Your Money or Your Life
• Jonathan Allan
• New Road Map Foundation
– Speakers Bureau Member
• Practicing the 9 Steps since 1996
The YMOYL Toolbox is NOT:
• A get-rich-quick scheme
– If you get monetarily rich, it happens slowly.
• A pyramid scheme
– There’s nothing to buy or sell. If anything, it’s about not buying.
• A scam to get you to buy a book
– The best place to get this book is at the library: 332.02401 D713y.
• If it’s anything, it is a philosophy with some pragmatic ToDo’s attached; it’s an Idea.
– With no intellectual property fees! 
“If you have knowledge, let others light their candles from it.” - Anonymous
Transforming Jonathan’s Money Relationship
Loaned the book 1Q 1996 (Thanks Robbie!)
Paid off our last debt (mortgage) in 2Q 1997
Jonathan quit job in 2Q 1997 to finish M.S.
Jonathan re-employed 2Q 1998
Major house upgrades 1998 - roof/windows
Began saving for FI-3 in 1Q 1999
We expect to reach FI-3 in 2007 - 2013
“If thou wilt make a man happy, add not unto his riches, but take away from his desires.”
- Anonymous
Transforming Jane’s Money Relationship
• Survived 3 lay-offs in 1990s
• Read YMOYL book in 2001
• Attended this class in 2001 and started tracking
all expenses and income
• Reduced work schedule to 32 hours per week in
• Paid off my last debt (mortgage) in 2004
• FI-3: ?
The Three “FI”s
• FI-1 = Financial Intelligence
When you can look at money flowing through your life and know exactly why it is
doing what it is. Anyone willing to think about their money can do this.
• FI-2 = Financial Integrity
When you can look at your spending and see that money is being spent on items that
will return the same amount of life energy. Anyone that can add/subtract can do this.
• FI-3 = Financial Independence
When you have enough income coming in from your investments that you no longer
need to work for money (you may quit your job or retire). Many people can do this
“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” - Walt Disney
Slavery to Stuff?
Debt: An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slave-driver. - Ambrose Bierce
The Nine Steps or Tools
1. Make Peace with the Past 7. Valuing your Life Energy Maximizing Income
2. Track your Life Energy
8. Capital and the Crossover
3. Monthly Tabulation
4. The Three Questions
9. Managing your Capital 5. Making Life Energy
Now that you’ve got it,
What are you going to do
6. Valuing your Life Energy with it?
Minimizing Spending
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” - Albert Einstein
Doorways To Voluntary Simplicity
• Social Doorways:
– Environmental Concerns
– Moral Concerns
– Social Justice
• Personal Doorways:
Personal Finance
Time Famine
Jobs are Stressful
The function of freedom is to free someone else. - Toni Morrison
Tool 1: Make Peace with the Past
• Calculate your Current Financial Net Worth:
– Current Assets - Current Liabilities = Current Financial Net Worth
– Current Financial Net Worth is not equal to Self Worth!!!
• No Shame, No Blame
• Calculate your lifetime income:
– Personal Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement from Social Security comes a few months before your birthday. All IRS earnings
– Add all the money that didn’t get reported to IRS - estimate if needed
– Compare the amount of money you’ve ever owned to your Current
Financial Net Worth. What’s the difference? Where did it all go?
• Remember: No Shame, No Blame
• Know about it all. Understand where you have been.
“It’s never too late to become what you might have been.” - George Elliot
Why Make Peace with the Past?
• Makes your monetary past plainly visible
• Destroy false ideas about yourself & money
– “I can always earn lots of money”
– “I can never earn any money”
• Build confidence in your ability to earn
• Sheds light on the “skeletons in your money
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
- Albert Einstein
Fulfillment Curve - Survival
“More is better is a myth.” - Monica Wood
Fulfillment Curve - Comforts
Possessions, like fat, insulate us from the outside world, building a wall of junk which we
can hide behind. - Christy Best
Fulfillment Curve - Luxuries
Affluence has a real cost. Its possibilities demand impossible commitments of time and
energy. It fails to discriminate between what is wise and useful and what is merely possible.
