Last updated: May 10, 2024

Exploring the concept of ‘enough’

Ben Tweedie CeFA
Mortgage and Protection Adviser at Mortgages for Doctors

Exploring the concept of ‘enough’

‘How much is enough?’ This is a question I often hear, and it doesn’t seem to matter how wealthy the person is for them to ask it.

In a memorable scene from the season 3 of Succession, the American drama series, one of Logan Roy's sons points out the absurdity of amassing billions of dollars without purpose. He asks his father Logan: “What are you gonna do with five billion? Put it on your pile with all your other f****** billions?”

While there is a significant distinction between being a millionaire and a billionaire, this character's remark highlights the folly of accumulating wealth beyond one's needs, often at the expense of other aspects of life.

Where does this endless search for ‘more’ come from?

Sometimes, our desire for more stems from a fear of financial insecurity. Even when we’ve paid off our mortgage, established various investment accounts, and diligently contributed to a well-funded pension, we might find ourselves caught in a constant loop of needing more.

These fears and feelings of inadequacy can drive us to work harder than necessary. We may find ourselves working overtime, saying ‘yes’ to anxiety-inducing opportunities or risking everything in get-rich-quick schemes — all in pursuit of an elusive sense of ‘enough’.

However, how can we ever achieve ‘enough’ if we don’t define its precise meaning?

Finding the meaning

Instead of fixating on reaching a specific figure — for example, thinking "When I have £1 million in my pension pot, I'll be happy"—we should focus on what we truly desire money to enable us to achieve.

This goes beyond material possessions and encompasses concepts such as freedom, quality time with loved ones, and the ability to pursue personal passions.

Finding meaning in money is crucial because it shapes our relationship with wealth and influences our overall wellbeing. While money itself is a tool of exchange, understanding its deeper significance allows us to use it as a means to achieve greater fulfilment and purpose:

Finding the meaning can help us in a number of ways:

  1. Aligning values and actions: Money provides us with the opportunity to align our values and actions. By clarifying what truly matters to us, we can allocate financial resources towards causes, experiences, and relationships that reflect our core beliefs. Whether it's supporting charitable organisations, pursuing education, or creating memorable experiences with loved ones.
  2. Creating a sense of security: Money plays a vital role in providing a sense of security and stability in our lives. Having financial resources to meet our basic needs, handle emergencies, and plan for the future alleviates stress and fosters a sense of wellbeing. Understanding the importance of financial security helps us make wise decisions, such as saving, investing, and preparing for unforeseen circumstances.
  3. Enabling personal growth: Money can serve as a catalyst for personal growth and development. It provides access to opportunities for learning, skill-building, and self-improvement. By investing in education, training, and experiences that expand our knowledge and capabilities, we can enhance our career prospects, broaden our perspectives, and pursue our passions.
  4. Empowering others: When we find meaning in money, we recognise its potential to make a positive impact on the lives of others. Whether through charitable giving, philanthropy, or supporting local businesses, our financial resources can empower individuals and communities, fostering social progress and equality.
  5. Balancing present and future needs: Finding meaning in money involves striking a balance between present enjoyment and future security. It allows us to appreciate the value of both immediate gratification and long-term financial wellbeing. By planning for the future while enjoying the present, we can cultivate a healthy relationship with money that enhances our overall quality of life.

By understanding the deeper significance of wealth, we can utilise it as a tool for personal fulfilment and a means to make a positive impact on ourselves and the world around us, and avoid the trap – and anxiety – of amassing money for money’s sake.

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