Taking Stock of Your Life and Finances

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Jordan Grumet is a hospice doctor. Readers of this blog more likely know him as Doc G, host and writer of the Earn & Invest podcast and blog.

Taking Stock Cover

In his new book, Taking Stock, Grumet tackles the topics of death and money, both of which are often taboo in our society. He offers wisdom gained through his work with the dying and those on the path to financial independence. 

The book challenges readers to take stock of their life and use money to live more intentionally. This book may make you uncomfortable at points. That’s exactly why we need it.

I’ll share my big takeaways from reading an advance copy of Taking Stock. It will officially be available on August 2nd. Read to the end for a chance to win a copy of the book.

Your Money Story

Grumet is a fabulous story teller and communicator in part because he is willing to be vulnerable. In the book’s opening line, he writes, “When I was seven, my father died suddenly, unexpectedly.”

This tragic event impacted his life from that point forward. Choosing to follow his father’s footsteps into a career in medicine is an obvious example.

After reflecting, he realized how this event shaped many of his other attitudes and philosophies in life in less obvious ways, including how he thought about money and his own mortality.

Throughout the book, Grumet also shares stories of hospice patients he has cared for. He mined key lessons that can be taken from their lives. And their deaths.

Whether we realilze and are willing to admit it or not, we all have our own stories that shape how we view money, and more broadly the world. I related deeply to his family’s story, as it is similar to the narrative that dominated my own family.

My uncle died suddenly at a young age when I was a small child. I grew up with this knowledge that life can be cut short.

Tomorrow may never come. This has always been a driving force for me to be intentional with how I spend my money and time, even before I was conscious of that fact.

Decades later I lost my cousin and dear friend, the daughter of that same uncle. She died in her early 40’s, just a few months before my daughter was born. A multi-year battle with cancer finally took her life.

Upon reflection, this combination of life altering events occurring within a few months of one another turbocharged my desire to live a life different from the standard path.

Related: Avoiding Retirement Regrets

Fear Drives Us

In Taking Stock, Grumet points out that we’re all driven by our deepest fears. That may manifest itself in a YOLO (you only live once) attitude. That attitude leads so many to save little to nothing while they live only for today.

He points out that fear is a key driver in the FIRE community as well. We fear we will run out of money.

This explains our fascination with discussing things like safe withdrawal rates ad nauseum, making back up plans for our back up plans, and our propensity for getting caught up in “One More Year Syndrome”, never feeling confident that we have enough.

The middle section of the book uses the parable of three brothers to explore different paths we can take to achieve financial independence. It explains how they are each driven by a different fear.

Grumet writes in a way that avoids judgment of any path. Instead, he lays out the positive and negative attributes of each, explaining how each can be a rational choice. I agree with his approach wholeheartedly.

Getting too dogmatic about any one financial path is a potential trap. His approach helps us avoid being defensive.

Grumet helps us be open to the possibility of picking and choosing the best attributes of each path. They then can be applied at different times in our lives.

Money: Goal or Tool

A common and often fair criticism of those who advocate for FIRE is that we get overly focused on money as the goal, rather than as a tool that enables living a better life.

I’ve gotten into the habit of calling B.S. when I hear people say they are going to do this thing or change that habit or behavior after they reach financial independence or retire.

There are two flaws in those proclamations. First, you will not magically change as a person because you hit a number on a spreadsheet or leave your job. Second, and more importantly, there is no guarantee that tomorrow will come.

On the flip side, the YOLO lifestyle can, and often does, go too far in the other direction. It is one thing to save little for the future while intentionally spending most of your money on the things you really want to do today.

It is something completely different to spend every dollar you make without intention. Many people trap themselves by reflexively spending on mortgages, car payments, and other consumer debt.

Many have no idea where their money is going. They end up unfulfilled today, with no viable path to a better future.

In Taking Stock, Grumet challenges you to identify the biggest fears that drive you. He then guides you to use your money more intentionally to live your best life now while building a secure future in alignment with your deepest desires.

Time is Money and Money Is Time

Another sacred cow that Grumet takes on in Taking Stock is the idea that time and money are interchangeable. This portion of the book was my personal favorite. It forced me to reconsider beliefs I had accepted as truths.

Most of us use monetary phrases like saving, buying, and spending with regards to time. We do this frequently and without thought. We treat time as a commodity, which is interchangeable with money. 

Taking Stock forces us us to acknowledge our mortality. Money is infinite. Addressing our mortality makes it clear that our time is finite. Time and money are not interchangeable.

Grumet challenges us to reconsider how we use and think about time. He points out the dissonance in our culture. 

We often wear our “busyness” as a  badge of honor. We frequently discuss how we don’t have time for things we know are important. Simultaneously, we live in a time of wealth and technological advances that could, if used wisely, free time in ways that would have been unimaginable even a generation ago.

In addition to commonly discussed “time hacks” that help us use our time more efficiently, Taking Stock introduced me to new concepts to make the most of my time. They include applying the “power of subtraction” and “time perception arbitrage.”

Who Is This Book For?

Any time I consider reviewing a book for the blog, I ask myself what segment of my audience, if any, this book would help. Rarely is any one book useful for everyone.

In the conclusion of Taking Stock, Grumet addresses this question directly. He writes, “I hope this book reaches you at a time when you are questioning the role that money and wealth play in your life.”

This is a question that we all should be asking and revisiting throughout our lives. It will help us to, using my favorite quote in the book, “be as prepared for life as you would be for death.”

At the end of each chapter are questions that will help you to take stock of your own life. This was modeled after the “life review” that is done with hospice patients near end of life.

The questions challenge you to ask hard questions, while giving you a framework to do so. Providing these tools often used with the dying enables you to use them before it may be too late. It is another of my favorite features of the book.

Related: Living a Purposeful Life After Retirement

Win a Copy of Taking Stock

Since this is such an important topic, I would like to send a copy of Taking Stock to three readers of the blog. If you would like a copy, leave a short comment summarizing in 2-3 sentences why you would like to read it. 

I will check the comments Tuesday, August 2 and pick the winners. Good luck!

