By Jennifer Thompson


July 21, 2020

How much money would be enough or you? If you won the jackpot, will you be happy?

I often hear people who are financially struggling with money say, “I don’t need much just …” or, I don’t need some big house, a camper, and a committed partner…” Obviously, these people did not feel they had “enough.” For the millions of displaced persons around the world, a bed to rest their weary bones would be “enough.” So, what is enough? Are we perpetually dissatisfied with our lot in life?

Researchers from the Stockholm School of Economics and the Department of Economics at New York University conducted a study on the “Long-run Effects of Lottery Wealth on Psychological Well-being.” What they found was that “large-prize winners experienced sustained increases in overall life satisfaction that persist for over a decade and show no evidence of dissipating with time. The estimated treatment effects on happiness and
mental health is significantly smaller.”

Essentially, winners of large jackpots had an increase in their overall sense of well-being but did not experience a significant increase in their day to day level of happiness.


Jennifer Thompson


Money to buy happiness

Numerous studies have shown that money does buy happiness. How much money? Some studies indicate that happiness increases as annual income increases. But up to a level of $75,000 at which emotional satisfaction derived from the increase of income appears to plateau. In these studies, happiness is described as a general sense of well-being.


Money and Marriage Jennifer Thompson Compelling 365


Money to buy time

What specifically can money buy that causes this increase in happiness? Time is one of them. Using money to buy time in the way of ordering meal services or cleaning services. Anything that frees up your time so you can spend time with friends and family. In this way money buys time.


Money and remarriage Compelling 365

Photo by Gift-Habeshaw


Money to buy experiences

What’s interesting, but not surprising, is that it’s not the money that brings happiness so much as what money can buy. And it is not things that bring happiness but experiences. Making a purchase will bring some satisfaction but it is short-lived. Whereas, using money to buy new experiences like a trip to Bali will bring satisfaction lasting long after the trip is over.


Jennifer Thompson


More than just the money

We look at the wealth of billionaires and it appears to keep growing. Many of us respond with, “Well, how much is enough?” I often hear friends say things like, “Well, I don’t need much.” or, “I could be happy with a trailer.”

I don’t believe that is the point.  It’s not more money that these billionaires are after. They are after, what I hope we all are after. Tha’s meaning in life. The only difference is that they don’t have to worry about money in order to keep pursuing their dreams. For many people, money does dictate many of their life choices but for the mega-rich, they continue working for the challenge, the fun, and the meaning,

Money is no longer the focal point. It just so happens they found a successful way to monetize what is challenging, fun, and meaningful to them. The money continues to roll in. Would these billionaires continue to do what they do if they were not being paid that much money? I suspect they would


Jennifer Thompson

Photo by Nicolas-Lobos


The more money you have the more you desire to expand your experiences. Instead of The Maldives, why not head to Mars instead? And while you’re at it, why not buy a piece of it? How is owning a piece of land on Mars much different from real estate in Manhattan?

How much is enough?

Billionaires themselves have expressed they have more than enough. With a net worth of over $80B, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has said,  “I don’t know that I have an exact threshold on what amount of money someone should have, but on some level, no one deserves to have that much money.”

It’s not the money that drives them. Billionaires work at ridiculously long hours. Yes, the money is attractive but it’s much more than the money, Working a hundred hours a week has its trade-offs. I suspect it’s the passion for the job or the next best idea more than the money that drives these people. The satsfaction that comes from seeing an idea brought to fruition. None of these values can money buy!

Instead of asking, how much is enough, maybe we should ask, how much passion, focus, and relentless dedication can a billion dollars buy? And how many of us are willing to consistently give all of that for all the money in the world?

How much is enough? Who decides? Maybe aligning with what you value is when it’s enough.

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure here.





Through one on one coaching, webinars and public speaking Jennifer helps people discover how to live life on their terms. After twenty years in banking and finance, she discovered another passion – a passion for writing. She has written numerous self-published books on money: Women and Money: 7 Principles Every Woman Needs to Know to Be Financially Prepared in Any Economy and Growing Up With Money: Raising Financially Resilient Kids in an Age of Uncertainty. Jennifer can be reached at jenniferthompson@compelling365.com

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