facebook twitter instagram linkedin google youtube vimeo tumblr yelp rss email podcast phone blog search brokercheck brokercheck Play Pause
Wise Money: What's Your Number? Thumbnail

Wise Money: What's Your Number?

Quote to Ponder

"Happiness equals reality minus expectations.”- Oliver Burkeman

"When you realize how powerful expectations are, you put as much effort into keeping them low as you do into improving your circumstances. Happiness, contentment, joy … all of those things come from experiencing a gap between expectations and reality." - Morgan Housel

Recommended Links


What's your number? You know, the income or net worth number where you'll finally feel "happy." Chances are your number has changed over the years. And it never goes down.

The world-famous soccer player, Cristiano Ronaldo, has earned over $1 billion in his career. Yet this year, he was persuaded by a $200 million contract to play in Saudia Arabia, where no one wants to play.

Many of us in the general population are completely flummoxed that a player with the net worth of Ronaldo could be swayed by a dollar amount to play in such a place. Doesn't he have enough money already? Apparently, he doesn't think so.

No matter how much money you have, you get used to it. The exciting thing is not simply having wealth; it's experiencing the contrast between what you had before and what you now have. Once that contrast wears off, you are adjusted to the new wealth baseline.

Why aren't we satisfied when we hit our number? There are a few reasons, but one concerns how we are wired toward our goals.

Pursuing goals, even a goal to make more money, gives us purpose and meaning. However, we tend to believe the end goal, rather than the pursuit of a goal is what will make us happy.

Reflecting on this concept, Dax Shepard, the famous actor said,

I am about to star in this movie...they're paying me a ton of money; people recognize me at the airport. I'm doing everything I had dreamt of doing for 30 years. It all came true, and I'm the least happy I've ever been in my life. I'm closest to not wanting to be alive as I've ever been, and I had every single thing on paper that I'd ever wanted. I feel grateful for this because I was able to say, 'Something much more profound is broken.

There are countless stories of famous people feeling empty once they achieved their goals. Tom Brady, after winning his 3rd Super Bowl said, "there's got to be more than this."

Why do we do this? We confuse the joy that comes from the journey with a future joy that doesn't last. The journey should be the destination. That's why your "number" keeps going up. We get the most joy out of the pursuit, or journey, toward our number, not actually hitting it.

The expectation that we will feel lasting joy, happiness, and satisfaction once our goal is achieved is a recipe for extreme disappointment. It's the pursuit itself that provides the joy! The sooner we realize this, the sooner we can start enjoying the ride.