Ramit Sethi — How to Play Offense with Money, Plan Bucket Lists, and Take a Powerful $100 Challenge | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "Ramit Sethi — How to Play Offense with Money, Plan Bucket Lists, and Take a Powerful $100 Challenge".
Note: This transcription is split and grouped by topics and subtopics. You can navigate through the Table of Contents on the left. It's interactive. All paragraphs are timed to the original video. Click on the time (e.g., 01:53) to jump to the specific portion of the video.
Hello boys and girls, ladies and germs. This is Tim Ferris. Welcome to another episode of The Tim Ferris Show. I'm speaking quickly because we're going to cover a lot of ground. We have Rameet Seti. Rameet Seti, if you want to get it right. But that's confusing because it's R-A-M-I-T space, last name S-E-T-H-I. You can find them on Twitter and Instagram @Rameet-R-A-M-I-T. He is author of the New York Times bestseller, "I will teach you to be rich." Has helped tens of millions of people live a rich life with their monies, with their monies, careers, businesses, and psychology. He hosts more than a million readers on his site, iwillteachyoutoberich.com, newsletter and social media. His new podcast, "I will teach you to be rich" by Rameet Seti reveals real stories about love and money from behind closed doors. You can find him on Instagram @Rameet on Twitter @Rameet. And you can find podcast episodes at iwt.com/podcast. Rameet, you sexy son of a bitch. Welcome back to the podcast. Oh, man, it's good to be here. And I must say we were talking about this while we were doing a little bit of pre-game. But the expectations are going to be very high. You have been on the podcast several times. Some of your episodes are the most downloaded of all time across 600 or so episodes now. So we will need to get to a lot of tactical, practical. And we're going to discuss a lot of, I think, sensitive topics. We're going to get into some juicy territory for folks talking about couples, money, all things, in betwixt and in-between. And maybe it's in betwixt in-between. I can't remember. I'm trying to get too old-timey. But let's just jump right into it because you and I have had many conversations offline. We've had many conversations publicly and there's a lot more to explore. So as a starter, what are some of the most memorable money conversations that you have had in the last few years?
Discussion On Finances And Personal Sentiments
Memorable money conversations (02:00)
Because it's been a bit since we had our last conversation on the podcast. So a lot has transpired. The last time we talked, we talked about pre-nups and what that was like walking in. And I remember giving you a call and I said, "Hey, we could talk about this on your podcast." And you said, "Wait, you'll actually share the details." I said, "Yeah." And that was very juicy because nobody talks about this kind of stuff publicly. Right. So after getting married and going through that process with my wife, I thought, "Okay, great, done deal. Kind of wiping my hands together. Oh, we're all good." And then I started speaking to other couples about their money. And I remember speaking to a number of couples, the first one that I spoke to was a couple where one person had over $500,000 of debt. Who's a vet. By the way, interestingly, the people who I speak to who are in the most severe debt are veterinarians. It's very interesting. And he was very nonchalant about it. No big deal. Like, we'll find a way. No problem. His wife felt totally constrained and constricted. There's nothing they could do. They were putting off moving because there was this huge looming ghost in the middle of their relationship. I got interested and I started speaking to more and more couples. And I remember talking to another couple where there was a young woman and she had paid off something like $50,000 of debt, which was very impressive. But whenever her husband said, "Let's go on a trip." The first thing she would say is, "Oh, we can't do that. We can't do that because my debt." And so I said to her, "When you finally pay off your debt, do you think you're going to magically change the way you think about money?" And she was silent. And she said, "Yeah, with a question mark at the end. Yeah." Which means no. People tend to have this. It's a false belief that one day when they pay off their debt, or one day when they make a certain amount of money, they're going to magically change the way they think and act about money. And the fact of the matter is that doesn't happen. And so that is why I got interested in speaking to couples and they let me in to their conversations, their private conversations about love and money. Can I just share a quick personal side note?
Why I’m a loose canon (04:33)
And I'm not drunk. I'm not over caffeinated. People, if you're wondering why I'm such a loose cannon already today. But I thought you would appreciate this because we've had a lot of conversations like this. So I'm in a house right now with a brand new washer and dryer. But a few weeks ago, I was agonizing over whether or not to get a washer dryer because I'd been doing wash and fold and paying kind of buy the load to get clothing washed and folded. It was pretty inconvenient and I was talking to someone about it. And I've spent a lot of time considering whether I should continue using washing and fold or getting a washer dryer. And I mentioned the cost of the washer dryer and so on and so forth. And I said, you know, for that, I could do this number of wash and fold sessions. And that I expect would take X number of weeks or months. And really, I'm only here for a certain period of time. And at the end, they were like, Tim, I think you can just spring for the washer dryer. But the amount of time that I spent like running this calculus and weighing the pros and cons was a great illustration of a terrible investment of resources and time. Well, it's deep in you. And I think, you know, when you think back to four hour work week and some of the analyses you did, right, you can tell you love the spreadsheet and you love comparing certain things. It's in you. And for, you know, I think a lot of sort of tech oriented guys in particular, it's in them. It's not painful to us to sit there and compare things. We'll do it forever. I'll give you an example from one of the people I spoke to. This one really blew my mind. So he goes, Ramit, I love to get a good deal. I said, okay, I could already tell where this is going by the way, and it's not good. But I said, okay. He said, whenever I order groceries online, I hate the idea of overpaying. I said, really? He said, so I open up two tabs. I have Whole Foods on one side and I have whatever competitor on the other. Ramit, they're not going to believe it. Sometimes they charge $15 for organic groceries, but over here, I can get it for $7. I said, wow, by the way, what's your net worth? Tim, you want to guess? You know, I don't want to even hazard a guess. I'll tell you. What was the? $8 million of net worth. Now, it's very easy for us to laugh. And even he laughed as I just sat there silently staring at him, you know? But what is revealed there is that it's not a certain number. That's going to change the way we feel about money. And if you're listening to this right now, maybe you have a partner, maybe you've had a couple arguments about money or you just don't see eye to eye on certain things. The easiest way that we rationalize it is to say, well, if we just get that promotion or if we just save this much, then everything will be perfect. But my friend who I spoke to who has an $8 million net worth listening to him, you know, it's not about the dollar value. It's not. And nothing will change that feeling unless he personally works on it along with his partner. All right. So I want to plan a seat.