If you don’t win a copy, the book will officially be available for purchase that same day. It is definitely a worthwhile investment of time to read it and consider the topics within.

***** Addendum*****

I asked you to write a little blurb explaining why you would like this book hoping I could narrow down the entries and get the books to people who would really be interested in these concepts. I was blown away by the number and quality of responses! Clearly this is a topic on many of your minds.

I have emailed three people selected to receive free copies. I hope many more of you will buy the book and find it helpful in navigating these challenging topics. I’d love to hear from you if you do.

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[Chris Mamula used principles of traditional retirement planning, combined with creative lifestyle design, to retire from a career as a physical therapist at age 41. After poor experiences with the financial industry early in his professional life, he educated himself on investing and tax planning. After achieving financial independence, Chris began writing about wealth building, DIY investing, financial planning, early retirement, and lifestyle design at Can I Retire Yet? He is also the primary author of the book Choose FI: Your Blueprint to Financial Independence. Chris also does financial planning with individuals and couples at Abundo Wealth, a low-cost, advice-only financial planning firm with the mission of making quality financial advice available to populations for whom it was previously inaccessible. Chris has been featured on MarketWatch, Morningstar, U.S. News & World Report, and Business Insider. He has spoken at events including the Bogleheads and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants annual conferences. Blog inquiries can be sent to chris@caniretireyet.com. Financial planning inquiries can be sent to chris@abundowealth.com]

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  1. Would love a copy of that book. As a father of four and someone who wants to leave a financial legacy to charity, I seem to be paralyzed by the One More Year syndrome. Hoping that this book might provide some well needed advice.

    1. Sounds like an interesting book where writer helps you reprioritize your life. The examples he provides and questions you answer will help me Take Stock of my own life before it is to late to make needed changes. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I too would love a copy of this book – timely as we are asking ourselves the same questions. Why are we not now enjoying the fruits of decades of work? Why do we feel compelled to leave resources for our kids, as it may create more of a burden that a benefit? How can we take advantage of enjoying our good health today, knowing tomorrow may be a different story. I think this book can provide the opportunity to reflect and make choices that are best for us. Thank you!

  3. Just retired, then unexpectedly inherited some money as well. Add some recent health issues and I’ve found myself paralyzed as to how to put these pieces together, step out of old habits and most effectively use my time and money with whatever tineI have left.

  4. This could not be more timely.
    Can’t wait to read the book.
    I am wrestling now with what is the correct balance between investing and spending, while staring down retirement in a few short years. The ‘just one more year’ syndrome is more powerful than I ever imagined it would be.

    1. Have always enjoyed your posts and gotten a lot of useful and actionable information from them. Writing your own obituary now as you imagine you’d like it to be is a great help in looking back and looking forward while clarifying the important things in life. It looks like this book takes the reader through a similar process, one we can all find useful.

  5. Wow. What a great concept for a book. I will read it, whether through a free copy or a purchase. I’m a recent FIRE ex-oncology/hospice nurse with a fear of spending too much. I’ve struggled to balance the “life is short” lesson from work vs. my inherited tendency to view spending on things I enjoy as frivolous. Currently reading “4,000 Weeks: Time Management for Mortals”, and I think Dr. Grumet’s book would complement it well.

  6. My father died of cancer at 62, never getting to do anything in retirement except battle the disease. I decided to retire early at 55 while in good health, and make the most of this latest stage in life. (Learn,Earn, and Return.) Sounds like the questions at each chapter would help me explore issues i never thought of, especially better ways to use my finite time on the planet. Tomorrow I turn 61 on August 2, still one year shy of my father’s early exit. I hope for many more years of productive retirement!!

  7. This book sounds awesome! It addresses many of the issues I am dealing with as I am about to enter retirement at age 67 (not FIRE, that ship sailed). If we knew exactly how long we had on the planet it would make planning much easier.

  8. This sounds like the perfect book for me. I am 75 and well aware I am in the last chapter of my life. Even at my advanced age I still need some guidance and courage to do what I really want to do. Though I may be past hope and it would help a younger person more.

  9. As I approach the time I will no longer work (been working 50 years), my wife and I feel we are preparing for the financial future. However, I’m always looking to learn if there is a ‘secret sauce’ I may have missed when planning. Might this book contain disciplines I have yet to consider?

  10. I would like a copy of Taking Stock. Thank you for the offer. If you choose to send me a copy, I give my word to read it with a view of actually applying its principles.

  11. I am the executor of my Mother’s will and have seen first hand how an innocent intent can cause havoc for future plans. I would love to read this book to ensure I don’t fall into a trap and make life difficult for my family and friends.

  12. Wow.
    Coming from India and settled in USA, getting close to retirement. Would be a perfect book for our community! Thank you for the summary. I will definitely share with my friends and community.

  13. I’m on the cusp of early retirement and the life assessments that come with it. This book would be a timely read and a good share with others in my extended family.

  14. I would love a free copy of the book Taking Stock. I came from a poor family and as a result I saved and invested “for the long term” my whole life. I am now 71 and realize my “long term” is not that long anymore. However, I am scared to spend the money I worked so hard to save, even though I probably could afford to. I need some help to not be scared to spend money and to not feel guilty when I do. Would this book be helpful for me?

    1. I’m casting my vote for Sandy to win. Can’t imagine a greater satisfaction than knowing she broke free to thoroughly enjoy life in all its goodness, optimism, joys and adventures.

  15. I left my job three months ago to start my own financial planning business. It’s easy to let money run the show and neglect other important areas of life. I want to read the book to help lay a solid foundation for my family and better serve my clients.

  16. I heard about this book on the ChooseFI podcast, and now your review makes me even more interested. I am particularly drawn to the discussion on time=money, and how that actually plays out in our lives. I would love a copy of this book!

  17. I suspect that I will wish that I had read this book sooner (or that it was available sooner). I just lost my husband in June and there are so many things that I wish that we (or I) had done differently. This book will help me prepare for the future and the inevitable end that faces us all. Can’t wait to read it!

