Your Money Or Your Life By Vicki Robin Book Overview

A fully revised edition of one of the most influential books ever written on personal finance with more than a million copies sold
“The best book on money. Period.” –Grant Sabatier, founder of “Millennial Money,” on CNBC Make It

"This is a wonderful book. It can really change your life." -Oprah

For more than twenty-five years,  Your Money or Your Life has been considered the go-to book for  taking back your life by changing your relationship with money. Hundreds of thousands of people have followed this nine-step program, learning to live more deliberately and meaningfully with Vicki Robin’s guidance. This fully revised and updated edition with a foreword by "the Frugal Guru" ( New Yorker) Mr. Money Mustache is the ultimate makeover of this bestselling classic, ensuring that its time-tested wisdom applies to people of all ages and covers modern topics like investing in index funds, managing revenue streams like side hustles and freelancing, tracking your finances online, and having difficult conversations about money.
Whether you’re just beginning your financial life or heading towards retirement, this book will show you how to: 
• Get out of debt and develop savings
• Save money through mindfulness and good habits, rather than strict budgeting
• Declutter your life and live well for less
• Invest your savings and begin creating wealth
• Save the planet while saving money
• …and so much more!

"The seminal guide to the new morality of personal money management." - Los Angeles Times


"The best book on money period." -Grant Sabatier, founder of "Millennial Money," on CNBC Make It

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"This is a wonderful book. It can really change your life." -Oprah

"The seminal guide to the new morality of personal money management." -Los Angeles Times

"Vicki Robin wrote the book on retiring happy. Now a whole new generation is taking her advice. [She is] the millenial money whisperer." - Money Magazine

Your Money or Your Life is a wise book...I am thankful to Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin for getting so much of this started, as are countless thousands of other people who are now more free than they could have otherwise been." -Mr. Money Moustache

"Now as never before, it's time to stop trying to 'get ahead' in a race that both fixed and futile, and figure out how to organize your life so that it can be your life. Your one precious life, lived for yourself and for your community and for your planet. Your Money or Your Life shows you how to make the shift." -Bill McKibben

"If you want to invest in your financial future and (more importantly) your long-term happiness, I can’t think of a better investment than Your Money or Your Life.” —Brandon Ganch, "Mad Fientist"

“Vicki Robin’s Your Money or Your Life offers readers the gift of meaningful, applicable advice so that they can achieve true financial independence on their terms. It is deservedly one of the most acclaimed and referenced financial advice books of our time and will undoubtedly continue that legacy for generations.” — Farnoosh Torabi, bestselling financial author and host of the award-winning podcast So Money

"[ Your Money or Your Life] changed my life...I started believing that my life controlled my money. I began to see my life without the weight of debt and the need to chase a paycheck because I actually understood the path to get there." -Trent Hamm, "The Simple Dollar"

About the Author

Vicki Robin is a renowned innovator, writer, and speaker. In addition to coauthoring the bestselling  Your Money or Your Life, Robin has been at the forefront of the sustainable living movement. She has received awards from Co-Op America and Sustainable Northwest and was profiled in  Utne Magazine’s book  Visionaries: People and Ideas to Change Your Life. She is also the author of Blessing the Hands That Feed Us: What Eating Closer to Home Can Teach Us About Food, Community and Our Place on Earth. She lives on Whidbey Island in Washington.

Joe Dominguez (1938-1997) was a successful financial analyst on Wall Street before retiring at the age of thirty-one by following the nine-step program he formulated for himself. He taught this formula for many years, and preserved it for future generations in Your Money or Your Life. From 1969 on, he was a full-time volunteer and donated all proceeds from his teaching to transformational projects.

Peter Adeney, better known as Mr. Money Mustache, is an influential financial blogger who retired financially independent shortly after turning thirty, and now writes about how to live a frugal life of leisure.


This work is dedicated to my parents, Jose Toussaint (1920-9 7) and  Rose Clermont-Toussaint; to Ernest Mandel (1923-95), Marxist  activist in word and deed; and to Carl Cesar (age 10) of Muriqui, Rio  de Janeiro state, in the hope that he will have both the desire and the  right to go to school; and to all those women and men struggling for  their emancipation.