Why did you Ramit a podcast? (08:05)
We're going to come back to specific questions. I want to ask you what sort of the prying bar looks like and what tools you use when talking to couples that you've found illuminating and helpful, right? Questions that people then who are listening might use. Before we get to that, my question is, and we don't have to spend a ton of time on it, but why did it take you so goddamn long to start a podcast? Yeah. All of my podcast friends, including you are like, are you stupid? They keep telling me this. You know, you should have done this 10 years ago. I'm just slow. You know, I'm just, I don't know what else to say. I have no good excuse, really. I don't believe I don't buy that bullshit. Excuse me. So you, there has to be some calculus involved here. Well, I asked you. That led to you doing the podcast. Yes. Okay. So I asked you a lot over the course of many years. I was like, Hey, I'm thinking about it. And you had some great advice for me. You know, record this many episodes, et cetera. The thing that I love about your podcast is you really love interviewing all these different people from across the spectrum. I don't. My nightmare is waking up and talking to a bunch of people who wrote some book. I'm like, I don't really, all right, let's cut this short. I got to go. But what I do love is talking to ordinary people about psychology and money. And in particular, the difference between what we claim we want to do and what we actually do. You know, Hey, I know I should be eating healthier, but I don't. Why not? Let's get into that. No judgment. But let's try to peel the onion and try to figure that out. And part of that is just myself, you know, I had a lot of things I claimed I wanted to do, but I didn't really follow through. And when I finally figured out that I could just talk to people and ask them about their money and they would trust me enough to share real numbers, then I started to be like, wait a minute, this could actually work. And after trying it a couple of times, I realized I could do this for four hours a day every day. And I would love it. That's why I decided to try it out. You also, there are certain things that you'd be willing to do for hours a day that are utterly puzzling and hilarious to me.
Ramit and trolls (10:15)
Just for people who are like, that sounds like a politician's answer. I don't buy it. I don't buy it, Remit. I will tell you, this is also someone who has done very well in business and in life. That's Remit who loves to feed the trolls. You will send me extensive threads of just toying with trolls. From email. Because Tim, when do you get a chance to meet someone who walks up to you, in this case, on Instagram? And the first thing they say is, fuck you. And I go, are you having a bad hair day? Let's discuss. What kind of burrito do you like? And then the responses are just truly unbelievable. You know, 50% of them right off the bat, they go, oh, I didn't even know someone actually reads this account, which leads to another question. Why on earth would you write into the ether if you didn't expect anyone to write back? I don't know. Do you not find that fascinating? I do find it interesting. And this is just an incredible to your answer. You choose your sports in a unique way. Just so everyone listening, let's make sure we capture that. He just said, Remit is credible because he spends hours a day interacting with trolls on Instagram. Tim, I don't know if that's helping me out here, man. That was a bit of a journalist reframe. So what you're saying is, by the way, pro tip to anyone who's ever interviewed, if someone says, oh, so I guess what you're kind of saying is A, B, and C, do not just say yes quickly to that because they will take that and they will quote you as saying whatever they just said.
Ramit's financial questions for couples (11:45)
They are trying to write their piece in advance by paraphrasing you. Be very careful. So those are your words, Mr. Setty, not mine. However, let's come to the questions. So what types of questions? What are some specific questions you like to ask or that people can ask each other or in the context of a therapy session that they might use that you found useful? First question I always start with is, in the last 30 days, can you think of a specific situation where you were not on the same page financially with your partner? And this is a great question for a couple of reasons. Number one, 30 days limits you, otherwise people often feel like they have to give you their whole life history. And I don't need their whole life history truthfully. I only need a little bit just to advance to the next question. That's number one. And then being on the same page is pretty gentle. You know, some people get in fights and some people they just disagree about, you know, who should pay for the check at dinner. And so it doesn't have to be this massive 10 out of 10 argument, but I do want to hear where they were not aligned from there. It just kind of flows because people instantly can remember something from the last 30 days. And they love to talk about it. Then the next question I ask as I get into it, I'll ask them, what is your rich life? Now, this is a concept that I've been talking about for about 15, 20 years on my site. And that is the idea that you don't have to cut back on lattes. Life isn't about competing who can be more frugal. You know, there's more to life than optimizing cell C3 of your spreadsheet. But I want to hear people talk about what their rich life is. I had a young woman whose rich life was, I want to shop at Whole Foods without counting the prices of whatever I buy. Now, okay, that's fine if you're just starting out. Maybe you're in $25,000 of debt. She was professionally, extremely successful. So with that, I kind of push her. I say, okay, let's say you could do that tomorrow. How much would your shopping cart cost? She said, like a hundred, I said, push it. Get something really nice, 150. I said, you know, you make X hundred thousand dollars a year. Let's dream a little bigger. And this is a huge topic that unfolds because, again, another interesting insight about couples, most people have never thought about what their rich life is individually, much less what their rich life is together. So a question about this woman.
How people feel about their finances (14:32)
So if she's making hundreds of thousand dollars per year, in fact, maybe I'm missing something obvious, but she could very easily afford to spend $150 at Whole Foods. So did she just feel as though she could not or she wouldn't allow herself to do that? Or did she feel like she needed tens of millions of dollars in order to without guilt, spends $150 at Whole Foods? How did that conversation unfold? People's feelings about how they are doing financially are highly uncorrelated with their actual financial status. I spoke to a couple on the Lower East Side in Manhattan, and they were living in a one-bedroom. And they were saving a lot of money. Their income was $330,000 a year. And I said to them, "How do you all feel you're doing?" And they said, "We don't know. We have no idea. Are we doing well? Are we doing horrible? We don't know." And that's one of the problems, which is no one talks about money. You have no idea how to benchmark yourself, particularly if you live in a city like Manhattan, where spending is different than living in Chicago, for example. And so they had no idea. And when you take a couple look at some basic metrics, what's your savings rate, what's your expenses, what is your housing costs. And I said to them, "You guys are doing really well. You should give yourself a pat on the back." And they go, "Okay, yeah, yeah, yeah. So anyway, we got this question about our accounts." I said, "Hold on a second. Let's celebrate for just a second. You've done really well." And I think there's a lack of celebration with couples, because there's just so much uncertainty around it. I would imagine there's a lot of positional economics also, right, in a place like Manhattan, where it's like if you have three friends who are doing more peer to be doing substantially better than you are, then you will evaluate yourself very differently than if you are in your peer group doing the best, even if in absolute dollar amounts you are making less in the latter instance.
Positional economics (16:14)
I have to imagine that's also a big part of it. So if you live in a place that is highly competitive with many successful people like Manhattan, your reference point is going to make celebrating, in some respects, more difficult. I think that's true. And I think that Americans love to compare themselves to their neighbors. I love it. Well, Americans love to do a few things that are completely irrational. They love to think that if they do certain things, it will make them happy. And then they do the exact thing that will make them unhappy. We love it. And we can go into all this. But think about the typical couple living in some suburban city. Think about the conversations that are happening about money regarding their neighbors. Well, how did Leah and John go on vacation for the third time this year? Maybe we should be going on vacation for a third time this year. And it doesn't have to be living in Manhattan. You can be living anywhere. What's going on there? The answer is that money is opaque. Money is unclear because you might have a different savings goal than I do. And also, there's a lot of secret sources of where money comes from. Oftentimes, you'll find that parents are funding certain things. Oftentimes, you'll find that people are in debt. Oftentimes, you'll find someone's actually just really wealthy. And they make a lot more money than you think they make. Or they're really in debt and they have the picture of financial health, but they're funding it by lighting their credit on fire. That's also possible. Let's come back to Rich Life.