  18. Hi
    I would love a copy of this book as well. I semi retired about 4 years ago and have been doing things I love doing with my wife. Travel is a big one. The spiritual side of life and death questions relating to money makes a lot of sense to me in understanding the whole picture better. Keep up the great work!!

  19. I would love to win this book. I am hitting that middle age wall with two children who are in their last years of high school. I have been questioning my priorities for the future.

  20. Looking for piece of mind with most bases covered.
    Fiscal, physical, mental, and soul need to balance out.
    I’ll be looking forward to picking up some great nuggets of information to help in a good planning solution.

  21. As a 40-something father to two young kids who was just diagnosed with a condition that will likely lead to early heart disease or stroke, I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about mortality and how to prioritize my time with my family while also making sure they’re provided for in the case an untimely demise. I think this book would provide some key insights.

  22. It sounds as if this book has guided my last 4 years. Tired of the drama, I retired in September 2018 at 59 years old.I had saved since my early 20’s, however i have really enjoyed my life. (drag racing, scuba diving,etc.)
    Fast forward to July 2019 as I lied on an operating table dealing with colon/intestinal cancer where a routine colonoscopy found my issue.(had no symptoms)
    As I lie there, I was soooooo happy i had spent money, traveled and enjoyed my life as i didn’t know if i would get another chance. Money is a tool, no different then a wrench or hammer. Use it for what it is intended for
    Mike Theulen

  23. Hi Chris-

    I’d like to read the book because for too long I’ve had an exclusively future orientation. I’ve obsessively studied the field of safe withdrawal rates, compared costs of living in cities worldwide in anticipation of geoarbitrage (including watching hundreds of YouTube videos on life in these cities), and oversaved at the cost of forging current pleasures. I need something authoritative and wise that will help me shift toward a balance of present and future orientation.


  24. “Taking Stock” sounds to me like a timely intersection with the three readings from this last Sunday’s Catholic Mass, which touch on the principle that “Hearses do not come with luggage racks”. I and my wife are both turning 70 this year, and we have done well – having a net worth in excess of $2M. We have only one, unmarried son, who is also doing well for his age, so we are investigating what to do with our accumulated wealth – especially if we both experience untimely deaths.

  25. I’d like a free copy. I’d imagine this perspective is quite intriguing, capturing thoughts of those nearing the end of their journey. A Dav e Ramsey quote comes to mind, which impacted my life – “death can be a tuning fork in your life” As in, it can clearly bring forward what is important and bring your life back into rhythm. I wonder if this book touches on this sentiment. Enjoying the blog – thx for your work.

  26. I would also love a copy of this book.
    I’m in my late 50’s and the men in my family have all died fairly early. Dad at 51 and brothers at 48 and 54.
    I fell like I am probably living on borrowed time myself and I’m constantly questioning how much more of my time I should spend on work and when I can feel comfortable calling it quits.

  27. Hello Chris – This book could not come at a better time, as I approach decisions and fears about my own retirement and my uncertainty of how I want the remainder of my life to be. I feel that disconnect, as you describe in your blog, about money being infinite and yet we are finite, even though we don’t like to think about it. I am aware of my various , yet conflicting fears driving my behavior and that I could benefit from a different perspective coming from a person who witnesses death and uncertainty every day. thank you

  28. I would love to receive a copy of this book. I am at a point of deciding when I can start using my retirement. I am currently helping to care for my 86 year old widowed mother who counts every penny, but has plenty of savings to live well for another 20 years. Economic uncertainty also plays a roll in wanting to ensure you have ‘enough’.
    How can you have the confidence in moving forward?

  29. What perfect timing for me with this thought provoking book. My husband and I are dealing with our parents at the end of their lives and all of what that brings. It has made us really question our own lives and what the end of our lives might look like. I would love to have this tool to help us in our quest to live more intentionally and to make things easier for everyone as they near to an end. Thank you for bringing this book to our attention.

  30. Years ago in my New Age business school – Bucky Fuller and Terry Cole Whittaker were two of our instructors – I drew up my Primary Aim:
    “To live a long, healthy, happy, prosperous life, full of choices, remaining in my integrity, while contributing to the Greater Good.”
    Next spring I will have enjoyed my early retirement for 20 years. I am interested in exploring his 3 pillars I read about in a Morningstar blog: Identity, Connection and Subtraction.
    That’s because I plan to have that long, healthy, happy prosperous life….
    I hope I win the book!
    Thanks for your good work.

  31. I hope this book will help my daughter and eventually my grandson deal with their finances better after the loss of my son-in-law a year ago.

  32. Enjoy reading the blog and the insights such as this. I’m 5 years away from an early retirement & also have a scrappy father who could use this book!

  33. First off…thank you for your newsletter and blog. I’ve been a subscriber for several years and always get something out of each edition. I retired at 62(almost 70 now).
    In the last year or so I have been “taking stock” of our personal life situation and thinking through much of what Dr. Grumet appears to cover in his book. The last thing I want is to leave this life with regrets! I will appreciate reading his book.

  34. Chris – this is an excellent read and great summary of the book. For me, as usual with this blog, the topic is timely and right on point.

    Thank you for sharing the book information, your summary and related thoughts. Well done!


  35. I am a retired physician, and a person of faith, who volunteers with hospice patients to provide comfort for the dying patient and respite for the family. I look forward to reading Dr. Grumet’s insights about leading life simply, intentionally, and without fear for what tomorrow may bring.

  36. My Haiku:

    How long should we work?
    Brother died young, dad worked late,
    Book will light a path!

  37. Thanks for reviewing this book. After reading your words and the “Look inside” excerpt online, I’ve ordered a hard copy and I’m very much looking forward to it’s arrival on Thursday.

    I retired recently and plan to be walking 483 miles along El Camino de Santiago in a few weeks, which will be a wonderful opportunity to ponder insights gleaned from this book.

  38. Yes. I’d like a copy of Taking Stock.

    At this point, I feel pretty confident in my preparation for and enjoying retirement. Maybe even to the point of smugness. But, what have I possibly missed in this process? I’d like to find out.

