The Plan for Financial Peace: A Synopsis of "Your Money or Your Life"
One of the definitive books to hit the simplicity and self-sufficiency movements is Your Money or Your Life. In it Joe Dominguez, a retired Wall Street broker, along with his partner Vicki Robin, attempt to help readers redefine their relationship with money by taking an intense look at their current relationship to money. It is an in-depth process, but one that ensures that the reader comes out better for for the time they've taken. Thanks to taking a hard look at his own relationship to money, Joe was able to make a few strategic investments-- which did not make him a millionaire-- simplify his lifestyle, and he never worked for money again. He was able to live on about $5000 - $6000 a year. In this book, he shows you how you can, too.
How Much Money Have You Made? Making Peace with the Past
One of the first steps readers are invited to take is to calculate just how much money they have made in their lives. While you could estimate, you are strongly encouraged to dig out old pay stubs and tax records. The it is important during the whole process to be as honest with yourself as possible.
The next step is to evaluate your assets and liabilities. This means counting everything that you own and all of your debt and subtract. This is your current net worth. After assessing just how much you have earned in your lifetime, you take stock of exactly what you have to show for it. Sounds painful, doesn't it?
How Much of Your Life are You Surrendering to Your Job?
Each of us has only a finite amount of time on this planet. Dominguez and Robin ask, “What are you doing with yours?”
Take a close look at how much you are earning weekly. From that deduct all of the expenses that are related directly to having your job, such as business clothing, gasoline, lunches, supplies. Also consider the activities or items you use to wind down from your job. Work related illnesses also take away from your earnings.
After that, you are encouraged to calculate just how much time you are spending on your job. This doesn't just mean the hours you are scheduled to work. Consider, also, the time you spend preparing for work, any work you might bring home with you and travel to and from work everyday. Also count any time that you need to wind down from work or just relax. Add it all together.
Count up your income minus the money you spend on having your job, then divide that figure by the number of hours you spend on your job. This is how much you really earn for every hour of your life that you surrender to your job.
Where is it All Going?
Once you know just how much every hour of your time is actually worth, you are ready to track every cent that comes into or goes out of your life. In this step you keep track of every cent you spend. You are encouraged to carry around a small notebook with you so that you can mark down every transaction in real time. In this way, you are not able to fudge or give yourself any leeway. What you have is an honest and accurate account of every cent that leaves your life and exactly where it is going.
Changing Your Relationship With Money
Changing your relationship with money begins with a clear-eyed awareness of just what your life energy is worth and what you think is valuable enough to spend that life energy to obtain. Once you really know the value of each dollar you spend, you will be able to make more informed decisions about how you spend your time, your money and your life energy. The program that Dominguez and Robin have created to help you develop that awareness is painstaking and at times painful, but it will help you to really understand just where you are putting your energies.
Your Money or Your Life?
Where to Spend Your Life Energy
Too many people surrender dreams, do not spend the time they want with loved ones, fore go enjoyable activities in the name of earning a living. But many people, once they take a cold, hard look at what they are actually surrendering, reconsider. Most people, regardless of income, feel that they simply do not have enough. They believe that they must work harder in order to get more. But more is a destination that is rarely ever reached.
This is the point in the book when the authors encourage you to consider the following questions:
Did I receive value, fulfillment and satisfaction in proportion to life energy spent?
Is this expenditure of life energy in alignment with my values and life purpose?
How might this expenditure change if I didn't have to work for a living?
In this book you are asked to consider not “More” but “Enough.” People's lives have been transformed by following the program set forth by the authors. It is not easy to take such an appraisal of one's self or one's circumstances, but once you do, you run the risk of having peace.