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Book Review: Overcoming Underearning

I just finished reading Overcoming Underearning by Barbara Stanny. I liked it a lot. I was surprised at how much I liked it in fact.  It deals with a lot more of the emotional side of money than I thought it would. And I find the emotional side of money quite interesting.  The author has a ton of exercises to do throughout the book that I found interesting. I’ll say that I didn’t have any major breakthroughs or anything while reading this book, but this topic is already something that I have a big interest in, so I feel I was already 3/4 of the way there. It was a nice kick in the pants though.

Barbara Stanny has lots of numbered lists in the book.  Here’s one:

Eight Rules for achieving remarkable results.

  1. Make a vow to yourself: under earning is no longer an option.
  2. Keep your commitments.
  3. Use disruptions to practice the five steps.
  4. Enroll your spouse or significant other in this process.
  5. Put yourself first.
  6. Keep snippets of inspiration where you can easily see them.
  7. Rigorously observe your actions and thoughts.
  8. Do what you dread

The bulk of the book is talking about her 5 steps for Overcoming Underearning.  They are as follows:

1. Tell the truth

This chapter is really about getting honest with yourself.  She sums it up nicely with this:

Until you really know what’s going on, you can’t possibly do anything differently.  Unless you confess what’s not working and figure out why, you’ll never be able to make things work any better.  She goes on to say “the whole point of telling the truth is to start making new choices based on actual face (not your stories about what happened), actual data (not what you guessed is going on), and your core values (not what you should want).

2. Make a decision

Making a decision basically means making a commitment and sticking to it.  She lists 3 things that will along the way to making and following through on your decision to make more money.  Those three things are coincidences, changes in other areas of your life, and resistance.

3. Stretch

The stretch is where you feel the fear, but do it anyways.  Maybe it’s quitting your job to start a business, or asking for a raise, or starting a side project.  Anytime you do something new you are going to feel uncomfortable, this is when you need to stretch.  You might have to be willing to let go of something that you find comforting, you don’t necessarily have to give it up, but you have to be willing to lose it if it comes to that.

4. Create community

To reach your goals you need 4 types of people in your life.  They are True Believers, Confidantes, Way Showers, and Messengers.  True Believers say “Go for it!”  Confidantes say “I understand”.  Way Showers say “You can do it too; let me show you how.”  And Messengers say “I can help.”  You will also have Naysayers, which do provide a service to us as long as we don’t have too many.  Naysayers will knock us off track of the projects that aren’t important to us.  If you don’t have the drive and passion for a particular project then a Naysayer can easily dissuade you from continuing with it.

5. Respect and appreciate money

This is really the only chapter that deals directly with money.  Here she talks about money management techniques including budgeting and debt elimination.  I thought the following paragraph was especially interesting.

“Of all the people I’ve interviewed for my books, or met during my travels, I can safely say that the ones with the highest net worth were not necessarily the ones who made the most money. They were the ones who took the best care of their money.”

Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone.  Even if you are already earning good money you could be making more.  It’s interesting to explore what prevents us emotionally from making more money.

Have you read it?  Did you like it?  Does it sound interesting?

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