"Wait a minute... I am only making 5 bucks an hour?", says the average American reading Your Money or Your Life. I just worked 3 hours to pay for a sh*tty meal at Burger King? Yes, it's true. Once you total the cost of all work-related expenses your hourly rate decreases dramatically and it will probably leave you wondering if it is even worth it. Think about it. How much do you spend on power lunches, clothes, mid-day snacks, happy hours, gas and car maintenance required after years of your daily commute? Add that all up and subtract it from your take home pay. How do you feel now? For most average Americans, their true hourly rate is between $5 and $8.
Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin will change your life. You will refer to money as "life energy" and will be soon measuring all expenses and material possessions with the level of happiness or fulfillment they bring. Was that car really worth 10000 hours of my life energy? Did this car really make me happier or did it just give me a brief moment of buyer's bliss and then slowly corrode and get replaced with the dread of a new $500 monthly car payment?
The book essentially covers 9 steps to get to Financial Independence. These steps entail adding up every cent you have ever earned in your entire, total your assets, and subtract the difference. This step will open your eyes to the fact that money will just disappear if you let it. Other steps require totaling your income and expenses and valuing each expense with a level of fulfillment provided by each category. The goal is reduce your spending on the categories that don't provide fulfillment and increase the ones that do. Once you do this, it will be clear what truly makes you happy and gives your life fulfillment. Your expenses will drop and your savings rate will increase.
Often considered the first book on the subject of "Early Retirement", it will open your eyes to the history of consumerism, its effects on our society, and even your own psychology. This book pushes you to be who you want to be and do what gives your life meaning. Plus, the crazy thing is after following these steps most people report they are more successful and make more money doing what they love to do. Granted, they aren't doing it for the money, but that is life's nice way of being ironic.
In my opinion, this is the first book anyone considering Financial Independence or Early Retirement should read. This book is fantastic.