A colleague of mine has a friend who works at LearnVest and was able to give away friends and family passes to their annual LearnVest workshop event this year, so she invited me to come with her tonight. There were over 2,500 people who attended the event, the majority being young working professional women, who LearnVest originally targeted when they began in 2009. There were a couple of good speeches around happiness, what defines it, and how money fits in, but for the most part, the topics being discussed were already things I was aware of and have been actively doing.
I guess I take for granted a lot of the things I learned in my money workshops during my college years, as well as advice I’ve been given from my dad as well as finance books I’ve read shortly after graduation. Given all of that learning, I just always thought it was the normal thing to do to at least contribute 10 percent to my 401K and retirement funds, to spend no more than 25 percent on housing and rent, or to have at least three to six months of ’emergency funds’ stowed away in the sad event I’d lose my job. I always knew that once I would have children, I’d buy additional life insurance right away in the event that I’d tragically die prematurely. I guess these are the things that I have no idea about when it comes to what the average other person is doing. In some way, I live in a money bubble because I feel out of touch with what the average person does with her money. I cannot relate at all to people who live paycheck to paycheck, and I can’t relate to the women who think it’s the norm to buy at least a pair or two of shoes a month.
It was a good reminder to hear today, though, that there’s really no such thing as having “enough” money. It’s always relative, and we tend to never think we have “enough.” People with a million dollars think they need three times that to be fully satisfied. People with $3 million think they need $9 million to have enough, and so forth. We get settled into our new “status,” and nothing ever becomes enough. And if you asked me today if I thought I had “enough” money to afford a child, I’d say no. Nothing seems to be “enough” no matter what your net worth or salary. It’s really true among people I know.