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  • William Seah

What is Enough?

“The ability to do what you want, when you want, for as long as you want, has an infinite ROI.”
"The Psychology of Money: Timeless lessons on wealth, greed and happiness" by Morgan Housel

Money is great.

Having money is better than having none. If having just some money is good, having more must be better. It is no surprise that many of us would want more, and more, especially since we live in a capitalistic society!

However, is it true that more money is always better?

A recent story by Kurt Vonnegut, an American novelist, stuck with me. It reminds me that MORE is not always better. In fact, having enough is more important than having MORE.

Vonnegut recalls a conversation with his friend Joseph Heller, when they were at a party hosted by a billionaire:

“I said, “Joe, how does it make you feel to know that our host only yesterday may have made more money than your novel ‘Catch-22’has earned in its entire history?”
And Joe said, “I’ve got something he can never have.”
And I said, “What on earth could that be, Joe?”
And Joe said, “The knowledge that I’ve got enough.”

ENOUGH. That is an amazing, life changing attitude towards money. ENOUGH. But how much is enough?

Morgan Housel, author of “The Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed and Happiness”, helps us understand what enough is. Housel defines it as “the ability to do what you want, when you want, with who you want, for as long as you want to, pays the highest dividend that exists in finance.”

Money, or more money, is NOT the end of it all. Money is best seen as a tool. It is a device to help us live our lives. Money is not a scorecard in the game of life. We don’t need to have more than others, nor do we need to have more than ever. We need enough money.

Enough is when we can live the life we want to live. When we can choose what we want to do, and when we want to do it.

Is this a lofty goal? For sure. But is it worth it? Yes! What else is life for?

Of course, practical matters abound. We need to design our lives around the constraints and the realities. Our desired life may involve spending massive amounts of money but if we spend too much time accumulating money, our life will slip away before we get a chance to live our life.

So a balance is needed. A balance between having enough to do what we want, and limiting what we want with what we have now. A balance between living now, doing what we want to do, but setting aside enough to have a life tomorrow. And a balance between striving for a better life, but having the freedom to live for today.

So dear friend, don’t strive for more money. Strive for enough.

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