Weekend Reading: Getting the Goalpost to Stop Moving

This article appears as part of Casey Weade's Weekend Reading for Retirees series. Every Friday, Casey highlights four hand-picked articles on trending retirement topics and delivers them straight to your email inbox. Get on the list here.
Weekend reading goalpost moving collaborative fund thumbnail Weekend reading goalpost moving collaborative fund thumbnail
Weekend Reading

This article opens with one steadfast rule when it comes to money: “If expectations grow faster than income, you’ll never be happy with your money.” Read the article from Collaborative Fund below.


Cue, the 1950s: Americans often view the 1950s as when the nation was at its peak. A median income allotted a family of three to live off one single earner, in a modest-looking house, with two cars. Looking back, you might wonder: Was a typical family better off in the 1950s than they are now? The answer is, America’s wealth still grew, but our expectations grew more.

It’s about perspective: The author goes on to reference Ben Ferencz, a man who fled Hungary during the Holocaust, and the late scientist, Stephen Hawking. Both faced significant challenges throughout their lives but remained happy because they had low expectations. Here, is where the author reveals, “If an abjectly terrible situation can be offset with low expectations, the opposite is true.”

Comparison, the thief of joy: When Match.com founder, Gary Kremen, reached a net worth of $10 million, he continued to work 60-plus-hour weeks because he didn’t believe he had nearly enough to ease up. This is an example of something we all often fall for: Gauging our wellbeing relative to those around us.

Check your expectations: The difference between today’s economy and the 1950s is the gap between you and those around you was minimal. Expectations were kept in check because people weren’t living dramatically better than you. In order to be truly happy with the wealth you have and not push beyond your limits, the author states you must stop – or at least slow – your expectations so they don’t grow beyond your income.

Bottom line: You’ll never be “Job Optional” if you continually move the goal post. Stick it firmly in the ground, practice gratitude and regularly check yourself!