How Much Money is Enough?

Categories:Wisdom

moneyWhen I first joined the police force, I went from zero income to just over the UK average salary. At age 19, I felt like a millionaire.

A couple of years later, I’d bought a house and a car and started renovating my house. Now I didn’t have enough money, so I looked forward to my yearly salary increase. After a few years, they stopped, so I looked forward to getting promoted so I could earn just a bit more money.

When I made a career change into IT, I spent most of my time thinking about my career review, so I could ask for more money. I studied hard and passed several exams, so I could qualify for a pay raise.

When I started my own IT company, it was really hard financially. Every day, I’d work hard to win customers. I set a goal to make $4,000 per month, and then I knew I’d be happy and could relax a little. By the time I was making $4,000 per month, it didn’t seem like enough, so I set a goal for $6,000.

This went on and on until I hit the point I was making $35,000 per month. But guess what? It didn’t seem like enough, so I set a goal to make one million dollars per year, which works out to $2,808 per day. I knew when I was making that, I’d finally feel like I could relax. I’d finally be “there.”

I recently took a step back and looked at life and at particular patterns. How could I go from needing $4,000 per month to feel secure to $83,000? Things have changed since I started out in the world of work. I’ve gotten married, had three children, and emigrated to Australia. My costs have gone up for sure but not to the extent where I need anywhere near that much money.

The truth is that you will never feel secure financially because, even when you have a large chunk of money, you will fear losing it all.

Money makes a big difference in all our lives, but if we are looking to measure our lives by how much we have, then we will never feel satisfied. There will always be somebody who has more or made it more quickly than us, and there will always be the risk that we could lose it all somehow.

What usually happens is that as our income increases, so does our lifestyle. We buy more stuff, upgrade our old stuff, take better vacations, and give our kids a better education. Of course, if we do this stuff without our incomes increasing, we go into debt. I’ve been in terrible debt myself. We’re also in deep trouble if our income source is removed.

familyI’ve been working on simplifying my life over the past few years. I’m happy with a reliable secondhand car. My younger kids wear the clothes which used to belong to my older one. I no longer crave living in a 20 bedroom mansion with a private lake. I get enjoyment from playing with my kids, reading books, and playing my guitar. Money has become a by-product of what I do now.

Once you get into the flow, you will come to appreciate what you already have, and no doubt, more will come into your life. It seems that the more we chase something, the further away it gets.

Think about whether you are always craving just a little bit more money. Why and what feelings are you putting off enjoying while you wait? Are you accumulating more stuff in your life? Stuff will never make you happy, you know that right?

Have fun.

Paul Browning

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  • Mallory K.

    As someone who is constantly facing financial difficulties, how can I make enough to live without adding more to my cost of living?

  • Cory J.

    What made you decide to simplify your life? Was there a turning point?

  • Courtney Taylor

    In this day and age, it seems as if debt is inevitable. Is there actually a way to live within one’s means? What does it take?

  • paulwbrowning

    I’ve read a lot of great books. Start with Larry Wingets book ‘You’re Broke Because You Want to Be.’

    Regards

    Paul

  • paulwbrowning

    Reading the E-myth book I think.

    Regards

    Paul

  • paulwbrowning

    Stop buying ‘stuff’ and turn off the TV. Read some books on finances, success, cancel cable TV and gym memberships. Make your own lunch and coffee at home.

    REgards

    Paul

  • Kate Larsen

    Stuff will never make you happy. I totally agree with this statement. In my own opinion, contentment is the key. What do you think?

  • Robert

    Enough is enough when you find fulfillment and happiness on what you have.

  • Ron T.

    No money is ever enough if a person doesn’t know how to use it. We must always look to the other people too, and help them if possible.

  • Jason Milford

    I totally agree with this one. We should learn how to properly use it first, it’s not all about us all the time, it’s about other’s too.

  • Jessie Smith

    Costs of living are growing day by day, as well as our needs. Sometimes it’s really hard to adjust to it, but this article really can help.

  • Ria Lopez

    Like Paul, I decided to simplify my life. Yes, I don’t need designed outfit to be happy. Five-star resorts are fantastic, but it’s not the most important thing in my life. Not anymore.

  • Robert Pynnes

    Great outlook in life there @rialopez:disqus! The best things in life are things that money can’t buy.

  • Demi Wilson

    I turned into that same perspective a few years ago. Before, I used to focus on having so much money because I thought that what makes a person a happy. Luckily, I reached that goal and it didn’t satisfy me. Money is not the answer.

  • Neil B.

    One of the famous quote from Jim Carrey is a good thing to think about with regards to how much money is enough.

    “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”

    — Jim Carrey

  • Gary France

    I do agree to not measure our lives by how much we have. We will never feel satisfied and content if we want too much in life. Simplicity is happiness.