Your money or your life by Vicky Robin, Joe Dominguez

If you get an n+1 number of advice on how to manage your money, it’s always welcome because no amount (of money and advice) is ever enough! 

Money doesn’t live all by itself and work. It takes with it time, job satisfaction, quality of living, happiness and also relationships as companions. So when money is enough, all its friends live peacefully.



Author: Vicky Robin, Joe Dominguez
Originally Published: 2008 (Revised Edition)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 368
Genre(s): Non-Fiction, Self Help, Money Management

Our relationship with money and financial independence are two aspects that govern our lives. When Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez wrote the original book in 1992 ( a good 30 years ago), there were very few distractions for a common man to spend money on. That’s an era before the internet swamped our lives with ads and influencers. The latest edition of 2018 also covers that inevitable aspect of our life. 

That Vicki and her lifelong friend Joe could lead a consciously frugal life completely based on savings and investments became a curious case for everyone around them which led to their live shows, cassettes and this book. Our relationship with money includes our income, expenses, savings, investment, inflation, cost of living and the jobs we find and can do. We mistake our job for our life and live only on weekends. People who have followed the principles of this book start to save 25% of their monthly income and can go up to 50% while improving the quality of their lives. How does this happen and what are the 9 rules?

  • Making peace with the past: Assessing our total incomes, assets and liabilities. It gives a clear picture of how you came here and where you can go, without shame and blame by bringing in accuracy and accountability. 
  • Money ain’t what it used to be: Then what does money mean to you- physically, psychologically? Is it evil? Is it a way for social acceptance, power or security? Do you choose to trade your life energy in exchange for money? Calculate everything you spend to earn one single buck- including commute, leisure, vehicle wear and tear, meals, clothes you wear for work, vacations, job related illness, etc.
  • Where is it all going? We all know that budgets, like diets, don’t work. The only way is to be conscious of where we spend, on what and how much. Think about what you feel when you spend money and what made you do so. Balance out the desire to spend and the need for it. 
  • How much is enough? The nature of fulfilment: To ask oneself whether we have achieved the fulfilment in proportion to the life energy spent? If you didn’t have to work for a living, would this fulfilment enhance? The key here is not just Financial Intelligence but also having a purpose in life. 
  • Seeing progress: Plotting a graph of your monthly income and expenses in its minute details ensures you can see the progress. As the months pass, the expenses come down and you start realizing that your savings have increased. It motivates you to stay the course of financial planning.
  • The American dream – on a shoestring or just by being frugal. This term could well have been past its date now with more and more Americans being caught in the credit card trap. It is becoming all the more difficult to stay away from the lure of marketers who try and sell you a dream life. But it’s still possible- by using discount coupons, planning ahead, waiting for online sales, DIY and staying away from impulse shopping. 
  • For love or money- valuing your life energy- work and income: From the ancient times when people barely worked for a few hours a week to now when we barely have free time every day, we have come a long way. All for what? For luxuries and facilities we don’t even have time to enjoy. Work must also include time to relax, socialize, meet people and family members, but it never happens.
  • Valuing your life energy- Maximising income: Basically aligning the life energy that you spend on your job with the income you receive. High energy, high income. Never the reverse. 
  • The Crossover point : The pot of gold at the end of the wall chart: When you finally come closer to gaining the Financial Intelligence you so tried because you start enjoying Financial Intelligence. You understand the difference between savings and capital, the former being money put aside without spending and the latter being money that earns money. 

Now that you’ve got it, what are you going to do with it, is the actual test about how you put this knowledge to use. 

Why I recommend this book

  • Because most of us know how to earn money but we’re not wise enough to handle what happens to it later- spending, saving, investing and making money work for you.
  • Also because treating money seriously by assessing where and how you spend every penny goes a long way in saving more while living your best life. The key poi
  • nt I would emphasize is that being conscious about money earned and money spent leads you to cutting down on impulse and unwanted expenses

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