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.