  39. The contents of this book as reviewed by you totally resonates with me. The understanding of the concept that time is not interchangeable with money led me retire at 54 when I decided that I had enough to live comfortably. Working more years in a high stress industry to led a more lavish lifestyle while compromising one’s health is not worth it. I would love to win a copy of the book.

  40. Thank you Chris. I would like the free copy of the book because I have been studying FI and enjoy the process of learning this valuable concept. I appreciate what you and the others are doing to provide education and options for us to consider. Thank you for reading. Best Kevin P Greisiger

  41. I’m so sure I want to read it that I just bought it anyway and I wanted you to know.
    I have enough. I know I have enough. I’m not doing what I want to do because of fear and because it’s uncomfortable. I’m a 44 year old physician with two young kids, a growing net worth and no mortgage, and I know too well that I’ve got the balance wrong.

  42. I would like a copy of Taking Stock because I’ve been retired almost four years and have felt more and more satisfied with where I’m at, even with the stock market downturn and threats from inflation and possible recession. As a retired minister, I’ve found hospice to be a valuable tool to help people face “end of life” fears realistically. I’d like to read Gromet’s “take” on this.

  43. This particular book is of great interest to me because of the theme of time vs. money. I am nearing retirement “age” and struggle with best timing to finalize and transition to the next chapter in life.

  44. I too suffer from “one more year syndrome.”. A book like the one mentioned would probably help to open my eyes (and other readers) to the reality that time is not guaranteed as much as we might like to think that it is. I need to recognize that things will most likely work out for the best and even in a worst case scenario, Social Security in about 15 years and a small pension will probably still be enough to get by on. Thanks for considering my wife and I for this book.

  45. I bounced a check in college and had to have my mom bail me out. The impact of that long ago and relatively small event has been enormous for me. On the positive side, it made me a careful planner/budgeted. Negatively, I’ll never forget the fear (and shame) and it’s made me overly conservative. I’m taking a massive leap in the next few months to downgrade my income in order to pursue a life calling that pays poorly. I can benefit from the wisdom of this book.

  46. After reading your review I would love to win a copy of “Taking Stock”. As a 69 year old retiree I realize that I need to find a way or ways to live a more purposeful life. Perhaps this book will inspire me to find more opportunities to do so.

  47. Good morning & thank you for that review! I just recently had a similar conversation with a man I’ve been dating, a retired palliative care/hospice doctor. He will turn 76 in two weeks, and this sounds like the perfect birthday gift!

  48. I am 85 years old so I don’t have much time left. I would like to read Taking Stock so that I could live the time I have left in a better way

  49. Hey! “Time & Money” struck me heavily. I just retired year ago at 69 and am caregiver for my 26-yo adult disabled child. I worked an extra 5 years to ensure a possibly better income for the 2 of us. During that time my health completely crashed (cancer, etc.). Now I find myself still unable to enjoy “retirement” as I constantly worry that I will not be around long enough to establish a secure future for her. Not sure this book would help my attitude as I navigate the landscape of special needs trust or whatever may be my best path forward. Just reading your review has stimulated me to think more closely. Thanks!

  50. I find myself on the cusp of retirement (slightly sooner than I’d planned, due to corporate dislocation). I have a circle of great friends, 2 of whom are wrestling with severe health issues, and another 15 years senior to me with whom I have philosophical discussions about ‘the back nine’.

    As father of 2 grown and grandfather to 3 adorable little ones, I find myself thinking deeply about the issues addressed in this book.

    I’d very much like to read it and share it with that group of friends, and take the lessons therein to heart as I embark on the next leg of my journey.

  51. I would love to read this book. I have worked the last 15 years in an outpatient cancer center and have seen over and over people who retire, are excited about this time in their lives and are then diagnosed with cancer. My late husband died at the age of 45 after struggling with cancer for a year. I am 64 and recently retired. I want to have time to travel and do other things that are important to me but find myself second guessing my decision. Any help in figuring out and confirming my priorities would be much appreciated.

  52. I agree with almost everything you wrote. We absolutely see money as a tool, not a goal, having retired with about a third of the amount of money many of our friends have. But it is enough. I don’t begrudge other people having more if I have enough.

    My only quibble with you is your assertion that people don’t change when they quit work. After a 43 year career in nonprofit management, trying to please everyone and their brother, I am a different person now that every minute belongs to me. My husband and my friends say I am happier and more relaxed. I am sleeping better. I have changed.

    1. Margot,

      Just to clarify, I would never say or think people CAN’T change. Just that in the vast majority of cases, you won’t magically change without intention and effort.

      I am very happy to read that you have changed for the better. I’m curious, if you are willing to share either publicly here or through a private e-mail. Were those changes a result of any conscious effort (therapy, books, podcasts, etc.) or was it natural and spontaneous for you? And if the latter, I’m curious how long it took for others to note these changes in you.

      In any event, I salute you and wish you continued happiness in retirement!


  53. I would like a copy of the book. I just retired and trying to figure out my purpose in retirement and the right balance between having fun and serving others.

  54. I would like to read the book because I am contemplating the challenges of retiring earlier or later and do not want to regret my decision – with aging parents (late -80s and 90) and an older spouse, I fear not getting out of life all that I want.

  55. I am retired, financially independent and recently realized that I will likely never need the money I accumulated, and continue to watch grow, over the past 40 years. So, I am looking for options to help me decide how to begin purposefully using these excess funds. From your review, I think this book will help me ask the right questions to move forward.
    Thanks for the offer, review, and your blog.

  56. Taking Stock sounds like exactly the book I need to read. I lost my father to pancreatic cancer when he was only 45, which had a profound impact on my view of mortality. As I approach retirement at age 60, I realize the same conscious deliberate choices I made earning my nest egg must now be applied to how I will live/spend in retirement. I don’t want fear to dominate the rest of my time on this planet.

  57. I’m currently experiencing that ‘fear’ as I’m trying to decide whether to retire in the next few years (or sooner). It’s especially disconcerting due to the state of the financial markets. The angel on my shoulder says you’ll be fine while the devil says keep working a little longer. I expect the book would have some good advice, information, and insights into my situation.

