Wait, what? “Enough”? I thought this was about getting rich?
Hold your horses there Johnny, and hang tight. This one is important.
We all want to become financially free and without worry. But that means we have to lay some groundwork first. After all, we’re not going to go and run a marathon if we haven’t learned to walk yet, right?
So defining what “enough” means for us is incredibly important. Why?
Because it will make us spend our money more wisely.
If we never defined what enough means to us, we’ll always be wanting more, never satisfied with what we have. If we always chase the next big expense and save money for that then we’ll never have money that we can save, invest and let grow on its own.
There’s a reason why the favorite car brands of millionaires aren’t Ferraris, Porsches and Range Rovers. Studies show that they are driving normal cars like normal households usually do. Why? Because they have defined what enough means.
If you make 50k a year but you bought a car worth 70k then you, my friend, have not learned yet how to spend your money like a millionaire. At least you’ve come to the right place now. Let’s all fix our expenses by defining enough.
The biggest problem in defining what enough means to us is the fact that everybody is different. We all have different incomes, we all live in different places and we all enjoy different things.
That should not stop us though.
Even though enough means different things for everyone, there’s a simple way to solve the problem.
As so often, the solution is pen and paper. Or the keyboard of your computer. Your choice.
I recently wrote an article about the law of attraction where I stated the importance of writing things down. This is important here as well.
- Make a list of things that you like about your life and make a list of things you don’t.
- Now write down what of those things bring you joy and happiness and what reduces your perceived happiness in life.
If, for example, you live in a smelly flat and have to fight the rats for the spot on the bed with the least mold then that’s probably on the negative side of things and worth changing.
But unless you’re winning the lottery then you’re not going to move from mold mansion to the real thing.
We need to define what enough means so we can live happily. If we live happily, we will not try to buy our way to happiness. If we don’t try to buy our way to happiness, we will have more money left over to generate new income streams.
Stick with it.
If you’ve made your list then you will have the things that you’re happy with and some that need improvement.
Ask yourself this question:
“What needs to be different in order for me to be happy with X?”
For “X” you insert everything you listed on the negative side of your list.
If you’re living in said molding flat, then you will want to get the hell out of there. And probably not just because of health hazards.
Ask yourself what kind of a home you could live in happily. And don’t start with the 5-bedroom-villa by the lake. People live happily in 30m² apartments if they are single and don’t need more space. “What needs to be different in order for me to be happy with my home?”.
I asked myself this question when we moved to Zurich. Our list was: modern flat, big enough for the two of us with a balcony for barbequing and a bathtub. That’s what we have now and unless we don’t need more space (kids) in the future I could see myself happily living like this until I’m 100 years old because it’s a great home and enough for us.
If your dream is to have a 5-bedroom-villa by the lake that’s fine. Just... you know… Give it a little time. As long as you’re happy with what you have, it doesn’t need to happen tomorrow, does it?
When you’ve made your list of things that reduce your perceived happiness, then start working towards getting there. And when you’ve finally made it, you check it off the list and write it to the positive side.
And when you finally have all the negative aspects of your life sorted out?
Then you stick with the things you have.
If you own a car that’s not a complete safety hazard for you and your family and that gets you from point A to point B safely then you probably don’t need to buy a Porsche tomorrow.
That doesn’t mean that you throw the idea of owning a Porsche into the rubbish if that’s your dream. It just means that for now, your car is enough.
The same goes for the home you live in. Don’t move just because you recently got a raise. If your home doesn’t bring you constant negativity then it probably is enough. And if it’s enough, then it’s not worth changing — for now.
Remember the study in the introduction about the relationship between having more and happiness?
If you are happy with enough then you will be a way pickier spender. You will not work for two years to buy a car that only takes you to work.
You will work for two years, invest the money and retire 5 years earlier.
Defining enough is the first step to spending intelligently and towards a wealthier future.
The Disclaimer: This is not financial advice but for entertainment purposes only. I am not a financial adviser and these words reflect my personal opinion only. If you need financial advice, ask a professional.