When Do You Have Enough?

by Krantcents · 25 comments

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How do you know when you have enough?   Is this one of those questions that has no answer?  No, it depends on you!  If you think this is a diatribe on savings, forget about it!  I am talking about happiness!  Nirvana!  Financial Freedom!  Are you interested?  Personal and financial achievements are important parts of my life.  It should be yours too.

You graduated college, earned a graduate or professional degree, completed an apprentice program or some other post secondary training program.  You may or may not have graduated first in your class, attended an Ivy League school, have student debt or even a job, but you are on top of the world because you are done with your training.  You are ready to take on the world!  The economy is still tough out there particularly for the new graduates.  You have a lot of goals and plans, but you have to wait.

We are thought of to be consumers and all the advertising makes us want things that have not even been created yet. How did we ever get along without a iPod, iphone and iPad?  I don’t know, but there were generations that did quite well without computers, cellular phones and downloaded music.  This is why I raise the question enough is enough!  How do you know when you do not need it or when you have enough savings to retire, start a business, when to quit your day job or achieve financial freedom?

Establish Criteria

When you start a diet, do you have a goal in mind?  Of course you do!  It may be a certain weight or clothing size.  It lets you know if you achieved your goal or not.  It helps you monitor and measure your progress to your goal.  The more you can clarify your goal, the more likely you will achieve your goal.  This is true for any goal.  How much do you need to retire?  There are lots of programs to tell you not only how much you need as a goal, but how much to invest each month to achieve it.

Monitor Progress

Following the diet example, you would monitor your weight loss by weighing yourself every day.  You would monitor what you eat or your diet daily as well.  By monitoring your progress, you can make adjustments to your routine to change or achieve the desired results (milestones).  Hold yourself accountable for your efforts and the changes you need to make to achieve your goal.  Monitoring may mean a chart, list or some other form of record.  It provides an objective view of your progress and an opportunity to assess yourself.  Adjusting your efforts related to your progress is the difference of success and failure.

Evaluation

Continuing the weight loss example, you are losing weight each week, but it only one pound.  You are making progress, but it is too slow of a weight loss.  Evaluating your progress may mean adding exercise or changing your diet.  Evaluation is the next step in monitoring your progress.  You evaluate whether your effort is sufficient to reach your goal.  You make changes in your effort and evaluate the results.  This is the most important aspect of your progress.

Goals

If you want to lose twenty-five (25) pounds, it is clear whether you made it or not.  Unfortunately, too many goals are not that clear.  In weight loss, diet does not work by itself and it certainly is not enough to maintain your weight.  Setting a goal of weight loss, nest egg, down payment or other things need to be very specific.  $12K Will Make You Rich is one example of creating a financial goal and having a plan to achieve it.  If you can quantify your goal, It is much easier to achieve it.  The associated plan helps you monitor, adjust and evaluate your goal.  A goal without a plan is just a wish.

Final Thoughts

How do you know when have enough?  It could be weight loss, retirement, financial freedom or anything else!  You need to quantify your goal which can be done using programs from Vanguard or Fidelity to name two sources.  Having a goal is the first step, but you must monitor, adjust and evaluate your results or progress to your goal.  Life is dynamic and changes over time, you must monitor your progress or you will not reach your goal.  You cannot just set it and forget it!  Whether it is weight loss, stock market performance or your career, there is no autopilot.  How do you know when have enough?

Photo by:  Chicago Art Department

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Carnival of Financial Camaraderie at My University Money
Yakezie Carnival at 20s Finances
Carnival of MoneyPros at Financial Conflict Coach
Canadian PF Happy Hour at Canadian Personal Finance
Carnival of Retirement at Finance Product Reviews
Totally Money Carnival at Young and Thrifty
Financial Carnival for Young Adults at Young Family Finance

 

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{ 24 comments }

Daisy @ Add Vodka June 6, 2012 at 6:58 am

I don’t think I’ll ever get to a point where I’m content in just sitting back and doing nothing – I’m always on the prowl to better myself, whether that’s with more education, money, or ways of making money. It’s not that I care so much about the stuff money can buy, or money itself, but self improvement is important to me.

Krantcents June 6, 2012 at 7:17 am

Money for me was a score card! It tells you how well you are doing. When you accumulate enough to do what you want, things change.

