Updated: Apr 13, 2020
In life, we all seem to want to be ‘comfortable’. When asking the average person what is important to them in life, you will usually get ‘just making sure I have enough to be comfortable’, in one modified form of that statement or another.
Comfortable seems like a simple enough answer. Being the analytical thinker I am, however, and having life experiences that have shown me first-hand comfort can mean different things to different people, this got me thinking, why is It these days that we still never seem to be ‘comfortable’?
Everybody probably knows the old saying that money can mean more to one person than another. For example, giving $5,000 to someone who makes $50,000/year would probably invoke a different reaction than giving $5,000 to someone making $250,000/year. That is not to say the person making 250k/year wouldn’t be appreciative, but its logical to say the person making 50k/year may have a financial situation in which that 5k would have a greater impact.
I have met many people in my life making 250k/year or more who still feel they need more to be comfortable. I have also met people making 50k/year or less who still feel they need more to be comfortable.
So, why is that no matter how much we seem to make, we never seem to be ‘comfortable? Many of the people making 50k/year want more because they feel having that extra bathroom for the kid’s would just relieve so much stress, or because of the glamorized, ‘happy’ lives that TV shows portray of everyone with a large home and a choice of cars to drive. Not to mention the growing cost of basic goods and services.
Many of the people making $250,000 year want more because they feel that you just never know what could happen these days and that an even larger savings account would make them feel better in case anything arises. Some of them feel that if they had a house that was even a bit larger than they would be comfortable.
Both people want more because they feel with more, they would feel better about their situation. My thought was, maybe we should all think about what ‘comfortable’ truly means to us?
I spoke with a gentleman recently who lost his job during the Corona Virus Pandemic. Because he burned through his savings so quick with bills before getting his job back, he and his family of four moved from a 3,100sf single-family home in Howard County to a 1,700sf townhome.
At first, he said, he was always stressed thinking about “Ok, how do I start saving so I can move the family back into our dream home?” he said. Over time, however, as their smaller home began to feel more and more like home, he started to think to himself “Alright, I honestly feel just as happy as I was in the bigger house”. It seems that the smaller home creates less stress and allows more time for the things I enjoy” The yard is smaller, so it required less upkeep and the inside much easier to manage and keep clean. As a result, this created more time for him to spend with his family, the true purpose of the home in the first place!
“Of course, we missed the things like having an extra separate bathroom and the guest bedroom for guests, but we also realized not having those things wasn’t the end of the world, and they definitely weren’t what made us happy. In retrospect, I am truly grateful for the experience because it caused each of us to have to look inside and find the strength we never we had, and we all grew closer because of it”, he said, “Which was worth it all in the long run”.
So let me ask you, what does comfortable mean to you? Does it mean feeling secure that you & your family have a roof over your head & food to eat? A secure income? Or does it mean more time to spend with your family on Friday night, learning more about yourself and growing?
There is a famous saying that goes like this ‘When we don’t have money, we are worried about getting it. When we get money, we are worried about not losing it’
I think each of us has a natural desire to want ‘more’,. But let's all take time to be happy for what we have as well! Let’s all find comfort, in any situation we are in!
Brandon Kostinsky is president of Correalle Companies. He lives in Arbutus, MD and has one daughter.