Weekly Blog

Book Summary – Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence – Vicki Robin And Joe Dominguez

Originally written in 1999, and updated 20 years later in 2018, this book is a culmination of over 50 years of experiences (good and bad) that lead the authors to true financial independence.

Financial Independence (or FI as it is often referred to in the book) is a phrase bandied about a lot. For the book and this summary, a financially independent person has reached a point in their lives where they no longer need to work. This can be reached in one of two ways. 1 The individual has managed to create such a large passive income (income that is not worked for by the hour) that their expenses are entirely covered. Or 2 The individual has lowered their outgoings to such a low number that their current savings will last a lifetime. More commonly, true FI is reached through a combination of 1 & 2.

Robin promises that the book will help the reader with three things:

  1. Financial Integrity – awareness of where your money is coming from and going.
  2. Financial Intelligence – understanding that where and when you spend your money is a choice, as is where and when you earn it.
  3. Financial Independence – see above.

To achieve these, the authors require you to radically rethink your relationship with money.

You can read the book here, but for a summary and my hot takes read on!

My Key Takeaways:

  • A monumental shift is needed from the whole of the world’s affluent populations. A shift away from “More is Better” to “Enough is Best”. Too often we don’t truly take stock of what we need and instead aim for the maximum we could have. This only ends with us being dissatisfied with what we have and imbalanced distribution of resources.
  • The hourly or daily rate you think you earn, or even your yearly salary, is not actually what you think it is. If you work an 8-hour shift for £10 per hour (totalling £80) you might think you’ve earned £10 per hour of your time. However, there are many hidden costs (in time and money) of working. Maybe it took you an hour to commute to work and an hour to commute back spending £10 on transport. You spent the equivalent of £10 per day on work clothes this year. Dinner costs you £15 when you get home because you’re too tired to cook. Adding all of that up your actual hourly wage today was £4.50. (£80 – £10 – £10 – £15 = £45, shared across the 10-hours at work and commuting).
  • Once you know the cost of your time (£4.50 per hour, 7.5p per minute) you can start to think of your money as your life energy. One minute of your life is worth 7.5p, and vice versa. That means that the packet of chips you just bought for £1.20 really cost you 16-minutes of your life.
  • Thinking about outgoings as time spent can drastically change your outlook on money.

Actionable Points:

  • The book is not all doom and gloom!
  • While it can be depressing to calculate and realise your actual hourly wage, it can also be liberating to free yourself from the idea that a higher wage is better. Sometimes earning more comes with more time, stress, and responsibilities at work, leading to a lower actual hourly wage.
  • Another practical exercise the book encourages us to calculate the total amount we have earned so far in our lifetime. You will be astonished by how much you have managed to earn!
  • You can then calculate your total net worth at present, by adding up your savings, any amounts owed to you and the amount you would make if you sold everything you own today. Once you have this you can calculate your savings rate to date: how much of that money you’ve earned throughout your life is still yours? ([net worth / total earnings] x 100 = the per cent of your lifetime income that is still yours)
  • Thinking about expenses as exchanging your life energy (your time) for goods and services can help to realise which of your outgoings is providing you with good value.
  • Honestly, there is a tonne of actionable points including a whole load of exercises, guides and recommendations in the book – too many for me to cram into one blog post. I’d recommend getting a copy and getting stuck in.


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Connor is a medical student at King’s College London. For the 19/20 academic year he is undertaking an intercalated iBSc in Imaging Sciences, also at King’s.


7th July 2021 at 7:27 pm

Thank you, Doctor Dibblin.

I have read a couple of your book summaries and I am enjoying them.

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21st July 2021