Breaking the Thread of Never Enough:
The Psychology of Money
December is here and to quote Dickens, it can be the best of times and the worst of times. More on Dickens in a moment. The December Holiday season can be the most magical and the most stressful time of the year. It can be the most joyous and the most painful. It can be a time of gathering and a time of loneliness. It can be a time of contentment and it can be a time of wanting.
December is a lot, we get it. In an effort to lift the weight of the season… ah, there’s that word. Weight. We all feel it at times. December has its own special weight but in every season, we can feel the weight that what we are doing, what we have, where we are is NEVER ENOUGH. Here’s the thing, the mindset of “never enough” rests on a thread. Put a lot a weight on that thread and things can come crashing down.
Over the next three weeks we will look at three different sources that combat the mindset of Never Enough starting with Morgan Housel’s book, The Psychology of Money. After which we will pull in the big guns as we unpack Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29, then we will wrap things up with Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol.
Morgan Housel’s book, the Psychology of Money, is an excellent read that I would recommend to anyone. One of the key tenants of financial planning is that no two plans are the same. As a society, though, we can so easily fall into the trap of comparison. If my neighbor has a $2 million 401(k), then I should too! If everyone else on the block is driving a Tesla, then so should I! The practice of social comparison is one we fight against on a daily basis. The fact is this: you and your dream future are unique, and the path to get there is like your fingerprint. There’s no other one just like yours! Even if your assets look the same as someone else, your personality and psychology don’t.
Sticking with this theme, pulling from Mr. Housel, we need to our own personalized definition of “enough”. To steal a quote from the book, “There is no reason to risk what you have and need for what you don’t have and don’t need.”
The best plan is the one that can be followed; the one that takes into account you and your needs, is a stretch to achieve but is in fact achievable, and gets you to where you want to go. That is the goal: the future that you see for yourself. We don’t need more, just for the sake of more. We don’t need those extra late nights at the office for an extra year or two; know your “enough”, hold to it. Don’t let the goalposts move, or let comparison creep in. Live the life that is right for you and your loved ones.
Now, our hope in all of this is for you to walk away lighter. Less weight.
Now, of course, we are not saying there is anything wrong with wanting more, wanting better. However, it never hurts to reflect to make sure the more hasn’t crested into the never enough range.