Underearners Anonymous

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Underearners Anonymous
Area served
Face-to-face meetings: Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Iran, Israel, United Kingdom, United States. Phone meetings: world wide

Underearners Anonymous (UA) is a twelve-step program founded in 2005 for men and women who have come together to overcome what they call "underearning". Underearning is not just the inability to provide for oneself monetarily including the inability to provide for one's needs presently and in the future but also the general inability to express one's capabilities and competencies. The underlying premise of Underearners Anonymous is that underearning is a kind of mental disorder regarding the use of time, rather like the alcoholic's self-destructive compulsion to drink to excess.

Indeed, members of UA sometimes refer to themselves as "time drunks", because they have a propensity to fritter away their time in questionable activities, rather than pursuing constructive goals. This parallel with alcoholism has led the fellowship to appropriate much of the apparatus of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), including the Twelve Steps, regular meetings to share their "experience, strength, and hope," and sponsorship. UA suggests studying AA literature to gain a better understanding of addictive diseases. Specifically, UA endorses the use of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions[2] and Alcoholics Anonymous[3] (also known as the "Big Book").

UA uses additional tools, such as keeping written records of how one spends one's time, "possession consciousness" (the disposal of "what no longer serves us"), Goal pages which is the writing down of one's goals, measuring progress and rewarding achievement and the avoidance of "debting" (unsecured borrowing). They also advocate "action meetings" in which members peer-counsel others about earning-related issues, and "action partnerships" in which members encourage each other to complete earning-related tasks.


The Effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous article of this encyclopedia notes the difficulty in rigorously testing the effectiveness of AA. Given the more subjective nature of underearning, as opposed to alcoholism, the effectiveness of UA is probably even harder to rigorously investigate. Some compelling anecdotal evidence of success, at least in certain instances, has been reported.[4]

Relation to Debtors Anonymous (DA)[edit]

In the early days of DA, author Jerrold Mundis heard about the concept of underearning from his friend, the life coach Jim R. In 1995, Mundis published a book, "Earn What You Deserve: How to Stop Underearning & Start Thriving."[5][6]

Underearners Anonymous was started when a group of individuals attending a DA meeting, realized the power of the 12 steps to release people from the bondage of deprivation. This group envisioned an independent program for what ailed them not addressed by DA.[7] The first official Underearners Anonymous meeting was then held on October 3, 2005.

Underearners Anonymous continues to adhere to the DA philosophy; hence the emphasis on avoiding unsecured borrowing. However, UA also believes that a healthy relationship with money requires more than just recovery from "incurring unsecured debt," the primary focus of Debtors Anonymous.[8] Underearning also overlaps with deprivation, social anorexia, and underachieving, collectively referred to as "under-being," giving it an emphasis different from the Debtors Anonymous focus on behaviors such as credit card debt, overspending and compulsive shopping. Many members of Underearners Anonymous are also members of Debtors Anonymous and attend meetings of both organizations.

However, Debtors Anonymous has no affiliation with Underearners Anonymous and neither endorses nor lends the DA name to any outside enterprise. DA, as such, is autonomous and has no opinion on Underearners Anonymous.[9]


UA has grown rapidly and weekly face-to-face meetings take place in the United States, Europe, Iran, Israel and New Zealand with phone meetings available on a daily basis.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Underearners Anonymous web site
  2. ^ Bill W. 2002a
  3. ^ Bill W. 2002b
  4. ^ Crowe 2011
  5. ^ Mundis, Jerrold (February 1996). Earn what You Deserve: How to Stop Underearning & Start Thriving (Revised ed.). Bantam. ISBN 9780307805041. OCLC 773728249.
  6. ^ Mundis, Jerrold (24 August 2011). Earn What You Deserve: How to Stop Underearning & Start Thriving. Random House Publishing. ISBN 9780307805041.
  7. ^ Southern CA UA Speaker Recording,https://www.socaluameetings.org/events See Haillie's talks.
  8. ^ Debtors Anonymous web site, www.debtorsanonymous.org
  9. ^ "The 12 Traditions of DA". Archived from the original on 2013-10-26. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  10. ^ "UA Website". weareallua.org. Retrieved 2016-10-08.


External links[edit]