Monday, June 14, 2010

There's Never Enough

The response to last week’s video commentary has been phenomenal. It received by far the greatest amount of positive feedback of any update I have done. The comments included several helpful suggestions, which I plan to incorporate into future videos.

This week, I’d like to relate a quick story about the relative importance of money.

While volunteering at the 17th annual Blue Ridge BBQ and Music this past weekend, I had the opportunity to work with the outstanding young people of the Foothills Community (Mennonite) Church, who did an admirable job handling parking duties for the event.

Rob Painter is the youth group’s adult leader. During a break, we talked a bit about our respective professions. Rob provides counseling services for individuals and couples, and when the conversation turned to the troubles people have with money, Rob shared the following anecdote:

A young couple came to see him with money worries. They were just starting out, and had a modest income of about $21,000. They confided to Rob that it just wasn’t enough; they needed a little more than that. Rob inquired as to the level that they thought would be sufficient; after thinking for a moment, they answered that they believed they’d be able to make it on about $28,000.

The next week another young couple came to see Rob. Their circumstances and problems closely paralleled those of the first couple. They also were not earning enough to get by, but as it happened, their income was $28,000—precisely the level to which the first couple aspired.

I see the same issues in my practice. The amounts may be different—and my clients often worry about their investments as much as their income—but the basic situation is no different. For many people, it seems there’s not quite enough to provide the sense of security they seek.

I have news. There’s never enough. It’s been said that the more you’re used to having, the higher the level at which you feel poor. That holds true whether you have $28,000 or $28 million. You may have a hard time believing that, but I’ve seen it played out many times with many different people from all walks of life. Rare indeed is the person who is content with what they have.

The moral, of course, is simple: Put money in its proper perspective. Spend less than you make. And above all, realize how fortunate you are, and count your blessings.

Have a great week!

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