Your vision of a rich life (18:14)
So when you ask someone about their Rich Life, what their Rich Life looks like. So you gave us an example of the disconnect between someone's objective financial status and then the whole food's shopping. What would be your answer? Okay. Just so we can have an idea of models of what a more fleshed out answer might look like. I would say that I want to travel for six to eight weeks, six weeks consecutively at the end of the year. When I fly, I want to fly in this exact airline seat. And when I travel, I want to stay at these three different hotels. And I want to bring one or more family members with me when I travel. And cost is not the first, second, or third issue when I take these trips. So that's an example. Another example would be I don't want to start working until 10 a.m. every day. That could be an example. And just so everybody knows, I finally boiled these down into what I call "remete's money rules." So it's almost like a personal value statement. I'll give you a couple of them. Some of them are kind of boring. And some of them are super permissive. And before I start, I just want to remind everybody, these are my rules, not yours. They should sound kind of crazy if you're listening to them. So one of them is, you know, always have one year of emergency fund cash. Okay, fine. This you could make it six months or a year, whatever. But here's another one. Never question spending money on books, appetizers, health, or donating to a friend's charity fundraiser. Now, each of those is very meaningful to me because I didn't grow up being able to afford appetizers. So now if I eat out with a friend or whoever I say, look, whatever you like on the menu, just order it. And that feels amazing. What does it cost me? An extra 20 bucks, but it feels incredible. And then there's some really big ones. Like anytime I take a flight over four hours, business class, or be able to pay in full for large expenses, including a wedding, dream honeymoon, or even a house. Okay, those are really big rich life dreams and rules. Most people are listening like, hey, I'm not going to pay all cash for a house. Totally fine. What I would challenge each person as they think about their rich life is I would love for them to say, you know what? Every week, I love fresh flowers. It feels a little indulgent to me, but it just makes me feel so good. And so I'm going to buy fresh flowers for myself every week. Beautiful. I'm kind of smirking as you say that because I'm going to tilt this.
Buy flowers (20:48)
I'm not sure if you'll be able to see it. But oh, look at that. Beautiful sunflower. Yeah, there's a bouquet of flowers right in front of me. And that was actually a recent decision. It's like flowers each week completely changes my experience of my home. Why? Just having a symbol of life and vibrancy also of change and having something to care for if you're changing the water. It really just fundamentally changes my experience of space and aesthetics in the home. And it's such a simple thing. So that's why I'm smiling. I love it. You know what? Every time I ask people their rich life and I probe, their first answers are never what we ultimately settle on. But as we start talking about it and we spend a lot of time really probing and pushing why that. Well, what if you dreamed a little bigger? And they also smile the whole time because no one has ever asked them, what is your rich life and really asked them why? Never. So usually if it's something like a handbag, right, something tangible, most people start off by saying like this, well, I know. I mean, I guess I'd like a purse. It doesn't have to be like the fanciest purse, but you know, I'd like this handbag and like, maybe once every decade it could be like a nice one. And I go, what if it was every year? And what if it was that brand, the most beautiful version of it? And their eyes light up because no one has ever talked to them about the thing that deep down they love, what I call their money dial.
More questions (22:30)
Instead, it's kind of seen as frivolous, particularly things like handbags, which I don't agree with. I think you could buy a beautiful handbag for the craftsmanship, for the functionality, or just because you want it. For those people who can't see remire now, he's winking at me. So I know what to get you for Christmas. Thank you very much. Please continue. And you know, I'm hoping as I'm asking these questions that their partner is seeing and can model this because you'll usually find that when one partner is nervous, because they think that it's frivolous, that there's a reason for that, that their partner has said something multiple times in the past like, well, why do you, you don't need a handbag like that? You don't need that kind of car. And yeah, you don't need it. But we're here talking about your rich life to start. We're going to get to the spreadsheet stuff. We're going to get to your spending plan. But let's just start off with your vision of what a rich life is. That is exciting. So if we rewind just back to the blueprint here, not so much a blueprint, but your series of questions within the last 30 days, where if you not been on the same page, right financially, what does your rich life look like? What are some of the questions that follow or could follow after that? Usually when I find that one person is an overspender and they admit it themselves, I ask them, have you ever said no? And what I mean by that is, have you ever said no to your family who's asking you for money? Or have you ever said no to your partner when they ask for XY? Have you ever said no? And almost always they say, no, I've never done that. So you realize at that very moment that there's a deeper issue than just money. It's being a people pleaser. It's not being able to set effective boundaries, things like that. We get into that. I also ask people, how big of an issue is this on a scale of one to 10? And this is a really interesting response I get. In this case, what is this? The thing that they disagree with in the last 30 days. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. And almost always they will say, it's like a five out of 10. It's not that bad. Now remember, they've gotten on a podcast with me where they're sharing real numbers. They're sharing fights and challenges they've had for years. And they're going, oh, it's a five out of 10. So I know there's something going on here. I say, okay, five out of 10. What do you think happens if you both disagree about how much to spend at brunch on Saturdays? What do you think happens when you have kids? And then when you decide to move to a different city. And when you have 25 years of this going on, what happens? And they go, oh, yeah, that's like a nine out of 10. I go, yeah. And what do you think happens at nine out of 10? And they realize that when people say we got divorced because of money, it was not fighting over $7 at Target. But it started there. And it calcified over 25 years. That could be the title of your next book.
Money and divorce (25:38)
It could be $7 at Target. Small disagreements and how they lead to big divorces. Oh, you are the best at titles, Tim. I'll take my customary 15%. It's very reasonable because we're friends. All right. Any other questions they'd like to cover? No, that's where we start. That gives me a lay of the land. And I can kind of walk you through an exercise that I do with them. Maybe helpful if you think. Let's do it. All right. Great. So this is one that I actually started with my wife. And we were talking about our rich life. And it's hard when you start talking about your rich life because you don't even know where to start. Many of us have spent our entire lives being told what we can't do with our money. So when you ask people what they want to do, the answers are fairly facile. You know, the whole foods is an example. So what I did was I said, okay, let's take separate pieces of paper. And let's write down in the next 10 years what's on our bucket list. And let's just write it down. And we took 10, 15 minutes. And the way that I thought of this was I was inspired by Stephen King's National Book Club speech. Now he was living in a trailer with his wife and he was running out of money. And he got a job offer to be a teacher. And his wife said to him, will you be able to write? And he said, no, I won't. But at least it'll allow us to pay the bills. And she instantly said, well, then you can't do it. Wow. And so that chilling moment and then fast forward just a little bit in the future, he signs a massive deal for his first book, a massive deal. He gets the check, brings it home to his wife in their trailer. And he said, we sat there, we looked at the check, we talked about what we were going to do with the money and we cried. He said it was one of the most beautiful conversations of his life. And I love that. I love the idea that money can be this thing that lets us do more, not less. It lets us dream bigger, let's us be more adventurous, more generous. So I started off with my wife. I said, let's just write down our bucket list items. Okay. So we come back after 15 minutes. She had some interesting ones. She wanted to learn another language. That was just individually for herself together. You know, we wanted to, I think I wrote down, I want to design a house with you because she's very creative and we're both into design. And we wanted to have a beautiful 10 year wedding anniversary. In India, we know the exact place. We know all the people that we want to bring with us. Great. We're talking about this. We're loving it. We're having a blast. And I said, let's pick a couple of these and let's put a dollar value to them. So we picked the 10 year wedding anniversary. And I said, okay, pick a number. There's no way to know the right number, just pick a number what you think it'll cost. So she kind of takes a second. I take a second. And the numbers that we picked were hilariously different. My number was something like five to 10 times bigger than the number my wife picked. And she looked uncomfortable, like visibly uncomfortable. Yeah, I was going to ask you, if there's an asymmetry of wealth, I would imagine the person who has fewer resources, maybe very nervous about actually speaking honestly, or adding big items or offering big numbers. You're totally right. Most people are afraid of dreaming about their rich life at all, because they feel that once they write it down or tell someone, if they don't achieve it, then they're a failure. But in my opinion, that's just going through life playing defense. And I'd rather play offense. So what I said to my wife is like, look, neither of us know what is actually going to cost. We just made these numbers up. But if we're going to choose a number, let's go with the bigger one. Why? Because we have a lot of time. We have eight plus years to save and invest for this. Two, I think we can do it. I know what we can accomplish together. We could do it. And three, wouldn't it be magical to be able to take all of our friends and family, the people who can't afford it, just go to the airport and the ticket will be there for you? Wouldn't that be amazing? And so really coming back to that vision instead of, well, it's actually going to be 7% return. And I don't know if it'll ever... No, this is a vision exercise. So she begrudgingly said, okay, I will say that one year later, my wife has done an amazing job working on her money psychology. And we kind of revisited this. And she said, oh, yeah, like now I know without a doubt, we can hit that number easily. And that's when you're really aligned with your partner, where the two of you are rowing in the same direction. It's not one person saying, come on. But it's both of us saying, oh, yeah, we could do this. So let me ask you a very personal, uncomfortable, possibly uncomfortable question.
