Your Money or Your Life: Final Reflections

YMOYLThis is the thirtieth and final part of The Simple Dollar Book Club reading of Your Money or Your Life. Want to know more?

Your Money or Your Life has done more than any other book I’ve ever read in terms of changing how I view money. It truly brought to life the connection between the choices I make every day and the greater decisions I make about my life, and it opened my eyes to the value of frugality and day-to-day personal responsibility about my financial bottom line and that of my family. I really can’t pay it any higher compliment than that.

To me, the one single factor that makes a book essential is that it significantly affects your thinking and/or your actions. In other words, a book becomes essential solely due to the effect that it has on readers. Regardless of the quibbling disagreements I had with Your Money or Your Life over specific details, it has arguably had more impact on my life than any book I’ve ever read.

When I first read it, I was already realizing that I needed to get my financial life in order, but I didn’t see the real connection between money and daily life. I was stuck deeply in a mindset of I work, I get paid, I work some more, I get paid some more. This book revealed to me that such a routine doesn’t really have to be the plan and, in fact, isn’t entirely healthy. Now, I view life as work to do stuff I like and minimize the expense of it all so I can have more time to do stuff I like. Money is nothing more than the tool you use to maximize the time doing stuff you like.

That doesn’t mean I wholeheartedly subscribe to everything in this book. I feel, as many readers do, that in many places the political views of the authors come into place quite strongly, with a lot of environmentalism and a bit of New Age touchy-feely type material. The book also could use a much stronger section on investing advice, as that advice really only applies to people who are on the verge of having enough money in the bank to live off of the interest in a extremely secure investment – not advice on how to get there.

But that’s not the point.

The point of the book is to encourage people to rethink their life choices from the ground up in a very tangible fashion, something that very few books manage to pull off. In fact, the connection between the abstract (living an alternative lifestyle) and the concrete (figuring out exactly what that costs) is the core of the genius behind this book, and it’s why it is the only personal finance book I’ll universally recommend to any reader.

If you’d like to review all of the readings in the book club reading of Your Money or Your Life, here’s a list of each reading and a link to all twenty-nine discussions. This is a great page to bookmark if you’re thinking you may read through the book at some point in the future.

Prologue (pages xxiii to xxxviii)
The Money Trap (pages 1 to 9)
Prosperity and the Planet (pages 9 to 21)
The Beginning of a New Road Map for Money (pages 21 to 29)
Step 1 – Making Peace with the Past (pages 29 to 39)
Money Ain’t What It Used To Be (And Never Was) (pages 40 to 59)
Step 2 – Being in the Present and Tackling Your Life Energy (pages 59 to 75)
Where Is It All Going? (pages 76 to 87)
Totaling It All Up (pages 87 to 108)
How Much Is Enough? The Nature of Fulfillment (pages 109 to 112)
Three Questions That Will Transform Your Life (pages 113 to 128)
Assessing the Three Questions (pages 128 to 145)
Seeing Progress (pages 146 to 157)
Getting Your Finances Out in the Open (pages 157 to 165)
The American Dream – on a Shoestring (pages 166 to 171)
Ten Sure Ways to Save Money (pages 171 to 181)
101 Sure Ways to Save Money (Part One) (pages 181 to 197)
101 Sure Ways to Save Money (Part Two) (pages 197 to 212)
Additional Thoughts on Cutting Spending (pages 213 to 218)
For Love or Money (pages 219 to 231)
The Stunning Implications of Redefining Work (pages 232 to 246)
Valuing Your Life Energy – Maximizing Income (pages 247 to 258)
The Crossover Point (pages 259 to 268)
The Power of Working for a Finite Period of Time (pages 268 to 279)
The Freedom to Choose What You Do and Do What You Choose (pages 279 to 291)
Now That You’ve Got It, What Are You Going To Do With It? (pages 292 to 305)
Three Pillars of Financial Independence (pages 305 to 318)
Cushions Make For Softer Landings (pages 318 to 327)
Additional Resources (pages 337 to 343)

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