Monday, June 2, 2008


I'm talking about money. What is enough?

How much must one person have, to have enough? Why is it that consuming tends to make us happy? Shopping, eating, drinking - spending - I guess that's living. But this concept of what's really "enough" to satisfy a person - I think it about a lot and never come to any conclusion.

Is what I have enough? If I take a job that doubles my salary, will then that be enough? Or will I spend more, and up to the new, higher boundaries of my means? And then feel like that's not enough? I wish that I knew the answer.

I was listening to a radio show discuss the concepts of materialism, money and happiness. Sure, spending money, energy and/or time on others does make one happy. But when a person has stress about balancing rent, food, transportation and other expenses, maybe that's the edge of not having enough money to create the comfort zone discussed by National Public Radio.

On the other hand, I'll bet that even Deion and Pilar have their limits. Rich and famous people also have the feeling of not having "enough."

How does one know the difference between not really having enough money, and that one is spending beyond one's means? Both kings and beggars have been guilty of the latter.


lacochran said...

How much is enough? $2.6M, that's enough.

Mike Janssen said...

Do you have enough money to live the kind of life you want to live?

If not, what would you buy if you had more money? Could you do without those things and be happy?

The question that lies underneath your question is: What material possessions do you need in your life to be happy?

And under that one is: What makes you happy?

Ryan S. said...

I'm slipping... only catching this now, five days later!

As you may imagine, I've thought about this a lot. We should chat about it sometime. I'd go a bit further than Mike, and say in addition to asking what material possessions you need to be happy, you need to consider the non-material things that cost money. Namely quality of life (eating out, entertainment, etc) and security (a big bank account is a security blanket).

Ultimately the answer is different for everyone, as you indicated in your post. By the very fact that you are capable of taking a job that would earn double, and you choose not to, indicates to me that you have enough to meet your material, non-material, and security needs--at least for now ;-)

Not-So-Stay-at-Home Mom said...

I think everyone asks the wrong question. It's not a matter of how much we need, but how little.

I work as a personal organizer, and every time I finishing working with a client and deal with their attachment to stuff, I just want to come home and give everything away. People get so wrapped up in things. I really try to live by the two mantras I use with my clients "love it, use it,or lose it" and "reduce, reuse, recycle."

I'm also in the position where my husband and I work very hard at building our law firm while (right now) making not so much money. For me, the less I have to spend, the more I realize I don't need all the crap. Checking out a book from the library is just as satisfying as buying one at Borders. Making a good dinner and sharing it with friends is just as satisfying as eating with them at a restaurant. Personally, my house could burn down, and as long as I got my family and pets out, I would be fine. Sure, I'd miss some of those possessions, but they're absolutely not what make me happy. And they're supposed to make life easier, not more burdensome.