For the past couple of days, I’ve been reading the book Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. It’s a book I bought out on a whim as I saw it on sale at 20% discount. I was actually looking for another book, but when I saw the title, I remembered reading rave reviews about this book from some of the financial blogs I’ve read.
Money = Life Energy
The book describes money as life energy. I realized that having a job has additional costs associated with it in terms of life energy. For example, I use about an hour of my morning to prepare for my job. I buy clothes to wear at my job. I even have to take lunch, snacks and sometimes even dinner at the office canteen. Fortunately, I don’t have to ride a cab or drive a car to and from work. But even that takes time as I need to walk for around 15 to 20 minutes each way. To tell you the truth, I never really thought that I was actually spending money to have my job. The truth is, having a job actually costs money. And here I am thinking my job is supposed to pay me. 🙂
Track Every Penny
I just finished listing this month’s expenses. I was asking my wife earlier whether we could use a credit card to buy the groceries so that I don’t have to enter each item in the grocery list. But when I asked whether the credit card statement will show each item, like 100g of garlic, 200g potato, etc, she laughed out loud. Then I realized, the credit card statement will actually just list one entry for the whole grocery of more than 20 items.
The book also mentions something about a crossover point where the income from investments is enough to pay for the monthly expenses. To keep track on this goal, the book’s advise is to create a chart to plot each month’s personal income, expenses and income from investments. The chart tells a story. For some, it starts out as expenses greater than personal income, with lots of debts. Then gradually, debt is being paid up, expenses goes down, and income from investments moves up. At some point, when the income from investments matches the monthly expenses, the crossover point is reached. When this happens, I don’t have to “work” anymore. I can do whatever I want. I can sleep more and stay in bed in the morning. I can spend my time just relaxing and reflecting on life’s blessings.
The book is about discovering life. It challenges each person to have an honest self-reflection by reading through our own personal finances. It speaks of having the freedom to say “no” to our job and do our life’s purpose, or what the “Alchemist” described as “Personal Legend”. It paints life’s possibilities and dreams. It’s a very nice picture. And it is something I hope to achieve.