How each party contributes to the goal (30:41)
Then you can tell me. Okay. So you said we can hit the number, right? Was there a discussion with some of these items of how each party sort of contributes to that big goal, right? Even though you're not getting into immediately the nitty-gritty, I understand it's a vision exercise. But since you're using the example, I figured I might as well ask. Because I bet this is something that is going to be an inevitable topic that people have to navigate. Okay. I'm glad you asked. And I'll definitely share how we did it. So I think that the reason that we came up with these joint goals, like a 10-year wedding anniversary, is that we both want to contribute to it. Okay. We want to contribute proportionally based on income, but we both want to contribute to it. The thing about, you know, my wife wants to learn a certain language. I'm not contributing to that. She makes-- What language? Just like curiosity. Spanish. Okay. Cool. Yeah. She's taking the class. She's doing a great job. Nice. And she decided to get her own tutor. And that's her thing. And she's covering that on her own. And I'm thrilled. I have my own stuff that I pay for. Again, we have our joint accounts and our separate accounts. But I will say that the reason that I wanted to have this exercise is that when we meet once a month to talk about our finances, we have something to look forward to. We have an exact number that we are saving and investing together for. And we look at it. It's almost like one of those progress bars. Okay. We're 4% of the way there. Oh my gosh. We're now 8% of the way there. And we can see that this goal, which was so big originally, we're actually just chipping away at a day by day. That's magic. So the once monthly meeting to discuss finances, I want to hear more about this.
Money Conversations And Financial Goals
Financial check-in (32:32)
Yeah. What's the format? Okay. So you and I talked on our last podcast about checking in. And you had some great suggestions for some questions. And we've used those and adapted those for our own relationship. It's one thing to do a relationship check in. Yep. I also think another really valuable check in is a financial check in. And so the way that we do it is we have a spreadsheet that we've built. It's custom for us based on what we, what's important to us. So we have our expenses that are in there. In the course of a 30 minute call, we will look over our expenses. And the call, by the way, is with a third party who kind of walks us through some of the numbers. The expenses take five minutes because really, most of our expenses are planned for. Okay. I'll give you an example. Except for your handbags. Except for the handbags. That's right. Well, those are going to be an incoming gift from Tim Ferriss soon enough. My private labeled handbag line. I can't believe you've told the world. That's right. So here's the thing I think about expenses. I think most people, they spend time all their time looking at expenses. And it's really depressing. Yeah. This is the wrong place to spend a lot of time. What we did instead was we said, okay, our groceries are basically the same every single month. Our, whatever, rent is basically the same every single month. There's a couple of areas that are variable. So we actually sat down at the end of the year and we planned out. How many trips do we want to take? How much is each of those trips? And we kind of got, we got pretty granular about it. We also know that some surprise expenses come up with things like gifts. So we planned it out appropriately ahead of time. This is how many people we're going to give gifts to. This is the amount we're going to gift. Charity, same thing. And so those are baked in. So on a given month, yeah, we might be a little bit over on food. We might be a little bit under on gas, but it's basically within parameters. Okay. After five minutes of that, we spend way more time looking at our rich life goals. So we have about five rich life goals that are actively being saved for. That would be like the 10 year wedding anniversary. And so each quarter, each month or quarter, we have money going into those goals. And then we have a backlog. You can never have too many rich life goals. Cause at some point, we're going to hit one of those goals. What's next? Guess what? We got our backlog ready to go. And so that backlog could be, you know, hiring somebody to do XYZ for us. It could be taking this special trip, buying a new car, this type of specific car and model. It's all there. What would be your true, but most embarrassing backlog rich life goal to share on this podcast right now?
Rich life goal (35:27)
Oh my God. This is horrifying. Let me think. Okay. Well, my, okay. So once I sat down and I asked my friends, I was like, what is, what is the next level for you, the rich life next level? And so one of them was like, I want to jet. And one of them was like, I want to take a trip to Haiti or something like that. And mine was, I never want to have to pack a suitcase again in my life. And they were like, are you stupid? That's like 50 bucks. But okay, I'll tell you what it is. Now the suitcase part, I don't want to have to carry luggage when I travel. Okay. And that's relatively inexpensive. You can ship it for like a hundred bucks. I don't, I just don't want to. I want to walk out of an airplane free and not sweating because I have a, like a bag that I'm carrying around with me. That was a very, I don't know, it feels a little indulgent to me. But it's like a hundred bucks. Okay.
