Vicki Robin

What’s your number?

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2009 at 1:05 AM

“How much is enough?” is truly the question of the hour. Enough executive compensation? Enough bailout money? Enough in the budget for pressing issues now that revenues are down? Enough to pay on groceries and still get nourished? Your Money or Your Life provides a tool to concretely answer this question, knowing that once you have that figure, you are free to actually have a life.

Lee Eisenberg’s book, The Number, took the world briefly by storm a mere 2 years ago, igniting a flurry of Boomer chatter about how many millions did they need to retire (planning for old age has never been our forte). Eisenberg defines “the number” simply as “How much money do you need to secure the rest of your life?” That’s a perfect Your Money or Your Life question, of course. What he fails to offer is a way to get a lived experience of that number.  Financial planning formulas of percentage of pre-retirement income and assumptions about the stock market sort of look pitiful now from the post economic meltdown point of view.  Lots of people are in shock because their “number” — fished out of the air — proved to be just another financial bubble.

If my sense of the recent “be fashionably frugal and fabulously free” articles is right – that we as a culture are entering the adaptation phase – then our book is going to be truly helpful in this very moment. People can settle down out of anxiety, come out from under the fear blanket and have a step by step way to work through the question. They may balk at keeping a record of all spending but after all, what’s “your number” other than what you need to live well, happily, wisely and within your means? That “other number” – that bazillion dollars needed to pay for (and insure) the symbols of happiness  – probably wasn’t going to make them happy ever after… after all.

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  1. Living frugal…. the only way to go eh mate?

  2. Hi Monique, YMOYL had a huge impact on me when I read it in 2002. However, it seemed that for anyone with kids it was more difficult to implement–little kids yes, teenagers, very difficult. Our strategy was to engage in continual downsizing over the course of three years. Houses, cars, stuff were sold or given away until we had very little at which point we sold or gave away the rest and moved to Mexico with one box and one backpack per person. What liberation!

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