About this time last year, I submitted a couple of items for Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools website. They never used the submission, but today I received an email from them asking for more information on the submission. I’d forgotten all about the submission so it was nice to revisit it. Just in case they don’t publish it, here’s what I wrote:
Your Money or Your Life
By Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin
This small book packs a big punch, especially if you’re truly
interested doing some deep thinking about your relationship with
Dominquez retired at age 31 and stopped acccepting money for his work.
His core message is one of simplicity. The book prompts deep
thinking about the meaning of "enough" and how your values line up
with your spending and acquisition habits. There’s a strong emphasis
on the concept of wholeness–the idea that your work, your
relationships, your spending and your values all fit together and
complement each other.
One of the primary ideas promoted by the book is an in-depth review of
every penny you’ve ever earned and spent. The book maintains that
until you really know how you spend, you won’t really change your
habits. This is a task that is at once both daunting and humbling.
The next exercise is to assess your net worth: your assets less your
liabilities. It is difficult to come up with an accurate assessment
of how much you’ve earned in your life, and in many ways it’s more
difficult to stare at that number and and know how little you have to
show for it.
Once you know what you’ve made and where it went, the book coaches you
on making a budget and then tracking your income vs. your spending.
They go a step further and advise you to evaluate all your spending
against your values and ask yourself whether it was really worth it.
The idea is that at some point, your monthly graph will begin to
change as your spending lines up with your values. The book
encourages putting all extra money into bonds–not stocks or mutual
funds, but low yield bonds. The book maintains that eventually,
you’ll spend no more than what you earn and after enough time, you
will no longer need to work for money because the return on your bond
investments will be sufficient for your greatly reduced needs.
Websites related to the book:
Right Sharing of World Resources
Right Sharing of World Resources is a Quaker (Friends) organization
that seeks to increase the quality of life in developing nations. In
theory, they are a microlender, loaning small sums of money (no more
than $5,000) to community projects. These funds act as seed money and
allow the projects to grow and attract other financing, to the benefit
of the wider community.
In practice, the projects they help fund are often agricultually
related. Some projects focus on teaching farmers to depend less on
chemical fertilizers; others help women farmers get training in
integrated crop management. Yet another project funds an orchard
start-up for an all girls school. The proceeds from the orchard will
replace diminishinig government subsidies for the school.
The core message of the organization is that people in the United
States benefit from more than our share of the world’s resources. The
organization challenges people to consider two queries (a Quaker term
for a question that can help shape your response to the world):
- How does materialism and consumerism affect my relationship with God?
- How could my lifestyle be adjusted so that it is more consistent
with Quaker values and sustainable in the world without depriving
This page from their website offers ways that people can become
involved in the organization: