Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin

This article was inspired by Joe Dominguez's and Vicki Robin's Your Money and Your Life . If you enjoy this article then consider purchasing or borrowing the book.


How to Obtain Financial Independence

“We buy everything from hope to happiness. We no longer live life. We consume it.” In order to obtain financial independence, you must cast away antiquated notions about the way money functions. For most Americans, work provides a sense of identity. It consumes most of our time and pays the bills. However, more time at the workplace hasn’t equated more money saved. As a matter of fact, life has become stressful for Americans, as they save less and get deeper into debt.

Consumerism has become a disease, poisoning our planet, our health and our personal lives. If you continue to see more cash as the solution to your problems, the money you already have will never be enough. To accomplish the financial independence you desire, follow these nine steps:

  1. “Making Peace with the Past” – Thoroughly develop a balance sheet, detailing your assets and liabilities. Determine how much money you have made and spent. By understanding what amount of money you need to have for survival and minimal luxuries, you can eliminate spending on frivolous expenses, which ultimately won’t bring you happiness.
  2. “Being in the Present – Tracking Your Life Energy” – What do you believe about money? How much is “enough?” Compute how much time and money you spend on work. Understand that “keeping up with the Joneses” ultimately won’t bring you happiness.
  3. “Monthly Tabulation” – Determine what products make you into a “binge spender.” Use this formula to properly understand cash flow in your life: Expense / “real hourly wage.” Understand how you use your life, not just your money. Put your expenses into categories and subcategories. This way, you can decide what you need and what you think you need.
  4. “Three Questions That Will Transform Your Life” – What amounts of happiness will expenditure bring you? Do your expenses support or inhibit your life goals, and are they at odds with your personal beliefs? If all the time and energy you currently exhaust was unnecessary and you were financially satisfied, how important would status symbols still be to you? Don’t look to your neighbors as examples of happy lives.
  5. “Making Life Energy Visible” – Follow the first four steps over a long enough period of time to determine trends. Make enough room on your graph to detect trends over five years.
  6. “Valuing Your Life Energy – Minimizing Spending” – Comparison shop and don’t shop just for the sake of it. Pay off debts before generating new ones (better yet, avoid them entirely). Take care of what you already have instead of buying new items.
  7. “Valuing Your Life Energy – Maximizing Income” – Find jobs that will pay you the most amount of money, while aligning with your passions and personal goals. Don’t get stuck in a job you hate.
  8. “Capital and the Crossover Point” – Make safe and reliable investments. Bonds are a good place to start.
  9. “Managing Your Finances” – You can obtain financial independence by being frugal and setting aside money as savings.

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