Book: Your Money or Your Life

your_money_or_your_life“Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence” By Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez
  • “The word is enough. At the peak of the fulfillment curve we have enough. Enough necessities for our survival. Enough niceties for our comforts and pleasures. And even enough little ‘luxuries.’ We have everything we need; there’s nothing extra to weight us down, distract or distress us, nothing we’ve bought on credit, have never used, and are slaving to pay off. Enough is a fearless place. A trusting place. An honest and self-observant place. It’s appreciating and fully enjoying what money brings into your life and yet never purchasing anything that isn’t needed and wanted.”
  • “Isn’t meaningless activity a form of clutter? How many of the power lunches, cocktail parties, social events, and long evening glued to your screens have been clutter—activities that add nothing positive to your life? What about disorganized days full of busyness  with no sense of accomplishment? And what about tasks on your to-do list that never get done?”
  • “Hobbies are clutter intensive when the ratio of what you have to what you use climbs—like the photography buffs with suitcases full of lenses and filters who get their best shots with a smartphone.”
  • “Money is something you trade your life energy for. You sell your time for money.”
  • “The only real asset you have is your time. The hours of your life.”
  • “Rather than thinking that buying a new car will make us happy, we can wonder what does make us happy, and whether happy could come from a day at the beach rather than three years of monthly car payments.”
  • “Knowing money is life energy allows you to maximize and optimize your most precious resource: your time; your life.”
  • “Think of all the monetary expenses that are directly associated with the job. In other words, if you didn’t need that money-earning job, what time expenditures and monetary expenses would disappear from your life?”
  • “A job that requires longer commute or has more costuming expectations might be less remunerative in reality than one with a lower salary.”
  • “Once he recognized how many of his expenses were due to his job, he was able to reduce or even eliminate many of them. For example, he began bringing his own lunch instead of sending out to the deli, switched from driving to using mass transit (doubling the benefit of this choice by using the time for decompression on the way home) reevaluated the supposed need for so many changes of stylish clothes, and even began exercising by taking a daily walk with his wife (improving their relationship as well as their health).”
  • Job related time/money expenses:
    • “Commuting:
      • wear and tear for commute miles
      • gas and oil
      • public transportation
      • parking fees
      • tolls
      • maintenance
      • walking or  bicycling
    • Cabs/Ride-sharing
    • Insurance
    • Costuming:
      • clothes bought for work
      • makeup bought for work
      • impressive briefcase
      • shaving for work
    • Meals
      • coffee breaks
      • lunches
      • entertaining for work
      • food rewards for unpleasant job
      • convenience food
    • Daily decompression:
      • time until kids are allowed to yell again
      • additional time till civil
      • additional time till able to do anything
      • recreational substance
    • Escape entertainment:
      • movies
      • bars
      • cable TV
      • online subscriptions
      • game systems
    • Vacations, “toys” (if compensate for job):
      • exercise equipment
      • sports equipment
      • boat
      • summer home
    • Job-related illness:
      • colds, flu, etc.
      • massages to relieve aching back
      • hospitalizations for stress-related illness
    • Other job-related expenses
      • hired help to
        • clean house
        • mow lawn
        • babysit
      • day care for kids
      • educational programs
      • professional or trade magazines
      • conferences
      • life coach”
  • “Keep track of every cent that comes into or goes out of your life.”
  • “My awareness of how I was spending my money allowed me to rein in wasteful spending in a way that felt instinctual, and then put that money towards the things that were more important to me and my overall happiness. Those few hundred dollars of savings each month quickly added up to cover a three-week trip to Europe! Being more efficient with my money meant I was happier overall, saving more money for the future, and less stressed about spending money on things that bring me joy.”
  • “You need to identify and follow internal signals, not external admonishments or habitual desires.”
  • “You need to observe and adjust your patterns of spending over the long term, not what you spend over the short term.”
  • “It’s about identifying, for yourself, what you need as opposed to what you crave, what purchases or types of purchases actually bring you fulfillment, what represented ‘enough’ to you, and what you actually spend money on.”
  • “It is based on consciousness, fulfillment, and choice, not on budgeting or deprivation.”
  • “Those magazines drain your energy three times over: once in earning the money to buy them, again in staying up late to read them, and finally in feeling guilty when you haven’t finished them by the time next issue arrives (to say thing of having to store or dispose of them).”
  • “It’s fairly easy to know what fulfillment is in terms of food or other temporary pleasures, but to have fulfillment in the larger sense, to have a fulfilled life, you need to have a sense of purpose, a dream of what a good life might be.”
  • Questions about your dreams:
    • “What did you want to be when you grew up?
    • What have you always wanted to do that you haven’t yet done?
    • What have you done in your life that you are really proud of?
    • If you knew you were going to die within a year, how would you spend that year?
    • What brings you the most fulfillment–and how is that related to money?
    • If you didn’t have to work for a living, what would you do with your time?”
  • “Did I receive fulfillment, satisfaction, and value in proportion to life energy spent?”
