No. of Recommendations: 5
I continue to do the exercises in YMOYL today.

If you want to get to financial integrity/independence as fast as possible, I would strongly recommend following the steps.

The exercises should not be thought of as "math problems" where the goal is to get the proper answer. Rather the goal is to shift one's thinking about money and how it flows in and out of his/her life.

One of the most revealing steps was inventorying everything I own. When completed, I was ashamed at how much "stuff" I had acquired. The spreadsheet I created has been valuable for tracking the complexity of my life. For me, less stuff lowers the complexity of my life.

Although I have always lived well below my means, the expense tracking showed me how incredibly complex my financial life was. I was letting money slip out of my hands in small ways I had not expected. If I cut spending, I had less stuff to post and track!

I like some of the side benefits of the changes I made. Even though $60 per month was a small amount for fast food compared to most, when I eliminated it by planning better, my body weight dropped back to where it should be.

I think that following the steps develops some strong disciplines which allows me to truly minimize my expenses and maximize my savings.

The process of monitoring and reflecting on my expenses in detail has probably accelerated my retirement date by two years in only four years of using the program.

On the whole, the YMOYL steps add about 40 minutes to my financial paperwork tasks a month. Since I was already using Microsoft Money, I track all my expenses on computer. I spent several hours developing custom reports to give me some of the tracking information I need. I developed an Excel spreadsheet which tracks my lifetime earnings, projected savings, FI date (now past), post retirement expenses, and investment income.

I did not follow Joe & Vicki's recommendation on investments. (The plan was originally developed when Treasuries yield near 10% -- a great deal in today's world.) The rapid growth of my investments has been due to growth in stock and real estate.


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