One of my most frequently asked questions as a financial advisor is, “How much money do I need to retire?” While this question has many variables, it speaks to a broader issue: our relationship with money and our perception of “enough.”
The concept of “enough” is subjective and ever-changing for each individual. We set financial goals for ourselves, but once we achieve them, we often want more. Our society perpetuates the notion that more is better, which can lead to a constant pursuit of bigger and better things. As a financial advisor, my goal is to help my clients shift their focus from a never-ending pursuit of more to one of sufficiency, where they have enough to meet their needs and live comfortably. What if we changed our mindset from one of always wanting more to one of sufficiency?
Sufficient living means having enough to meet our needs and live comfortably. It’s about being satisfied with what we have rather than always wanting more. My role as a financial advisor is to assist clients in understanding their relationship with money and guiding them toward a path of sufficiency.
The first step in this process is for clients to identify their financial goals and the lifestyle they want to live. We then devise a strategy based on their current assets, income, and expenses. Following that, we collaborate to develop a budget that prioritizes their values and aligns with their goals.
Sufficient living also entails being mindful of our spending habits. It is about distinguishing between needs and desires and making deliberate spending decisions. We can live a life of contentment and financial stability by intentionally directing our resources toward what is most important to us.
In 1976, Lynne Twist sat in an auditorium with 2,000 people, captivated by Buckminster Fuller, a designer, author, and inventor who spoke about humanity’s shift from a scarcity-based mindset to one of sufficiency. Fuller believed that there was enough for everyone, everywhere, to have a healthy and productive life and that this new paradigm was not about an amount of anything but a way of being.
Fuller predicted that this transformation would not happen for 50 years because humanity’s institutions were rooted in a scarcity-based paradigm that needed to become dysfunctional and no longer repairable. From the demise of this old paradigm would spring a new paradigm, a you and me paradigm where there is enough for everyone everywhere to have a healthy and productive life.
The year 2026 marks 50 years since Fuller’s talk and recent years have shown a cracking of institutions and massive dysfunction in various realms of life. However, realizing Fuller’s vision requires not just change but transformation. Change requires making something wrong to motivate us to do something different, but transformation never insults the past or present. Instead, it completes it and makes sense, often resulting in a step into another level of consciousness that never goes back.
This transformational mindset also applies to money. In a scarcity-based, you OR me money paradigm, we grip money tightly and constrain its ability to flow. We live in fear that there’s never enough, and more is better. However, what if we transformed our relationship with money to view it as a flow? Instead of hoarding money, we become a conduit for its flow, viewing it as something that moves in and out of our life while providing nourishment along the way to everything it touches.
Money hoarded becomes stagnant, but money in motion regenerates and expands all that it touches. The great investor John Templeton once said that his greatest investment was tithing because the more he gave away, the more he returned to him. With this transformational mindset, clients would no longer ask if they have enough money to retire. Instead, they would come to financial advisors from a deep knowing that there is enough for everyone everywhere. However, this will only happen once there’s a breakdown of old institutions and a buildup of new ones until there’s a shift in consciousness, a transformation from you or me world to a you and me world.
Buckminster Fuller’s vision of a world where there is enough for everyone everywhere to have a healthy and productive life requires a transformational mindset, not just a change in behavior. This also applies to our relationship with money, where we view it as a flow rather than a hoard. This transformation will only happen when there’s a shift in consciousness and a breakdown of old institutions, paving the way for a new paradigm of sufficiency and you and me world.
Life-centered planning can help us shift our mindset from focusing on money to living a fulfilling life. Life-centered planning determines the worth of our financial decisions based on how they affect our overall quality of life.
Return on Investment (ROI), on the other hand, is a more traditional financial performance metric that focuses on generating a profit from our financial investments. ROI is important because it allows us to assess the success of our financial decisions in terms of wealth generation. However, it ignores other important factors that contribute to our overall well-being.
On the other hand, Life-centered planning is concerned with determining the worth of our financial decisions regarding how they affect our overall happiness and well-being. It is based on the notion that the ultimate goal of our financial decisions should be to improve our lives rather than generate wealth.
For example, if a client decides between investing in a holiday home and a more diverse investment portfolio, we would consider both ROI and ROL ( Return on Life). The ROI on the holiday property may be lower than the ROL on the diversified portfolio, but if the client values spending time with family and friends at the property, the ROL may be higher.
Living in sufficiency entails being content with what we have rather than always wanting more. My role as a financial advisor is to assist clients in identifying their financial goals and aligning their resources with their values. We can help you make financial decisions that generate wealth and contribute to your happiness and well-being by focusing on ROI and ROL.