How much is enough?

by / Friday, 05 February 2016 / Published in Financial Planning

Enough what? Money? One can never have enough money, right?
Whilst that may be true, the age old question remains: Does money equal happiness?


“If you say money can’t buy you happiness, you don’t know where to shop.” Have you heard that one before? Is this true, can we really buy happiness?

I am almost finished with the book ‘How much is enough’, written by financial experts Ford, Bradley and Abey. It is an easy read with great practical examples and lessons. I definitely recommend it.
In this book they state that money does not equal happiness. Money is only an “enabler” and it is what you buy with your money that will determine your happiness.
Well, it may sound quite obvious, but perhaps the following two examples will clarify the confusion.

Example 1:
Let’s take two couples as example.
Couple A meet each other every Tuesday, 6 pm at John Dory’s. The waitress knows them by their name, the corner table is reserved for them, cellphones are switch of and for the following two hours they enjoy each other’s company and share jokes and feelings alike.
They both select the Hake special: Two pieces of Hake with either chips or Vegetables for R33 per plate (Yes R33) and they share a bottle of Two Oceans. Later the bill arrives and R150 covers everything, tip included.

Couple B, Mike and Michelle, also feels like eating seafood and decide to meet each other at home. They freshen up, dress smartly and go to the newly re-opened Beluga at Club avenue, also on Tuesday night.
They start off sharing a platter of Sushi and their favorite La Motte Sauvignon blanc. Mike enjoys the Kingklip as his main and Michelle the trio of calamari. The bill arrives and with tip included it’s settled at R520.

Now it’s important to note a couple of things:
-There is no right or wrong scenario, each couple has their own preference and freedom of choice.
-We cannot say that at the end of the evening one couple is happier than the other. The amount of the bill does not matter and has no correlation to the enjoyment of the evening.
-However, what one must take into account is that couple B must work three times harder or earn three times more than couple A in order to maintain such a lifestyle. Alternatively, they have to spend less on other things, either buy less clothes, invest less or drive a cheaper car.


Let’s take it a bit further with example 2:

Gary is in the market for a new car and after much deliberation he decided on the new Hyundai IX 35.
On his first step into the dealership he sees exactly what he wants, the 2.0 Premium Automatic IX 35 in pearl white for R365,900. As Gary heads to the counter to sign the papers to conclude his purchase the salesman insists that he takes a minute to look around the corner.
There in the corner sits the Flagship range. The 2.0 I Automatic Diesel with 4×4 steering, leather seats, xenon light and sunroof all included for R509 900
“What to do, what to do?” Gary thinks to himself. “It isn’t like I can’t afford it, I am already forking out R360 000, why not go all out?” The smell of new leather seats and bragging rights around the braai of having a 4×4 is surely worth it?
Once again there is no right or wrong decision, but before he makes a decision he needs to consider what he will be giving up if he decides to go for the flagship range and spend the further R144 000.

Other opportunities may include:
– 4 Years of worth of fuel
– 10 Luxury weekends away for him and his newly wedded wife.
– An all expenses paid trip to Cancun, Mexico
– A new kitchen or fully furnished baby room
– Generate further income through:
-Investing in property or unit trusts
-Expand his start-up Company


For each person there will be a different need, thus a different choice. It is very important to take some time and think about what you want in life and what satisfy your needs.
Will the 6 months of planning an overseas trip and the everlasting memories not make you happier than the smell of leather seats?
Or will employing a new person in your company’s new branch not give you more satisfaction than a sunroof and xenon lights?

At Bovest we realize that each individual is different and has different dreams, goals and interest. We plan their financial portfolio with their end goal in mind. We use insurance to protect them, their loved ones or businesses and invest their money in a structure that suits them.

But most important of all, we make sure they never stop enjoying life. We do what makes THEM happy and we manage their money in the best possible way.
After all, it is the sense of achievement and not money itself that leads to a truly happy and fulfilled life!

Geo Botha CFP®


P.S. If you are uncertain whether you are saving enough for retirement or unsure whether you are on sufficiently insured, feel free to contact us and set up a consultation with one of our qualified advisors – completely free of charge with no obligation.