For Impact


Wealth, Money & Happiness

For Impact Ideas | | Tom Suddes

Personal Development.


I came across this article in a pile of ‘stuff’ that I keep on Wealth. It’s from O Magazine, March 2005. Ten writers, thinkers and financial experts gave some ‘answers’ to the question of ‘How much is enough?’

Article starts with this:

“We get to work early, stay late, toil weekends and sign up for second shifts. Is this any way to run a life? Or should we be more like the Europeans, who work less (by a staggering 350 hours a year) but may be happier?”

*I just back from Ireland where we were talking about how “the entire country takes the entire month of August entirely off”!

Here are some highlights and some quotes that were meaningful to me. Read the entire article if you get a chance.

Thoughts on Wealth:

Dan Gilbert: To maximize happiness with the money you have:

    1. Invest in small pleasures. Happiness is a lot of good things, not one big thing.
    2. Invest in disappearing pleasures. (I have written before about investing in experiences vs. things.)
    3. Invest in social pleasures. Family and friends are a much better predicator of human happiness than financial wealth.

MIchelle Singletary: Challenges us to come up with a personal mantra about money. Hers include:

    • Ask yourself, is this a need or a want? (It’s unbelievable how often we fail to ask this basic question.)
    Priorities lead to prosperity. Focus your energy and money on things that really mean something to you.

Ernie Brillstein: Simple thought: Everyone thinks money is the answer, but happiness is the answer.

Vicki Robin, Co-Author of Your Money or Your Life (I’m going to share most of her thinking directly with you, in case you don’t read the article.)

    • We confuse money – pieces of paper or metal – with non-materialistic needs and desires.
    • We have lost our imagination about how we might meet many of these deeper needs without money.
    • People who know how much is enough have everything they want and need to live a life they themselves define as fulfilling and meaningful.
    • For these people, there is wealth beyond money; there is ‘enoughness’, a stance of material sufficiency and spiritual affluence.

That is certainly ‘enough‘ to get you thinking about ‘how much is enough’!

P.S. I was laughing to myself about a guy named Jack Benny who the vast majority of people reading this will have never heard of. Benny was so stingy and such a tightwad, that when he was purportedly confronted by a robber with a gun who said “Your money or your life”… he put his hand to his chin and stood there actually thinking about the question!