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When is Enough, Enough?

We spend most of our adult life searching for monetary things, and it seems we never get enough. In most cases, as we age, we accumulate ‘stuff’ as well as money, and it appears to be an endless trek.

So that begs the question, how much is enough? I suppose it all comes down to how you measure what you have. Most people tend to measure their worth in respect to people who have more, which is a motivator for us to be like them.

Two people, which suffered from not having enough, to a point where it ruined their lives, are Rajat Gupta and Bernie Madoff. Rajat Gupta was born in the slums of Kolkata and was poorer than most anyone you can imagine. He rose quickly in the financial world, and by the time he was in his 40’s, he was CEO of McKinsey, the world’s most prestigious consulting firm. He retired in 2007, did some work for the UN, and partnered with Bill Gates. By 2008 Gupta was worth $100 million.

Being a member of Goldman Sachs’s board, Gupta learned Warren Buffett was going to invest $5 Billion into the bank to help it survive. Gupta immediately called a hedge fund manager and bought 175,000 shares of Goldman Sachs stock. He was charged with insider trading and went to prison, ruining his career and reputation. One would think assets of over $100 million would have been enough.

Bernie Madoff, well known for his crimes, swindled investors for 20 years before he was caught. What tends to get overlooked is, before his Ponzi scheme, Madoff was a wildly successful and legitimate businessman. His firm was responsible for 9% of all the trading done on the New York Stock Exchange.

Madoff was wealthier than most of us can comprehend, yet both he and Gupta, and no doubt many others, were not satisfied with what they had.

So I ask the question again: when is enough, enough? If people looked around at what they had and compared their wealth to the less fortunate, we would probably take a deep breath and realize we have more than we need.

Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award-winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on Rogers TV, the Standard Website or YouTube.

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