What is Enough?

When do you have enough? When is it enough money in the bank? Enough achievements under your belt? Enough to feel secure? What is enough to you may not be enough for someone else or way more than enough depending on who you converse with. Finding the right amount of enough for you may feel tricky or difficult, too.

I recently read John C. Bogle’s book, “Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life.” It came to me through various blogs who have mentioned the title and I figured it would be a good read. Bogle is the founder of Vanguard, and if you’ve hung around frugal or financial freedom/independence blogs you’ll see Vanguard touted everywhere.

I was lucky enough to be introduced to Vanguard, in 2002, by my sister before it became the popular company to toss around online. My sister worked in finance, and she suggested when I had some money saved up, to invest in a fund with Vanguard due to their low costs. At the time, I didn’t understand what that meant, but I went on to read hundreds of books on investing and financial literacy to come to understand how it all works.

Vanguard has been the most amazing company to work with, and their low fees and low costs are unbeatable (or have been for years, as now more companies are waking up to these types of funds). If you have an opportunity, I get no kickback for it, but please take a look at Vanguard to compare costs of your current portfolio (if you have one) or to get started. You can begin with as little as $1,000!

Bogle’s book was inspiring. He begins the book with a story about a farmer who leaves his land to find diamonds out in the world and ends up not doing well. In the end, the diamonds were right under his nose, on his land and he never saw them. Bogle wants you to consider that everything you need, everything you want, is right under your nose. It’s within reach, but you need to stop seeking it out and instead look at the gems within your grasp.

While I often get down on our lack of FI or being close to any major accomplishment, this book reminded me of the diamonds that lie right within our lives. We are fortunate enough to enjoy our work, make a decent income, and our marriage is a strong team sharing the same goals. For those things alone we are enjoying diamonds in our life. The fact that we are paying off our mortgage, potentially 22 years in advance, is a huge diamond in and of itself.

Bogle reviews his experiences that led him to where he is today, and discusses a lot about the investment industry. He incorporates amazing thoughts, quotes, and words from Benjamin Franklin to Buddhist teachings. Every page changed how I looked at money, business, and life.

In the last section of the book, he discusses life outside of money and encourages you to consider what is enough. His thoughts are powerful and inspiring. If you aren’t interested in reading about money or business, I highly recommend at least reading the first section on Money and the section on Life. Though, it would be valuable for you to understand the inner workings of the investment industry in the middle.

One of the points I return to when I ponder life is: stewardship not salesmanship. Creating value for others and bettering the world is why we are here. Not to take, take, take, and strip the system for our own gain.

In this country, we are so fortunate to have such luxuries around us. It seems we take many of them for granted, such as running clean water and ease of access to food. Even within our country, many are suffering from lack of these resources due to natural disasters as I write this.

There are times that I forget how fortunate we are just to have been born in this country, and have the opportunities to achieve what we have achieved financially, professionally, and personally. To be able to have the time and security in the day to read a book is a diamond.

Bogle quickly reminded me of how much we have is enough, and what we’re working toward will be enough for us. That may be far less than enough for you, but we are enjoying our luxurious frugal lifestyle and feel no shred of not having enough.

Our culture encourages misery through always needing the next best car, house, appliance, gadget, or makeup to look beautiful. When you stop letting the consumer-driven machine feed your thoughts, you will look around you and see you have enough, possibly more than enough.

Enough isn’t just about investing or personal finance choices. It’s not about business, but in the end, it is a reminder that enough in life is more than money, more than things, it’s people, relationships, and meaning in life. If your basic needs are being met, you have enough and seeking more for appearances or status will not bring you lasting happiness. When you look around and see you have enough, the world becomes so much more open to possibilities, new friendships, and new learning.

Whenever I don’t think we have enough or feel like we’re getting nowhere fast, I’ll remember to look around and find the diamonds sitting right under my feet. There is a bevy of them, and through this book, I will not forget to enjoy what we have.

Look around to see the diamonds just waiting there for you.