
"It's time for us to try to get the man that could be the ideal one for us. In this moment, we're not going to."