When Is Enough Enough?

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Professional dieticians – people who give evidence-based advice about how much and what type of foods we should eat – will tell you that a significant part of their work is not about numbers: counting calories, grams of fat, carbohydrates, and so forth. Rather, a huge part of eating right consists of having a healthy relationship with food. After all, food isn’t just body fuel; it has profound social, cultural, and emotional connotations. Any diet program that doesn’t take these “non-quantitative” factors into account isn’t going to be successful.

In the same way, our work with clients isn’t just about the numbers. Like food, people’s money isn’t just for paying bills and buying the necessities of life; it has deep-seated cultural, social, and emotional connections. And as we know – or should – any financial plan that doesn’t embrace a client’s emotional, social, and cultural needs is likely to fail to meet their financial needs.

In other words, it’s not just about the balances in the accounts; it’s about helping our clients have a healthy relationship with money.

The big question

One of the most basic questions our clients often ask us boils down to: “Will I have enough money?” Whether it’s planning for retirement, funding education, or establishing a philanthropic legacy, they come to us for help answering this very basic question. And it begs another series of questions: How much is enough? How do we know when we’ve reached the goal? And maybe most important, how can we help our clients understand when enough really is enough?