Because it's too much of a good thing

Because it's too much of a good thing

How much money do you need to live a good life? Will more money bring you more happiness? You don’t get rich when you earn more, save more or spend more; you get rich when you need no more, avers Swatee Jog.

Have you met people who almost always lie about their earnings? Some who earn less, flaunt more than they can afford, while others who make exorbitant
money, say it’s way too less to even make ends meet! Which brings us to the key question – how much money is good enough to make us happy?

Money is a strong motivating factor for almost everyone. It is stronger so in the early years of one’s career when all we think of is how to get rich – fast! In the initial, heady days, many young men and women strive to reach the targets, put in extra time and tap alternative sources of income. Often, this mad rush to earn more is based on comparisons with ‘other people’ who seem to be living a better life.

After all your needs of food, clothing, shelter, children’s education, medical
insurance and the like are met, there’s still the urge to earn more. The human mind needs to satiate the ego. Have a car – want a bigger, better, costlier model. Taken a holiday to Shimla? Now, want to go to Switzerland.


Ambition is a good thing and money is, certainly,  important. But if it becomes the most important driving force in your life, you are definitely heading for a disaster. Moderation is the key when it comes to splurging and displaying wealth as an achievement.

As Gandhiji had said, “There is enough on earth for everyone’s need, but not for everyone’s greed.” This greed to earn more, spend more, inevitably, leads to various lifestyle problems, including - but not limited to - diabetes, hypertension, obesity, insomnia and the like. Too much greed comes at a cost. One has to pay with ones wellbeing.

Little wonder then so many youngsters who started earning at the cusp of
campus life, speak of retiring (and often do) by 40. They burn themselves out to such an extent that their mind and body can no longer perform as they used to, even if they wish to.

Of course, the family will be happy if they get a better house, a better car or a fancier vacation, but given a choice, they would want your company and
wellbeing more than anything else. Long hours spent at the office, sadly, can never
compensate for the lost moments of familial bliss at home.

When a person’s life revolves around money, time becomes a commodity.
Finding no time for exercise, family, entertainment or friends, means that you have enslaved yourself to the wads of notes. Later in life when you look back, you will most likely see an empty nest and all the time in the world with no one to speak to and children whose childhood is sadly devoid of any contribution from you. As clichéd as it may sound, children often fondly reminisce the time spent with parents and seldom remember all those fancy toys or expensive dinners.

Rather than repenting when all is lost, it is time to pause and think – are you running behind a mirage? Richness, as someone has rightly said, is not in earning more, saving more or spending more; it is when you need no more.

So, make it a point to inculcate the value of frugal living in children from a very young age. Infants don’t really know the price or make of a toy and will not hesitate to bang it down into pieces.

Children can play happily even with utensils and spoons from the kitchen. In other words, splurging on desinger clothes or branded toys is definitely not the way to express love. Not unless you want them to grow into someone who puts price tags on happiness.

Invest in good books that you can read and discuss with your child; expensive holidays can make way for nature excursions and trekking with family. It’s a great idea to encourage children to earn for themselves, even if it means doing odd jobs. A dinner out after good grades at school, a cycle if the child teaches the maid’s daughter to draw. Such acts will exemplify that earning is hard work and not an entitlement.


Involve in philanthropy at a young age. Contrary to popular notion, philanthropy is not only about donating huge sums of money. It could also be the time, efforts and ideas that you may  provide to a worthy cause.

Once your priorities are sorted, sit down and think: How much money do I really need? Take stock of your life; make a plan; work on it. But not at the cost of your health, happiness and household.

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