Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence by Vicki Robin
It starts off with sad profiles of people who are very unhappy in life because they are working very hard at their high-pressure executive jobs and make piles and tons of money that doesn't buy happiness. all their new houses and boats and clothes don't make up for the crazy work schedule so they're tired, etc etc. EVERY ONE of the stories starts off with "a power couple earning high six figures..." and then continues with their tale of woe.
I guess if I was writing a book, I'd want my target audience to be high earners too, so they can buy my books?
But I hate this because I really like to think that budgeting is for everybody! There's this whole awesome leanfire movement now based on families learning to live on less than $40K a year. Average household income in the US is $60-70K, depending on who you ask. I think at the least, your book should be targeted towards the AVERAGE people, right?
And average means average... that means there are a lot of families who make LESS than $60K a year. The message of this book is basically "Your really high paying job isn't worth killing yourself for!" But what if you DON'T have a really high paying job, you're splushing together 2-3 minimum wage jobs just to pay the rent? You would read this book and immediately throw it and never listen to finance advice again, because you don't have time to "learn to value your life energy"!
I really like to think that everybody can benefit from tucking away a tiny smidge of investment money every month. If you told me you save $10 a month in a separate account just for savings, I'd be like THAT'S GREAT BETTER THAN NOTHING! But this book talks in such huge numbers, people will just get frustrated.
At one point it hints on an important notion - America is among the wealthiest countries in the world, so we're all kind of rich. I wish they'd go into this more. The fact is, most all of us are here, reading this lj entry on a computer or device with internet, with time to peruse the web, so we are doing better than most of the world. They could go there. But it would require a case study profile of a family making less than $100K and I guess that is just not their goal.
The steps themselves are a little hit and miss.
Step 1: total up all the money you've ever made and stare at it so you feel like a wasteful asshole. that's not their exact words but it's basically the idea. I don't know why else you would do that. They say to look up ALL your past tax returns... hell if I have those.
Step 2: Figure up your real earning. Maybe this would help you... but basically you take your salary, and subtract all the money it takes to actually get your salary. Work wardrobe, extra car, hours spent commuting, drinking to forget... whatever your job requires that you wouldn't have to deal with if you didn't have it. I think this is a good exercise to do if you're new parents contemplating going from double to single income or you're on the fence about working, close to retirement. But if you're pretty sure you have to work, this will only make you resent the world.
Step 3: Create Monthly Reports for Yourself. Write down everything you spend and convert it to "hours of life energy spent" (actual words) so you feel really depressed about what it took to get that drive-through happy meal. This pains me because I really do love monthly reports but who cares about converting to hours? If the point is to spend LESS, let's just track dollars, shall we?
Step 4: For each expense, ask yourself if you "received fulfillment in proportion to the hours of life energy spent". Pure psychobabble.
Step 5: Keep a prominent (i.e. right on your kitchen wall) graph of income and expenses. This is good advice I support. In fact, I also do this. I don't draw income on my chart, but I want my whole family to know where we're at with expenses.
Step 6: Learn to Value your Life Energy by Minimizing Spending. Cut out all shopping and find your zero budget line. I think this should be step 1, not step 6.
Step 7: Maximize your Earnings. Be open minded about work, promotions, side hustles, etc. Ask for honest feedback from your coworkers about whether you're working smarter or leaving gaps that block opportunities. Okay.
Step 8: Watch for the Crossover Point when your investment earnings total up to more than you need to live. I think telling everyone to watch for it is like watching a pot that needs to boil. Patience is the game. I'd rather celebrate my investment victories as and relax about the mega-total at the end.
Step 9: Managing your Money. Invest it someplace smart, the book was revised recently to be okay with index funds over treasury bonds for obvious reasons. There are better investment books (Simple Path To Wealth)
So to summarize, I like step 2 for some people, half of step 3, steps 5 and 6, and maybe 7?
That's less than half. Not enough to recommend this book.