Margin is an alternative way to communicate “space.” Remember when the English teacher ruined your life by announcing that you must hand write a two page composition? She would say, “Be sure to avoid writing in the “margins.” In other words, it was important to maintain appropriate spacing. The same is true for your finances. Financial margin creates space in your life. During this series, I’ll be focusing on the real and emotional effects of living WITH and WITHOUT financial margin. Ready?
PART ONE – LESS STRESS
I still remember the day that my family first established financial margin. It was in February 2003 and we had just received our tax refund. Instead of immediately using this money, we put it into our savings account. This meant that we were not able to attack debt with this money, but our eyes had been opened to the need of establishing financial margin. Depositing the check into our savings account was incredible, but it was the emotional feeling that surprised me! We were able to breathe in a way we had never breathed before. I’m talking about literally being able to breathe differently. With that one key decision, we eliminated a load of stress that we did not even realize was there.
Gone were the days of fearing the question, “What will happen next?” Over were the days of stating, “How in the world will we pay for THAT?” Instead of dreading the clunking sound coming out of the dryer, we could simply say, “Appliances break. Let’s purchase a new one – with our financial margin money.”
STRESS! It is the #1 reason why most people want to meet with a financial coach. The stress of living with no financial margin can lead to a lot of effects:
- Feelings of dread
- Marital discord (or even divorce)
- Snappy responses
- Feelings of scarcity/lack
Having money is certainly not the answer to all of life’s issues, but the establishment of some financial margin certainly goes a long way toward easing many of the struggles of daily life! I definitely know that is true in my own life.
With all of the negative consequences related to living life with no margin, is it not worth the effort it will take to establish some financial margin? I recommend starting with at least one month’s of expenses. Saving one month of expenses allows you to manage your finances with a monthly budget, even if you are paid at some other frequency. It won’t happen overnight, but it can happen faster than you ever thought!