How Much is Enough with Spencer Sherman

When it comes to money, how much is enough? Spencer Sherman talks about how to feel good about where you are, while working to improve!

Feb 1, 2024 | Podcast

About the Episode

We focused on how to figure out how much is enough when it comes to money and wealth, how to operate on that level instead of falling into lack or scarcity, the value you’ll get from doing it, and how to actually make it happen, with Spencer Sherman, CEO of Abacus Wealth Partners.       

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George Grombacher

George Grombacher


Spencer Sherman

Spencer Sherman


Episode Transcript

eorge grombacher 0:02
Better to get started. Give us two truths and a lie, please.

Spencer Sherman 0:06
All right, I jumped out of an airplane. I take naps. And I ran into a building on fire.

george grombacher 0:20
jumped out of an airplane. You take naps, and you ran into a burning building? Yeah. Oh, you do not take naps?

Spencer Sherman 0:29
I do take that. Oh,

george grombacher 0:34
you got me.

Spencer Sherman 0:34
All right. It’s the lie is I’ve never I’ve fantasized. But I’ve never been able to jump out of an airplane. Never done it. Yeah, yeah. And the nap thing for me is a little bit connected to money. Because, you know, I grew up in a household that was so much about driving driving competition, that, you know, you know, sleep is optional. It was sort of something my father got across to me, it was just all about making money, or just getting more successful, more awards in life. And, you know, to me, the NAPS represent, you know, this reset this, you know, not not staying in that fight flight mode all the time, which I think is so helpful in in managing our own personal finances. I mean, it’s a bit of a you know, I mean, it literally but also metaphorically, that sometimes we just have to pick a pause, like, I often suggest, like, if you’re going to buy something, just wait three days and see if you still need it. It’s sort of like a figurative nap there. I

george grombacher 1:35
think that that’s excellent. I am a massive proponent of naps. So I’m glad that you are as well. And a burning building,

Spencer Sherman 1:44
the burning building. All right, so this was in my early 20s, I was working in an office building in Philadelphia, and there was a fire and I just, I will I know it at that point, there was no smoke to be smelled, I just assumed it was a fire drill. But it turned out to be a real fire. And then I convinced the fire marshal, to let me into the building, because I thought that something more valuable than my life was in that building. And that was my laptop. i At that time, thought my laptop was more valuable than me. So this fire marshal escorts me. And of course, the laptop was complete, it was destroyed by the water damage that came down on it. But it was one of those wake up, you know, crazy moments of my life that said, Wow, I am being run by some really crazy beliefs about money, that somehow that the the laptop is more valuable than what’s here, then then my then my ability to breathe and think and all that. So I think that set me that set me on a new trajectory with my financial career.

george grombacher 2:53
Oh, I don’t doubt that for a second. All right. I love it. Well, what is what is top of mind for you right now?

Spencer Sherman 3:01
Well, you know, I think with with the holidays, it’s, it’s so much of it. I mean, I just heard yesterday someone talk about that they really want to win the lottery. Because then they’ll, you know, there’s a couple of things they need to do to remodel their house, but they really want to do major philanthropy, and they just have this fantasy that they’ll just be so much happier if they could be this philanthropist and win the lottery to win. I think it’s very noble. But what it really struck me is that, that most of us, including myself, at times are never in this enough mindset. We’re in a wanting more mindset. And you know, especially now, you know, we’re seeing, we’re getting gifts. And we’re, we’re thinking about sometimes what we don’t have, we noticed that we go over to people’s homes, I was just at somebody’s home for a holiday party last night, I couldn’t think and believe this home. And I was like there’s a part of me that wanted this home that started thinking, if I had a home like this, I’d be so much happier. And so what’s coming up for me now is just is Trent cultivating an enough mindset, which I know is not culturally very acceptable. But to me, it’s a pathway to freedom, a pathway to a lot of joy and ease in one’s life.

george grombacher 4:24
In some ways, it’s directly related to two of your stories and maybe all three that your parents were talking about, go go go and we need to go 24/7 365 days you’re no breaks and I gotta get in that building to get my computer because yes, yes.