  58. I’d love to read this book – the parable of the three brothers caught my curiosity, amongst other things. As a middle class family with young kids, we’re looking for ways to build in efficiency – it sounds like this book may offer some ideas. Thank you!

  59. My husband and I enjoy reading your blog. While we read a number of financial/ retirement articles, yours has a different flavor. It’s not just about the finances. You’ve challenged us to consider not only the financial aspect of retirement but also the emotional, spiritual, and cerebral aspects of retirement. We would love to read Taking Stock because we think it would challenge us further. We are in our early 60’s and are right at the brink of retirement. Reading Taking Stock would be “just in time” for us.

  60. My husband and I both recently retired at 65 and have been reading this blog for many years in order to prepare. We have no debts and enjoy our retirement greatly but the fear of spending principal has created a reluctance to plan more expensive travel experiences to remote places. Thinking about time as finite and money as infinite is very intriguing to me. Thank you for a chance to win a copy of this book.

  61. As a new father (in my mid-40s, no less!), my relationship with work and time has changed this past year dramatically. I’m a physician like Dr. Grumet. I know how much I sacrificed to educate and train as a physician. It’s time for a new relationship with money.

  62. Chris, I appreciate this review. I’d love to explore more this idea of “money scripts” in people’s lives, and how we can deeply explore the IMPACT of those scripts in our lives (and others). I especially appreciate Grumet’s approach to this topic (“be as prepared for life as you would be for death”). I’m interested in his questions at the end of each chapter – as someone who coaches folks at transitional periods in their lives (job changes, family changes, retirement/reinvention – I want to “retire” the word “retirement”), they could be of great value in shifting this conversation to a more welcoming, engaging, explorative conversation for so many who are afraid even to BEGIN the conversation!

  63. Retired last year early (age 56). This year at just about the same time I started a part-time (non-career) job and husband was diagnosed with cancer. Certainly makes me think more about my (our) mortality and wonder if I can let go and enjoy life without a steady stable income stream from work.

  64. What perfect timing. I have just retired and just lost a dear family friend. Both events have me digging deeper into my own life plans – financial and otherwise. I believe this book was written for someone just like me at just this life intersection. One learns the most when they are driven to a point where the subject and their circumstances align. That is me, and the book, “Taking Stock”.

  65. Wow, I’d love to read this book. My husband talks about his book (i.e., his life) being balanced at all times. I’m fairly confident that I have more work to do on this topic. Fear often drives me and that is something I need to work on going forward. I’m sure there is a lot of good information for me in this new book.

  66. I have worked in the trades my whole life / millwright. Last 20 years I have maxed out my 401K & catch-up. My house in Maryland is paid for 8 years ago. I’m 64 & retired 6 months ago. I read your blog every Monday with enthusiasm. Thanks
    Sincerely, John Nash

  67. Chris,
    My wife of 47+ years and I recently sat down with our oldest son and daughter-in-law to review our estate and inform them of where they could locate important documents, if needed. We did not include our youngest son, since he has learning disabilities which would make it difficult or impossible for him to understand. This exercise forced us to review our wills and the various accounts, policies, holdings, etc. so we could assemble a log book of references for these assets. We have even purchased our burial plots, headstones and funeral services so as to relieve this burden from our sons. With Dr. Grumet’s insights on hospice, this book would be a valuable resource! Please register us for the drawing.

  68. What a great concept to explore in a book. I imagine those about to die have great insights into life and how to best “spend” our time here on Earth.

  69. I have been retired 21 months and just getting out of the “I am on vacation” phase and struggling with the next chapter of our lives. We had planned to sell and move but Covid and the housing market have put those plans on hold. So we are onto another plan for the time being. I would like to read this book due to the sentences.
    “Taking Stock forces us us to acknowledge our mortality. Money is infinite. Addressing our mortality makes it clear that our time is finite. Time and money are not interchangeable”.
    While TRUE, still a change in thinking is needed.

  70. Living a regret free lifestyle, while being practical, is something I strive to live by – I’m sure this book is a great take on that topic. I plan to retire around age 48 …. about 20 or so months to go!

  71. Sounds like a book I really need. I am an RN Casemanager- previously a hospice RN. I lost my spouse a year ago and deal with families every day that have not made any plans or have any resources to help their loved ones. I am looking at retiring this year-almost 70 years old with an awful back. I have a financial planner but he is not terribly helpful when I ask him about my retirement plan. It is scary- already lost 25000 from my retirement monies.

  72. Hi Chris,
    I’ve enjoyed your blog and have gotten many useful insights from it. I’ve appreciated your candidness in your own situations.
    I’m interested in this book and will buy it if I don’t “get lucky” in the drawing. I retired last year at 63. I lost my wife of 40 years to cancer on May 10, 2021. I took care of her at home until the end. The topics you address are in the forefront for me. Since I retired I’ve trekked in Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV, skied in Utah and hiked the Camino de Santiago in Spain. I feel my finances are all in order but want to live with intention as I am well aware of the fragility of life. Everything is temporary…
    Thanks for your blog and review of this book.
    Best regards,

  73. Hi Chris,
    I would like a copy of this book for my youngest son (part of generation Z) who has an attitude/outlook on money that I can’t understand – ambivalence might be one way to describe it. My attitude on money was greatly influenced by the book “Your money or your life” by the late Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. That book was a light bulb moment in how I’ve handled money since. Based on your assessment my hope is “Taking Stock” might be that book for my son. Thanks!

    1. Jeff,

      I didn’t mention in my review, but Vicki Robin wrote the forward for this book, so your hopes may be well placed!


      1. That’s awesome Chris! Keep up the great work. I’ve been closely following your writings and Darrow’s over the years. Just know your guidance has been well received and much appreciated! Best wishes.

  74. Hi Chris, thank you for your blog and the regular insights you bring to your readers. I would love a copy of this book. I want to live a life well-lived without regrets.

    “Take a look at your fellow man, everybody needs a helping hand. Tell me ‘What can I do today?’-Amy Grant (former bicycle rider)

  75. This book is something I need to read. In my 68th year I have had three significant health events that could prematurely end my life. Dr. Grumet has been with clients during the end of their life and I should hear what he has to say.

