Money Books: YMOYL vs. All The Money In The World

There is no real “battle” between the much-acclaimed “Your Money or Your Life (YMoYL)” and the recently published “All The Money In The World (ATM)”.  In fact, they probably spring from the much of the same philosophy and focus on our relationship with money.  However, I think reading these back-to-back inspired me in completely different ways.

First some background…My natural frugal tendencies is often in conflict with some entreprenuerial impulses.  In general, frugality wins.  It’s not to say I  haven’t ventured out into more entreprenuerial territory but it’s definitely outside my comfort zone.   I have enough on my plate with my full-time job, commute, family, and other priorities in life.  Excuses aside, I sometimes wish I devoted more energy and money to earning more instead of just saving money via sales, negotiating and couponing.

“Your Money or Your Life” resonated with me because it largely supports an ‘alternative’ view of living, one  that is miles away from the rat race.  After finishing this book, I felt strongly that we should move to Italy with our kids.  I am ready for the next phase of my life, whatever that may be.  My husband is tired of life in the U.S. and we have always wanted to raise our kids in Europe, with Italy being the logical location.  While there are many cons, from economic woes to healthcare crisis, we felt that our kids would benefit from Italian culture and heritage.  

“All the Money in the World” appealed to my long dormant entrepreneurial side.   It made me question my choices and wonder if I should have been or become more focus on earning more, even if that means staying in the rat race.  That’s not to say ATM is the opposite of YMoYL.  In fact, ATM’s author is very entrepreneurial and has found her dream career, one that is lucrative enough and flexible for her and her family.  Much like YMoYL, she asks us to re-examine our choices in spending and questions whether our spending is aligned with our values.   The difference, is in the details.  While she cites examples from readers and other sources, I was most struck by examples from her own life.  In the chapter “Ode to a Ziploc bag”, she talks about our tendency to spend more as we get used to higher standards of living.  In one example, she recounts splurging on a $21.99 toy train for her son.  He has more than enough trains just as so many of us have enough shoes, clothes, electronics and other “toys”.   At what point is it enough?  However, what struck me more most about this example was that she could afford to spend that amount.  I want to spend on my kids without worry.  Would we be able to do that if we move to Italy and essentially start over?

My conflicting responses to these two books is probably more indicative of my state of mind than the intended messages.  I think both books have value and will make you examine your own money beliefs.

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6 responses to “Money Books: YMOYL vs. All The Money In The World

  1. I think at the core, both books are about opportunity costs. They have different focuses on where to be on the income/free-time/security curves, but they both acknowledge that the other choice is a fine one. That’s a very limited summary of both books, of course, and they do have much more to offer than that one idea, but if I had to pick one thing that’s probably what I would pick.

    • Good summary. Now I can head over to your blog and read your thoughts, which I didn’t want to read before I finished the book!

  2. Alright I will have to read them. Will they benefit someone who generally has their financial house in order and finds money talk basically not so interesting?

    • That’s a tough one! I do get burnt out about reading money but need reinforcement. If you’re looking for life changes, YMoYL is probably a better bet but I doubt you will want to do the exercises. Since your financial house is in order, you may benefit more from ATM. That one only has exercises to do in the last chapter and you can skip chapters if the main topic isn’t as interesting to you.

  3. YMoYL got my DH interested in money talk. It’s a book that will force you to think about career, life, priorities etc. Everyone I know who has read it has gotten something different out of it. It’s not the most fun read though. ATM is a very quick read, YMoYL is not.

  4. Ok, thank you both!

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