Figuring out “enough” is tough:
- What is enough? Most people can’t define this
- Why imagine enough? Because it interrupts individualistic consumer capitalism
- Is it suss to have enough? For who? For you?
Do you ever wonder if you will have “enough” money – or suspect that maybe you already do, but just haven’t managed to make it feel real? Like there’s something blocking you from a movie-sequence level lightbulb moment.
You, at a desk with a calculator and beverage of choice, where – suddenly! Your head shoots up from your labored calculations – Eureka! You yell, I’m completely satisfied with my savings, income, and financial game plan! I expect to be fine later in life – even though I don’t have every dollar I could ever imagine needing, right now.
You look over your shoulder, to make sure you’re alone. And I don’t need to buy anything right now. No one is around to hear you and the room echoes dully. You shake your head, as if awakening, and your face clouds.
Yeah right, You scoff, No one feels that way.
Cut to an evil imperialist laboratory scene. Two people in lab coats stand side by side looking intently at a monitor with a graph. Phew one sighs, I thought she was going to mean it…then what? The other sighs, Luckily the programming caught up, it always does – they both laugh, at you, at all of us.
Life can really feel like we’re in a bad doomsday plot sometimes.
It’s so hard to feel satisfied – this is by design. Even when you have enough – love, stuff, money. Even when the stuff you have is good – your partner, your job, your car/home. It’s tragic to be in this mindset because it’s so toxic to our happiness.
I’ve been thinking about “enough” a lot, on my journey to embrace my financially successful reality [reminder: I co-run a design strategy firm with 75% of my work time] and not give in to cultural nudges to lie to myself. I’m writing about it, am doing a workshop about it – more below, and I know there’s more to come.
I know I need to write out my thoughts on enough because I’m scared to say it: I believe I have enough right now.
I find myself wanting to qualify the statement [only enough for awhile not forever, I used to not have enough, etc] which makes me see the power in the statement. How I want to shield the power to avoid the judgement.
But when I shield the power, I start to deny the pleasure of its truth.
How twisted it is that a good thing, having enough, is also “bad” – or maybe makes you bad, or is something that turns good people bad. How sad that we then shy away from living or even imagining enough.
I bet most of you couldn’t say what enough money is, for you
This is not a call-out; very few people can name this – by systematic design.
We’re encouraged to think there is no such thing as a financial “enough” both by experiencing real or manufactured scarcity, by watching billionaires be celebrated when they hoard money, and by being reminded about how bad it is not to have “enough” money.
Acting as if “enough” is an impassable black hole robs us of ease, satisfaction, and rest.
Financially, “enough” is a discoverable, finite number. Enough earning, enough spending, enough savings, enough investments.
Depending on who you are “enough” is more or less than you think. Enough in a month, a year, and a lifetime will vary based on your needs, geolocation, and how steeped in consumerist mythology you are.
The idea of “enough” brings fear, judgment, and disbelief along with it.
I sometimes see people choose, for example, not to get better paying work because it’s vaguely bad somehow to get paid [?!] but also somehow good because you’re not engaging with money. Because it’s familiar and comfortable to have too little, because there’s solidarity in struggle. There may not be enough in this scenario, even if there is support and shared values.
Meanwhile, one can observe people who glorify a downwardly mobile existence who SURPRISE have family resources to lean on in an emergency, a rainy day or a sabbatical. There may appear not to be enough, but in fact it is there, but being hidden.
We need enough. It’s ok to have enough. Its ok to
How you level set “enough” relates to your needs, beliefs, and expectations. Resetting expectations about “enough” can take a long time, but it is valuable because experiencing enough is
- Variable to your needs and phases of life
- Lets people be honest to themselves and to others
What’s true about having “enough?”
Having a stack doesn’t make you the man but it does bring along gnarly cultural messages and expectations to get away from.
“people with money are bad” –> yeah, if you pretend not to have it you’re lying to others and maybe also yourself, that’s generally bad
“money warps people” –> sure, if your only motivation is to keep your money and then get more money, that’s pretty warped and will make you do warped things
“you’ll need to protect your money” –> for fecks sake is there any end to the obsession here?? so – spend more money to make my money safer to be… not used? okaaayyyyy….
“you’ll always need more” –> i mean, if you spend all your money showing off that you have money then yeah you’ll need more. But remember, there is more money in the world, to get, later.
“what if you _____(fearful need)___?” –> there’s always going to be a need that money can’t fill, yours or someone else’s. You can trust your resilience to deal with things as they come. You can remember that “having enough” doesn’t mean “not working,” and you can also stop using the cost of things as the driver for all decisions. Plenty of people do life with less money.
Ready or Not, Here it (the money) Comes
As I write this, near autumn equinox, it is a time of year to experience contentment with what has been produced, to be with the experience of creation, to feel enough.
Having enough money: it is a challenge and a mindfuck IYKYK. For a lot of us, having money is something we’re just not prepared for (I know I wasn’t) especially when you’re used to living cheaply by habit, circumstance, or values.
But it can be better: Not only can you make livable money after all and be a non-monster, you can also inherit without immediately being a bad person. Having enough can be a positive thing, and you can get at using money in ways that affirm you and the world you want, before you’re even “rich” or early retired. (with a little work…)
How? You have to be ready to:
- Stop living in outdated scarcity assumptions and judgements
- be ok with being financially comfortable
- plan for your money, so it sticks around
- stop giving yourself unnecessary surprises
- get real about your savings needs
- spend without guilt, fear, or that weird nagging idea it’s “wrong”
- practice a “fuck capitalism” resistance mindset at the new messages coming at you
In the workshop – we’ll get real with today’s finances, identify what your “enough” is, and update your relationship to money in a kind, realistic, and radical weirdo-affirming space! You’ll learn how to deal, feel, spend, and plan when you’ve got extra cash on hand.
This workshop will be a space to feel the change, vision how to save/give/spend recognizing the enough-ness, and be real about being in a new phase – one that many cultural messages fuck with your head about…
Whether you always knew you’d have to do this, or never saw this coming. “Enough” is the thing we want for everyone. Let’s be upfront when it happens to you.
It’s going to take place in three 90-minute sessions Nov 27, Dec 18, and Jan 8 at 5-6:30p PT / 8-9:30p ET. It’s $395. I’ll share more about it in the coming weeks, but if you’re in, sign up here.