Shipping luggage (36:36)
So shipping luggage as opposed to transporting luggage. Correct. Yeah. I know, I know a few people who have done that for many, many years. They refuse, they refuse. I know one also who hates to select clothing to travel with. So he wears black shirt tan cargo pants every day. Kind of Steve Jobs with like a limp biscuit twist to it. And, and same shoes. And so his assistant will pack, I guess they're gallon ziplock bags or something like that with each day's outfit, because he hates doing laundry also. So he just has all of these versions of the same outfit. And so if he's going on like a 10 day trip, there'll be 10 gallon ziplock bags with each day's outfit. This is not what I thought was going to be his rich life, but God bless you. I mean, all the best. That's why it's his rich life for me. All right. Okay. So that's what we do. So we, we start off with the expenses like five minutes. We spend more time on the rich life goals. And then we have an open backlog of questions. You know, there's sometimes things like, hey, we've got this trip coming up. Like, do we want to stay here there? Or like, should we get this or that? Things like that. We have a document, a running document that we just track these questions on. And usually within 30, sometimes 60 minutes, we're good to go for about a month. That's roughly the structure. I would encourage you for anybody. And I want to add a twist for people. When you do these meetings, it can be really depressing. Because talking about money for most people is really negative. Why did you spend this much? We don't want that at all. We want this to be a positive experience. So I would encourage, if possible, you know, go out to dinner. Or if you have children and you have the ability to maybe get some help for one hour, two hours, take advantage of that. This is supposed to be a positive experience where you can say, you know what? I really want to talk about money in a way that benefits both of us. And I would love to get your input. What can we do to make this a great environment for us to have this conversation? Do that. And you're going to be way more set than having it with dinner on the table and people screaming. That's not going to be conducive to this type of meeting. So let's say that you both want that to be the case.
Types of money conversations (39:00)
Let's just assume. And this is not from my personal experience just to be clear. But I would imagine there are cases where you have a couple and one person is an overspender. Maybe it extends further than that. Like you said, maybe there are people pleaser. They don't have clear boundaries with other folks. But nonetheless, the hemorrhaging is coming predominantly from one side. What type of conversation would you recommend for people in that type of situation? This is really hard, but this is the most common of all. To have these conversations, it's usually one person effectively dragging the other person to the meeting. All right, so that's not a good place to start. And I'll tell you what the typical approaches and then what are better approaches. The typical approach is to say, hey, we really need to get a handle on your spending. This is not working. So let's talk about money. Okay, that's never going to work. So just stop that right now. Another approach would be to say, okay, I built a spreadsheet model. Look at tab 16. It'll show you all the math and right now we're compounding. Don't do that. Nobody cares about compounding. You haven't earned the right to talk about math at this first conversation. The third and I think much better approach is to say, you know what, babe? I've been listening to this podcast episode and they were talking about money. They were talking about a rich life. And I guess I never thought about it this way. There was one woman who said she wanted to be able to go to Whole Foods and just spend without looking at the prices. I mean, you've mentioned that, right? What would that feel like to you? You know, for me, a rich life would be to be able to get in the car and drive. And if we see a place we like, we can just stop there and we can order whatever we want without looking at how much it costs. Like, I would love to do that with you. So what would it be for you? You know, I'd love to know. Let's just pause right there. Notice that in that conversation that we just had, a couple things I did and a couple things I didn't do. First, I set the context. Why am I bringing this up? Feel free to throw the Tim Ferriss Show under the bus. Oh, I was listening to this one show. Some guy came on, Ramit Sate, I don't know. Okay, do that. Give them a reason. Number two, I was genuinely curious. No, hey, I know you've mentioned Whole Foods. What would that be like for you? I find in couples that have trouble, they have rarely asked the other partner a question, a single question in months, if not years. Okay, so that's number two. Notice what I didn't do. I did not talk about- You mean questions about money or questions? No, anything. When I talk to them, I'll get one of the young women in my episodes. She revealed that she had an alcoholic father and she had, she and her family had had to walk around on eggshells because of him. She said, if we're really getting real, that's how I was raised. And you know what happened to her husband started talking over her. Well, yeah, that's why I really wanted to have the courage to be an entrepreneur. I said, man, are you listening right now? Did you know about that? He goes, no. I go, would you like to maybe ask her any type of question about this bombshell she just dropped, which by the way, reveals everything about the trouble they were having. And he struggled to ask the question. His question to her was, how do I help you achieve my goals? God. I was like, wow. Okay, we're going to start at Groundsy. And so- Tough case. Tough case. Very tough. Dr. Sethi. But you know what? I think sometimes people in relationships, they do want it to be successful, but they need a little modeling. They need to see what it looks like to actually ask a single curiosity based question. And so we worked through it and eventually he said, this is the question he asked, which I was so happy about. He said, what do you mean? That's all it was. It was as simple as that. What do you mean? I said, we've been talking for an hour and a half. That was the first time you've asked a single question of your wife and I loved it. So this curiosity thing is another thing that happens. And as you kind of get into these conversations with people, you realize, boy, we have these patterns that we've been repeating for months, oftentimes years. And if we need a third party to help us or if we can just switch locations, let's go to a nice dinner and talk about it. Listen to his podcast. Suddenly you can kind of turn the leaf and start that process of building a new relationship with money. Okay. So I couldn't agree more. I've had to train myself to be better at this. If at some point though, you need to get to the ER to triage and stop the financial hemorrhaging, you can go directly through the worst neighborhood yelling and screaming to the ER. You can also take a detour through the amusement park and make the entry a little easier. But eventually you get to the ER and the fact remains that one person is spending a lot more than the other. When they get to that crux or at the point that that is to be the topic of conversation, how have you seen people do that successfully in the past? You were right there. Actually, actually, let me ask a better question because that implies a bunch of things need to happen and maybe they don't. How do you see people successfully solve that situation? That's a better question. Ultimately, if they're going to solve it together, they both have to want to create a vision, a North Star together. It is extremely unlikely. Basically, I've never seen it where one person drags their partner and makes it happen. It does not happen. It can work for a while, but the rest of your life fighting about everything from the cost of Starbucks and a candle to the cost of who's paying for our kids college, it's just a dreadful life. That's exactly why people end up getting divorced among many other reasons when it comes to money. What I find is that of the people who change successfully, one, there is a desire to change. And that's why I ask them why now. It's never about the dishwasher. It's them realizing that we don't have the tools to do this, or oftentimes it's them with their son or daughter who will make a comment and they realize that their toxic money behavior is actually being picked up by their kids. That's a really common one. In any examples, one young woman said to me that her son came up to mom and said, don't tell daddy about buying this. There was a lot of hiding money and spending in their relationship, just like there had been with mom's parents. So it's passed down generationally. And when I pointed it out to them, I said, you know, you two could probably make it work over the course of your life. You're both very resourceful, your high earners. But how do you think your children are responding to this and their faces went completely white and they looked at each other and they knew they knew they said, oh yeah, my son already knows about this. He told me the other day, don't tell daddy about spending. And so that was the thing that got them to make the change. So by the way, it's not enough to just want to change. Like everybody wants to have this smooth relationship with money where we can be, you know, abundant and live our rich life. But I also find that there's a combination of wanting to change psychology and use tools and systems. So psychology, a lot of us think that it's weird to have a meeting about money once a month or once a quarter. It's weird. You know what, you know, the way that most people are raised is you don't talk about money until there's a fight. That's the predominant worldview on money and couples in this country. And so when you shift it and you say, yeah, you're going to have a standing agenda, you two are actually going to have a Google Doc. One of the most common reactions I get is, that sounds like a job. Sounds like work. I go, yeah, that's because at work, you're measured on certain things. You're trying to bring some of that into your relationship. You can still love your partner and sleep next to them, but you can still have a running agenda. So that's one, changing that psychology. The second is using these systems. You know, usually when I find that people are, I'm speaking to these couples who have some type of big major money problem, they are not aligned on basic financial principles. And they're not using like basic systems, things like they don't understand compounding. So one of them goes, well, let's just like spend our money because we don't know how long we're going to be here for, or we'll never make enough. And I point out, if you guys started saving and investing properly today, you'd have like $6 million. They go, what? So that's number one. Two is just, you know, using things like, do we have a shared spreadsheet, things like that? I had another couple that was extremely financially sophisticated. They were in the realm of being CPAs. And I asked them, how much money do you think you make? What's your net worth? And the answer between the two of them was off by millions of dollars. Remember, these are highly sophisticated people. So I said, I said, why is that? And the answer is that they are so sophisticated. They had all these exceptions. Well, this one is here, but this is liquid. And this is not, I said, guys, you got to go back to first grade, create a one page Google Doc, like basically right on it with crayon. This is how much we have. This is how much we owe. This is how much, you know, we've invested. And they had to kind of accept that even though they're super advanced at work in their personal life, they need to start back at ground zero. Can you think of an example of a serious fight?