My heartfelt thanks to Denise Comanne, without whom this work  would not have been possible. I also wish to thank the following  people for their help, their criticism and their encouragement, under­ standing and patience: Ivan, Tristan and Jose Toussaint; Rose  Clermont-Toussaint; Frans Maggio; France Arets; Annick Honorez;  Pierre Galand; Didier Brissa; Brigitte and Isabelle Ponet; Dalhia  Luksenburg; Anne-Marie Raison; Luc Pire; Philippe Tombal; Roland  Pfefferkorn (Universite de Strasbourg); Michel Chossudovsky  (Universite d'Ottawa); Patricia Camacho (Mexico); Bruno and Nadji  Linhares (Brazil); Gustavo Codas (CUT-Brazil); Ernesto Herrera, Aldo  Gili and Marita Silvera (Uruguay); Alejandro Olmos (Argentina);  Pierre Cours-Salies (Universite de Paris VIII); Christian de Brie (Le  Monde diplomatique); Michel Husson (IRES); Jacques Bournay, Gus  Massiah (AITEC); Bernard Teissier (ENSSIB, Lyon I); Florian Rochat  (CETIM-Switzerland); Robert Went (University of Amsterdam and  IIRE); Samir Amin and Amady Ali Dieng (Forum Tiers Monde,  Dakar); BintaSarr(APROFES-Senegal); friends at the AIRS (Algeria);  and the entire team at COCAD (Belgium).  This project was assisted by the CEDGVIII/B2. This institution is in  no way responsible for the ideas expressed by the author.


A growing number of the planet's inhabitants have access to little  more than the strict minimum necessary for survival. They are cut  off from knowledge and excluded from social life, denying them the  most basic form of human dignity. As a result, they lack selfconfidence and self-respect, they have little confidence in and respect  for others. It is very difficult to capture such things statistically, but  it would be no exaggeration to say that one billion people live in such  a state. A state that destroys all hope, a sub-human state. An unac­ ceptable state of affairs.  I am haunted by the memory of the 'street children' of Cartagena  de las Indias in Colombia. At the crack of dawn, dressed in their rags,  having spent the night sleeping on the ground 'protected' only by a  piece of cardboard, they wake to begin their search for glue to sniff. I  encountered them in 19 9 2, they were between the ages of seven and  eleven. They had no right to food, to decent clothing, to a roof over  their heads, to healthcare, to education, to affection.  These children, and thousands like them, had sunk to sniffing glue  in order to quell the pangs of hunger that they felt day and night.  What can the word 'break-fast' possibly mean to them? They have no  breakfast, no lunch, no dinner.

Globalisation and the  Neo-Liberal Offensive

THE DETERIORATION IN LIVING CONDITIONS:  EMPLOYMENT AND WAGES  During the 19 70s, the world economy began a long wave of slow  growth. This stood in stark contrast to the nearly 30 years of rapid  postwar economic growth that had come immediately before  (Mandel, 1972, 1978, 1982; Husson, 1996; Montes, 1996; Went,  1996).  During the period 1960-73, before the beginning of the long wave  of slow growth, the average annual rate of growth in the European  Union (known as the Common Market at the time) was 4.7 per cent,  in the United States 3.9 per cent and in Japan 9.6 per cent. Between  1982 and 1994, the respective growth rates were 2.1 per cent, 2.4  percent and 3.6 per cent (Montes, 1996).  The crisis that began in Southeast Asia will lead to even lower  growth rates in 1998. At the very best, the Japanese and South  Korean economies will grow by 1 per cent. The head of the US Federal  Reserve, Alan Greenspan, wondered if 'deflation might now be a  possibility' (Le Monde, 12 January 1998 and International Herald  Tribune, 9 January 1998). If this possibility were to become fact, there  could well be a simultaneous fall in prices, wages, household  consumption and industrial production. A new round of massive  dismissals in industry and services could take place the world over.  Even if such a sequence of events does not occur, it seems highly  unlikely that high levels of growth will be reached in the short term.

The Concentration of  Capital

A WAVE OF CORPORATE MERGERS AND TAKEOVERS  AND THE CONCENTRATION OF CAPITAL  Since the second half of the 1980s, there has been a large number of  corporate mergers and takeovers the world over. This wave has been  helped along by the neo-llberal policies described in Chapter 1. These  policies have meant privatisation and the elimination of government  controls on the acquisition of domestic firms by foreign capital. This  wave of mergers/takeovers can best be gauged by the rapid increase  in foreign direct investment (FDI) (see glossary).  Between 1985 and 1991, total FDI rose three times more quickly  than global trade. The vast majority of these investments have gone  into corporation takeovers and mergers. They have only been  responsible for a very small increase in productive capacity; usually  they involve property changing hands, leading to greater concen­ tration of capital on an international level (Chesnais, 1994).  Table 2.1 shows that, in terms of value, foreign investment in the  United States has gone much more into buying up existing  companies than into creating new ones.  A study carried out by the US Federal Reserve has revealed that  more than a third of companies acquired between 1984 and 1989  were resold during the same period.  Table 2.2 shows that in a great number of economic sectors, a  handful of multinational corporations control the large part of  production (called a situation of oligopoly; see glossary). Though  oligopolies existed before, they have become much more common  since the 1980s.