Spencer Sherman 4:42
Yes, exactly. And, you know, and of course, I’m being supported by the culture, which is very much I mean, all of advertising is about getting more changing what you have. And in this you know, once you have become a millionaire, you want to become the 100 millionaire, you want to become the billionaire, there’s you, we think that we won’t, that will stop, you know that somehow, once we get there, we’ll just be content. And my theory on this is that if you, if you keep training the brain, and we train our brains through our thoughts, there’s been a lot of research on this, that what you think and ponder will become inclination of the mind. So that’s a scary thought, but also a very exciting one. Because if what you think and ponder will become the inclination of your mind, well, then you have some say in the matter. And if you keep telling your mind that I’m going to be happier, I will arrive, once I hit once I win this lottery ticket, or once my assets double, or once I get this home, like I went to last night, then I’ll have arrived, then when you actually get to those levels, your brain is still has been conditioned to want something else. And you can’t reverse it at that point. It’s it, you’ve conditioned it. And what I what I’m trying to do with myself, my clients, my students, is to embrace this enough mindset, which, to me sounds boring on the surface. But I think anything is possible when we’re in that place of ease. It’s sort of a little bit like maybe being in the zone and sports. Or maybe you’re not desperate when you’re out in the dating world. You know, you’re you’re just at ease with what is. And in, I think more success is likely to come to us when we’re not in that frenetic place. I mean, especially with with investing, right, I’ve made my worst investment decisions when I was in the place of not enoughness.

george grombacher 6:41
That all really resonates with me a lot. I think. I think about contentment. Yeah. A lot. Is that are we talking is that it’s similar? Yes.

Spencer Sherman 6:52
Yes, that contentment, you know, might sound a little bit like, wow, I don’t wanna be content, I want to be ecstatic. I want to be on fire. But to me, contentment is, that’s the place where we’re connecting it a little bit to network, we’re more at ease. And when you’re at ease, when you’re in that zone place. That’s when our minds are most creative. That’s when like, we’re likely to see a new business opportunity or see a new way to, to, to improve our career at work, where we’re seeing the whole, you know, the whole forest, we’re not, we’re not in this in this tunnel vision anymore. And every employer wants their people to be in that more expanded mind state. So you can I mean, contentment also leads to like people wanting to hang out, hang out with you, George. And that’s a good thing, both professionally and personally. It’s like, you want to be that person who is exuding those good vibes instead of a vibe of, you know, it’s not enough. I’m not enough. I need to get more. That’s a that’s a vibe of, I’m not okay. Is not okay. It’s gonna be okay sometime in the future. But basically, I’m, I can’t rest until I get this thing. Which is really a common a universal thing. But it’s not just in the US culture. But it’s particularly blatant here.

george grombacher 8:24
It sounds like operating from a lack. Yeah, I don’t have Yeah.

Spencer Sherman 8:28
Yeah, you hit the nail on the head, Georgia, because it’s like, as you said, that I realized, it’s like, it’s the opposite of what we think when we’re actually always, when we’re always feeling like, we need more we think we’re in where like, that’s not abundance, thinking that scarcity thinking, because you’re actually in this place of fear. So let me add one more thing, just to make sure it’s clear that I’m all for everyone having huge, outrageous goals, like you might want to be a billionaire. But the difference is, is that you’re not holding it as there’s any, any profound change is going to happen. When you become a billionaire. You’re completely okay with yourself, you feel a sense of enoughness even if that doesn’t happen, even if you don’t get straight A’s, you feel okay about yourself. That’s a beautiful place to be and you can have those great, you know, have the have the outrageous goals go for it. But you’re no longer dependent on the on the outcomes because you don’t have full control of it anyway. And I think you’re more likely to get there when you bring that as you said that contentment. I mean, you keep showing up in the world with contentment, see what happens. I think some really great stuffs gonna happen. I

george grombacher 9:45
completely agree. And I think sometimes people can confuse complacency with contentment. I’m not complacent at all. And everything you’re talking about, it’s still a very, very healthy thing to want to strive and to improve Improve and to. It’s not I want different or better for the sake of wanting better. And because once I get those things, then I’m going to be happy. I’m happy now I’m content now. And the pursuit and working towards goals. That’s a very, very healthy and I think probably you’ve been an essential thing.

Spencer Sherman 10:20
Yeah, yeah. I mean, it’s, there’s been research on this, it’s like, well, I mean, I think the dating analogy I think people get people can really get when we’re not desperate to find a partner, the partner just shows up, you know, and it’s like, why is that? Well, I think it’s because no one wants a partner who’s desperately looking. And I think it also applies when we’re desperate for more money. We’re showing, I mean, I had one person interview with me, and I said, so why do you really want this job? And they said, I actually really need the money, like wrong answer, buddy. Like, you know, it’s like, I don’t want it. That could be one of your answers. But in the background, but I don’t want to hear that answer. I want to hear the answer that I’ve looked at your website, I love what your company is doing. I think I can add all this value. That’s why I want this job. You know, I don’t care that you need, you need the money right? Now, that’s not a reason to hire you. I want to hire the person who’s going to deliver who’s going to add value. So that’s just you know, another example of how we come across in that, in that if if that neediness gets out to people, it’s not attractive, and it will if you’re coming from that place of not enoughness it will leak out.

george grombacher 11:37
Yeah, that person said the quiet part out loud on accident. Yes, exactly.

