In 2015, Dan Price, the CEO of Gravity Payments, made an announcement that shocked just about everyone. He set a new, minimum salary of $70,000 for his employees. Sounds fantastic, right? It turns out that not everyone loved the idea.
The New York Times recently published a piece that reviews some of the fallout afterwards, including a handful of customers leaving the business:
Two of Mr. Price’s most valued employees quit, spurred in part by their view that it was unfair to double the pay of some new hires while the longest-serving staff members got small or no raises. Some friends and associates in Seattle’s close-knit entrepreneurial network were also piqued that Mr. Price’s action made them look stingy in front of their own employees.
Within weeks of the announcement, the company co-founder (also the CEO’s brother) filed a lawsuit. Clearly, there’s a lot happening with this change, and we’re only three months into this experiment. But I keep coming back to Dan Price’s catalyst for making this change.
After reading a study about happiness, Price decided to test one of the findings. Emotional well-being improves as income goes up, but appears to max out at around $75,000. By setting a minimum salary of $70,000, Price believes he can make a difference in the lives of his employees. And he probably can, but it got me thinking about how we define what qualifies as “enough.”
What would change in your life if your boss suddenly announced you’d make a minimum of $70,000/year? Would that be enough, or would you still worry about money?
Maybe you already make more than $70,000. If you’re already there and it’s not enough, at what income would you have enough?
This question of what qualifies as enough keeps nagging at me as I wonder if we’re asking the right questions about how much money we need to be happy.
Yes, we need to pay our rent or our mortgage. Yes, we need to pay our power bill and put food on the table. There are many things we need to pay for that make life easier and/or better. But once those needs are met, then what?
Over the next week, take some time to figure out your baseline. What qualifies as “enough” to live your life comfortably?
Just so we’re clear, this baseline will be different for everyone. What feels good to you may be completely different from your neighbor. Also, I’m not looking for people to abandon their homes or leave behind the things they really enjoy. But I am challenging you to get specific.
Does everything you buy add something to your life? Or does it just make you worry about the money you spent?
I’d love to know what you find out. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you feel like sharing.