Globalisation and Exclusion:  the Marginalisation of the  Third World and the  Strengthening of the Triad

INTRA-TRIAD INVESTMENT  US multinationals have been behind a number of mergers and  takeovers - in Western Europe, above all, but also in Japan. They  would have liked to go further in Japan, but there are strict limits on  foreign acquisitions of Japanese companies. The multinationals of  the different EU countries have been involved in a great many  takeovers and fusions within what is now the Single Market, on the  one hand, and in North America, on the other. They have had even  less success than the Americans in acquiring Japanese companies.  Since 1989-90, German multinationals have bought up a number  of companies in the former Soviet Bloc, especially in countries with  whom Germany shares a border. Japanese multinationals have  invested in North America, Europe and their zone of influence in  Asia. Japanese companies have thus outstripped their competitors by  penetrating key markets while protecting their own with  government backing. US multinationals have topped the Europeans thanks to backing from their powerful government. As a result of  this process of fusion and acquisition, the international character of  the main multinationals has been given a boost, as has their  domination of the world market (Andreff, 1996; Chesnais, 1994;  Clairmont, 1997).

  STRENGTHENING OF THE TRIAD  In the area of global trade, too, the relative weight of the Triad has  been increased while most of the Third World has been further mar­ ginalised.

Financial Globalisation

INCREASE IN THE FINANCIAL ASSETS OF INDUSTRIAL  MNCs  Multinational corporations have adapted remarkably well to the new  global financial realities. No surprise, really, given their own  increased involvement in financial operations that are often far  removed from their largely industrial origins. A number of tradition­ ally industrial companies now come closer to resembling financial  outfits that make ongoing decisions based on the profitability of  investments made in their various subsidiaries and sectors of activity.  To all intents and purposes, they are financial houses with an  industrial focus.  In such a situation, even the biggest industrial concerns see their  productive operations as one among many forms of capital valorisa­ tion. The term 'global' is used to characterise the strategy of  multinational corporations; in the present context, it has two com­ plementary meanings. On the one hand, it corresponds to the  planetary (even if largely concentrated in the US-Europe-Japan  Triad) scope of corporate activity. On the other hand, it reflects the  fact that corporate strategy is ever more clearly based on asset val­ orisation - of both a financial and industrial nature, in broadly equal  parts (Serfati, 1996). Most industrial houses have set up enterprise  banks and credit establishments that handle their financial  operations. According to a study carried out by the MacKinsey firm  on 3 25 multinational corporations, such banks have been gateways  to success for those that have set them up.


AUTHOR'S NOTE  In this book the following terms are used interchangeably: Third  World, (the countries of) the South, the periphery, the developing  countries. These terms are generally used in contrast to: the Triad,  the main industrialised countries, (the countries of) the North, the  centre, the imperialist countries - also considered as synonymous.  BIS (THE BANK OF INTERNATIONAL SETTLEMENTS)  Founded at Basel as a public company in 1930 to handle German  reparations after the First World War. The BIS manages part of the  foreign currency reserves of the central banks. Its capital of 1.5 billion  francs-or is divided into 600,000 shares mainly underwritten by  European central banks, with the remainder held by private investors  who are entitled to dividends but not votes. The governors of the  affiliated central banks, mainly those of the Group of Ten, meet  regularly to promote good communication and close cooperation.  The federal banks of New York, Canada and Japan regularly send  observers. The BIS plays an important role in gathering data on inter­ national banking transactions, published in a quarterly report since  the early 1980s. It is responsible for handling financial risks  associated with the liberalisation of money markets. It also carries out  banking transactions, receiving gold and currency deposits mainly  from the central banks, selling the currency on the markets and  granting loans to certain central banks. Little research has been done  on the BIS, least of all in relation to the IMF.


Multilateral Debt  Debts due to the World Bank, the IMF, the regional development  banks such as the ADB (African Development Bank), and other multi­ lateral institutions such as the European Development Fund.

Private Debt  Loans contracted by private borrowers, regardless of the lender.  

Public Debt  All loans contracted by public borrowers. 

Rescheduling  Modification of the terms of a debt, for example by modifying the due  dates or by postponing repayment of the capital sum and/or the  interest.

Debt-Servicing  Repayment of interest plus amortisement of the capital sum. 

Net Financial Transfer  This refers to the subtraction of debt servicing (yearly payments interest + capital sum - to the industrialised countries) from the  year's gross payments (loans) made by the creditors. The net financial  transfer is said to be positive when the country or continent  concerned receives more (in loans) than it pays out. It is negative if  the sums repaid are greater than the sums lent to the country or  continent concerned. Since the mid- 1980s, the IMF earns more from  sub-Saharan Africa than it lends it. The net financial transfer is thus  negative in this region of the world.