- Tom Bender
Fulfillment Curve - More
"Non intelligunt homines quam magnum vectigal sit parsimonia." (Cannot people
realize how large an income is thrift?) - Marcus Tullius Cicero
Fulfillment Curve - RIP
“You can never get enough of what you don’t really want.” Sally Forth (Greg Howard)
Fulfillment Curve - Exercise
Fulfillment Curve - Enough
“The US is a consumptive society; as a society we value the bringing of possessions into our lives, not the
having of possessions. In some sense, the continued extraneous acquisition of things is the evil we face - not the
having and enjoying of things. It’s a struggle [to decide what is enough].” - Jonathan Allan on
Fulfillment Curve - Participation
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” - Socrates
Tool 2A: What is Money?
• Money is something we choose to trade our Life Energy
• Money is something we choose to trade our Life Energy
• Life Energy is another name for Time (among other
• How much are you trading your Life Energy for?
• Calculate your Real Hourly Wage
• It’s NOT: weekly salary/40 hrs = $.$$/hr!
“Money is our life energy; it takes it’s value not from external definitions but from what we invest in it.
Similarly, paid employment takes its only intrinsic value from the fact that we are paid to do it.”
- Joe Dominguez
The Koi Pond
A light suitcase means freedom. - Hope Frommer
Real Hourly Wage - Job Costs
Compare this job to not having a job because you have “enough”
• Time Costs:
• Dollar Costs:
Job Time Unpaid Overtime Commuting Costuming Bought Meals Decompression Vacations Escape Entertainment Illness Other -
• Total Time Costs:
Unpaid job expenses Commuting Costuming Bought Meals Decompression Vacations Escape Entertainment Illness Other -
• Total Dollar Costs:
“You should never confuse your career with your life.” - Dave Berry
Time Famine?
Real Hourly Wage - Calculation
• (Weekly pay - Weekly costs) / Total Hours or
• (Monthly pay - Monthly costs) / Total Hours
Does it cost you money to work? (Is Real Hourly Wage negative?)
How many minutes (hours?) of work does it take to make a $1?
Are you surprised at how much/little you actually make per hour?
How do you feel about the amount you get for your Life Energy?
Are you sure you want to work this job for that amount?
Remember: No Shame, No Blame
“Spending money you haven’t earned yet is like using up years you haven’t lived yet.”
- M. Hoppe
Tool 2B: Track Every Cent That
Goes Through Your Life
• Goal is to determine - exactly - where your money goes
and for what.
• A necessary, transformational, discipline
• No Self-Judgement, Lots of Discernment
• Keep track of every cent that comes into or goes out of
your life.
• Keep track of every cent that comes into or goes out of
your life.
• Get as close as you can, continuously improve!
“He who knows he has enough is rich.” - Tao Te Ching
Lying to Ourselves
Real happiness is cheap enough, yet how dearly we pay for its counterfeit. - Hosea Ballou
Tool 3: Monthly Tabulation
• Tabulate all your income and expenses, to the penny if possible
• Group expenses (and income if necessary) into categories that make
sense to you
• Copy over raw spending numbers to categories
• Total each category
• Divide the total by Real Hourly Wage and note number of hours
(amount of Life Energy) for each category
• How do you feel about each category?
• Remember: No Shame, No Blame
“The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all your time.” - Willem de Kooning
Annual Spending Categories
C ategory
D ollars
L ife E n ergy
792 hrs 50 m ins
H ouse P ay m ent
369 hrs 32 m ins
C ar P ay m ent
210 hrs 30 m ins
G roceries
138 hrs 14 m ins
H ousehold S up.
29 hrs 19 m in s
G ardening
17 hrs 45 m in s
F ederal T axes
Inc om e, FIC A , M edica re
“ … To realize the value of one hour, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet. To realize the
value of one minute, as a person who missed the train. …” - Anonymous
Tool 4: The Three Questions
Q1 - Did I receive fulfillment, satisfaction, and
value in proportion to Life Energy spent?
Q2 - Is this expenditure of Life Energy in alignment
with my values and life purpose?
