As an adult, my heroes are somewhat more mundane. They are the individuals who make personal finance available to average men and women. Long-time readers understand that billionaire investor Warren Buffett is one of the heroes. So too is Dave Ramsey, that has helped countless people — including me — get out of debt.
But maybe my main hero is the unassuming 73-year-old woman in cat-eye glasses who resides on Whidbey Island in Washington’s Puget Sound.
Back in 2004, the publication transformed my relationship with money. It inspired me to find financial liberty , and also the publication defines as “no more needing to work for cash ”.
Fast-forward fifteen years.
Todayin 2019, I’m awe-struck to actually be exchanging email using Vicki Robin, discussing the past, present, and potential of financial independence. And that week, when she came to Portland, I not only got to hear her talk in person, but also got to treat her to dinner.
Your Money or Your Life
Last evening, Douglas Tsoi, founder of the Portland Underground Graduate School along with also the School of Financial Freedom, sponsored a discussion from Vicki Robin. A couple of dozen money nerds — for example some GRS subscribers (Hi, Scott! — assembled to listen Robin’s ideas about monetary independence.
For the sake of clarity, I’ve taken some liberties in what follows. I have not altered some of Robin’s thoughts, but I have shifted some topics and quotations so as to create a smoother, more coherent flow to the site. I’ve treated Robin’s Q&A responses, for instance, as if they’re a part of the principal talk. A real journalist would be mortified. I am not a real journalist.
The goal of Your Money or Your Life, Robin states, is to completely change your relationship with cash in order to liberate your precious resource, time. The book’s nine-step app is supposed to help readers track the circulation of money and things in their lives, directed by both self-interest (“can it work for me? ”) and greater values (“can it function for the entire world? ”).
It’s natural that we act in our self-interest. If we are not right with ourselves, it is hard be of support to others. However, Robin worries that too many folks get stuck at the self-interest aspect of things rather than go beyond that, never see how achieving financial independence gives them the liberty to make a lasting, positive impression on the world.
Like me, she wants people to “reside on goal ”.
Following Robin’s talk, a GRS reader named Brandon introduced himself to me personally. “Thank you for the job you can,” he explained. “Notably what you share about purpose and mission. ”
“Has that been useful for you? ” I inquired. “I feel it’s critical, but occasionally I feel like I’m writing to a vacuum. I really don’t know whether it actually helps anyone. ”
“Yes, certainly,” Brandon explained. “My spouse and I have done your personal mission statement exercise. It’s very helpful. ”
A Story of Money
“From the world, we dwell in a narrative of cash,” Robin says. “On an individual level, this normally means that much more is better. Whatever you have, a tiny bit more is much better. ” Our society is built around this story, which is pushed us from all areas. (Much minimalism turns out to be about getting more: “I have more less. ”)
We are all alive this tale together.
While the definition of monetary freedom in Your Money or your Life is “no longer having to work for cash ”, Robin stresses that being FI is not about not functioning. Financial independence doesn’t mean leaving your work. It does not mean looking for a life of idleness. Financial liberty is about being separate from customer culture, from the default ideology of the western world.
“There’s a continuous campaign to convince people that they need more than they have. We have been convinced we need more stuff. We’re constantly bombarded by messages of longer. ”
Robin isn’t immune to those messages.
“A useful issue for me when I’m in the presence of something that I must own is: Who wins if I buy this? Can I win? Or does someone else win? Perhaps I win a teeny bit by acquiring a computer case, but the firm that sells it’s the real winner. ”
She smiled. “Besides, I’d likely just misplace the new case in my office. I would be better off wrap my personal pc from a towel! ”
Your Money or Your Life is intended to help readers see the world through different eyes. It’s meant to help individuals escape Plato’s Cave, to spare themselves from the Matrix. When you deny the normal narrative, you are in a position to define what is beneficial to you, what is enough for you.
“Moderating your consumption will be resisting the dominant narrative,” Robin says. “It is a sort of independence, a kind of liberty. It’s picking out of the thought that growth is good. ”
After Robin and Dominguez wrote Your Money or Your Life, their goal was to help readers “liberate their lifetime ” so they may utilize that power to pursue what attracts them (and the entire world around them) value.
“If everybody could do exactly what they’re called to do, the world would be a better location,” Robin says.
Robin thinks it’s time for society to create a fresh shared narrative. She believes it is time to set apart the story of money, to adopt a story which works toward the common good, not only the person great.
How do we do so? She has been considering this for years (and it’s the topic of her next book).
