Thursday, October 29, 2009

Book Review: Your Money Or Your Life

I first read this intriguing book years ago and am now the proud owner of a very old copy, and a new (well, new but used) copy, as well. The most recently released edition has the following subtitle:
"9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence."
Tough to resist that one, isn't it?

The book, co-written by Vicki Robin and the late Joe Dominguez, is a bit quirky. They use lots of terms like "life energy" and "the fulfillment curve." But if you can take all of that with a grain of salt and get to the nitty gritty, I recommend the read.

Here's the gist:
Spending more money doesn't necessarily equal more fulfillment. This isn't exactly a newsflash, but you wouldn't know it by the way money flies out of our pocket for that cool new winter coat, now would you? The sooner we determine what does mean more fulfillment for us, the quicker we can maximize our income and stop wasting money on the rest. The trick: what means fulfillment is different for each of us.

More details:
Ms. Robin and Mr. Dominguez promote what they call Financial Intelligence, and their book outlines a 9-step plan to do just what the subtitle claims: change the way you look at and react to money, and change your life in the process. They walk readers through ideas like "We Aren't Making a Living, We're Making a Dying," and they help us calculate our "real hourly wage." As I read through the book the first time, the concepts resonated with me even though my lifestyle is very different from theirs. That's okay. The book isn't about becoming like them; it's about understanding who I am and using my money appropriately for me.

I found some of the information to be quite basic and if you're already living within or below your means you may feel the same way. That said, I still found the book valuable. This book isn't just for the novice. Those of us with good money practices in place can still be challenged by the idea that "money is something we choose to trade our life energy for."

For me, one of the things that really rang true was the idea of the fulfillment curve. For example, I enjoy eating out with my family. But a few years ago we fell into a habit of eating out any old time we felt like it, and, curiously, our enjoyment went down. Eating out wasn't a special event or time for our family anymore--it was just food. We consciously pulled back and began eating out less often and our enjoyment spiked. Huh. Lesson learned.

Fair warning: This program isn't for the faint of heart. There's quite a bit of thinking, and some actual homework. The 9 steps take time and commitment. But if you're ready to think about what money really means to you and choose how you spend the rest of your days in relation to it, give this book a look. You can even check it out from your library: it's free!


Heather said...

We very rarely eat out. I can't even remember the last time we ate in a restaurant as a family.

Craig and I ate out for our anniversary in September. We do, occasionally get take out though.

Hip Mom's Guide said...

Oh, I love a good night out when I don't have to cook or clean!