Kate and I have been recently reading a relatively (say that three times fast) famous book in money circles called Your Money or Your Life. The book, written by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin in the early 90’s, is known as the seminal book on aligning your money with your values. So basically what our blog wants to discuss. And I am somewhat sad to admit, it does a ridiculously good job discussing that whole proposition. It offers a 9-step program that aims to transform your relationship with money, discover your purpose in life, and effectively and efficiently use your life to follow that purpose. It challenges assumptions you didn’t even realize you had and it threatens to bring both reduced anxiety and a new sense of passion to your life.
Each chapter is organized around a step of the program and have titles such as “Money Ain’t What It Used to Be - and Never Was”, “How Much Is Enough? The Nature of Fulfillment”, and “For Love or Money: Valuing Life Energy - Work and Income”. The topics range from the practical (such as how to best track expenses and keep yourself motivated), the philosophical (the implications of redefining work), and the enlightening (categorizing volunteer work into three types: helping/caring, advocacy, and innovation). Some of the most interesting and inspiring parts of the book are the numerous stories of people who changed their lives (and others’ lives) for the better by transforming their relationship with money.
It is disconcerting how Kate and I have read and discussed a lot about finances over the last five years, come up with what seemed to be a unique viewpoint about money and morality, and then found out that there was a book written with our same thoughts published around the same time I was learning how to tie my shoes. Why hasn’t all of American and Christian culture been changed by this book and its message over the last 20-some years? If you want to read a very thoughtful and intelligent book about how to spend your values, quit reading this blog and head to your local library to check out Your Money or Your Life.
That being said, it is not written from a specifically Christian perspective and is a little bit out of date on the how-tos, so perhaps there is something left for us to write about. It doesn’t make any explicit mention of how faith or Christian values fit into the picture (although intelligent thinking Christians such as yourselves will surely find it easy enough to adapt the message for that purpose). It was also written during a time period where high interest rates on bonds made those a viable long-term financial independence strategy, and knows nothing of modern financial tracking tools such as Mint, Personal Capital, YNAB, or even the humble spreadsheet. Regardless, the main principles and examples of the book are still quite enlightening, and we highly recommend the book to those who want another (similar) viewpoint to what you find here.