The Joy of Leaving Money on the Table

There are two types of people in this world.

There are maximizers. And satisficers.

You know the former.

They optimize their spending to MAXIMIZE credit card points.

They research every single high-yield savings account to MAXIMIZE their interest.

They have over-engineered diets to MAXIMIZE their longevity.

And they are stuck in their high-paying jobs so that they can MAXIMIZE their net worth.

Now, these are great things to maximize.

But have they minimized their happiness in the process?

Satisficers give less f*cks

There’s a famous R&B singer named Frank Ocean.

He’s certified platinum and Coachella headliner.

And he’s beloved by his fans.

But for someone so popular, he doesn’t tour much.

He barely releases new music.

He never gives interviews.

His friend, the comedian Aziz Ansari asked him, “Frank, what’s your secret?”

And Frank Ocean answered him deadpan:

Man, it’s easy. You just have to be comfortable making less money.

Let’s not pretend the FOMO is real

I’m the ultimate satisificer. I’m always looking for “good enough.”

We rent our house, to minimize decision fatigue.

I own one ETF, and have never sold it.

I use the Citi 2% cash back card.

And I left a ton of money on the table when I bailed on my Wall Street at age 35.

It’s a tough pill to swallow when as a 45-year-old, I took a 90% pay cut from my peak earnings at age 32.

But it’s taken me a lot of coaching and therapy to realize that maximizing the net worth game is a losing proposition for me.

(Especially since I want to die with zero).

To me, maximizing is gruelling.

It brings unnecessary stress. Decision paralysis. And non-stop second-guessing.

Yes, you might maximize the end result.

But you suck the joy out of the process itself.


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