Which would you choose? Earning money or having a meaningful, engaging life?
Suddenly people are talking about
Your Money or Your Life
– funny how it goes like that. The book was first published 17 years ago – but there is something very contemporary about its injunction to start living and stop being a wage slave – the authors call it “making a dying.”
We hope to run a diary soon from a young investment banker in Toronto who is about to start living in his car (a Porsche presumably) partly as a result of reading this book. It was him that first mentioned it to the Off-Grid editor.
The full name of the book is <a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0143115766?ie=UTF8&tag=offgridnet-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0143115766″>Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century</a><img src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=offgridnet-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0143115766″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />.
The authors say that you need to free yourself from dedicated consumerism and although there is some self-help manual hokum, millions haved responded to its message. There is a 9-step life-changing process you can go through. Step two is the central one – Since money is something we choose to trade our life energy for (central idea of the book), determine how much money you truly get for doing your job, including the fact that you have to spend money in commuting, clothing, meals at work, etc. and start to keep track of every penny that you earn and spend.
One comment on Amazon.com said “Just to illustrate the power of this step, I found myself making 25% (hourly rate) less than I thought I was by doing this exercise, and that takes into account the fact that I live 20 minutes away from my work and I half the time I bring my food from home.”
Another review on Amazon is worth quoting in full.
This slim paperback changed my life as no other book has, financially. The most important things I learned from this book are (1) Avoid consumerism and (b) Cut your expenses, easily. I agree with readers earning $30,000 a year that it is difficult to become financially independent on that kind of salary – I also know it’s difficult to live on $200k/year in NYC. (I mean it!)
I spent about $13 on the book. At the time I was technically bankrupt – unemployed, and living off a rapidly diminishing overfdraft. A month later, I got my wits together and – in one day- cancelled Call Waiting and 3-Way-Conferencing and a bunch of other options on my home phone; zapped the cell phone; cancelled my order for cable TV; joined the local library; un-subscribed to every mail-order catalog I was on; fired the maid and cleaned the place myself (quite satisfying; I mean, the latter); and lost all interest in Prada, Gucci, and keeping up with the neighbors. Immediate savings: $200 a month or more, before you get into the Prada stuff. That’s the best return on investment I’ve ever had. And I felt nothing but satisfaction – there was no sense of loss. It was as though I had been told by someone, you must have these things, these Palm Pilots, these gadgets in the catalogs; and I learned: Wrong! Didn’t need them at all. In fact, I felt quite smug about not having them.
This is not a bible for everyone. It did enable me to retire at 40. Thank you, Joe and Vicki. But whether you want to retire or just feel less owned by your job, you cannot read this book without yearning for FI and taking a cold, hard look at the ridiculous ways you are spending money today. There is so much pressure from ads to buy things you don’t need. Read this and wise up. Stop driving the Beemer to the gym. Buy a pair of sneakers and walk for an hour. Do your own gardening. Stop thinking “I am what I spend”. Start thinking, what would it feel like to be free?
I am adding to this 5 years into freedom. I’m not rich. I’m not insecure, which is the best gift this book has given me. My car is worth abt $5,000 – in my dreams- and I live in a place full of Bentleys and Mercs. My car gets me around, which is what a car is supposed to do. If someone totals it, I can live with that. I do the occasional splurge – but I do it because I can. I don’t track expenses. If something is expensive, I genuinely don’t want it.
This book is brilliant. It has some shortcomings, but they are so few in relation to the knock on the head I got from reading it. You don’t need half the stuff you have in your life. You probably don’t need three-quarters of it. And, in response to the liberal-bashers on this site, you don’t have to hug a tree to give the finger to the materialistic society that we live in.
Excuse the cliche but no one ever died wishing they had spent more time at the office. This little book has given me five years off to just enjoy the things I want to do. I was blessed to encounter it.
And, no, you don’t have to follow a 9-step program. Heck, I think I only followed one – I was wasting money wholesale w/o even thinking abt it, and I was a slave to consumerism. Read this book.
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