An example of a serious fight (49:17)
This doesn't have to be from your personal experience, but in your experience with all the readers and various couples and so on, something that was a nine out of 10 in severity that had a really simple solution that worked. Yes. Yeah. Does that make sense? Like something that had been intractable, right? This couple have been smashing their head against a brick wall or against, you know, it's been smashing each other's heads together and add an impasse. And then lo and behold, there was a simple solution. There's a couple who lives on the Upper East Side of New York. All right. The complaint was he has been starting a business. I need him to contribute a hundred dollars a month to the household for food, things like that. They have two children. Okay. And he said, look, I'm putting everything I've got into this business. So she was very upset because she's like, look, we're going in the red every month. Now I asked him a couple questions. I said, how much is your apartment cost? The rent was $3,800 a month. They were making $70,000 per year. Oh, wow. Yeah. Okay. So all right. Well, what's going on here? They have been that's pre-tax. That's pre-tax. That's correct. They have been fighting about a hundred dollars per month. That has been a debate in their household for something like nine months. And there were a lot of tears. There were a lot of real agonizing conversations. But you know what the real problem was? They were bankrupt in two months and they didn't even know it. Wow. So this is a really difficult conversation we had. And the solution was very, very tough, which was she had a conception of how she was going to live. Her family lived very close to her. She could visit them every day. But the truth was they needed to move out of the city and likely move out of the state and go to a much lower cost of living. Now, imagine how it feels to have your entire world that you've constructed and the plan for you, your husband, your children, and then on this call, you realize that is not going to happen. It's devastating. It's very tough. And so, you know, they put me in a position of trust to be able to talk to them. And one of the things I told them was, look, it doesn't mean that you have to move away forever. There are lots of things you could do with this company, make it successful, increase your income. But you can't ignore that this is the real problem in the relationship. Ignoring it will not make it go away. It'll just get way worse. And so, it really goes to show that there are things that we can agonize over for weeks or months or even years in our relationship. But sometimes the true problem is way out there in left field. What did they do? Do you have any idea? I will follow up with them soon. And I hope to do follow up episodes where we find out what actually happened. Host Mortem could be the second podcast. What are some of the other situations that you've run into? And actually, I'd be curious after our last conversation related to prenups, although we covered many topics, not just prenups.
Was there any feedback or subsequent learnings from people who heard it or people who read your writing that you found interesting puzzling, thought provoking or otherwise? Well, the first and most important reaction that I got was people recognizing that prenups are not just some rich asshole trying to screw their partner. And I was really happy about that. And I want to thank you for letting me come on and kind of share my own personal experience because the only way most people hear about prenups is from TV. And it's super untrue and dramatic the way that is portrayed. And so I saw a lot of comments on Reddit, on my Instagram, DMs, people saying like, Hey, I had no idea that's how it actually works. So that was very gratifying. Again, as I said in the episode, most people don't need a prenup. Okay, but if you do if you're coming in with a pre-existing business or a disproportionate amount of wealth, then it's worth talking about it. And a prenup is something you agree on. Or side note, if you may inherit any asset from your family, also totally, right? So it could be real estate, could be a house, could be anything. Yeah. Also, also a consideration. You know, sometimes I read a lot of Reddit and sometimes I see these conversations where one person goes, my partner wants me to sign a prenup. And I think that they're an asshole. I'm going to break up with them. And then of course, there are like hundreds and hundreds of comments. And once in a while, I will see someone reference that episode. And that makes me really happy. Whether it's that episode or another place that someone's really talking about this stuff, I think there's slowly being a shift where people are starting to recognize, Hey, this isn't just assholes. And for people who I'm sure it's easy enough to find, but we'll create a short link. It's not legal advice folks, but it is a fun conversation and very, very detailed, tim.blog/prenup. We will just make a short link for people who are interested. So that'll go straight to that episode. What other tools, questions, exercises, resources, anything that you think might be beneficial to listeners of this episode, the broad topic being couples and finance, couples and money.
Money Challenges And Financial Comfort
The $100 Challenge (54:52)
What other ground might we cover? Let's talk about what I call the $100 challenge. And this is for people who tend to struggle spending money on themselves. Now, I can help people with their investments. I can help them change their money psychology. I can often fix their businesses. But if there's one thing I cannot fix, it's cheap. I can't fix cheap people. If you're cheap, I can't help you. I'm sorry. Well, you can help them, but you can't fix them unless they want to be fixed. But here's the thing. Yeah, here's the thing. They never want to change it. So cheap people, they write me, Tim, this is the one group of people I've just decided I cannot help them. Because they write me. Now, there are levels and there are levels, right? Yeah, that's true. We're talking about MBA all-star cheap, meaning maybe that's not the right metaphor to use. But you're talking, maybe you could just give some examples of what we're talking about. I mean, throw out the car deal because we didn't get the floor mats. That kind of. No, no, no, not that. Not that. Although, I don't think my dad thinks there's anything wrong with that. So I guess that's a true story. That's a true story. Tell me my own point as I say this. It is people who write and they say, "Hey, we've saved a bunch of money, but I can't bring myself to spend it." And so I developed all these variety of techniques and I say, "What will you do with the money?" And they acknowledge that it's irrational. But when I give them something to do about it, they ultimately go, "Oh, actually, it's fine. They don't think that's that big of a problem. They minimize it." So I'm going to give everybody a $100 challenge here to try to preempt this problem. Before you become a cheap ass, you take this challenge right now and you can take that fork in the road towards a rich life instead of whatever cheap place you're about to go to. So here's the challenge. In the next 48 hours, I want you to spend $100 on something you love. You cannot spend it on kids. You cannot spend it on pets and you cannot spend it on charities. It has to be on you. Now, if you're a high earner, you can take that number and you can multiply it. So, for example, if I'm going to Tim, I'm not giving Tim the $100 challenge. Tim's challenge has a lot more zeros on it. And so you can finally get that Botox I've been eyeing. You can decide what the amount is, but the point is it should be meaningful. It should make you think and it should make you go, "Oh, wow. What am I going to spend that on?" And this is just one little way, one method, to start shifting your life towards spending on the things that are important to you. You know, a lot of people, they're 30, 40, 50, they go, "I don't actually know what I want to spend on." And I find that to be a tragedy. I think it's a tragedy to live a smaller life than you have to. So here they are with hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars in the bank, and almost as part of their identity, "Well, I'm fine. I just need a Taco Bell." Listen, I ate a Taco Bell a long time myself. It's great, okay? But what else can you do with your money and really dream into something bigger, more meaningful? It could be luxurious, it could be adventurous, whatever the case may be. That's what I want for you doing this $100 challenge. So if that were posed to you, and I'm sure people have asked you this, right, what would or what have been some of your answers?
