Enough

By Geoff Schaefer

Geoff is a Wealth Advisor with Intergy Private Wealth. He writes for The Steadfast Fiduciary to help people live with an abundant heart, open mind, and boundless generosity.

January 19, 2024

“Whoever is not in his coffin and the dark grave, let him know he has enough.”

-Walt Whitman

My daughter received a new piggy bank for Christmas (classic financial planner gift right there).  She upgraded from her one eyed pink pig to a bank that looks like the princess Aurora (that’s Sleeping Beauty for you non-girl dads out there). It was quite an upgrade!  So, earlier this month, we had to make the switch moving all of her dollars from the pig to the princess. I was surprised with the amount of money she had stashed in there.  I shouldn’t have because she is the saver of the crew compared to her brother who spends money on Lego as soon as he gets it.

So we emptied the pig, laid out all of the cash and began putting it into her new bank, bill by bill.  In total, she maybe had $75-$100.  No more than half way through our “bank transfer”, she said, “ok dad, I think that is enough.” Now, I should have had a myriad of follow ups ready for this, but honestly, I was a bit taken back by the statement.  Somewhere in her five year old mind, she had determined an amount she felt she needed and the rest was just excess. More than enough.

This whole interaction got me thinking about how we, as adults, people with bills, responsibilities, jobs, and all that life holds, view enough. Do we actually know when we have enough?

As my life has progressed, I have learned and am still learning to live in tension.  Not an unhealthy passive aggressive tension, but a harmonious tension. Choosing joy when I wake up even when some things make me sad. Choosing to have faith, even when I have questions. I give energy and attention to my family, which at times draws away from my career, hobbies and friends- the opposites can be said as well. Another point of tension is that we can bounce back and forth between scarcity and abundance.

I have more than enough money, but I need to save more.

I have so much time to work on getting better, but I want more time with my kids.

My life is flying by and I’ve missed some opportunities, but the world is wide open and the future is bright.

I believe the tensions here are normal and anything outside of this and we might be very depressed or a robot.

The Greek philosopher Epicurus said “Nothing is sufficient for the person who finds sufficiency too little.” The idea of scarcity can drive us to accomplish great things and to grow, but if we dwell there too long, perhaps we become paranoid and neglect other parts of our lives. Scarcity pushes out sufficiency.

The abundance mindset reminds us to be grateful. It’s a place of thanksgiving and a place where you can appreciate and give back. There is a risk that abundance can trickle into complacency- which coincidently might make you look at things from a standpoint of scarcity. The Biblical apostle Paul wrote, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Perhaps no matter whether we are in a season of scarcity or abundance, contentment can remain.

What can deciding what Enough means for you do?

  • You can save toward that specific goal.
  • You can pay off your debt more quickly.
  • You can spend more on activities and memories today or maybe, not spend as much.
  • You can give more away.
  • You can take that time off.
  • You can retire.

I’m not here to solve all of our worldview and thinking problems. Rather to share that as you go through this week, I hope you find something that makes you think like my daughter did with her piggy bank- maybe, just maybe, that’s enough. 

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