How Much is Enough?

The question of enough is interesting – and one that nearly everyone has. Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman found in his research on money and happiness that, beyond a certain level of sufficiency (currently about $75,000 a year in the US), more money doesn’t buy more happiness.

In other studies correlating participants’ income with “how much would it take to make you happy,” nearly everyone in every income bracket said, “Fifty percent more than I have now.” When asked to rate their current level of happiness, there was no significant difference between the top and bottom income earners, meaning the participant already earning 50% more rated his happiness at about the same level (and believes 50% more income than he has now is the magic bullet to increasing it).

More interesting is that when plotting the data showing the relationship between the experience of fulfillment and the amount of money we spend, it clearly has a peak. There is a point at which our level of fulfillment flattens out with the more money we spend and eventually begins to decrease.

Why is this? More money often brings more worry and more money-related decisions. More possessions to care for and maintain. More to lose. More time away from family, friends, and the activities that fulfill us in order to earn more. And don’t forget more taxes, more tax accounting fees, more demands from community charities, and on and on it goes, until one day, we find ourselves sitting, unfulfilled, in our big house surrounded by all the “more” we were striving for, yearning for a time when we had less and could find joy in the simpler things.

Rather than perpetuating the belief that more is what you need to be happier, spend some time identifying your peak of the fulfillment curve, which is key to answering the persistent question, “How much is enough? 

Schedule a free 45-minute Discovery Session for help identifying your peak.