Commas, Spaces, and Margin


I can’t say I spent a lot of time thinking about it either, until this week. I read some really long and complicated #hashtag online (that ended up not being worth the mental effort), and blissfully thought how grateful I am for spaces - and commas, for that matter. 

And then I thought more about how sometimes we live our lives like those compound-worded hashtags.

All jammed and mumbled together. No space. No breath. No margin.

We run our budgets this way - it’s restricting. 
We run our calendars this way - it’s exhausting. 
We run our businesses this way - it’s crushing.

It depletes us. And yet (a lot) of us do it without even thinking about it, on some type of autopilot program that’s locked the pilot out of control.

Life has busy seasons - I know this. Sometimes there justisntalotofspace. And that’s ok. But let’s try and make those moments the exception, and not the standard. 

Add a buffer or fun category to your budget. And be ok with it. 

Schedule a nothingness day on your calendar. And protect it. 

Relax your demands (on yourself and your team). And model it. 

Breathe a little more. Everybody, including yourself, will be better off because of it. 

Interesting Resources 

1. Of Dollars and Data - The Goldilocks Zone of Personal Finance
“The Goldilocks Zone of Personal Finance:  Enough money to have comfort, security, and motivation, but not so much that you add guilt, stress, or existential longing.  It’s not too little and it’s not too much.  It’s just right.” 

Pretty insightful article on the sweet zone of wealth. People really low on the wealth spectrum have certain areas of financial stress, and people really high on the wealth spectrum have different areas of financial stress. Both sides seem impossible for the other side to fathom. 

It reminded me vividly of Proverbs 30:8-9: 
“8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
    give me neither poverty nor riches,
    but give me only my daily bread.
9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
    and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
    and so dishonor the name of my God.

2. Capstone College Partners - Stanford Removes Home Equity Value from Financial Aid Calculation

File under //: Things that are getting fixed that shouldn’t have needed fixing 

Stanford, along with a few other high pedigree universities, have removed home equity when determining a family’s financial needs analysis. Counting equity “against” a family always bothered me - it back-handedly encourages families to leverage their home instead of paying down their mortgage. So it’s encouraging to see some schools start to reverse course on this. As the article points out, many middle income families are house rich but cash poor. 
I’m as guilty as anyone else when it comes to not being intentional enough in creating space in my life - finances included. This writing was an equal part admonishment to me as it is to everyone else. But let's make improvements together. 

Last note: wow. Thank you for the avalanche of replies last week on Cheap vs Value. I might have to do a follow up Fident Friday just composed of the analogies and examples provided. I love the replies, so keep them coming. 

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