  • “Is this expenditure of life energy in alignment with my values and life purpose?”
  • “Who might this expenditure change if I didn’t have to work for money?”
  • “The trick to doing this evaluation is to do it objectively, without rationalizing to yourself why the expenditure was so high or low and without condemning yourself by agonizing about how you spent so much in that category. The key phrase to remember is ‘No shame, no blame.’ Couples have also found this step a valuable way to discuss differences in their spending habits with equanimity and objectivity.”
  • “Cheap thrills come from external rewards. Deep thrills come from ‘being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.'”
  • Examples of cheap thrills:
    • “Pleasing others
    • Getting an A
    • Providing ourselves to the bully from third grade who still lives in our minds
    • Beating out the competition
    • Making it onto whatever top-ten list you worship
    • Winning
    • Not winning but getting a trophy anyway
    • Scoring big–in romance or sales records”
  • purpose
    • “Work with your passion, on projects you care deeply about.”
    • “Work with your pain, with people whose pain touches your heart.”
    • “Work with what is at hand, with the opportunities that arise daily for responding to the simple needs of others.”
  • “You don’t have to know precisely what you would do if you didn’t have to work for money. You don’t even have to want to do anything other than your job. You just need to ask the question of each expense category: How would expenditures in this category change if I didn’t have to work for a living?”
  • “If you weren’t spending most of your time making money, life could be a whole lot cheaper! Because your days are consumed by your job, you need money to handle every other aspect of your life–from day care to home repair, from entertainment to being listened to with compassion.”
  • “You will automatically begin to spend less on those things that don’t support your values and life purpose, and you will feel better about yourself, knowing that increasingly your are putting your money where your life purpose is, integrating your material life with your inner awareness.”
  • “Frugality is enjoying the virtue of getting good value for every minute of your life energy and from everything you have the use of.”
  • “If you have ten dresses but still feel you have nothing to wear, you may be a compulsive shopper—the thrill of getting is greater than the joy of having and using.”
  • “Waste lies not in the number of possessions but in the failure to enjoy them.”
  • “Your success at being frugal is measured not by your penny-pinching but by your degree of enjoyment of the material world.”
  • “To be frugal means you have a high joy-to-stuff rain. If you get one unit of joy for each material possession, that’s frugal. But if you need ten possessions to even begin registering on the joy meter, you’re missing the point of being alive.”
  • “The ‘more is better and it’s never enough’ mentality in North America fails the frugality test not solely because the excess, but because of the lack of enjoyment of what we already have.”
  • “Once we’ve acquired the dream house, the status car, or the perfect partner, we rarely stop to enjoy them thoroughly. Instead, we’re off and running after the next covet acquisition.”
  • “For many of life’s pleasures it may be far better to use something than to possess it (and pay in time and energy for the upkeep).”
  • “If you stop trying to impress other people you will save thousands, perhaps millions of dollars. If you must, impress people with how much money you saved with your creative DIY project or travel hack, or the natural beauty you experienced while coping instead of going to a resort.”
  • “But do I need to travel to faraway places to find novel experiences? Remember, substitution as a frugality strategy isn’t about downgrading pleasure. It’s about ensuring that I get precisely what I am seeking for less–or nothing at all. I’m not limiting myself (waaa!); I’m focusing myself (yum!).”
  • “When you feel a desire to shop, take time to trace it back to the need and ask if creativity rather than consumption might best fill it.”
  • “People don’t need enormous cars; they need respect. They don’t need closets full of clothes; they need to feel attractive and they need excitement and variety and beauty. People don’t need electronic equipment; they need something worthwhile to do with their lives. People need identity, community, challenge, acknowledgement, love, joy. To try to fill these needs with material things is to setup an unquenchable appetite for false solutions to real and never-satisfied problems. The resulting psychological emptiness is one of the major forces behind the desire for material growth.”
  • “Growth potential, communication channels, interest in work, and recognition make a job satisfying–not pay.”
  • “Breaking the link between work and wages has as much power in our lives as the recognition that money is simply something we trade our life energy for. Money is our life energy; it take its value not from external definitions but from what we invest in it. Similarly, paid employment takes its only intrinsic value from the fact that we are paid to do it. Everything else we do is an expression of who we are, not what we must do out of economic necessity. By breaking the link, we regain quality, values, and self-worth as our bottom line. By breaking the link, we can redefine work simply as whatever we do in alignment with our purpose in life. By breaking the link, we get our life back.”
  • “Retirement doesn’t mean you stop working. It means you can stop working for money.”
  • “Interestingly, in traditional financial planning 4 percent is also a key percentage fo calculating retirement income. It’s known as the ‘safe withdrawal rate.” With a blended portfolio of stocks and bond funds, withdrawing 4 percent of your capital each year is considered a safe allowance to pay yourself once you no longer work for income. This 4 percent rule preserves your capital, protects against inflation, and gives you an annual income to cover your expenses.”

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