TM @ Young and Thrifty June 7, 2012 at 8:51 pm

I have heard this comment from a number of very successful people. To be honest, I think for most people that have a certain amount of intelligence and/or work ethic, making a lot of money and hopefully saving some of it, really isn’t THAT hard. Finding real meaning, and having a plan for reaching ultimate goals that stretch beyond the financial realm is much more difficult.

Krantcents June 8, 2012 at 6:28 am

I agree! In some ways financial success is the easy part. It just takes hard work! Although I made some strides toward those other goals, I am still working on it.

Kurt @ Money Counselor June 6, 2012 at 7:16 am

Good advice. I think a lot of what you’re saying is consistent with the suggestion that, to be effective, goals should be S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound. It works!

Krantcents June 6, 2012 at 7:20 am

Although I was not aware of SMART goals when I started 30+ years ago. I used many of the same concepts. The key for me was monitoring my progress.

Fahad June 6, 2012 at 10:24 am

How are you defining enough? If you mean enough is which fulfills your needs then its fine else if you start thinking long term, then enough is like “I want everything”

Krantcents June 6, 2012 at 11:23 am

Enough can be defined any way you want to. What is enough for me is different than what may be enough for you. Even needs can be defined beyonfd the basic air, water and shelter. I have a need to succeed which is basic for me.

Roshawn @ Watson Inc June 6, 2012 at 1:44 pm

“You need to quantify your goal which can be done using programs from Vanguard or Fidelity to name two sources.”

I think for certain personality types, particularly people who are highly analytical, quantification comes naturally. It’s what they do. However, many people would benefit from this more measured approach to goals-setting and achievement.

Krantcents June 6, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Although those programs are very helpful, I feel as though it is a moving target. No one can accurately predict how long you will live nor your investments returns. Over time it averages X, but we have seen that the market fluctuates quite a bit.

Lance@MoneyLife&More June 6, 2012 at 6:39 pm

I’m with Daisy. I think I’ll always want to be working toward something but at some point it may change away from my current goals once I am satisfied with the amount of money I have.

Krantcents June 7, 2012 at 6:25 am

Financial goals and goals change over time even when you have enough. I think I probably add 1-2 goals a day.

Buck Inspire June 6, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Great points KC! I’ve been getting by on my improve every day, but without clear goals or milestones, I won’t know if I have enough. Will have to rethink my strategy. Thanks!

Krantcents June 7, 2012 at 6:27 am

Reflecting on your accomplishments and shortcomings help you achieve more. I think I refine my goals weekly or monthly.

Dannielle @ Odd Cents June 7, 2012 at 3:18 am

I think having “enough” is defined by your goals. When I started my MBA, I said that I was done with studying. Now two years later, I’m thinking about taking Spanish classes and teaching classes.

Krantcents June 7, 2012 at 6:28 am

You are always learning new things whether formally or informally. It may be a class, a book or a new job, we continue learning.

Christa June 7, 2012 at 2:08 pm

I like how you said that having enough is a very personal mission. Enough for one person is completely different from the enough of another person.

Krantcents June 7, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Thanks. Originally, I wanted everything, but realized I do not need everything to be happy. I think it is a matter of priorities which are very personal or individual.

Financial Advice for Young Professionals June 8, 2012 at 8:50 pm

I like to set goals and once I’ve achieved them I set another. Right now I’m trying to save up for my first multi-unit real estate purchase :) 1.5 years to go.

Krantcents June 8, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Nice goal! My first apartment building was a nine (9) unit. It was the beginning of a a great ride.

Thad P @ thadthoughts.com June 9, 2012 at 10:57 am

Very challenging post. I hope the thing that I never get enough of is being productive, of contributing something good to others’ lives.

Krantcents June 9, 2012 at 1:44 pm

I think it is up to each of us to keep focused on the outcome. In other words what are we trying to do. That should keep us trying to do the good things in life.

Steven Ware June 20, 2012 at 8:34 am

Enough is when you have or gained what you wanted and you are content with it. In my opinion it is always better to set your goals step by step than at a fast pace or you will never be satisfied which is frustrating. I started my carrier a long time ago with a very simple job but later on I wanted a better one, then again a better one. I always polished my resume, but there are several over the Internet) which attracted better and better employers.
As you mentioned above, we are always learning and improving.

Krantcents June 20, 2012 at 9:41 am

When I was building my business, my thinking was bigger was better. This thinking was partly due to my big business background. My goal was to build something that would replace working for someone else. I achieved that and more. It gave me the freedom of picking jobs/careers that I enjoyed.

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