I read the book Your Money or Your Life, twice; that's how much I think it's worth reading. I don't think I ever read a book twice in my life except for maybe Cat in the Hat when I was a child. However, I should tell you, I read Your Money or Your Life over a 15 year time span. I read it the first time in 1992 when I was deep in debt, and again just recently.
The reason I read it twice was primarily because the book offers two concepts. The first, get out of debt. The second, how to build wealth and live independently.
If you're serious about getting out of debt, I strongly suggest you read this book. The key word is serious. This book provides incredible tools to get out of debt but you need to be prepared to be extremely disciplined to follow their plan, which I was in 1992. I was tired of being in debt. Really tired. I remember having to borrow clothes from girlfriends for a job interview because I didn't have the money to buy a suit at the time. And, I recall being asked for money on the streets of Chicago from a homeless man. I turned to him and said, I have $10 to last me the week. The suit I'm wearing was borrowed from one girlfriend, the blouse from another and the pair of shoes from another. I owned the underwear and pantyhose but that was it. Fortunately for me, I got that job which paid $30,000 a year. I felt as though I had hit the lottery.
The contents from this book include:
1. The Money Trap: The Old Road Map for Money
2. Money Ain't What it Used to Be - and Never Was
3. Where is it all Going?
4. How Much is Enough? The Nature of Fulfillment
5. Seeing Progress
6. The American Dream - on a Shoestring
7. For Love or Money: Valuing Life Energy - Work and Income
8. The Crossover Point: The Pot of Gold at the End of the Wall Chart
9. Now that You've Got It, What are You Going to Do with It?
10. Nine Magical Steps to Create a New Road Map
In 1992 I bought and sold all my clothes at secondhand clothing stores. I was losing weight during the time I was reducing my debt. Every time I changed sizes, I would take the clothes in to a clothing consignment shop to resell. With the money I made on the clothes I sold, I would buy the next lower size. The cycle continued until I reached my desired weight.
One day while I was bringing in my clothes to the consignment shop, the store owner and I began chatting. She said that the book, Your Money or Your Life, changed her and her husband's outlook on money so much that they both quit their jobs and started this consignment store! That must be some book I thought, I have to remember to get it at the library.
The next day I ordered the book from the interlibrary system since my local library didn't carry it. I figured if someone changed their life that drastically over a book, I had to read it!
I devoured the book when I got it. Much of the first part of the book referenced how to live frugally and recommended Amy Dacyczyn's book The Tightwad Gazette. I was already familiar with these books so I knew these authors were on the right track.
I followed the authors’ directions to the letter by creating spreadsheets, and wall charts, and journaling, I did it all. I was so sick of being in debt and although I was making a lot of progress, I wanted to catapult my progress to the next level. Accelerating the process of getting out of debt was my goal and I just couldn't stand being broke anymore.
Fifteen years later, after being out of debt for a long time, I decided to read the book again. But this time I would focus on the second half of the book which talks about living life on your terms. It focuses heavily on career choices, decreasing expenses so that you have a surplus of an income, and putting a roadmap together to become financially independent which is referred to as “the crossover point. "
I haven't reached the crossover point, and to be honest, I'm still developing a plan to do this. I still work a corporate job and rely solely on my employer for my income. Sure I have saved quite a bit over the years, but I lost at least a decade of savings because I was so deep in debt. I look at the financial appearances of friends and colleagues. I've decided that either they were blessed by not being in debt or hiding the debt their in and wonder if I can make up for lost time.
Don't get me wrong, I don't know that I'm so tight with money that I can track every cent that comes in and out of my wallet as the book suggests. But, in the spirit of the book, I think the second read has given me a chance to reevaluate my spending habits and continue to dream new dreams.
My next goal, be completely mortgage free. I hope in the next five years to have my house paid off in full. Then, maybe I will quit my corporate job and own a consignment clothing store too.
So many advisors have the opposite opinion of whether you should pay off your mortgage or not. My feeling is, I want to be free. I don't want to owe anyone anything. If I want to take a year off to travel the world because I don't have any obligations, then being completely debt free gives me that freedom. I hope that someday soon I will only rely on myself for income but for now, that's not likely.
My parents, friends, financial advisors, authors of sound financial books, and mentors helped me get out of debt. Even a store owner of a clothing consignment store gave me the name of this book. If you think my book is too strict and requires too much discipline, Your Money or Your Life probably isn't for you. If after reading my book you felt you really wanted more hard core rules and instructions to get out of debt, then this book is definitely for you.
The author, Kimberly A. Griffiths, has been through the vicious cycle of debt herself, and provides a no-nonsense system to managing your money paycheck to paycheck. Visit the One Paycheck at a Time Web site for articles and tools to budget your household: http://www.OnePaycheckataTime.com