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March 14, 2019

Why Great Isn’t Good Enough


The goals, needs and wants of my clients are unique, but my task is usually the same: design a great retirement plan. I spend a lot of time trying to create great retirements. Despite the difference in opinion about what constitutes greatness, greatness in itself is seen as a worthy goal.

Most people don’t attain the greatness that they seek. “Great” seems to mean “perfect,” and you and I both know that nothing will ever be deemed perfect. This is because we live in a world full of chance and complexity with other humans also striving to have their needs and wants met. There are too many factors at work to plan for perfection.

We talk with our clients regularly about how we can help them achieve their goals. Yet if we’ve already determined that greatness is no longer the goal, then what is?

I want us to think about the term “good enough.”

Too often “good enough” is perceived as “not great.” If greatness equals perfection, then something being good enough simply means that it’s not bad and it’s not perfect. But remember that we’ve already tossed perfection out the window. Without it, there is no poisonous comparison and good enough takes on a new meaning, which is that your life is good. You have enough. You have sufficient resources to handle a world full of chance and complexity.


A good enough retirement is one that meets all of your needs as well as a reasonable portion of your wants. It is as purposeful in helping you to define and achieve your financial goals as it is in preparing a soft bed to land on when the world proves to be not so great.

Bottom Line: A “good enough” retirement is a balanced one. Have a conversation with your financial advisor about how to determine your needs and your wants. It’s important to understand what a good enough retirement looks like so we can help you plan for a retirement that is both good and enough.


From the desk of Kris Carroll, CFA®, CFP®

Investing & Saving, Retirement

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