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Enough. Part 4 - The Excess

Part 4 of our series on Enough. If you missed the previous ones, you can read Part 1,  Part 2, and Part 3.

Quick recap: 
Money should be a means, but it has this sneaky habit of becoming a meaning
One way to keep it as a means is by assigning specific dollars for specific jobs
Recognize and prevent Lifestyle Creep by keeping track of our expenses over time.   

We’re on the home stretch now in this series. 

So if our income continues to increase, our dollars are assigned to the right jobs, and we’re doing our best to keep lifestyle creep in check - what happens then? 

What do we do with the Excess?

This is the beautiful area of identifying Enough. We’ve done the hard work and heart searching and number crunching, and now get to dream a little bit. (Quick note: if you’ve already done the process of clearly identifying your values, this becomes all the easier.) 

I see 3 general options of what to do with our Excess after reaching Enough.

1. Slow Down. Depending on our individual situations - we might have the option to just turn the income spigot off, or at least dial it down a bit. Maybe if we're an entrepreneur we pursue slower growth, or if a freelancer we dial down our caseload, or if a corporate worker we stop climbing the ladder. Since our goals are funded, or on track to be funded, we have this potentially unrealized luxury and it could lead to increased free-time and increased mental health. 

2. Overfund Values. If slowing down doesn't make sense, then maybe we reallocate resources to overly fund different important Values in our life. Perhaps generosity is something important to us, and we can redirect a disproportionate amount of our income to charitable causes relative to other expenses. Or maybe it’s entrepreneurship, and we find ways we can either start a side gig or seed-fund someone else’s. Or maybe it’s family time, and we use resources to buy more time with our loved ones. 

3. Press Pause. Honestly, before doing either of the first two, I think this should be the starting point. Too many of us run too hard for too long, reaching a point of exhaustion (or worse) when we could have taken a breather (or several of them) long ago. A friend of mine, and Fident Friday Family member, KJ is closing in on Enough at a young age. He’s not sure what is next, so his plan is just to Press Pause for an undefined period of time. He's going to evaluate, to collect, to dream, to wonder and to wander. The reason he's able to do that is because he's clearly defined Enough. 

But a warning: unless we’ve defined Enough BEFORE we get here, we won’t know when we’ve arrived. And the race will continue it’s grueling, unending pace. 

Interesting Resources

Quote
Albert Einstein
"Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school."

Bulls, Bears and Long-Term Benefits of Stock Investing
1 min read | Dimensional Fund Advisors
Just a great educational graphic on the US stock market with various bull and bear markets since 1926. Ending the time frame at March 21, 2020, there have been exactly 17 bear markets (a decline of at least 20% from previous high) and 17 bull markets (and increase of at least 20% from previous low). However, when viewed together, it's quite clear the advantage is to the long-term investor. 
5 min read | Of Dollars and Data
I'm generally pessimistic on social media as a whole, so confirmation bias could be at play here - but I found this article refreshingly insightful. An excerpt: 

This made me realize something that these social media companies don’t want you to realize—a follower is not a follower. Just because someone has a lot of followers this does not imply that this is the number of people seeing their content.  It’s like that old philosophical question: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?  Well, if someone with 10,000 followers sends a tweet, but only 300 of their followers see it, do the other 9,700 followers even exist? You might argue that this is a good result because only the most engaging content gets seen by the most people, but then I will ask, “What’s the point of followers then?” If you take this inquiry to its logical conclusion, you will realize that followers don’t exist to consume your content, but merely to give the appearance of consuming it. 

The Most Counterintuitive Recession Ever
3 min read| A Wealth of Common Sense
Hearing anecdotal information (like hearing how a friend of a friend is flipping jet skis and boats to sell them close to brand new prices) and reading statistics on declining consumer debt and increasing savings rate and red hot real estate markets, it baffles me at times that this all is happening in the midst of a recession. Yes, the Federal Reserve has been active, and Yes, the government has done eye-popping amounts of stimulus plans, but it still feels so odd. Ben Carlson breaks some of this data down even more in this post. 
Let me ask you a question in closing: have you defined enough? And if so, are you thinking about what to be doing with your own excess? Reply back and let me know. 

Next week I'm going to share some personal thoughts on my own imperfect journey through this. Talk soon.

Gratefully,
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