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Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence

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A very good resource for those who have not yet studied, read about or been thought about the principles of financial independence.

What does the money that comes in – and out – of your life really mean to you? And what about money that is spent on work-related expenses like clothes and lunches? Does it really pay to work certain jobs? Which lines of your budget brings you joy and which bring you misery? Be prepared to question everything after reading this book, and that’s a recommendation!

Book Details

Pages

366 Pages

Language

English

Released

2010

Money as Evil
Perhaps you live in a world where money is seen as bringing sorrow and pain. In your personal mythology, is money evil? What does your behavior say? Does it say that money is dirty, dehumanizing or a tool of repression? Do you keep a mental catalog of the sins money has committed?
The notion that money is evil probably stems from the biblical admonition that “the love of money is the root of all evil.” It is our attachment to things over people that pushes us into wrong action. A moment of reflection should be enough for us to see that money doesn’t hurt people—people hurt people. Money isn’t evil—people sometimes choose to do evil things with money. Money isn’t dirty—people do dirt to each other, and sometimes do it using money. Money is morally neutral. It is our addiction to what money can buy that leads us into deeds harmful to life.
The Citywide Perspective of Money—The Cultural Realm
Now let’s take the elevator up to the very top where we can see the whole city in one scan of the horizon. We can pick out landmarks that identify the various neighborhoods, but rather than seeing each district as an island, we have an instant understanding that what binds the city together is more important than what separates its inhabitants. We are all part of this larger metropolitan entity. This citywide perspective of money encompasses the assumptions we all share about money, our cultural understanding about money. We live and die by the assumption that money is worth something. Money, the economists tell us, is a “store of value” and a “means of exchange.”
Even though we refer to it as the “almighty dollar,” there’s nothing sacred about money. Money is a human social invention, a mere 4,000 years old. In families, we (normally) don’t charge for our household tasks of sweeping, dusting, cooking, child care and gardening. Nor do we pay for each meal we eat. It was once like that in clans and tribes as well. Eventually, however, transactions became too complex for straight barter. So, “on the eighth day” humans created money as an IOU for goods or services received. Money gets its value at the moment of trade. Money is simply a token, an essentially valueless marker for something that theoretically, at one time, had value to someone.
But there are still plenty of people on Earth who never touch the stuff. And despite Americans’ arrogance about the almighty dollar, it isn’t honored everywhere in the world. Money is a “store of value” and a “means of exchange” only within the confines of cultural agreement. Yes, at a practical level in the developed world in the twenty-first century, most often money is a means of exchange. But we are trying to penetrate the deepest reality of money. We want to arrive at its essence, not at the mall.
This citywide perspective of money surveys not only the history of money and the principles of economics but the sociology and anthropology of money as well. Here we come to understand that our definition of money has been conditioned by many cultural forces—and this insight allows us even greater distance from it. For example, North Americans share some common assumptions about money and work—assumptions that an Italian or a native of the Amazon rain forest might well not share.
As we said in Chapter 1, one of our pervasive assumptions is that growth is good. Our economy depends on growth to survive—and many of us have absorbed that growth ethic into our own aspirations for our lives. If we have one car, we need two. If we have one pair of pants, we need two; if we have two, we need three. We ignore intellectual, emotional and spiritual growth, having gotten stuck trying to continue to grow physically by adding more and more possessions.
The Helicopter Perspective of Money—
Personal Responsibility and Transformation
Now it’s time to step back—to let go of all you think you know about money. Empty your mind. Like classic monks, we’ve exhausted our learned “truths” about money and are called to reach into an inner reservoir of Truth. Here is where we will discover the doorway to another realm of money. Up we go in the helicopter to get an even higher perspective on money. Here we recognize that the city itself is not the whole world. Beyond the city limits the countryside rolls on to the horizon, and we begin to see the entire region. From here we can see that all of our money beliefs and behaviors come from having chosen to live in this particular city. Beyond the borders of the city—i.e., the known and familiar—other choices are available. You are not a prisoner of the city, destined to spend your life making money in the marketplaces it offers. Even if you were born here, you have stayed by choice. This is where personal responsibility begins.
The definition of money we discover in this realm of personal responsibility cuts through the entangling web of thoughts, feelings, attitudes and beliefs. It is a qualitatively different definition, one that is universally and consistently true, and it returns to us the power we have unconsciously given over to money.
All our false notions about money thus far have one common flaw—they identify money as something external to ourselves. It is something we all too often don’t have, which we struggle to get, and on which we pin our hopes of power, happiness, security, acceptance, success, fulfillment, achievement and personal worth. Money is the master and we the slaves. Money is the victor and we the vanquished.
What, then, is the way out? What is the one consistently true statement we can make about money that will allow us to be clear, masterful and powerful in our relationship with it?
Money is something we choose to trade our life energy for.
We will repeat this because you may have missed its full significance: Money is something we choose to trade our life energy for.
Our life energy is our allotment of time here on Earth, the hours of precious life available to us. When we go to our jobs we are trading our life energy for money. This truth, while simple, is profound. Less obvious but equally true, when we go to the welfare office, we are trading our life energy for money. When we go to a gambling casino, we are trading our life energy for money (we hope). Even windfalls like inheritances must in some way be “earned” to actually belong to the heir—life energy must be exchanged. Time is spent with lawyers, accountants, trustees, brokers and investment counselors to handle the money. Or time is spent in therapy working out the relationship with the deceased or the guilt at receiving all that money. Or time is spent investigating worthy causes to fund. All this is life energy traded for money.
This definition of money gives us significant information. Our life energy is more real in our actual experience than money. You could even say money equals our life energy. So, while money has no intrinsic reality, our life energy does—at least to us. It’s tangible, and it’s finite. Life energy is all we have. It is precious because it is limited and irretrievable and because our choices about how we use it express the meaning and purpose of our time here on Earth.