Your Money Or Your Life: The Ultimate, Final Review

Readers, this is the final installment of our in-depth, chapter-by-chapter analysis of Your Money or Your Life. For new readers, the first post is here.

Consider this hypothetical situation: What if you could easily surmount all your current financial challenges--and begin a surprisingly rapid journey towards financial independence--if you agreed to do just two things:

1) Carefully read a book and execute nine simple steps of financial awareness.
2) Spend 2-3 minutes each day tracking your spending, and 5-10 minutes each month putting some marks on a chart.

Would you then do these two things? Would most people do these things?

I can't predict what you (or any specific reader) will do, but I can speak to the average person's general tendencies. And those tendencies are not good. My anecdotal experience suggests that less than half of the readers who pick up a copy of Your Money Or Your Life will actually do all the steps. A meaningful percentage won't do any of the steps. Sad, but true.

Then again, I didn't write this series for the average person. I didn't write it for someone who would pick up one of the most important personal finance books of all time and not bother to follow the advice in it.

On the contrary, I wrote this series for readers with a sincere desire to get on top of their financial challenges, who have an anti-excuse mentality, and who are willing to identify and overcome any limiting beliefs and mental blocks standing in their way.

These readers will choose a mindset of financial awareness and consciousness. If they feel a bit little silly tracking expenses or calculating their real hourly wage, they quickly get over themselves. And they make sincere efforts to apply tips and advice, rather than concocting phony reasons why that advice can't work for them. Most importantly, they recognize and stop all ego-defending behavior, because they understand that our egos often make psychologically convenient rationalizations at the expense of our financial health.

To those of you willing to dedicate your attention to this book, who put time and effort into executing each of the nine steps, and who are willing to go beyond the book and read most (or preferably all) of my Post-YMOYL reading list, I offer you a solemn promise: you will all become rich--in the best and broadest sense of the word. And it will happen sooner than you think.

More importantly, you will have profoundly rethought the entire nature of personal fulfillment. I sincerely hope by now that you realize this book is about more--much more--than just money.

I've said this before and I'll say it again. People pay thousands of dollars--even tens of thousands of dollars--on financial workshops, on debt counselling and on financial planning fees to learn a fraction of the things you learned from a ten dollar book. From the bottom of my heart, I congratulate you for what you've done.

Now get back to your Wall Chart!

A Postscript
I'd like to offer readers a grateful thank you for indulging me over the course of this long series. Correction: over the course of this preposterously long series.

It was by far the most challenging thing I've ever done here at CK--partly because I wrote everything on short deadlines, partly because it's a new and different subject for me, and partly because there's a whole lot to say about all of the various issues that arise in the world of personal finance.

When people discuss money, spending, saving and investing, all sorts of emotions come into play, both above and below the conscious level. That's why these posts often delved into psychology, limiting beliefs, self-fulfilling prophesies, and our unending battles with our egos (an aside: for me as a writer, this was one of the most interesting and challenging aspects of this series). And of course there was also plenty to say about the various day-to-day mechanics of managing and executing each of Your Money or Your Life's various steps.

That's why these posts were long, some well over 2,000 words. Once you add everything up, the series in total easily exceeded 25,000 words. And this isn't exactly easy reading: some of these posts are densely written, many contain difficult and challenging subjects, and a few will probably make readers downright angry and defensive.

In other words, this is one of the most ambitious writing projects I've ever taken on. And at the risk of sounding like an arrogant douche, I'm really proud of it. There are a whole lot of insights and information here that you simply won't find anywhere else in the world of personal finance.

One last thought, a humbling one, about the readership and pageview patterns of the YMOYL series. Normally when a new post goes live here at Casual Kitchen, there's a burst of pageviews on day one and day two after publication, followed by a gradual decline. By now, readers here know pretty much what to expect with my editorial schedule: a post every Tuesday, a Weekly Links post every Friday and--once in a while--a bonus post some other day during the week.

But the YMOYL posts had a completely different readership pattern. The pageviews were much lower in the first few days after publication, running at less than half my normal level. Sometimes way less than half.

In fact, in the fourth or fifth week of this series I was really getting depressed with the entire project. I was spending mountains of time pounding out these posts each week, but as far as I could tell, nobody seemed to care. [PS: A special and gigantic thanks to Laura for bucking me up during those discouraging weeks with an always-well-timed "Keep writing Daniel, your stuff is good. Keep putting it out there."]

Well, it turned out that these posts just had a delayed readership pattern, and in the three or four weeks following publication, pageviews began growing dramatically. Perhaps readers were saving the posts for later (especially the longer, denser posts), or perhaps readers needed to get their hands on a copy of the book first before they could get started. Whatever the reason, I'm thankful so many readers took interest.

As always, keep those comments, emails and tweets coming. And if you have any lingering questions, issues, complaints or subjects you'd like to see addressed, I want to hear about it! Once again, I'm profoundly grateful to my readers.

One final, final, FINAL word: Our in-depth series on Your Money Or Your Life attracted a ton of new readers, but I feel like this post series is a powerful resource that should get in front of still more people. I'd be truly grateful if you would link to this series, or if you would share it with anyone who you believe might benefit from reading it. Thank you!

Next Week: Your Money Or Your Life: The Full Archive

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Owlhaven said...

Thanks, Daniel! I really enjoyed this whole series. I even grabbed a couple of the books you suggested on paperback swap.

Daniel said...

Great to hear Mary! Thanks for following along, and of course thank you for the feedback.

PS: I'd love it if you ever decide to share thoughts on this book and your experiences with it on your own blog! No pressure though. :)


chacha1 said...

I appreciated this series even though I wasn't reading the book!

The internet needs more thoughtful, substantive writing. Thanks for taking the time to do it.

Daniel said...

Thanks Chacha, I really appreciate the kind words.


oilandgarlic said...

It's great that you highlighted a very different topic on your blog. Most people don't read financial blogs and find it boring, so you did a service by exposing more people to YMOYL. It's a life-changer for many people.

Daniel said...

Thanks O&G, and thank you for giving me the spark to write about this book in the first place!


KB said...

I've really enjoyed the series. I confess I'm only halfway through the book, but I started tracking every cent in a notebook before I read page one, due to your coverage here. This was the push I needed to finally get me to read the book and do the exercises. I've been journaling about it and hope to blog on it soon (and link to your amazingly comprehensive coverage). I also love that you can work phrases like "arrogant douche" and "garden variety narcissism" into your writing. That's worth showing up in itself.

Daniel said...

KB, thank you. I look forward to reading what you write!