These questions, posed 25 years ago in the first edition of Your Money or Your Life, are just as fresh and in your face as ever.
Since the book's last update in 2007, the United States has statistically emerged from the Great Recession—yet many more people feel economically insecure. Smart phones have come on stream along with Amazon Prime, taking impulse shopping to a whole new level. Millennials have fledged with an average of $30,000 in debt and are finding fewer reliable pathways to the old definition of adult: home ownership, marriage, and starting a family.
Yet at the same time, this loss of the old pillars of security is fostering tremendous lifestyle creativity. The sharing economy has emerged as a powerful player, alongside opportunities for peer-to-peer and community lending. Home arts, from cooking to sewing to gardening, are all part of the Maker Revolution. Task Rabbit, Thumbtack, and more aid the gig economy. Political activism is getting as yeasty as the 1960s.
The program in Your Money or Your Life was developed by my coauthor, Joe Dominguez, in the 1960s, for his own escape from what he called "making a dying": the daily job grind. His penetrating intellect coupled with his fierce independence, a tinkerer's skill at building or fixing anything, and a quest for a meaningful life propelled him through and out of his corporate earning years and into financial independence by the age of 31.
A decade later, he started teaching others what he'd done. Another decade later, I co-wrote Your Money or Your Life, published by Viking Penguin, and made it a best seller through unrelenting dedication to outreach and more than 2,000 media interviews (including twice on Oprah!).
Joe died 20 years ago this month, so I've been the recipient of countless stories about how Your Money or Your Life changed people's lives. Now i wish I'd written these stories down, because with the makeover, we need fresh stories of how people in the 21st century have put the program to work. This story from a man in Macedonia is the kind of narrative we're looking for. Down-to-earth, yet transformational.
If you have a story or two, we'd love to consider one for the makeover—or, if it doesn't fit, we'll publish it somewhere on the web. You will be inspiring more people to find freedom and liberate time for what matters most.
I hope you'll join us in reaching the next million people and helping them build their financial arks.
Vicki Robin is coauthor with Joe Dominguez of Your Money or Your Life and a founding Board Member of the Center for a New American Dream.