Weekend Reading: 2,500 Years of Thinking About “How Much is Enough?”

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.
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Weekend Reading

Asking yourself “How much is enough?” throughout certain points in life might lead to an answer that’s a moving target. However, when it comes to wealth, when do you know if you have truly reached financial independence – or your “enough”?


Here, various philosophers and thinkers throughout history offer their unique perspectives:

📌 Lao Tzu: Emphasizes the idea that realizing you have enough is a sign of true wealth, but cautions against seeking fulfillment in external comparisons and materialism.

📌 Adam Smith: Suggests your pursuit of wealth should not compromise your moral virtues and that happiness should not be equated with the accumulation of wealth.

📌 Henry David Thoreau: Advocates for simplicity and appreciating life's fundamental joys, versus constantly pursuing more.

📌 Jacob Needleman: Discusses the connection between your understanding of money and your search for meaning in life, stressing the importance of inner transformation and reflection on your relationship with money.

📌 Lynne Twist: Introduces the concept of sufficiency, emphasizing that it's not about simplicity, but about adopting a mindset that there will always be "enough," leading to a richer and more meaningful life.

📌 Mark C. Taylor: Advises reorienting your understanding of wealth to prioritize genuine human experiences and relationships.

Your definition of “enough” is inherently personalized to you. However, by engaging in self-reflection, conscious spending and shifting your view of money from a stock to seeing it as a flow, you can gain more clarity to focus on what truly matters most.