Book Reviews

Anne Arundel County, Maryland

Your Money or Your Life
Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence
Copyright 1992 By Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin
Published by Penguin Books


Book Reviewed by Brent Herrick - May 8, 2008

Think of money that you gain by work as a trade of your life energy for whatever measure of it you can extract. Some do much better than others on the exchange rate, but in the end, all of us that work for money sell off a part of our life energy. This is a postulation that the authors have put forth. It rings true, and additionally they use this beginning point to show you that spending all of your acquired wealth to buy things, the newest car, the biggest house, or that once in a lifetime vacation is simply a way to keep you on the treadmill. We constantly end up trading away our lives in the form of work to acquire more and more of these things.

Does gaining more possessions give you a fair trade in this exchange for what most of us think will bring us happiness? No, generally we will find that our appetite has been sated only temporarily, and then we must look and work again for the next big thing that will make us happy. The authors make a great argument that all of this keeps us away from our goal of happiness and contentment. In various ways, they ask us to examine how much we think is enough, or when will we be satisfied.

Joe and Vicki then tell us to consider another option that involves first figuring out where the money goes, then finding ways to cut back expenditures to the point that the need to struggle for money disappears. In place of it is the opportunity to gather savings aimed toward the goal of financial independence. One day your income from investments will equal or exceed your living costs, and it is your choice how quickly that day will arrive based on your willingness to change your financial needs along with acquiring the saving habit geared toward FI or financial independence.

A major benefit of this book is the simple financial recommendations that the authors have put together that make all of it seem doable. See where the money goes, cut back expenses, and save until you have the amount required for FI. Reaching this point, they call the crossover point, is when you now have the choice regarding work. You can choose to work without pay, or choose the work you do. In any case it is your decision once you have achieved FI.

A good part of the book focuses on the social and personal benefits of not having to work, that allows you volunteer or choose your ideal work in the future if you choose to work at all. For some, it may come off as too much idealism or feel-good social activism, even to the point of preaching. Brush this aside if that is how you feel about it, but don’t loose the essential part of the book that infuses the idea that work simply to acquire things that you hope will give you happiness is a losing proposition. Research on this shows that both of these things are essentially true. Most people do not gain happiness from possessions or excess money, and feeling good does involve giving rather than receiving. Probably the best way to give is pointed out in this book, by volunteering your time and life energy toward a cause that gives you purpose and helps others.

I highly recommend this Book. It has many elements necessary to get you there, to your goal of retirement.
You can find it at your local libary or at

Disclaimer: Please consult a financial professional for your specific retirement objectives. The ideas presented here are for informational purposes only and do not represent legal or professional advice. Make any financial decisions at your own risk.

Reprinted with permission given by the reviewer: Brent Herrick

Copyright 2008 –