Ramit’s $5000 Challenge (58:43)
Ooh, good question. Besides the luggage concierge, aka FedEx. Yeah, great question. So my number would be bigger than $100. I would probably do $1,000 to $5,000. And in that price range, what I would do is I would... There's a few things that I have done. So one is I would take a last-minute trip wherever, just to see a friend, right? I'm going to get on a plane and go wherever they live in the world and just hang with them. It could be as short as two days, it could be five, ten days. That's very abundant for me. Two is I love clothes. So I would go and buy the most beautiful coat or sweater that I've had my eye on. Boom, I always have a list of things that I'm like, I'll get that next. And three, I love convenience. So it would be, for example, hiring a travel agent and saying, okay, this is the type of trip I want. Give me the entire itinerary laid out. That's what I would do. What about you? You know, I was going to say I came across an amazing cashmere onesie that I think would look amazing on you. Wait, wait, wait. I need to tell you something about this. Okay. Years ago, do you remember that site guilt? Guilt.com? I do. I do. Yeah. The Guilt group. Guilt group. Guilt group. Exactly. So I, at one point, I signed up and I mentioned it in my email list and I became one of their top refers overnight. And so basically I had unlimited money on guilt for years. Okay. So at one point, they were, they were selling meat. So, you know, high end meat. So I just ordered meat and just like send it to my sisters. I'm like, hey, keep your eye on in the mail today. You know, just crazy stuff. And so one day I said, you know what I really need from Guilt group is a cashmere blanket. That's what I need. Okay. So I go on there and, and it was there and I ordered it. Okay, Tim, this blanket comes. All right. Of course, it's beautifully wrapped. And I open it up and it's the size of slightly larger than a facial washcloth. And I go, I go, no, I go, this cannot be like, because it was folded into itself, you know, it was very, very premium. And I go, this cannot be. I must be missing one of the unwrapping things. So I keep turning it and pulling it stuff, nothing. And I go back and look at the size. The size is correct. And I was like, what in the hell is this stupid thing? Okay, it turns out it was a cashmere swaddle blanket for a newborn. Yes, these exist. I was like, this is crazy. Who the hell would buy this? So I don't have that cashmere blanket, Tim. I returned it, but somebody out there actually bought it. Well, that's why I thought the cashmere onesie with the crotch snap release would be perfect for you. So TVD, I don't want to give too much TMI on the podcast. It's this family programming after all. What would mine be? Well, I actually, I mean, this might be cheating, but I kind of know in the sense that I have something like this, which is something I've already committed to, although it remains to be seen, whether the travel is going to work.
Tim’s $5000 Challenge (01:01:57)
But to have an incredibly gifted musician and teacher come spend a week with me to do intensive hand drumming training at least twice a day. No kidding. And it's not cheap, but it's not collecting Ferraris. Right? It's something that I think I don't think I know even five years ago, I probably would have hesitated to do for whatever reason, perhaps putting it in the frivolous category. Well, I think let's be honest, right? You don't, you said I need a cashmere blanket. You don't need a cashmere blanket. You want a cashmere. Correct. And nothing wrong with that. Great. No, there's nothing wrong with it. But I think for me, I would have criticized myself for the expense and the travel and everything else involved because I think in part, just didn't grow up with a lot of resources. Certainly enough, we had shelter and warm clothes and everything else. But that would be one example. Okay, so many things I love about that. First of all, the fact that you have a clear vision of it, I love that the second that is meaningful to you. That makes no sense to me. But I love that it makes perfect sense to you. I love that that the more dialed in your rich life becomes, the more incomprehensible it should become to everybody else. So that was beautiful. And then the other thing I love is that it really kind of becomes part of your identity. You and I have talked a lot offline about growing up and the way that we grew up was totally different than Silicon Valley and all this kind of stuff that we've become a little bit more exposed to. And you take that with you. I certainly have taken it with me. I don't want to just drop money frivolously on everything. But if there's anything I would say that is impressive about what you said, it's that you have changed your identity from where you came from, which was great. But now you're at a different place. And it's also great to honor that and say I can still be the Tim that grew up over here. But I've achieved a lot. I've been fortunate. I've been lucky. I've worked hard. And I get to reap the rewards of that for myself and for the people around me. I think that is an amazing answer. Thanks, man. It's also one that I've tested. So this would be the second time that I've done it. And I think it's worth noting probably that this isn't the 90% of your net worth challenge. This is the $100 challenge or the fill in the blank challenge, which is enough to make you perhaps a little uncomfortable if you're used to being frugal. But it's not enough to do any real damage. So you can actually test. And so I tested it. There are other things I've tested that have not been replicated. For instance, there are some really fancy meals I've gone to where I'm like, no, I'm never going to go back to that place. Like, I don't need to do that twice. I don't think it was worth it. In this case, I decided it was worth it. It helped me further develop a skill, which then persisted after the fact. The teacher himself is amazing. And he's just fun to spend time with. And some of the experiences we had, like doing an impromptu duet jam session at a friend's house with a bunch of wine, our memories, I really, really cherish. So that one made the cut. Love it. Therefore, here we go again. Round two. Yeah, this is what I want everybody listening to be able to do is just like Tim, he tried out a fancy restaurant. Hey, tried it once. It didn't break the bank. Cool. I did it. I don't need to go back there again. On the other hand, I tried this thing. Boom. Great. That is so different than a life of fruit galley, which is often coded for fear. The fear that if I go to this Michelin start restaurant once, then I'm going to trip and fall and have to go back there every single day for the rest of my life. That does not happen, my friends. And you can just as well say no to things once you've tasted them. You can also say yes to other things. And I love that. So for couples, this is doubly hard because it's not just you, but it's your partner. Right. I remember speaking to one couple and they had not gone on a honeymoon yet, even though they were married and they were talking about where to go. And one of them goes, yeah, let's go to, I think it was Indonesia. Let's go for like four weeks. We'll have a blast. And his partner says four weeks, that's kind of long. We'll get bored, right? Two should be enough. Now, think about listening to a couple where one person is actually excited about a honeymoon. And the other's first reaction is to minimize their partner's dreams. That is a really common. They weren't intending to basically stomp on their partner, but they did. And so I just kind of gently said, hey, why don't we try this again? And this time let's both get excited. Right? You're excited over here. Let's get excited as well. And instead of going into a downward spiral, it went into an upward spiral. Hey, what if we did that? Oh my gosh. And what if we also rented a car and we did this and you could see and hear the energy change. So again, if you are going out for your first conversation with your partner, you know, one of the things you might agree on is, hey, today, just for the next hour, let's agree that we're going to pump each other up. We're not going to minimize each other. We're just going to pump each other up. That's all. And that can profoundly change your interactions about money. What other advice? So we talked about the $100 challenges in the next 48 hours has to be for you. You can't dodge it and kind of deflect it to another entity, whether it's your partner, your kids, your dog. There's that. What other tools, exercises, questions do you have for people who have trouble spending money? And now that might sound strange. But ultimately, money is this piece of symbolism that we trade for something else. Yeah. Whether it's a feeling or an experience, which is usually upstream of yet another feeling. You interviewed a couple, as I understand it, that saved millions of dollars, but they seem unable to enjoy it. They have not had a vacation in the last decade, right? Or people who struggle over small expenses. Well, what are some other tools in the toolkit or questions, approaches that you use in cases like that? And this might sound really strange to people like it's rarefied air, right? They might be like, ah, like they're taking this conversation in a direction that will not relate to anyone. But that's in my experience, not true. I think the developing competency and comfort with translating dollars into value, whether that is through investing or spending, which is oftentimes another type of investing, I think is a skill that you develop.