    Thank you

  76. Since COVID began, I have lost both my parents and my spouse. During my time of grief, I have often reflected on how I wish I would have spent more of my life focused on the people I love rather than on saving money (or at least having a better balance). From your description of this book, it sounds like the topics covered are in line with my current inner process and I’m very interested in learning more from the author. I am still relatively young (in my late 50’s) and I’m hoping to make some changes in my focus.

  77. I would love to receive a copy of the book. I live with a destructive chronic illness and expect to predecese faithful wife. We have accumulated a reasonable nest egg. My question is do I retire now and maximize our time together or keep working a bit longer and try and keep life “normal”?

  78. Great post. I love the point about wearing your busy-ness as a badge of honor. Having just completed 30+ years in the military and FIRE-ing this month, I cant tell you how many times managers have said “i took a look at that over the weekend” as if that entitles them to additional points as better managers. I submit that they are weak managers who cannot manage time effectively.

    For someone about to retire in my mid 50s, I too suspect a pending struggle with the role and relationships of the money/time/wealth continuum. I look forward to this book.

  79. Hi Chris – thanks for your comments on Dr. Grumet’s book. As a 68-year-old who is still maintaining an active legal practice, I’m constantly asking myself: is it time to hang up the spurs? I’m hoping Dr. Grumet can help provide some guidance in answering that question.

  80. I am spending money like it is totally free. I have plenty of free time now since I retired early, and My wife and I have been traveling around the world this year. Perhaps this book will help me focus back to saving and investing again.

    Love your blog.

  81. Thanks very much for letting your readers know about this book Chris! I’ll throw my hat in the ring for the free copy giveaway, but one way or another I’m sure I’ll be reading and in all likelihood gifting this book.

    I’ve been self-supporting since age 17 with no family home or “safety net,” and my dad committed suicide when I was 25. Forty years later it’s easy to see how much those circumstances made me a risk-averse, fear-driven investor!

    But as you and Dr. Grumet point out, underlying all financial fears is our fear of death, yet if we can learn to turn towards that fear life will gift us with the ability to live by our values rather than squandering much of our energy in trying to avoid impermanence and uncertainty. Darrow really embodies that approach and it’s lovely to see you carrying that forward.

  82. Chris
    I would love to receive a copy. nearly 2 years ago at 55 I was diagnosed with throat cancer, had 2 surgeries, 6 weeks of radiation, complications and hyper baric oxygen treatment and now on the mend. I recently went to the ER for an unrelated, yet serious health concern. I am working on how I can live more intentionally and to decide, how much is enough money to live a less stressful life. I have had close friends pass a young age and I still feel young, but want to do better. This sounds like a good read.
    Dan Cole

  83. This book will definitely be reaching me at a time when I have been questioning the role of money and wealth in my life as I retired one month ago on my 59th birthday. The decision feels both scary and exciting and I am already second guessing my decision at times for reasons it sounds like Dr. Gs new book will discuss. And your mention of his “life review” questions are a huge hook for me.

  84. I am retired and am facing important decisions on spending money now vs. saving more money to finance potential spending such as health care. After a lifetime of cramming as much activity & task completion into my waking hours, I now have the luxury of truly allocating my time in ways that provide me with the most value. I believe this book would assist me in meeting that challenge. PSF

  85. This book sounds very interesting to me because I was always a saver. Now that I am retired I’m working through purpose and what to do and think about using my savings myself and what financial legacy to leave to my children and grandchildren. Also thinking about community and charitable contributions. So much to think about! Hoping this book could provide some clarity to bring calm. Thank you for sharing.

  86. Would love to read the book. I retired 10 months ago a little earlier than planned choosing “time” over “money” after the unexpected premature deaths of both family members and friends. Now I have the time to focus on my health, my family and all the other things that I never seemed to have time to do while working.

  87. Now, 65, retired three years ago and am sensing mortality is getting nearer rather than farther. Want to spend the remaining time in the best way possible – this book may have some good recommendations. Thanks!

  88. Regarding Taking Stock: I retired January of 2020 so the first part of my retirement was spent in covid lockdown. As we emerge from that, I am concerned that I have lost my sense of purpose and my enthusiasm for engaging with the world. This book sounds like a good reminder of what we need to think about as we plan our futures, however long or short they are.

  89. I would like to read Taking Stock, because a health issue forced me to retire in January at age 62, several years earlier than my wife and I had planned. We are ok financially and really enjoying retirement , yet I was content “trading time for money” in a job that in the end was stressful. My wife and I are learning and embracing how to be realistic and intentional with our time.

  90. I would love to receive a copy of Taking Stock. I turn 69 next month and retired a year ago. And I could’ve retired earlier but got stuck on working “just one more year”. My father died in bankruptcy and I wanted to be sure that my retirement would be financially rock solid. Even though on paper, we look good, it’s still something I often think about.

    I believe that this book could be very helpful to understand and clarify how to best move forward in the remaining years that I have. One thing I’m certain of, they’ll go by very quickly.

  91. I would love to read this book. At 61 and my Husband being 55 this is a topic that we are struggling with. When is it time to retire and how to live our best lives.

  92. I would like to read Taking Stock because I DO worry I won’t have enough. And, I want to be able to be a bit more carefree with spending to really enjoy my retirement.

  93. I would like to read the book as well. I passed the just one more year in a manner of speaking, I decided 62 and retired about a month before I turned 63, I was still 62! Right now I am wondering if I should try to work part-time. I miss the earning, maybe I miss something else, i.e. being valued. This book may help, Regards

  94. I would like a copy of Taking Stock, I have been discussing this issue with my two daughters(54,52). I have prepared a document for them with passwords, accounts, etc., but wonder if I’m missing things

  95. I am interested in a copy as prioritizing the non-finanical aspects of our life needs more work. This is becomming especially important near-term as we are actively planning an imminent retirement from full time work. Plus, winning free stuff is awesome.

  96. It is nice to see someone point out the fallacy that time is money. Balancing the two can be tricky. We need to work (spend time) to make money. But also want to have enough time to enjoy the fruits of our labor. I’m truly interested in reading this book!

