Your Money Or Your Life: Resistance!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, right now I’m reading “Your Money Or Your Life”, a best-selling personal finance book.  Because I’m not organized enough right now to review, I’m jotting down my impressions as I go along. 

So far I’m getting a lot out of the book.  At the same time, I’m a bit resistant to some of the messages.  I suppose some push-back is natural and human.  I know that in the end, I’ll probably embrace a new way of looking at things and my relationship with money.  However, I just like to play Devil’s Advocate sometimes.

Acceptable Lifestyle? For example, while the writer really emphasizes lack of judgement about your past choices and lifestyles, I can’t help feeling that only a certain frugal mindset is really acceptable, and that approved life does not include gadgets or Starbucks.  Maybe I’m wrong and this feeling will pass as I dig deeper into the book. 

Most Chores suck:  There’s the implication that you’re paying for cleaning help, gardeners, cooking and other chores because you don’t have time due to work.  I know that’s true in many cases, including for our household. At the same time, I hate certain chores.  I’d much rather be selling widgets than mopping floors.

Life Energy Fuzzy Math:  I still haven’t calculated how much time I spend working in order to live a certain life, or my “real” wage once you factor in drycleaning, commuting, eating out etc..   I definitely agree that much of my spending is directly or indirectly related to work. However, I think the writer attributes way too many costs simply to work, like vacations, nicer clothes, and wine just to name a few.  I would like to travel even if I didn’t work.  I wouldn’t spend as much on clothing or drycleaning but it’s not like I wouldn’t like new clothes for my daily life.  Working or not, I would spend just as much on good wine!

Now on to the good…

Spending Personality Revelation!   I thought I was really good with money (well, I got good with money in my 30s..) However, after reading the early chapters, I realize that I’m just as much a slave as a Wall Street Broker/yuppie who must keep up with the Joneses.  I attribute security to money, so much that I’m unwilling to take risks.  I have a tendency to underspend or hoard money with spending bursts that have little to do with my ideal life goals.  I’m going to really ask myself the tough questions and try to align my spending better with my dreams/goals. 

I’m having a lot of trouble answering the questions about fulfillment and what I would do if money wasn’t an issue or if I had one-year to live.  I think I’ve forgotten my childhood dreams, too, and the ones I do remember are not aligned with my goals today.

Back to reading…


10 responses to “Your Money Or Your Life: Resistance!

  1. Sounds interesting!

    • If you get your hands on this book, which I highly recommend, please share your thoughts. As I’m a slow reader, you can probably catch up to me quite soon.

  2. Keep plowing away and keep sharing your thoughts. This book was enormously influential to us when we read it for the first time, and it changed *everything* about how we think about money, consumption and spending.

  3. The big judgment I got about acceptable lifestyle was how important it is to be environmentally conscious. And I thought that was laid on a bit thick, even for someone who is sympathetic.

    I didn’t get the idea I shouldn’t pay for other people to do chores… I sort of felt the opposite, that it was saying money was a tool that could be used to optimize my time. My “enough” might just pay for other people to do things I don’t want.

    I would travel a lot more for fun at my own expense if I didn’t work! As it is, I travel too much, even if all expenses are paid for me. But the kind of calculations he talks about are pretty common in my work when trying to see if our heuristics about how people should react to major life changes in terms of their consumption are valid.

  4. I’m enjoying reading your reactions to this book. I had some points of disagreement with the real wage stuff too. Like where they said you should subtract gas/transportation costs for getting to and from work. Maybe this is a factor for some people, but I don’t live that far from work, so any gas I use going there would be more than made up going other places even if I didn’t have to work. Another dispute I had was with time getting ready for work. I’m still going to shower and get dressed, even if I don’t go to work (well, most days anyway) so I can’t see that as a real factor either.

    Oh, and based on the reaction to your YMOYL posts, I went ahead and launched the online YMOYL book club. I hope you and some of your readers will join us, cause right now it’s feeling pretty lonely!

  5. If you read other literature (there’s lots of online stuff too) of this ilk, it really helps to clarify some of the major points made in Your Money or Your Life, namely a momentous shift in perspective and mindset that influences all your decisions, both big and small.

    “However, I think the writer attributes way too many costs simply to work, like vacations, nicer clothes, and wine just to name a few. I would like to travel even if I didn’t work. I wouldn’t spend as much on clothing or drycleaning but it’s not like I wouldn’t like new clothes for my daily life. Working or not, I would spend just as much on good wine!”

    Now, the authors are in no way advocating that you don’t participate in activities that you enjoy. The point they make about vacations and booze is that we often feel we need these things simply to decompress from work, as working often takes a huge toll on us. If we didn’t have to work in jobs that drained and stressed us, we wouldn’t feel so much like we desperately needed to ‘get away’ on holiday or relax our bodies with alcohol, cigarettes, etc.

    I’m reading this book right now as well and I’m nearly done. I was frugal-minded before I started it though, so many of the points made are already familiar to me. I would highly recommend it and many other books to people struggling with money or even just struggling with certain aspects of life in general.

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