Building An Earthship In Darfield, B.C.

We are a family of five living in Darfield, BC.
Our house is six hundred square feet in total and we are feeling cramped.

We have decided to build an earthship!

So starts the adventure ...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Your Money or Your Life

In a previous post I referred to a financial philosophy contained in a book called "Your Money or Your Life"

If a person is at all interested in coming to terms and taking control of his or her financial "life" then this is a great book...but dispel yourself of the notion that this is a book about budgeting!

Far from it. But be prepared to really get to know your finances and your needs/wants.

Chris and I were introduced to this book in 1993 when my father gave us a copy and simply said, "You might find this interesting".

About four months later Chris read Your Money or Your Life and said to me, "You might find this interesting". It took me another six months to read it (the library must have been closed!) but after I did Chris and I committed to trying the methodology in it.

At that time in our lives we were two young professionals, in our mid 20s working tremendously well paid jobs in downtown Toronto. We knew a couple of things: we had money, we weren't big spenders on "things" (we didn't own a coffee table), we splurged on top grade camping equipment and we wanted to travel.

We really didn't know what our life's goals were, but we did know that what we were doing wasn't completely satisfying.

Your Money or Your Life, written by Joe Rodriquez (now deceased) and Vicki Robbins, advocates the notion that you trade your life energy for money. Everything we spend our money on, is traded for life energy. The book begins by asking readers to account for all the money they have earned in their life times (from tax returns) and to give a dollar value to everything considered an asset. The difference between the two can be staggering. But the book goes on to examine what we truly value in our lives and whether or not how we are earning/spending demonstrates our values.

Then, it gives a system of taking control of your money, of eliminating debt and of building up savings that earn interest income.

Many people picking up the book for the first time may think that to gain control over their finances they will have to do "without". Not so. The book is very much about deciding what is important to you and NOT doing without it.

Without a doubt an examination of your financial behaviours can be uncomfortable; many people cannot move past the first chapter (I threw the book down in disgust on many occasions!) One of the mantras of the book is "no shame, no blame".

Also without a doubt, couples who are trying to re-examine their world of earning and spending, need to be somewhat in harmony about goals and willing to talk about it. Money is one of the primary causes of relationship failures, apparently. I can believe this; probably more than half of our disagreements have to do with money.

A year after following Your Money or Your Life, Chris and I had maxed out our RRSPs, saved money for a two-month European vacation and had a healthy bank account. (We still didn't get a coffee table until 2004). When we returned to my hometown in 1998 we had sufficient savings to invest in getting our business started and to put 50 percent down on land next to my parents' home. We were NOT wealthy by traditional standards, but we had "enough". Your Money or Your Life discusses the concept of "enough" in great detail.

Without giving a blow-by-blow account of our financial decisions, we began some soul searching in 2007 with an eye to pursuing different activities. After 10 years in the log home business we realized that working was prohibiting us from building our own home, something we had vowed to do in 1998 when we came to BC from California. Your Money or Your Life helped us figure out how to arrange things so that we could take some time off and perhaps change what we were doing to earn an income. The downturn in the British Columbia forestry industry in late 2007 helped us reach our decisions faster. By "semi-retiring" we had the time to explore what kind of home we wanted, and much to our surprise and the surprise of all around us, we chose not to build a log home.

I would recommend the book to anyone who is interested in looking at their money differently.

Follow this link for more information:

The book was recently updated and there are web programs and support as well.

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