In their thought-provoking bestseller,
Your Money Or Your Life, authors
Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin lay out their nine-step plan to help readers
achieve "financial independence." The quest for financial independence
should not be confused with becoming independently wealthy. Instead, being
financially independent means "having an income sufficient for your basic
needs and comforts from a source other than paid employment." Central to
creating a more fulfilling life independent of paid employment is the
recognition of the price we pay for the money we earn.
This cost is described by the authors in terms of
"life energy," meaning, the precious and limited time each of us has here on
this earth. When you go to work each day, you are, in essence, trading your
life energy for money. The popular pitch "buy now, pay later" takes on new
meaning when you start to really assess the price of spending so much of
your life energy earning money so you can buy more things. "If you spend
your life energy on stuff that brings only passing fulfillment and doesn't
support your values," the authors point out, "you end up with less life."
Your Money or
Your Life is based on Joe and Vicki's
popular seminar "Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving
Financial Independence" and the authors offer themselves as living proof
that the program works. In 1969 at age 31, Joe retired from his job on Wall
Street "never again to accept money for any of his work." Vicki met Joe that
same year and began applying his financial principles which allowed them
both to serve as full-time volunteers working with various community service
projects in sync with their values.
Vicki later founded the New Road Map Foundation, a
non-profit charitable and educational foundation and began to lecture widely
on the topic of financial independence. Like Joe, she receives no
compensation for her speaking engagements. In fact, the New Road Foundation
is staffed entirely by volunteers, none of whom receive any salaries,
royalties, honorariums or personal expenses — including Joe and Vicki. Instead, all proceeds are donated to causes that reflect the authors'
Steps to Freedom
You're probably wondering how these two pay the
bills without a paycheck. The answer, they'll tell you, lies in following
nine steps. To give you a general idea of how the program works, step two
asks you to add up all the time and money that goes into having a job:
buying work clothes, getting ready for work, commuting, hiring others to do
things you have no time to do, as well as the things you do to help
decompress from work like escape entertainment, vacations, dining out and so
on. It can be a rude awakening to learn for example, that when you calculate
the time and money required to maintain your job, high hourly earnings can
easily translate to something closer to minimum wage.
Applying the first seven steps of the program for a
few months puts you in a position to fairly accurately project how much time
it will take before you reach what is called the "crossover point." Your
crossover point is the point in time at which you can expect be financially
independent. Of this time Joe and Vicki write: "Take a minute to think about
what would happen if you knew that you would have to work for money for a
limited, foreseeable length of time (say five years) instead of that vague
limbo of working until traditional retirement... For people who are highly
motivated to leave paid employment in order to follow another dream, the
‘finite period of time' is like the lure of the stables to a horse heading
home after a long ride. The homing instinct takes over and you fly toward
If you've been dreaming of a way to get off the
earn-more-to-buy-more treadmill so you can spend your "life energy" on the
things that matter most, Your Money or
Your Life may be just the wake-up call you need.
Sadly Joe Dominguez died of cancer January 11, 1997. His work lives on
through the thousands who have changed their lives through his example.]
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About the Author
"Profiting From Your Passions®" expert Valerie Young abandoned her corporate cubicle to become the Dreamer in Residence at ChangingCourse.com offering resources to help you discover your life mission and live it. Her career change tips have been cited in Kiplinger's, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today Weekend, Woman's Day, and elsewhere and on-line at MSN, CareerBuilder, and iVillage.com. An expert on the Impostor Syndrome, Valerie has spoken on the topic of How to Feel as Bright and Capable as Everyone Seems to Think You Are to such diverse organizations as Daimler Chrysler, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Harvard, and American Women in Radio and Television.
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