Q3 - How would this expenditure change if I did
not have to work for a living?
Jonathan’s 1999 Questions
C a teg o ry
D o lla rs
L ife E n erg y
C lo th in g
$ 5 1 .4 2
3 h rs 2 5 m in s
C o m ics
$ 7 0 .4 7
4 h rs 4 0 m in s
P ro fessio n al E xp .
$ 3 0 6 .7 2
2 0 h rs 1 9 m in s
H an d T o o ls
$ 5 .3 3
0 h rs 2 1 m in s
C o m p u ter T o ys
$ 2 9 7 .2 7
1 9 h rs 4 1 m in s
M agazin es
$ 6 3 .6 3
4 h rs 1 3 m in s
Q1 - Did I receive fulfillment, satisfaction, and value in proportion to Life Energy spent?
Q2 - Is this expenditure of Life Energy in alignment with my values and life purpose?
Q3 - How would this expenditure change if I did not have to work for a living?
Pam’s 2000 Questions
C a teg o ry
D o lla rs
L ife E n erg y
C lo th in g
$ 1 0 5 9 .4 8
1 0 5 h rs 5 7 m in s
S h o es
$ 1 9 6 .9 0
1 9 h rs 4 1 m in s
B o o ks
$ 7 2 3 .9 1
7 2 h rs 2 3 m in s
M agazin es
$ 1 0 0 .8 2
1 0 h rs 5 m in s
C rafts
$ 1 2 1 .3 8
1 2 h rs 8 m in s
G ifts
$ 1 7 2 .7 6
1 7 h rs 1 7 m in s
Q1 - Did I receive fulfillment, satisfaction, and value in proportion to Life Energy spent?
Q2 - Is this expenditure of Life Energy in alignment with my values and life purpose?
Q3 - How would this expenditure change if I did not have to work for a living?
Jane’s 2003 Questions
Dollars Life Energy
Work Clothes
45 hrs 46 mins
31 hrs 31 mins
16 hrs 12 mins
44 hrs 46 mins
16 hrs 48 mins
11 hrs 26 mins
Q1 - Did I receive fulfillment, satisfaction and value in proportion to Life Energy spent?
Q2 - Is this expenditure of Life Energy in alignment with my values and life purpose?
Q3 - How would this expenditure change if I did not have to work for a living?
Getting Back to Enough
• This is how we get back to Enough - the peak of the
Fulfillment Curve - by looking at the Monthly Tabulation
regularly (At least monthly! )
• Identify Clutter - those categories with “-” in them
• Ask yourself the three questions before every purchase as
well as these:
– Which category is this purchase in?
– Are items in this category clutter?
– Is there some other way I can deal with this issue without buying?
“You may have a serious junk problem if you live in fear that someone you respect may
someday open one of your closets.” - Don Aslett, Clutter’s Last Stand, pg. 83
• Frugality is deriving maximum fulfillment (joy,
value, etc.) from every thing we own or use.
• Simplicity is the ethic (idea), Frugality is the
• Clutter is the failure to enjoy every thing we own
“Def: Frugal Living - systematically reducing stuff that gets in the way of a joyful life.”
- Joseph Beckenbach
Clutter = Decorative Cellulite???
With respect to luxuries and comforts, the wisest have even lived a more simple and meagre
life than the poor. - Thoreau
Qualities of “Enough”
• Accountable to Self - FI-1 & FI-2
– Knowing how money flows in your life is basic to FI-1
– FI-2, Integrity, is on the line every time you buy: am I spending to my values?
• Internal Yardstick for Fulfillment
– Can’t ever have enough if others determine what is enough: advertisers, Joneses.
• Known Purpose in Life
– Is there a higher purpose in life than just getting every thing we want?
• Responsibility
– Each of us is “Response - Able” - remove the knee-jerk spending response.
“The real measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money.”
- Anonymous
Tool 5: Making Your Life Energy Visible
Make a wall chart on Graph paper
Vertical scale is money or dollars
Horizontal scale is time or months
Graph Income and Expense points
Connect the dots
Can also do this with software, but a PC is
NOT necessary!
