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Chapter 7: For Love or Money: Valuing Your Life Energy – Work and Income

Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin & Joe Dominguez

Chapter 7: For Love or Money: Valuing Your Life Energy – Work and Income

Notes by Roshan A. Loungani, CFP® CRPC®

Retirement Specialist

Are you getting full value for selling your most precious commodity, your time?

  • Our life energy is precious because it is limited and irretrievable

Work Through the Ages

  • Minimum Daily Requirement of Work – 3 Hours A Day

  • People would work for a day, take a day or two off

The Right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of a Paycheck

  • Additional leisure has been seen as a drain on the economy.

  • Leisure went from being desirable to something feared, a reminder of unemployment during the years of Depression.

Work Takes on New Meaning

  • We are losing the fabric of family, culture and community that give meaning to life outside the workplace. - Without this experience, leisure leads to loneliness and boredom.

  • Our jobs now serve the function that traditional belonged to religion - Answering the questions - Who am I? - Why am I here? - What is it all for? - Who are my people? - Where do I belong?

Did We Win the Industrial Revolution?

  • Majority of Americans are unhappy at work. In 2010, only 42.6% said they like their job.

What is the Purpose of Work?

  • Why do you do what you do to earn money?

  • What motivates you to get out of bed to go somewhere to make money?

  • Work has two functions - Material financial function (getting paid) and personal function (emotional, intellectual etc.) - All purposes of work aside from pay can be fulfilled by unpaid activities.

Breaking the Link Between Work and Wages

  • We have confused work with paid employment - Our fulfillment lies not just in our jobs, but our entire life. - When we are whole, we don’t have to consume our way to our birthright, happiness.

  • There is nothing in your life more valuable than your time. Separating work from wages means all moments of your life matter.

  • Our purpose in life does not have to be related to our work.

The Stunning Implications of Breaking the Link

  • Besides earning a living, there may not be anything in line with your purpose. - Redefining Work Increase Choices - When asked what you do, you can say “I am a teacher, but I am currently a computer programmer to make money” - Donna O. story - What would you do if you didn’t have to work for money? - Nearly half of Americans made a voluntary change in their lives that resulted in making less money.

  • Redefining Work Allows You to Work from the Inside Out - Do your job without giving up yourself.

  • Redefining Work Makes Us Life Designers, Not Just Wage Earners - The more we honor unpaid work, the more likely our debt will be lower.

  • Redefining Work Adds Life to Your Retirement - Financial Independence vs. Retirement – you do not need to work to earn money.

  • Redefining Work Honors Unpaid Activity - Status is bestowed on paid employment - Unpaid activities often seen as worth less

  • Redefining Work Reunites Work and Play - This will let your whole life glow with enjoyment

  • Redefining Work Allows You to Enjoy Your Leisure More - Leisure is not an identity crisis if you know you are not your job. - Work with focus while at work and focus on our chosen activities when time is our own.

  • Redefining Work Sheds a New Light on “Right Livelihood” - There is no guarantee that you will find someone to pay you for what you want to do. - Treat your paid employment as preparing you for your full-time vocation. - “Commercialism” destroyed the apes as artists and got them to scramble for peanuts.

Step 7: Valuing Your Life Energy – Maximizing Income

  • Are you getting a fair exchange for your investment of valuable life energy? - Enough is not the minimum amount for survival, it is enough for you.

  • New Options for Paid Employment - Does attitude limit your earning? - Wherever you work, you are working for yourself. - Job satisfaction lies with the worker, not the work. - Ted Y. good fortune vs. good self esteem

  • Financial Independence as a Part Time Job - Working part time on someone else’s agenda for money, so you can spend more time on your agenda.

  • But What If I Like My Job - Valuing your energy will only enhance your experience and earnings.

  • But What If I Don’t Have – Or Want – a “Job” - No matter how you make money, there is a tradeoff of time.

  • How to Get a High-Paying, High-Integrity Job - Get paid out of self-respect. Not out of greed or competition.

  • Money Talk Questions - How could you double your income without selling your soul or compromising your health? - What was your first job? Best job? Worst job?10 - What would be your dream job – whether or not you were paid for it? - What is your life’s work? - What do you like – and dislike – about the work you do for money?


Robin, Vicki. Dominguez, Joe. Your Money or Your Life. New York: Penguin Books, 2018, pp 209 - 244

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