How Much is Too Much?

This week’s Fident Friday comes heavily borrowed from a hero of mine in our industry, Carl Richards (aka the Behavior Gap guy).  This was an email he sent out a few weeks ago that’s stuck around in my head like a gnat I couldn’t quite smash.  I thought I’d pass his words along.  


I absolutely LOVE Jeni’s Salty Caramel Ice Cream.

Sometimes, on the way home from work, I’ll stop at the grocery store, buy a pint, and eat it. 

The whole thing. 

Yes, I know. That’s a LOT of ice cream.

I’ve noticed that a very interesting thing happens when I do this:

Bite 1: Best thing in the world, ever.
Bites 2-10: Really good.
Bites 11-15: Good.
Bites 16-20: Meh.
Bites 21+: Ok, now I’m sick.

I learned this lesson the first time I ate a pint of Jeni’s in a sitting.

And yet, for some reason, I still occasionally repeat the experiment.

Of course, this phenomenon doesn’t only occur with ice cream. This is a well-documented economic principle called Marginal Utility, and (you guessed it) it applies to money, too. 

Just like ice cream, beyond a certain point, having more money will not lead to more security, freedom, and happiness. 


The academic literature on that is clear.

My question is: Why do we devote so much of our time, energy, and attention to having more?

Now I think I have an answer.

But before I give it to you, I’d love to know what you think!

Have you ever experienced marginal utility, in ice cream, money, or elsewhere in your life? Why did you keep going even when you already knew that enough was enough?
Interesting Resources 

1. Vanguard Blog - Your Legacy is More Than Just Your Portfolio 
I’m not going to lie - when I saw Vanguard post this I got a little giddy inside.  The largest money manager in the world talking about values!  About purpose!  About a living legacy!  Very cool and personal story here about the importance of being intentional with our “living legacy” - what we want to communicate to our family while we’re still here, as well as some intentional suggestions for doing so.  Great read. 

2. The Wall Street Journal - US Stocks Post Best January in 30 Years
There is still a ton of negativity regarding the markets out there, with fears of Fed tax hikes, Chinese tariff wars, economic slowdown, and Brexit (wait, this sounds familiar).  The reality is we just don’t know what’s going to happen short term - we saw all-but a bear market from late September to Christmas Eve … and now January just posted its best start of the year in 30 years.  Are we in the clear?  Is the fear unfounded?  Again: I’m not sure, and choose not to speculate in the short term - but the year is off to a high start. 
Anything come to your mind when reading Carl’s words above?  Something you really enjoy - but something you keep doing/seeking beyond what was enough?

For me, personally, it wasn’t specifically finances related - but it took me a week to really figure it out.  Hit reply and let me know your thoughts and I'll share mine. 

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