Spencer Sherman 11:41
Exactly. Thank you for your honesty, but Right, right, you know, exactly. So it’s like, you know, when you watch some of the and you see this in sports, when you watch really great athletes, they’re actually not tense, they might be running fast, you know, up and down the basketball court, but they’re at ease. They’re not focused on winning the game. They’re focused on this moment right now. Like they are enough right now, whether they’re up 20 points or down 20 points in that game. They’re feeling like enough, they’re in the moment. And that’s the other thing. It’s like being in the moment with your life, instead of saying that, Oh, yeah, I’m gonna be, I’m going to be great. Once this thing happens later on in life. It’s a really, you’re missing so much of life when you put when you overemphasize the future like that.

george grombacher 12:35
I 100% agree. And I can’t imagine there’s too many people who are listening that said, No, that’s dumb. Like, probably everybody says, that is I would like to, I would like to be that way. But how do I, how do

Spencer Sherman 12:48
you get there, here’s, here’s a couple of like hacks for it is to start to start, start, start thinking of your day as being enough because we often have these endless to do lists. And I’m like others Rothesay. Oh my God, I didn’t get everything done on the to do list, I’m not enough, I didn’t do enough. And, you know, maybe shorten your to do list. Maybe say, if I get one thing done on my to do list today, it’s going to be enough. And see what generates from that. The other thing I like to do is like, if I have goals in life, I love giving myself very easy. goals like and then I do them like let’s say it’s, it’s put, you know, it’s saving money, I would say I would recommend start saving money, like start saving a very small amount that you know, you can do and then increase it once. You know, you’ve got a lot of successes, you know, let’s say it’s, you know, I can save 10 hours a week, keep saving 10 hours a week for four months. And if you’re if you’re consistent, increase the 15 hours a week or $20 a week. So that’s another way to sort of get at this enoughness. And then I’d say, you know, look at your this is a great time at this time of the year here we got the you know, the end of the year beginning of 2024. Is is look at your income and say and your expense. How can my current financial situation be enough? What if nothing changes? What if my business doesn’t take off this year? What if I don’t get a pay raise next year? Can Can I make what I have enough? And I think that is very liberating. It does something really beneficial for our minds state. When we’re living from that place of enoughness. Instead of like, I need more. It’s again, like you know what the guy was in the interview like going to your boss and saying, You need money because you don’t have enough? Not nearly as powerful as saying, Hey, I’ve been adding all this value over the past year. I know what other people make and Other companies in my position? And I’d like to I like to earn more money, what do I need to do to make that happen? Way more powerful? Right? So I think there’s a, you know, it’s a number of, you know, I started leaving these five minute buffers. After meetings like after this podcast, I got a five minute buffer before my next meeting, just to start to not be racing from thing to thing, which is a sign of scarcity. So bringing using little tricks like that, to bring a sense of enoughness, like when you’re driving, you know, we all know what it’s like when you’re driving, when you’re rushing, versus driving, when you have enough time, it’s a completely different experience, right? And imagine the accumulation of that on your body of always being at ease while you’re driving versus rushing. You, it’s not just that you’re going to have a, you know, longer healthspan or lifespan, but you’re going to you’re going to be more productive at work, when you show up and you’re at ease at work versus you’re frantic at work.

george grombacher 16:06
I completely agree. You talked earlier about what you what you think is what you become. And you have a say in that. Yeah, I like to think about, you know, I get to choose how I feel about things. I don’t have control over the circumstance, necessarily. But I get to choose how I think, feel and respond to circumstances in my life. Could that be a starting point? Just asking yourself, how would I like to feel about money? Yeah,

Spencer Sherman 16:31
I think that’s a great one. Because you know, a lot of us have this idea, like, you know, I’m not good with money, or money is evil, or difficult, or only those people are good with money. And I think that’s a wonderful thing to save yourself, you know, what do I wish I had, what’s the message I wish I’d grown up with around money and start stepping into that. And what gives us a little bit of permission to do this is that when I work with siblings of similar ages, they often have very different, very different characterizations of how they grew up around money, their beliefs can be polar opposite, really different, you know, like, one might take away, oh, my God, you got to spend money, because you never know what’s going to happen. It’s chaotic, money’s chaotic. So just spend it when you have it, the other one could have the belief, no, you should save it, because it’s so chaotic. So it gives us permission to kind of recreate a money belief that might really serve us now. And I’m not saying this, like this switch is just going to happen because those old beliefs are still in there. But as you as you start taking on this new belief and playing with it, maybe you just sort of say, I’m just gonna pretend today that I’m that I’m gonna, I’m gonna live as if I am someone who’s good with money, I’m gonna live as if, you know, money is actually a source of good, not a source of evil, I’m just going to see what that’s like to play with that can start to soften that original belief. And I have found that all you need to do, all you need to do is to soften that original belief. You don’t need to get rid of those old beliefs, I don’t think it’s even possible to get rid of them. And then you were just going to soften our allegiance to them.

