More Isn’t the Answer

John Lim

“ENOUGH” IS a powerful notion. Unfortunately, it’s largely absent from financial conversations.

The concept is rooted in deep self-awareness. It asks the question, how much do I really need to be happy? I believe we should ask this more often because, if we don’t, culture will fill in the blank—and the default answer will be “more.”

Enough has two dimensions. The first dimension is about spending. Too often, we succumb to the hedonic treadmill—the endless pursuit of the next thrilling purchase, only to find our level of happiness unchanged. How’s that been working for you?

The second dimension is about saving and investing. I’m guessing that HumbleDollar readers may grapple more with this aspect of enough. I certainly do. I’m talking about knowing when we’ve saved enough and reached our financial goals. In short, when is enough really enough? If we lack a concept of enough, we’ll end up constantly moving the goal posts farther downfield.

The great enemy of enough is comparison. There will always be someone with more. If we allow it, comparison can be a killjoy. Making comparisons is a deeply ingrained human trait, but that doesn’t mean we can’t overcome it.

Below is a far-from-exhaustive list of benefits that come with knowing what “enough” means to you. When you decide what constitutes enough:

  • You can stop running on the hedonic treadmill and getting nowhere.
  • You can jump off the “diminishing returns” curve of “more” before it flattens.
  • You can stop comparing yourself to others and be more grateful for what you have.
  • Your savings rate can grow alongside your income, and perhaps faster.
  • You can reach financial freedom sooner.
  • You can stop moving your financial goal posts.
  • You can spend your money to buy yourself time.
  • You can give generously to those in need.
  • You can stop worrying about money and start living.
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Free Newsletter