The Lagom Money Mindset
Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.
If there’s one word that defines our lives today, it’s this: excess, or the search for it. We live in a world that constantly tells us that there is not enough. Not enough time, not enough money, and certainly not enough weekends in a week. And it offers a quick fix - more. More is always better. Always. It's hard to keep up. I mean, when was the last time you bought something that you didn’t really need (and probably didn’t even want in the first place)?
In Sweden, we are taught by a very young age about the importance of balance. It applies to everything from our working hours to how many slices of cake we eat in one sitting. It’s based on the principle that things are sufficient, exactly enough. Not too little, not too much. But just right.
It is so ingrained in our culture that we even have a word for it. Lagom (pronounced lah-gom).
The backstory is that the word comes from the Viking term “laget om”, which means “around the team” and comes from the custom of passing a horn of mead around and ensuring there was just enough for everyone to get a sip.
The philosophy is beautifully simple, and offers an alternative to the idea of always seeking the next best thing. I see it as the space between minimalism and excess.
There have been many attempts to try to translate this word into English, but I don’t really think words like sufficiency or moderation cut it.
I define it as optimal. It’s flow. It’s ease. It’s your sweet spot. Think of Goldilocks: you are looking for the bed that is right for you. For who you are and for what you want to do. That’s the beauty of it.
My lagom isn’t the same as yours.
The Lagom Money Mindset is all about the balance between needs and wants. It’s about enjoying a good quality of life today while not letting longer term goals slip away. It's about focusing on the essentials and valuing yourself enough to build your own safety net. This mindset allows you to step away from overconsumption, anchor yourself in your priorities, and ultimately live the life you want.
After all, money is not everything that a rich life depends on. Linea Dunne writes in her book Lagom: The Swedish Art of Living, “a lagom amount of money is enough; beyond that, our happiness levels depend on other factors.”
I believe that when you use your money in a way that represents you, not just as a response to the market economy or your society but also as an expression of who you are, you feel vibrant and alive. And that is what will lead you to have a much more fulfilling experience of life and money.
Find your lagom.