16 Feb 2010

Review: Your Money or Your Life - And Why I Don't Like this Book

I first read about this book in an online review on GetRichSlowly blog. It sounded very interesting and over a short period of time I came across several posts referring to this book as their inspiration.

So, I decided to give it a go and read it. Being in my first month of budgeting and conscious spending I got the book from the library rather from Amazon.

I was very glad that I didn’t have to keep it and could give it back as quickly as I could... 
Yep, I didn’t like it at all!

I struggled to find any negative reviews about this book, so I guess I am on my own ...
I in particular dislike author's approach to calculating your real hourly wage! The logic is simply flawed!

Vicky argues that in order to estimate what we really earn we need to subtract from our hourly (or day) gross earnings:
  •           Taxes
  •           Cost of commuting
  •           Office lunches
  •           Office attire
  •           Cost of recreation we use to wind down after a stressful day
  •           Cost of food we bought to cheer us up
  •           Cost of training courses we went to in order to increase our earnings
  •           Cost medical insurance (or medical bills that were cause by stress)
  •           Cost of anything we use to counter act stress or depression caused by work (computer games, cable subscription, etc.)

Now, while I do agree that office lunches and commuting costs should be taken into account I think education, clothes should actually be added to what you earn! If my employer is sending me on training I am adding to my market price as a professional and I might use it for my personal development – the latter should be priceless.

Vicky sais that we pay for everything in this life with our life energy and so the time we spend unwinding from stress is actually a cost.

There is nothing wrong with this statement per se. But it is wrong when it’s being considered in isolation from the rest of the life! It creates an impression that there are better / other activities that don’t “cost” our life energy; it makes work looks really bad, nearly toxic!

People make choices to what job they apply and accept. For example I have an hour commute each way every day. Vicky would say I need to add this as a “cost” of going to work. But I love these two hours! It’s my time, I can spend it reading, blogging and day dreaming. If I were not to go to work I would not have these two hours a day!

One of the commentators to Vicky’s book suggested that the costs of “fiver for a colleague’s birthday” should also be added to the cost of working ... 

I suggest you add the cost of dating, the cost of having protected sex, the cost of dead-end relationships and disappointing friendships to your overall bill – life is quite an expensive thing, no wonder we end up paying with all we've got in our life energy and die at the end ... 

I wonder if Vicky knows how to avoid dieing too?


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