O Magazine in January

There, that got your attention! In fact I was interviewed in October for the January issue of O (and here’s the result). The O writer asked why the new edition and I thought my answer would be a fine first post on this new blog where

I, coauthor Monique Tilford and advisor to the investing chapter, Mark Zaifman, will be blogging. The three of us have so much in store for you – keeping checking back.

So here’s my answer to why I did the update:

1. the stats and stories were fading into oblivion, garnered mostly from the 1980’s and earlier.

2. we wrote the book before the internet came to ascendancy, bringing new ways to be a conscious consumer – and unconscious one.

3. we wrote the book before ‘green consuming” came to ascendancy. Even though our environmental and sustainability sections were nigh on to prescient, the field of social justice, corporate responsibility and environmental screens for purchases had barely come into being.

4. we represented our brand of hyper-frugality – a sort of Depression Era “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without” mentality coupled with a 70’s “off the grid” mentality coupled with a ‘do-it-yourself’ mentality coupled with a freewheeling social critic mentality. We had a great life with these attitudes – and i still do – but I wanted to make the book feel more familiar to a broader segment of the population.

5. Based on our way of living, some of the hints and tips in the How-to-save-oodles chapter were extreme in my view, so I want to take out some and put in others. Also, we’ve found that creative frugality – finding your own ways to save money – is more in keeping with the philosophy than giving 101 ways to save money.

6. and possibly most important we wanted to adjust the investing chapter to correct for many misimpressions as well as some changes in the financial environment. Back in the day we asserted that “consciousness grows faster than inflation” but Reaganomics and deregulation actually decreased the ordinary person’s ability to manage their lives frugally because the social safety net and social services were unraveling (public education, full health care coverage at a reasonable rate, public transportation). Without this, people find it harder to get around without a car, harder to get treatment without breaking the bank, harder to get a good education without paying for private schools. The YOYO (you’re on your own) economy makes life more expensive for everyone. Plus the wealth gap has increased by almost tenfold while wages have been stagnant, creating both the perception of deprivation for most of us, and some cruel economic realities. So I wanted to adjust that assertion to consciousness grows faster than inflation… to a point.

In addition, the narrow understanding of Joe’s investment advice as “buy treasury bonds’ needed to be pried open a bit. Plus 15 years of experience showed me that most people who actually become financially independent had diversified their investments in the way we express now in the new Chapter 9.

It was hard to take a classic and edit it. The risk is that some magic would be lost. But I feel we did the surgery such that the book actually got better.

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