Honestly, where do I even start with this book?
I had been wanting to read it every since I first heard Vicki Robin’s voice on the Mad Fientist Podcast. Immediately, I reacted to her idealism and environmental attitude, something which is deeply important to me, but which I often miss in the larger financial independence community.
She talked about how she was so secure at this point that she could take larger risks, giving back to her community and investing in clean energy projects. “What a woman!” I thought to myself, and it only took that one podcast for me to admire and look up to her.
Since then, I always look forward to whenever I see another podcast featuring Vicki Robin pop up in my feed. When I heard there was a new edition of Your Money Or Your Life coming out in 2018, I knew I had to have it.
So for this, there are no clever hacks or tips to access a book for free like I did with the Frugalwoods review. I simply turned on my kindle, found the book, hovered over the buy button for a few seconds, and then it was mine.
It stayed in my library for a week or two, waiting as I was to travel to Svalbard for work. I knew I would like to have something to read on the trip and in the evenings after work.
It is a self-help book, which is not a category I normally peruse, but it is written in such a way that it is still very much an enjoyable read.
I will admit, in the beginning I did not think I would learn much from the book.
After all, was I not already saving half of my income? Were we not already steadily on our way to a path paved with freedom?
But of course, as those of you who have already read the book can testify to: That is not what Your Money Or Your Life is really about.
It is more about looking at your life as honestly as you can, and to identify where you are spending your money in line with your dreams and goals, and where you are not.
It is about honesty and priorities and knowing down to your bones that the pursuit of money is not the end goal. It is just a means to an end. A sentiment that will sound familiar to anyone who reads the Mr. Money Mustache blog (who also wrote the foreword).
As the author herself so succinctly put it:
If you live for having it all, what you have is never enough. – Vicki Robin
Your Money Or Your Life is all about having “enough” and finding out where exactly that “enough” point lies for you, personally.
Throughout the book, she keeps reminding you that this will be individual for everyone, and that no two people will have the same point of enough, but we all have one.
Another important mantra that is repeated throughout the book is the “No shame, no blame” phrase.
Recognising that a lot of people experience great shame and guilt related to money and how they engage with it, Vicki goes to great lengths to ensure that the book is written in a kind way that, as much as possible, eschews guilt and finger-pointing.
Being honest with yourself can and will be difficult, and I do think the kindness and non-judgemental attitude the book presents can go a long way in making the message easier to swallow for a lot of people.
In some ways, you could say this book is about tracking. It encourages you to track your income, your expenses, and whether or not those same expenses bring you joy or are in alignment with your goals.
But to say this book is only about tracking your income and your expenses would be wrong. The tracking, while important, is really just a tool towards greater understanding and honesty about more underlying issues.
When you track every penny, you cannot hide from yourself just how much money you spend on that 2 pm snack run, or those shoes you never wear. It is all about honesty and transparency, and the tracking is a crucial part of achieving that.
The book also talks a lot about money and our attitude with money. What it is, what it is not, and what it can be used for. For many, we attribute far too much value to money. It strives to remind us that there are other valuable currencies in this world as well, such as natural resources, friends and family (social capital), health and knowledge.
But I suppose, more than anything, what really pulled me into the book as soon as I read the first few pages, was her immediate dive into the connection between humans and how we treat the planet.
Putting the planet and environmentalism at the forefront could be considered a somewhat controversial choice in this day and age, which is why I love her even more for putting it right there in the beginning of the book. No hiding it at the end or wrapping it up in cloudy language.
We, as humans, are dependant on treating the earth well and not depleting her resources for ourselves or the next generation.
I dream of the day when Earth Overshoot Day will finally fall on a date later than last year, and continue it’s path towards the end of the year from thereon out.
Have you read Your Money Or Your Life yet? Did you read the old edition before the new one was released? What did you think about it? Would you recommend it to friends and family?
Or is it still on your reading list?
For myself, I think this is one of those books I’d like to purchase, maybe even a few copies of it, and then lend it out to various people for continuous re-lending. Perhaps with a little note inside the cover about where it came from and who had it before it came into your hands.
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