Review from goodreads :-

Emily R. rated (5/5)

Recommends it for: anyone with debt or doubt

I could and will read and re-read this book, not for its literary value but for its simple explanations of concrete ways to observe your own connection with the material world. Whether or not you fully practice its program, it is the sanest and most convincing account of the importance of financial savvy for those of us who proclaimed, "Money and fancy material things don't matter to me - so why should I try to manage my finances?" Its message from ten years ago rings truer today than it did now, and I think my own generation will even more appreciate its message. I’m not a big self-help book reader. Yet, just the act of seriously studying this book and hence becoming intentional with my finances has relieved me of debt, anxiety about money, made me more in touch with what is really valuable and joyful to me, and inspired me to look toward a career as a financial counselor. I would recommend this book to all my friends for it surely has lessons for everyone!

Geof rated (5/3)

"This book's most popular Amazon review is surprisingly negative: 3/5 stars. I agree more with the 5-star Goodreads evangelists. That said, I have a few qualms with the book. It's dated and frequently redundant. Like most personal finance books, it's full of suspicious stories. The Epilogue summarizes in 9 pages what has been beaten to death in the previous 327!

At one point, the author talks about being financially secure whether the Dow is under 1000 or above 4000. When the book was copyrighted in 1992, 1000 was a crash and 4000 was ambitious. As of 1/16/2015, the Dow stands at 17,511.57, up about 450% since 1992 so the book's stock market wariness is exaggerated. Also, its advice to buy long-term US treasury bonds is terrible. The present interest rates on those bonds is pathetic: 2.69% on a *30-year* bond! Read in 2015, Chapter 9, which describes 6% US treasury bonds, reads like a quaint historical document.

The other chapters, though they occasionally make redundant arguments, are valuable. In essence, the book advocates extreme thrift in an effort to get off the consumerist treadmill. The goal is to live modestly and be time-rich, rather than to "live large" and be time-poor. It makes the compelling case that to always want something better is a recipe for perpetual unhappiness. To quote Lao Tzu, "He who knows he has enough is rich."

The book is sort of like an early 90s version of Mr. Money Mustache, who actually posted an excellent review of the book:

"Your Money or Your Life" proposes a nine-step program:

Step 1) Tally up all the money you ever made, look around you and see what you have to show for it.

This is sort of dispiriting step because you don't have anything to show for paying the rent!

2) Recalculate your salary to show how much "life energy" is devoted to your job. Track every cent you spend.

This is a useful step showing how commuting (time and money), buying work clothes, and eating out add to the cost of working for a living. It's also helpful in showing where all the money goes!

3) Tabulate your findings. Show spending in terms of "life energy" spent.

An illuminating step.

4) Did you like what you bought?

The book uses the phrase "gazingus pin" as a term for something you enjoy buying, but don't need.

My "gazingus pins" are Legos and DVDs. Who knows how many unopened "cheap" DVDs I've bought! "Your Money or Your Life" would argue "DVDs you don't open aren't worth your life energy. You only have a finite amount of time on the planet."

5) Make a large line graph with your findings so you can't deny your income and your expenses.

6) Value your life energy, minimize spending!

As Elizabeth Warren observed in "The Two-Income Trap," this is easier said than done.

7) Value your life energy, maximize income!

I suspect this step is easier said than done as well!

8) This step covers "Capital and the crossover point": when does your money start earning more than your job?

9) What to do with your money - outdated advice about how great US treasury bonds are.

To a certain extent, I enjoy savings more than spending so "Your Money or Your Life" is preaching to the converted for me. I think cost-tracking is essential when it comes to saving money and that Target and the mall are about the worst places on earth to pass time.

However, kids throw a thought-provoking monkey wrench into "Your Money or Your Life's" strategies. When you talk about extreme thrift, surely you can put art classes, play, basketball, Little League, mini-soccer, ice skating, and skiing on the chopping block. However, you only live once. In that life, how do you balance fun with saving? How much should you sacrifice for your children? One of the few child-related anecdotes in "Your Money or Your Life" involves a man whose parents paid for his college, but decides his kids are on their own. With dilemmas like that, you get into the thorny question of values: What do you want your kids to expect out of life? At the same time, as a parent, it's your life too.

With that in mind, I've heard MMM's and "Your Money or Your Life"'s strategies derided as "Live like you're poor now so you can live like your poor later."

There's the rub. "Your Money or Life" notes that you only live once, you don't want to spend your life working a job you hate to buy stuff you don't need. But you could also say you only live once, you don't want to live like a pauper and die with $1 million in the bank. How you strike that balance depends on your goals and values"

"Land practice intelligent use of your life energy (money) which will result in lowering your expenses and increasing your savings. This will create greater fulfillment, integrity and alignment in your life.🙂"

 Happy reading:)

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