- Locate others that are doing work of significance. Work with them.
- Assist them bring onto something the makes life easier for everybody.
- Allow them to assist you.
Financial freedom is not an ultimate intent. It’s a means to a end. It makes it possible for us to put ourselves in a position to contribute to society, so to take care of others (children, seniors ( whomever).
What’s Money For?
In 1989, if they began writing the novel, Robin and Dominguez was teaching their financial liberty workshop to get ten years. They’d noticed that, on average, attendees were able to decrease their spending between 20 percent and 25 percent. What is more, folks were more happy . Plus they were consuming less.
When they chose to compose Your Money or Your Life, they had two different objectives.
- They desired to liberate individuals to be of service.
- They wished to liberate the planet from consumerism.
When Robin updated the publication 25 decades after, she felt frustrated. Rather than a reduction in consumerism, it seemed like the world had “gone farther down the route of degradation”. Her goal along with her revisions will be to achieve a new generation of readers.
As she worked on the brand newest edition, she was happy and humbled to discover that — unbeknownst to her — she’d helped inspire an whole movement: the FIRE motion. (FIRE is a clumsy acronym for Financial Independence and Early Retirement.)
But she had been saddened to find that many of the folks pursuing financial independence were inspired only by self-interest. They had no need to be of support. They were not pursuing a higher target.
“People are using FIRE as a means to escape something,” Robin states, “not as a way to chase something bigger. ” She wants more people would use financial independence as a system to pursue large goals, to alter their communities — along with the planet.
“What is independence for? ” she requested the audience yesterday evening. “What’s FIRE for? Once money is no more your story, what is your own story? Who can I? Who will be my people? ”
Life After Work
Robin says we don’t talk about such thoughts as a society. We don’t talk about everything a post-work “narrative ” would seem like. “If cash is our faith,” Robin says, “afterward our jobs are the central rituals. Work is what we do in the time we are born till the time we die. ”
She believes we are all intended for longer than work. We wish to employ our life energy to matters that we believe are precious.
“We are born to donate,” she says. We are born to be helpful, to be a meaningful part of our communities. “To say that job is only to get income would be to befuddle the brain. I’ve left paid employment but that I haven’t left work. ”
She works on improving herself and on enhancing society. “I work to the advantage of all every second of my entire life. ”
Robin spent some time speaking about the gap between play and work. She says: “I hope, like I do my job in the world, to perform it with a spirit of play. Not to make anyone an enemy. I believe that’s something to aspire to. ” I concur whole-heartedly!
Robin’s discussion — along with the Q&A that accompanied — was dumb with information. I have only outlined the primary points. For my own reference (along with also the reference of those that attended), below two interesting concepts that she referred to in passing:
Robin concluded her discussion by discussing some of the newest ideas she has been researching over the past couple of years. “What if we might have monetary independence for everyone? ” she inquired. What could that look like? Is it possible?
She’s still hashing out the thoughts as she composes her next book.
As much as I appreciated Robin’s talk , I enjoyed taking her to Thai meals on Monday even more.
Occasionally if we fulfill our heroes, we are disappointed. I wasn’t disappointed. I had been impressed by Robin’s fast mind. I also liked how she would ask questions without hesitation, trying to dig deeper into my motives and significance.
For example, I shared how I struggle when I’m put in a position of authority. I don’t enjoy being treated as a cash pro because I don’t feel as a money expert. Because of this, I am reluctant to talk before big audiences. And I am dragging my feet when it comes to setting up the Get Rich Slowly channel on YouTube.
On the other hand, I love meeting people one on one. I like talking with readers about their financial situations, asking questions about their choices, trying to find solutions to their problems.
After listening for a couple minutes, Robin cut to the center: “You are chosen mode is relational,” she said, “not informational. ”
It was a simple statement, however, it left a huge impression on me personally. She’s right. (My therapist told me I’m a “relationship man ”.) I want to consider that when choosing how to continue with jobs. Perhaps I’m struggling with the YouTube station since I really don’t want to become a talking head. Maybe instead I want to picture myself in conversation with other people.
“Perhaps you need to enable people pay you to do coaching calls,” Robin proposed. “And you might wish to consider doing more partnerships. You ought to utilize Douglas Tsoi on his School of Financial Freedom. ” I think she is right.
Anyhow, the last few days have made me feel like a boy again. But rather than dreaming about my heroes, I really got to meet and talk with one. Is not life crazy? (And I have high hopes that I’ll get to meet and speak to Vicki Robin again in the not-so-distant future)