Wanting More When You Already Have Enough

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I’m not sure if the desire for more is part of the human condition or if it’s an American-born condition. I also can’t say whether it’s good or bad – at least not at a macro level. On a micro level, as in my personal life, I know that I have more than enough but yet I still desire more. So maybe it’s a “me” condition…

Don’t get me wrong, I have long stretches of contentment once I remind myself of reality. But then slowly the desire for more starts to seep in and then suddenly it’s back with a vengeance. Why is that?

Back at the beginning of my journey in my financial journey (reflected in my blog writings here), after a lot of consideration and thought, I intentionally set a goal with a very specific number that represented enough to me at that time. THE number was $10,000,000! It represented the amount I figured I needed to underwrite the life I envisioned for myself and my family. It represented full autonomy in how I spend my time. It was the milestone that enabled the Freedom Trifecta: Financial Freedom, Location Freedom, and Time Freedom.

It was the number that would allow us to Live Well and Give Well.

Back when I set the target in 2015, it was almost 100X our average burn rate of ~$115,000 per year. Although that might have sounded extravagant back then, I understood that I didn’t just want to cover that burn rate; I wanted a much higher capacity to spend, to enjoy the finer things in life. I didn’t want to just maintain our lifestyle indefinitely, I wanted a free ticket to continued lifestyle inflation – exactly in line with my law of 50/50.

I figured that $10M could easily slough off $600,000 a year in income, leaving us somewhere around $400,000 (after tax) a year to spend without ever touching the principal. And more if I got creative!

No doubt, it has done all of those things and so much more. I live a life that is far better than I could have ever imagined and which is getting better with each passing day, week, month, year. I have no debt. I have plenty of liquidity and income from many different sources. We can spend freely without much consideration and still save much more than we spend.

The wealth we have built has truly enabled us to live well and give well. And on most days I’m filled with gratitude and awe. But on rare days I get concerned it will all go away tomorrow…and it’s then that the cycle of wanting more kicks in. At first it just addresses the concern of losing it all but it slowly grows into imagining the possibilities if we had $25,000,000 in net worth vs. our current $12,000,000.

I rationalize with myself, acknowledging that we have enough. I remind myself of the freedom already achieved. I also concede that even if I do pursue more, it would be on my terms and it would not necessitate sacrificing the freedoms already secured.

I will let compounding do its thing but when I want more, I will continue to remind myself that I already have enough. I don’t know if I will always win each battle but for today I remind myself – again – that I have enough!

– Gen Y Finance Guy


Gen Y Finance Guy

Hey, I’m Dom - the man behind the cartoon. You’ll notice that I sign off as "Gen Y Finance Guy" on all my posts, due to the fact that I write this blog anonymously (at least for now). I like to think of myself as the Chief Freedom Officer here of my little corner of the internet. In the real world, I’m a former 30-something C-Suite executive turned entrepreneur turned capital allocator. I am trying to humanize finance by sharing my own journey to Financial Freedom. I believe in total honesty and transparency. That is why before I ever started blogging, I decided that I would share all of my own financial stats. I do this not to brag, but instead to inspire motivate, and also to hold myself accountable. My goal is to be a beacon of hope, motivation, and inspiration, for you, the reader, by living life by example and sharing it all here on the blog. My sincere hope is that you will be able to learn from me - both from my successes and my failures! Read More

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2 Responses

  1. I’m having the opposite problem – I reached my smaller number a while ago and have no motivation to do more – I look around at friends, family and Gen Y finance guy and wonder – why can’t I be like that ? Hungrier? More ambitious? More energetic?
    My competitiveness has certainly taken a dive over the last few years and atleast some of this is hormonal based on my blood tests.
    But more constructively – can I suggest an alternate framing? If you have won the game of $, perhaps it’s time to try a harder game with different metrics? Are you the best husband you can be? best parent? best neighbor? Some of that is covered in your live well post and charitable giving – but that’s a harder and more impactful scorecard to measure and I suspect we can all do better there. Perhaps measure impact rather than $ donated? Time to up your game 😉

    1. TheMeg,

      Thanks for the comments. No doubt we all have different levels of ambitions, which don’t inherently imply much than differences. The same thing you view from your lens, is still a feeling I get when I look at others that seem hungrier and more ambitious from my vantage point. I like observe others to motivate or inspire myself…or sometimes to justify my level of contentment.

      I love that you brought up a more diversified scorecard. I sometimes get stuck only talking about the financial side of things since this is a personal finance blog but you are totally right. There are three areas that I am really trying to level up in:

      1. My role as a husband
      2. My role as a father
      3. Myself as a athlete working towards longevity paired with health span to reach my personal goal of 100+ in age.

      As you mentioned, it is much harder to measure. Do you have any ideas on how to measure #1 and #2 above? I’ve got #3 pretty dialed in with quarterly blood test, a Whoop that monitors a bunch of metrics, and body composition statistics.

      I’m all ears for ideas 🙂

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