  97. This came to my attention at just the right time in my life.. as my aging parents have suddenly given the properties in their estate, to my three siblings, unintentionally leaving me out. Mainly because they are no longer within the clear mindset to make such decisions, and partly because sadly, family took advantage of their vulnerability. I am the nurse in the family, who cares for them. I have prepared myself financially for early retirement, thankfully, on my own. I would love to read this book, in hopes to better prepare for my own decision making prior to “old age”.

  98. I am a provider in the medical field at the end of my career, retirement decisions and the finality of life are looming large. Leaving a legacy will guide my final quarter and I know this book is full of wisdom on finishing well. This book written by a Hospice Doctor is very intriguing to me. I will buy this book! Rick

  99. Money makes everything easier but it is the people in your life worth millions. We are all given one life and we should strive to make the best of this gift. I am always eager to learn from others how to maximize my time and potential.

  100. I am not a fan of YOLO – You Only Live Once. Actually, I believe YODO – You Only Die Once. You live every day. How you choose to spend those days becomes your legacy. Spend your life wisely.

  101. Two years ago I had a ‘widowmaker’ heart attack and was effectively dead at age 58 in the emergency room before twelve shocks with a defribillator finally brought me back. That event has caused me to completely reassess my plans and beliefs regarding time and money. My wife is also a hospice nurse and regularly sees the struggles dying individuals and their families go through around these important topics. We would love a copy of this book to help us in our personal journey and as a tool she could discuss with her patients.

  102. My husband’s first day of retirement is literally today, so the book is perfect timing. He has had mixed feelings about retiring, since he has worked all of his life to earn money, so it’s a foreign concept for him to stop working. I am currently planning to work about 2 more years, but it seems like the ‘1 more year syndrome’ to me. I would appreciate reading the insights in the book, based on your review. Thank you

  103. Hi Chris, I would love to win a copy. I am probably one of your older readers at 69 having retired in 1998. My husband retired in 2004 and only had 18 months before getting cancer. He missed his children weddings and seeing his grandkids. The youngest GRandkid is heading to kindergarten o longer needing my babysitter skills, and I am using rewards and travel hacking to fulfill my travel dreams and visit my ancestors’ homelands. It’s another period of redefining my intentional use of time and money and definitely want to read Doctor G ‘s book.

  104. I would love to read this book because I personally struggle with the saving too much for the future vs. live for today concept. I think this book may help me address and learn how to deal with this constant internal struggle that I wrestle with.

  105. This book sounds so timely for our family. We are recently retired and struggling with the decisions around spending more while we’re younger (and healthier). Please include us in the drawing for the free copy, thank you!

  106. Why would I like to read it? I will soon hit my second anniversary of being retired. Still feel like I am in the “honeymoon” phase in some ways. Gaining comfort in our “withdrawal plans”, etc. especially in the midst of the crazy economic time we are in. As may have said, after a year or so, the focus shifts from the “financial plan” to what do I do with the “rest” of my time. It seems like Taking Stock would be a timely resource for me in the next phase of the journey called “retirement”….

  107. My husband and I are empty nesters in our mid 50s. We talk about retirement often and how to spend the next season of our lives. My parents both passed away 11 years ago from separate battles with cancer within 9 months of each other. My mom was 63 and never had a chance to retire. My dad was only 4 years into his retirement (a retirement I heard him talk about my whole life). I want to enjoy this next season as soon as possible…you never know how much time you have left.

  108. I would like a copy of ‘Taking Stock’ because these questions are exactly what I need to reflect on to make the most out of the next 20 years of my life. The questions (and answers) will help me grow and take new directions that I wouldn’t have thought of previously. And I’m guilty of the ‘One More Year’ of work, so I need a challenge to find my fear and what I’m going to do about it.

    FYI, I’m already enjoying the ‘Earn & Invest’ blog, so thank you for the tip!

  109. I’m springing into retirement and would appreciate the guidance this book might bring to “max it out”. I have lots of interests and activities, but need the framework this book could provide.

  110. My partner of 30 yrs has been diagnosed with a terminal illness – our hopes and dreams for the future together are dashed….He saved religiously…. Guarded his money for the future… I am interested in understanding how to live fully, managing my finances to my best advantage…. I see some of those frugal traits in myself as I transition from the saving to the spending phase of life.

  111. I love the idea behind the book, and plan to read it! As a recently retired Emergency Department nurse, I saw way too many times how a person’s life or their family’s life can change in a minute. I’m still searching for my purpose in retirement, trying to balance ways to help others, while also looking to leave a legacy for our family and our favorite charities.

  112. I just read the book 4000 days…really got me thinking about my and my family’s life goals. As a nurse I have found much wisdom in the patient’s life experiences. I learn so much from them and I’m thinking this book will have further lessons to consider.

  113. This book sounds like a great read for me and my family. Both my almost 92 year old father and 65 year old brother-in-law have put much emphasis on working hard and saving and investing but struggle with using the fruits of their labor to enjoy life. I lost my husband unexpectedly 18 years ago and know well that we don’t know how much time we have so finding the right balance is important to me. Would love to read Taking Stock and would share with friends and family.

  114. As I prepare for retirement. I am continuously asking myself should I work longer to ensure a comfortable retirement or should I leave work sooner to ensure I make the most of my most healthy and vibrant years? Maybe this book would help with an answer.

  115. Hi Chris, I had not heard of Jordan Grumet and so thank you for introducing him. I checked out his website and watched the official book trailer which is very interesting. Your book review was excellent too and I am especially interested to learn tips to identify my biggest fears, new concepts about time management, and see the tools he learned from providing hospice care. As an aside, there is an aspect of this book that reminded me of “Tuesdays With Morrie” by Mitch Albom. I look forward to reading it. Thanks again.

  116. Hello. I want to read this book because I fit into the fear category. Growing up my mother spent money frivolously and my father had a gambling problem so utilities were often shut off for nonpayment. I’m single with no kids and think I won’t have enough. I’m reaching retirement age but am afraid to retire from what once I thought of as a noble career, (I’m a police lieutenant) but now I feel the job may be killing me due to stress (cancelled days off, lack of community and internal support). I’d love to win a copy of this book. Thank you for reading this and for your consideration.

