Your Money or Your Life: Book Review

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Today I am going to give a brief overview of the book Your Money or Your Life.  Let me say from the start that I think this book is a must read for anyone who is young and planning a financially secure future.  Like any book, there are things with which I disagree.  What I like most about the book is its unique and honest approach to financial management. 

The book is divided into 9 steps.  Each of the steps are designed to get you to do what Dominguez and Robin claim is the goal of financial management – financial independence.  Everything in the book seeks to enable the reader to achieve financial independence. Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin define financial independence as

having an income sufficient for your basic needs and comforts from a source other than paid employment (xxvi)


  • People spend so much time working for money they never have time for living.  This inevitably leads to an empty, meaningless life.
  • Our consumerist culture borrows from future generations and causes irrevocable damage to natural resources. 
  • Our actual time and money investment in work results in much less return that we might think.
  • We need to develop a standard where we know if we have enough.
  • Frugality opens many doors (with lots of practical suggestions).
  • Our understanding of work is fundamentally flawed.  We should be defined as persons, not occupations.

Nine steps are listed as the steps to financial independence.


  1. Making Peace with the Past – look into your spending history.  Are you proud of the results?
  2. Being in the Present – Tracking Your Life Energy – money = life energy. 
  3. Monthly Tabulation – Track all your spending
  4. Three Questions that will Transform Your Life – Did I receive fulfillment, satisfaction and value in proportion to life energy spent?
  5. Making Life Energy Visible
  6. Valuing your Life Energy – Minimizing Spending
  7. Valuing Your Life Energy – Maximizing Income
  8. Capital and Crossover Point – the point where you can live off the investment returns
  9. Managing Your Finances

Book Highlights:

  1. Activities and steps that help you see your current financial situation and help you set a vision for the future.
  2. Forces you to ask important questions about your life direction and the role of money.
  3. Challenges readers to set a standard for enough.
  4. Challenges some traditional assumptions – like income as the solution to money problems and cost of living.

Differing Opinion:

  1. The book seems to put a very negative spin on work.  The goal of life is not to escape from work, but to pursue work that you passionately enjoy.  Ultimately, the authors want to afford the readers the opportunity to do what they want in life without the dark cloud of responsibility.  Truth is, I take a much more positive view of work.  Work can be source of fulfillment and satisfaction.
  2. I could have done without a lot of the environmental spin in the book.  There is some validity to their statements, but I expected this to be about finances, not the environment. 

Craig’s Note: I labored with this review and ultimately came to the conclusion that I did not accurately encapsulate the message of the book, but alas time is upon us.  Let me simply say that this book was fantastic and I would put it on a list with some of the top financial books I have read.

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