What is The Radical Middle & How to Live it – EP 330

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In a world constantly trying to find and stick with its extremes, why not enjoy the best of both worlds? The radical middle applies to both our financial decisions and the choices we make every day. In this episode, Jen and Jill share the definition of the radical middle, its importance to our finances, and applying it to our lives–not just the middle but all sides of finding the radical middle. 

While there is sacrifice in living in the radical middle, you shouldn’t be deprived. Sacrifice is not deprivation.


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What is the ‘radical middle?’

The radical middle holds the balance between two extremes, like a pendulum. Often, we reside in either extreme, but finding this middle ground grants us the liberty to embrace both sides. Jen suggests we can learn from wisdom without fully endorsing it, as extremes affect many facets of our choices. It varies individually; Jill’s radical middle differs even from her spouse, and that’s okay.

Why is the ‘radical middle’ important? And what does this mean for our finances?

Extremes are everywhere in our everyday lives, but as the saying goes, “Anything excessive is bad.” It can be damaging. Jill says it is a tight grip on one thing to the exclusion of the other that often hurts us and others. Knowing and living our radical middle gives room for ourselves and the people around us to find workable solutions, rhythms, and ways of life.

This is not to say that you should no longer look at the extremes because we can certainly and inevitably visit our extremes. Jen mentions the No Spend Challenge as an example of visiting the extreme—it’s an extreme experiment as a means to save money or simply resist impulsive spending. The benefits of the said challenge can, at most, be seen in around 30 days (which can vary). It implements our creativity and problem-solving skills to consider ways of living that aren’t restrictive but instead pleasant with boundaries. Having a radical middle forces us to consider our wants, desires, skill sets, and capacities rather than simply adopting the blueprint of someone else.

How do you live in the ‘radical middle?’

Start with identifying the extremes you feel drawn to or pulled between such as asking yourself what extremes do you often live in (e.g. saving OR spending, deprivation OR extravagance, fun now OR fun later). It is easy to get influenced by the books we read, mentors, and social media, but Jen notes that it is also important to figure out why they say what they say.

Consider the reason why you’re drawn to certain extremes then think of the benefits of either end. Start replacing the “either/or” with “both/and” (e.g. find permission to spend AND save, pay off debt, AND invest, go on a vacation AND invest for retirement). Jill advises to find what’s comfortable for you. Continue to cultivate a mindset that pushes against binary options. 

What’s one way you’re currently living in the radical middle?

Right now, investing is the most radical middle-ground decision Jen has had to make, as she has always been more into the extreme end of the investing spectrum until life circumstances forced her to find the middle ground.

As per Jill, eating at home has always been her choice, but sometimes that also means buying prepared meals from the market or a meal kit delivery. It creates fun, uniqueness, and excitement around the reality of trying to save money on food. 

Bill of The Week

Thank you Brey for sharing your bill about paying rent and a $1500 check you received from the extra-mortgage and thanks baby for listening!! 

Thanks so Much for Listening!

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