  117. This book would be great to read for my wife and I. We recently made a big life and financial change by me taking a temporary job in Germany. My wife had to leave her job, effectively cutting our income in half. We still believe we have 5-10 years to work before we can retire, and with the reduced income and savings potential we’ll likely have to work longer. However, we decided to do this now in our early 50s to experience life in Europe for several years while we still had our health and mobility to make the most of it. I think this book would offer a lot of perspective now and going forward as we know we will need to provide help to our aging parents in the near future.

  118. Chris,

    Great book summary – would love a copy as it really has me pegged!

    I am guilty of the “one more year syndrome” (5 years total, 2 during COVID), finally took my pension in February. As you said, “never enough”. I was actually fat FI before I even knew what FI was.

    At 64, my company still contracts me to work remotely, so I could really use some of those new concepts to manage time more effectively. Thank you.

  119. I would love to read this book. We often look at retirement from the financial aspect. Seeing as time is finite for all of us, approaching retirement from that aspect should have equal if not greater weight. Taking an inventory or our time and how it’s spent while we’re still living may be a more important way to approach retirement.

  120. This hits home, one of my best friends is battling brain cancer right now at at time when he had planned to be enjoying his first year of early retirement at 53. I’ve definitely embraced the concept of living my life with purpose and making sure we use our money as a tool to live our best life possible. My wife and I just did our first solo night crossing sailing in the Mediterranean, it was so invigorating and the sense of pride & accomplishment when we successfully dropped anchor and could rest/reflect was truly priceless.

  121. I retired one year ago at age 64 after raising 6 kids. My wife is 11 years younger than I am with a grandma still living at age 102. We have money to enjoy our life now, but I am so fearful she will run out of money long after I am gone. How do you balance a potential 50+ year retirement for her with living the best life today. We are a blended family so never had time without kids to do for ourselves. Now is the time, but how do we prioritize what we do? It is the toughest time mentally for me in my life.

  122. I would like to read this book as time, money and the future are things I consider almost daily. Am I doing what I want to do, can I afford to do what I want for the next thirty plus years, if not, make a plan for my circumstances. It sounds like I could benefit from the author’s thoughts. Thank you for introducing the book to this community of readers. K

  123. I would definitely like to read Taking Stock. I have about a decade remaining in my regular career, and then I really hope to pivot into volunteering and charity work. In the meantime I also have teenager children to teach about finances and being prepared throughout life’s twisting road. From the description above I believe this book offers some useful guidance for my life ahead.

  124. I would like to read this book because these are matters that need to be understood. Life is not easy. We need to understand. Good insight would be invaluable.

  125. Recently retired and am working on figuring some of this out. After a recent health scare where I actually died, the tendency to go with the YOLO and “it’s all a crapshoot” (my version of YOLO) is strong. It would be great to read something to help dive a little deeper on how to manage my new path.

  126. I would love to read this book. I retired last year to take care of my mother and the process of caring for her forced me to reprioritize my life. I also realized how precious time is. Thank you for sharing.

  127. After retiring early and having plenty of savings my wife and I inherited a ton of money. Now we can buy anything, or go anywhere, we want. But we spend most of our time at home. I think this book would help us with perspective.

  128. Hi Chris–
    What a great summary! Sometimes in life things just hit you, and the correlation between dying and money is one of those for me.
    I am 59 years old, have more money than I ever thought I would, (trust me it’s not a lot in some folk’s minds but from my perspective I am blessed) and I am thinking about how I can leave the world a better place.
    I was a typical male focused on raising and providing for my family. Now I am thinking about retiring and giving back. However, I cannot seem to get my head around “retiring” (ie not working 50 plus hours a week). Despite multiple financial planners, more cash flow projects than anyone should be subject to, and stacks of articles on the 4% rule, I am stuck in the one more year syndrome.
    I fear of what happen to my family growing up. My dad losing his job, having 5 kids at home and having to move to a less desirable neighborhood. Simply put, I am in fear of losing all I have.
    I need help getting over my fear and being in a place where I am thankful for what I have and begin my legacy of giving back to the world.

  129. Hi Chris,
    This books sounds really interesting. I’m interested in the “time is money” debunking. Now that I am turning 65 soon, the mortality of life is creeping in to thoughts more & more.

  130. Was planning on retiring this year but I went parttime instead… suffering from a bit of OMY syndrome. Would love a copy of the book – living “intentionally” is huge!

  131. I come from a family that has experienced early, unexpected deaths for three generations. These tragedies were a blessing in some ways as they forced me to consider how I spent my time and what the pursuit of wealth meant to me.

    This is exactly the book so many people need. As a long, time (former) CFP, I would try to explain these concepts to clients. Trying to get them to reflect on the relationship between spending time and/or money, saving time and/or money. My intention was never to steer them to a particular result, but rather to help each person reflect and reach their own path. So glad this book is available, I will get multiple copies (one for myself, and the others to give away).

  132. Recently retired a bit early and had a sizable inheritance a couple decades ago. We live frugally, but could spend lots more than we need to, AND expecting another larger inheritance soon from parents in their late 90s currently. That said, we are truly in our golden years with one successful daughter on her own, soooo, how to spend, use, and wisely decide our financial planning going forward. I’ll certainly read Grumet’s book one way or another. Thank you for presenting this great topic!

  133. Wow. I know I am too late to win a free copy. That said, this was one of my favorites. I plan to garner a copy as soon as possible. I need this read in so many ways. Quick example, I love this blog but often do not take the time to read it. I am “to busy” with life. When I do make time to read it, I am always glad I did. Anyway I find myself planning and worrying about the future and not living in the moment and I believe this book will help me reevaluate my behaviors and try and incorporate a plan of action to make a few life changes. Thanks again for this blog. I do enjoy it. I just need to read it all the time and not just some of the time! 🙂

  134. Great book. I bought it last Monday and read it Thursday. Quick, easy, informative read. Everyone should get a copy.

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