Monday, January 02, 2006

Your Money or Your Life

Your money our your life. No this is not a cyber-stickup it happens to be the name of a book I read a few years ago by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. I know I often talk about books in my writing but this book had a profound impact on the way I view work, relationships, and purchasing things.The premise is this: you exchange your life energy for things. You have a finite number of hours on this earth and you make decisions each day about how you will spend those hours. When you calculated the number of hours you have a year you get 8760. Now, you multiply this number for the life expectancy of the average male, which is around seventy seven you can calculate the total number of hours the average man has to live. (When I do the math I have about 135,000 hours left until I reach 77.)
Now, most people sleep a third of that time which brings down the number of annual waking hours to 5869 and change. Most people work 40 hours a week and get two weeks of vacation so work time equals about 2000 working hours a year.
Now here is the interesting part. When I buy things, I make a decision about how much life I must exchange for the item I want to purchase. A person making $15 an hour will spend over 1333 working hours paying for a car that costs $20,000. The sad part is, this calculation doesn’t even take into consideration taxes on your income or interest on the car loan. Even smaller purchases can cost you a significant amount of life force to foot the bill. The purpose of this blog entry is not to give people a hard time about spending money, but at my age (54) I carefully consider all major purchases. I ask myself: Is it worth giving up a significant portion of my life in exchange for this car, vacation, or guitar.
Obviously there are different things people can do….you can invest in an education and earn more money so that the hours you spend working can buy more things. You can arrange your finances so that you are getting unearned income from rents, royalties or investments and you can earn money while you sleep. But statistics show that a majority of people don’t do this. They get up in the morning, they brush their teeth, they put on their cloths and drive to work. And when they buy expensive homes and cars, they spend their life paying for them. Again this is not a judgment, it’s just something to consider – your money or your life.

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