george grombacher 18:21
A lot of it goes to what you’ve been talking about, of just making incremental change and taking your victories no matter how small they may be, and not beating yourself up if you don’t get everything done every day. Yes,

Spencer Sherman 18:36
yeah. Yeah. And just like in a situation when you’re, you know, at our How would somebody who doesn’t think money is evil or doesn’t think money is difficult? How would that person you know pay for lunch today? You know, what, how could you do that differently? And you’re just trying to you know, kind of retrain yourself it’s like what I said before about you know, the what you what, what the what you ponder will become the inclination of the mind is you’re kind of creating new grooves for the brain and we can do this with ourselves.

george grombacher 19:12
It is it is all possible love it. Well, Spencer, we’re ready for the difference making tip What do you have for us

Spencer Sherman 19:22
all right. I would say

I would say you know, it’s it’s, it’s this pause if you can start to interrupt yourself around money around your automatic behaviors around money to me that that will produce so much more insights and wise decision making. If you can just start to pause. So we tend to be really rather quick with money, like we’ll or impulsive, you know, we’ll be at the car dealership, and we’ll go to several car dealers. And then we feel this impulse, like I have to buy the car, I’ve been to four or five places. And if if we can just interrupt and slow that process down, like I said before, if you if you’re going to buy something, you know, instead of his shoe hitting buy online, is just wait three days and see if you still need it. That practice will not only start maybe decrease your expenses, but it will also align your spending more with your values. And it will, it will, it will increase the sense of resilience inside of ourselves. So we’ll have like, a little bit more like impulse control, because we often don’t have a lot of impulse control around money. And it’s so easy to act on money today. And this resilience had does wonders also for our mind, state, because we start to tell ourselves, that our happiness is more interdependent than so outer dependent. So that’s what we’re training ourselves here, like I said before, is like we’re really training this mind, to not, to not fix ourselves, every time that we get bored. You know, I noticed I used to do this, every time I got bored, I would go online and buy something, and it would help for 510 You know, maybe an hour or so I get I get you know, this dopamine hit, I get some pleasure from it. But that boredom would come back, it wasn’t a sustainable solution. So I think that that pausing yourself, because we have this bias to be very impulsive, especially with spending. Maybe, and maybe there’s some people are listening or the opposite who never spend. And their impulse is just like to deny, deny, deny. And for you, it might be the opposite, that maybe you do need to, to, to actually spend some times, but I liked the idea of seeing that your happiness is is really inside yourself. It’s not, it’s not dependent on what you’re purchasing. That is a huge leap in one’s life to make. And I think it will also help your bottom line. Because I noticed that just doing that has saved me tons of money. So many purchases, I have not made because of that three day rule of waiting three days, you know, sometimes I’ll just realize actually have something like that. Or I can borrow it from a friend and try it out first before I buy it. So it’s it’s definitely helped my cash flow. Well,

george grombacher 22:49
I think that is great stuff that definitely gets come up. It is way too easy just to act, and to buy things immediately. And then have them show up. Give it a little bit of time to breathe. Give it a couple of days. Give it three days. I love it. Spencer, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? How can they engage with you?

Spencer Sherman 23:07
Yeah, so I teach a bunch of stuff. I teach a program for accountants, attorneys, financial advisors, and coaches called the mindful advisor retreat. And that’s in Northern California tapping four times in 2024. And then for everyone else, I have a bunch of free resources that you can access. If you go to Spencer, Dash forward slash free, you’ll get my free resources. So either way, I think you’re gonna put all this in the show notes and my email. Feel free to reach out to me if you have a question or want to get engaged. I think engagement is the key to success, financial success, and less anxiety around your money is engagement, real engagement, not just being in fear or fantasy around money.

george grombacher 24:04
get locked in love it. If you enjoyed as much as I did show Spencer your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to Spencer dash for some great resources. And if you are a professional advisor, check out the mindful advisor retreat as well and get engaged. Thanks good Spencer.

Spencer Sherman 24:30
Thank you, George. Finally,

george grombacher 24:33
friendly reminder that never going to be anybody more interested in your financial success than you are like Spencer just said, so act accordingly.


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