I just started reading Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin, the best selling personal finance book that shares 9 steps to transforming your relationship with money. I haven't finished snabblån reading it but I thought I would share with you my experience as I read. I'll break down the advice chapter by chapter and relate how I can apply the steps in my own life.
So far I've read the prologue to the 2008 updated version (if you have read an older version some of what is written is a little different, but not much. I believe the 9 steps are the same). The message of Your Money or Your Life is great: how you spend and make money should reflect your values and life purpose. That right there, that advice, is totally worth the $16 dollars I spent on the book. Much more in fact. Killing yourself working 80 hours a week as a day-trader, a dentist, or a financial planner is not worth the big paychecks if that way of life and that paycheck doesn't reflect your values and purpose in life.
If that advice stops me from buying something or borrowing money and makes me think: why? why am I doing this? Because my neighbor did it? Because my best friend did it? Because everyone else mortgaged their future for 30 years of payments? Well doing that doesn't reflect what I value or my purpose. That advice was worth the $16 dollars I put down for this book.
Thats part of the reason I sold my house, got rid of my car payment, and went back to school to become a teacher. Yes the money isn't the best, yes I have stress, but I value service to others, I value intellectual pursuits, being a leader, and a career that I will never fully "master" forcing me to constantly improve my craft (in other words my job is not boring).
Another aspect of the book that is refreshing (and not altogether about personal finance, but Robin makes a compelling case for it) is that our consumer culture is contributing the exhaustion of the earths resources. Since the 1980s we have outstripped the worlds resources faster than it can replenish them because of our consumption. By rethinking the way we spend money, maybe we can reverse that trend.
Your Money or Your Life makes the case for creating a new "map" for our finances and each of us should be our own cartographer. The old map was made during the industrial revolution when production and massive consumption was necessary for continued industrial growth. We've won that battle, so well in fact that its destroying the earth and our finances. Now that we are seeing the effects of the old "map" we definitely need a new one.