“The gods only laugh when people ask them for money.” - Japanese saying
Sample Wall Chart
Why do a Wall Chart?
• Gets your spending out in front of you regularly
• Put it somewhere you’ll see it every day: inside closet door
• As you begin to see the patterns in your spending, modify your
spending to be more in line with your values (FI-2)
• If overspending, you will see it quickly and can adjust
• Eventually, you’ll see a trend down in the spending line
• Your income will probably rise over time too
• The difference between the two lines is called “Capital”
– Not “Savings” or “Disposable Income”
• Capital the beginning of FI-3 - Financial Independence
• Learning to invest Capital is FI-1 - Financial Intelligence
“What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear
conscience?” - Adam Smith
Tool 6: Minimizing Spending
• As you spend with integrity, you’ll find your spending goes down
– Usually 20% or more
– No deprivation is needed - just a continual focus on spending integrity
• No budgeting needed - just consciousness of spending Life Energy
(budgets are like diets, they don’t work)
• Buying your way out of life’s problems will become less attractive - it
becomes more fun to be “frugal”
• When you need less money, you can work less, freeing up Life Energy
(time/juice) for more important (to you) things
• If you can arrange for an income stream equal to your new, lower
expenses, you can quit working if you want (FI-3)
“I never realized that my life would grow when I was focussed on reducing!! All I wanted
was sanity and some peace. I like increasing my choices too!!” - Lori on slnet
Keeping up with Bob
Do you think the Joneses care if you're keeping up with them or not? Joe Dominguez
Tool 7: Maximizing Your Income
Your Real Hourly Wage may spur you to re-evaluate
your employment situation:
– You may change the way you handle your current job
and its’ associated expenses
– You may become more motivated to rise to the next
challenge and level at your current employer
– You may change jobs to make more money without
selling out your values
– You may quit your job (negative Real Hourly Wage)
– You may discover you don’t need a job after all (FI-3)
“If time is money, there’s got to be a better exchange rate than this.”
- Frank (Bob Thaves, Frank and Ernest)
Tool 8 - Crossover Point
• Happens as you invest capital that returns interest
• Plot a monthly average of investment income
• Average monthly investment income eventually
crosses average monthly expenses
• It takes a finite period of time
• Traditional Definition of Financial Independence
(FI-3): no more need to work, expenses are
covered by investment income
It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know. --Henry David Thoreau
Sample Wall Chart
Tool 9 - Learn about Investments
• Looking for investments that are safe (to you)
• Looking for investments that do not require work
to maintain (maybe)
• Often interpreted as only government bonds are
acceptable investments for achieving FI-3:
– Not true: depends on your unique situation, investment
skill, and interest in investing
– Also depends on your income level, willingness to
work at income-producing ventures, and risk tolerance
To Sum It Up
1. Make Peace with the Past - No shame, no blame
2. Track your Life Energy - Real hourly wage
3. Do the Monthly Tabulation - Your personal categories
4. Ask three questions w/every purchase - Fulfillment curve
5. Make Life Energy Visible - Wall chart
6. Value your Life Energy - Minimize spending to enough
7. Value your Life Energy - Maximize income w/o selling out
8. Cross Over Point - You could quit if you want to
9. Learn About Investments - Guide your capital growth
Pick the step that makes the most sense and get started. When you get
good at that one, pick the next one that makes the most sense.
Do NOT try to do them all at once!!!!!
“Oh no! Not ANOTHER learning experience!” - Anonymous
Additional Resources
Your Money or Your Life - Joe Dominguez & Vicki Robin
New Road Map Foundation -
Center for the New American Dream -
On-line book store, discussion forums, information databases: (.com and .org exist too, but are unrelated )
Library - RPL has excellent financial section - dig in!
Transforming Your Relationship with Money - Tape Course
Contact us: Jonathan & Pam - email:
This presentation available to other groups - contact us
Study groups can be set up to explore these ideas in depth
Web search words: “Voluntary Simplicity” - Jonathan’s Book
“Tears may get you sympathy, but sweat will get you gain.” - Jesse Jackson

Your Money or Your Life