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 Content Editor

Your Money or Your Life

By Vicki Robin

(9 Steps to Transform your relationship with Money and Achieving financial Independence)

About the Authors:
VICKI ROBIN is a prolific and well-known social innovator, writer, and speaker. Robin has been featured in hundreds of media stories in various outlets, including the New York Times, NPR, The Oprah Winfrey Show, People, and many more. She lives on Whidbey Island, in Washington.

JOE DOMINGUEZ (1938–1997) was a successful financial analyst on Wall Street before retiring at the age of thirty-one by devising and following the step-by-step program presented in this book – Your Money or Your Life.

PETER ADENEY, better known as Mr Money Mustache, is an influential financial blogger who retired financially independent shortly after turning thirty, and now writes about how to live a frugal life of leisure.

Your Money or Your Life

If someone thrust a gun in your ribs and said that sentence, what would you do? Most of us would turn over our wallets. The threat works because we value our lives more than we value our money. Or do we?

The key question is - Are we making a living or making a dying? Are we killing ourselves, our joy, fun and freedom because of our jobs? Are we sacrificing our lives for money?

The book starts by asking these very basic but powerful questions like -

• Do you have enough money?

• Are you spending enough time with family and friends?

• Do you come home from your job full of life?

• Do you have time to participate in things you believe are worthwhile?

• If you were laid off from your job, would you see it as an opportunity?

• Are you satisfied with the contribution you have made to the world?

• Are you at peace with your money?

• Does your job reflect your values?

9 Steps to create a Road map to FI (Financial Independence)
Make Your Balance Sheet ?

The purpose of this exercise is to increase your awareness.

Find out your total lifetime earnings —everything you own and everything you owe. Remember “No shame, no blame” – Be Dispassionate and create your Balance Sheet.

• List and give a current market value to everything you own.
• List everything you owe.
• Deduct your liabilities from your assets to get your net worth.
• This will create a direction and consciousness for your financial Life

Track your Life Energy – Your Real Hourly Wage

Money is something we choose to trade our life energy for.

Our life energy is our allotment of time here on earth - the hours of precious life available to us. When we go to our jobs, we are trading our life energy for money. You could even say that money equals our life energy.

How much are you trading your life energy for? Establish the actual cost in time and money required to maintain your job, and compute your real hourly wage.

• Deduct from your weekly income the costs of getting to and from work; the cost of the clothes you buy to wear at work; the extra cost of at-work meals; the amount spent to relax and wind down after the stress of a workday; job-related illness; and all other expenses associated with maintaining yourself on the job.

Find out your real hourly wage.
The key here is to Keep track of every cent that comes into or out of your life.
Keep a Daily Money Log, because it’s the best way to become conscious of how much money comes and goes in your life as opposed to how you think it comes and goes.

Where Is your money Going

• Create a table every month of all income and all expenses within categories generated by your unique spending pattern.

• Balance your monthly income and outgo totals.

• Convert ‘dollars’ spent in each category to ‘hours of life energy’.

Three Most important Questions - Will Transform Your Life

1. Did I receive fulfilment, satisfaction, and value in proportion to life energy spent?

2. Is this expenditure of life energy in alignment with my values and life purpose?

3. How might this expenditure change if I didn’t have to work for a living?

“Create a Wall Chart”

Create a large Wall Chart plotting your total monthly income and total monthly expenses. Put it where you will see it every day.

When you do this step the first month, you have a snapshot — a very revealing one — of your habits around money.

But the real learning, and the real fun, come as you plot the figures month by month, year by year.

Find “Quality of Life & not “Standard of living”

• Learn to define your true needs, be conscious in your spending.

• Master the techniques of wise purchasing. Research value, quality and durability.

• You are spending your most precious commodity — your life energy. You have only a finite amount left.

• ‘Quality of life’ often goes down as ‘standard of living goes up’.

Valuing Your Life Energy — Maximizing Income

Respect the life energy you are putting into your job. Money is simply something you trade your life energy for. Trade it with purpose and integrity for increased earnings.

How well are you using your energy both on and off the job? Is your job consuming or wasting your life? There is nothing in your life that is more valuable than your time.

• Ask yourself: Am I making a living or dying?
• Examine your purposes for paid employment.
• You have only X number of hours left in your life. Determine how you want to spend those remaining hours.

Move towards FI (Financial Independence)

Here, the possibility of Financial Independence opens up.
This step shows you how you can perhaps leave paid employment a lot sooner than you would have ever thought possible.
What you should begin to see in your wall chart is a growing gap between income and expenses — that is, savings.
This gap is not the money you discovered and chose to splurge- it's called ‘capital’.
Capital is money that makes more money. It keeps working for you and produces an income as surely as your job produces income.

When you put capital in a bank or invest in an income-generating instrument, it is an investment.

With a light pencil line, project the monthly investment income into the future.

At some point in the future, it will cross over the total monthly expenses line.

That is the Crossover Point.

At the Crossover Point, you will be financially independent. The monthly income from your investment capital will be equal to your actual monthly expenses.

Managing Your Finances

The final step to financial independence: become knowledgeable and sophisticated about long term income-producing investments. Invest your capital in such a way as to provide a safe income, sufficient to meet your basic needs for the rest of your life.

Conclusion - There is more to life than nine-to-five. Go experience it before it’s too late.


The information provided in this synopsis, write up or podcast is designed to provide helpful information on the subjects discussed. The information provided in this synopsis, writeup or podcast does not infringe any copyright or intellectual property right of any third party. The information provided in this synopsis, write up or podcast should not be copied as it contain intellectual property rights of the publisher and author.


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