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What Is “Enough”? with Manisha Thakor

Haley Paskalides  |  August 23, 2023

What is “enough,” and why we should consider our emotional well-being and our financial health as twin concepts.

Worrying about money is, unfortunately, a universal problem. And with today’s economic uncertainty, stubbornly high inflation, and recession fears, our worries are only increasing. A new study from Bankrate found that 52% of Americans say money has a negative impact on their mental health, up significantly from 42% in 2022. What’s more, 4 out of 5 people say this has manifested into sleepless nights and depression. But it doesn’t have to be that way — Manisha Thakor, Certified Financial Planner and author of “Moneyzen: The Secret to Finding Your Enough,” wants us to reconsider the question of “what is enough” in our day-to-day lives, and start to think of our emotional well-being and our financial health as twin concepts. 

Research from Fidelity Investments points to the fact that individuals experience, on average, four stressful life events every single year. These include everything from marriage and divorce to buying a new home or switching jobs — because even some of our most joyful moments can be stressful — and expensive! And as much as we might wish we had control over every single aspect of our lives — particularly our financial lives — we just don’t. 

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But we can take steps to help manage how we feel about our finances, increase our financial wellness, and answer the question of “what is enough” for ourselves. Manisha says that while “financial wellness” can mean a lot of different things, a lot of it comes down to preventing financial stress when you can and having the ability to deal with it when you can’t. 

(You may remember Manisha from our 2019 episode of the HerMoney Podcast when we discussed the psychology of investing.) Since then, she’s learned how to prioritize herself while finding financial success and living a fulfilling life — but the road to get there was a rough one. When Manisha was approaching her 50th birthday, she woke up one day covered in welts, with a fever of 103, unable to move. She realized that she’d spent the past 30 years “trapped on this 24/7 hamster wheel of ‘never enough.’ I had basically lived my entire adult life as a human doing instead of a human being, and I decided that I wanted to understand why this happened, and more importantly, how to get out of it.” 

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Thankfully, Manisha recovered, and when she began researching how to live a healthier life — physically and emotionally — she identified a positive mindset shift defined by the twin concepts of financial health and emotional wealth. She says that when you don’t live your life with these two principles in mind, it’s easy to fall into the ‘cult of never enough.” A good sign you may be in the cult without even realizing it is “this pervasive feeling that no matter how much money you earn, accomplishments you achieve, praise you receive, it’s never enough to make you feel whole inside because that finish line keeps moving,” she says.

Manisha explains how she escaped the cult, and answered the “what is enough?” question for herself. (And, yes, if you’re looking to get off the hamster wheel, too, she tells us exactly how to do it!) In Mailbag, we hear from a listener who is curious how to invest the money from the sale of a home, and we hear from a woman who is wondering how to maximize a recent windfall. In our money tip of the week, are you taking too much risk with your asset allocation as you near retirement? 


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All advisory services offered through Financial Engines Advisors L.L.C. (FEA), a federally registered investment advisor. Results are not guaranteed. AM1969416

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