Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Your Money or Your Life - Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin

I think I first read this life changing book back in 1996; it may have been even earlier.  It was written in 1992 at the height of the "greed" decade, those years when it was all about making more, getting more, having more.  It influenced my thinking ever since.

Joe Dominguez was a wall street financial analyst who retired at 31 years of age.  He and Vicki championed the idea of financial independence or "FI".  They have a detailed step by step plan from starting out with understanding how much you *really* are earning and what you are selling your life energy for to suggestions for investing in treasury bonds (not so lucrative these days, but still secure and paying).  Their steps to FI are succinctly:
1) reduce and keep your expenses to what you need
2) save the rest of what you earn
3) invest your savings in income producing assets

When the income from your savings cover your expenses you will have reached FI. Basically, you end up paying yourself.

Their approach was more than just about money.  It was about living sustainably and looking inside of yourself for fulfillment, rather than consuming and buying to soothe yourself.

Some notes I made back when I first read the book:

p 26    Beyond enough is clutter
p 28    Clutter is also meaningless activities, like TV, that add nothing to your life
p 35    Once you're above the survival level the difference between prosperity and poverty is simply in our degree of gratitude.
           *Money is what we trade for our life energy.
p 232  Breaking the link between wages and work - I'm paid to work as a manager, but I am a ____(fill in the blank)?  What do I love?
Your worth comes from who you are and what you give.  The real sign of success is the inner knowing that you achieved what you set out to do.
I felt so strongly about these principles that I made a practice of giving the book as a gift at graduations and weddings, much to the chagrin of my family, I suppose.  Money seems to be the last taboo subject, when it should be something we educate our children on early and often and discuss with friends and family what works and what doesn't in getting to financial independence because who wants to work their whole life?

I still pick up copies when I find them in used bookstores.  Read it and see if it doesn't put you on a different path too.

Published: 1992  Read: 1996, 2000, 2015  Genre: Non-fiction, finance

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