Learning how to spend money (01:08:55)
I don't think anyone has it innately. So this applies to many more. But since I believe you've interviewed this particular couple, what other tools do you have in the toolkit besides the $100 challenge? So first, I have a lot of compassion for them, because everybody teaches us how to save, but nobody teaches us how to spend. Spending is a skill. And you know, my dream is to take someone who's made money and take them out in New York for two or three days and show them how to spend money commensurate with the level that they are at. Now, please do not DM me and ask me to take you out in New York or LA. I'm not doing that anymore. Tim, if you want to do that, I think you spend money fine, but please don't DM me and ask for free to work. You know, I'll make a confession just real quick. So I think I am actually, it has been very hard for me to learn how to spend money. Very challenging. And in fact, I'm interrupting. So don't lose your train of thought. But the reason I'm interrupting is that literally this past weekend was the first, maybe the first time ever I have done like a proper weekend in New York City with my girlfriend. Really? Yeah. Wait, is this not to happen? Are you and I going to have a romantic adventure where I'm going to, you know, we're going to like go to a Broadway show together? Well, I mean, I'm open to that. I literally just did this though, this past time. How did it feel? It felt fucking amazing. And it was outstanding. And we had so much fun. And it brought us closer and, you know, there are things we would do again and some things we wouldn't do again. But ultimately, it was affordable. And like, why are we collecting all these M&Ms? Like, you can, if not, to ultimately use them in some fashion. And that's not to say you don't save. I mean, I've spent my whole life saving, right? But as you said, like, you just don't, you're getting the first piece of the puzzle, but then you have to figure out the rest of it. Please continue. So thrilled to hear that. And it doesn't matter whether the amount is, you know, $10,000 that you save or a much larger amount. Invariably, if you've been saving and or investing for a while, you will ultimately have an amount where you have to decide what to do with it. And most of us spend our entire lives focusing on just the saving part. But I think probably every single one of us has a parent or a relative or somebody older than us who does not know how to enjoy their money. And they still drive around town to save money on gas. And you say, look, you've got enough. What are you going to do with it? And then ultimately, they will say something like, well, I guess I'll just give it to my kids. Your kids don't want the money. They want you to have a good life. They want you to spend it on the things you love. And so that's why I'm so passionate about this. In fairness, some of the kids want the money. But a lot of kids also want their parents to have a grid. Okay. Okay. I did not make an allowance for those people. They're like counting the clock. Oh, that's sad. So, you know, I have found that you cannot tell people who struggle with spending money. Hey, guys, you really need to spend more money. It's just it goes in one ear and out the other. It's not even a factor in their life. That's why I spend so much time saying, what's your rich life? It's very much like the same. You can't tell someone who loves chocolate cake, cut out the chocolate cake. Instead, we say, hey, let's add a little bit more delicious chicken. Let's add some really good asparagus. Yeah, you still want the chocolate cake cool, but it's probably going to just naturally become a little bit less of a part on the plate. So when I when I talk about their rich life, when I understand the texture, the color, I don't want them to say travel. I want them to say, I'm going to Indonesia for four weeks with my beautiful wife. We're going to sit in C2A or 2D. And this is where we're going to stay. And this is where we're going to do. And we're even going to have a food tour. And we're going to do this and that. Now it's vivid, vivid enough that they get excited about it. I also use the stick where I say, okay, right now you're 38 years old. This was a couple that I spoke to. And I said, by my calculations, by the time you're in your 60s, you will have over 26 million dollars. When are you going to start spending your money? And they looked at each other. And he goes, well, probably when I retire. And I just point blank said to him, I don't believe you. Do you believe him? And the wife said, no, I don't believe, of course, I don't believe. He can't even spend his money right now. And so what I encouraged them and what I showed them was, would you rather end up at 60 with some amount of money? Or would you rather end up at 60 with just a little bit less money, but a lifetime worth of experience? Ultimately, when I'm speaking to people like this, you find it difficult. They're just afraid, afraid that they'll lose it all. And as I probed him, you know what he told me? His dad had lost all of his money late in life. So you often find these family challenges that they cannot escape from. How did he lose his money? Do you remember? How did his dad lose his money? It was in another country. And he made a series of bad investments and bad deals and lost it all. So they've constantly lived with this fear, as by the way, all of us do, based on the cues we were raised with that, you know, I could lose it all or that I'll never be rich or that the rich are all evil. And those are some of those invisible scripts that we have to work through if we want to work with our partner together towards a rich life. Where should we go next? Let me share just a couple of my biggest fascinations that I've taken away from these couples. These are the patterns that I've noticed, which really surprised me because I thought there would be a couple, but not these ones. The first pattern is that people will work for years and years and years, save their money, but never think about what they want to do with it. One couple, they said that their rich life is that they want to own four cottages eventually. And I said, cool, what do you want to do with that? They go, I wanted to throw off passive income so that eventually we can buy this beautiful RV and go camping with our family. I said, that sounds cool. How old will your kids be? From the sounds of it, their kids would be like 65 years old by the time they could do this. I said, can I make another suggestion? What if you rent an RV? You go for two and a half weeks and you do it 18 months from now after you've saved the money to do it. They had built up this vision of that they had to buy four cottages and then buy an RV to go camping with their kids. The kids would damn near be dead by the time they could do that. Just go rent the RV and go and see if you like it. That's one is we save and save and don't think about it. The next is we often have a ghost in the relationship.
The ghost in your relationship (01:16:03)
Oftentimes there's a third party in this relationship and I encourage them to name the ghost. One of the couples named their ghost Franny and Franny is the one who's always concerned about debt because she had debt, always afraid of what can go wrong. And so not saying that you should try to smother Franny or ignore Franny, but rather acknowledge, hey Franny, I hear you. I do have my debt payoff plan, but I've also decided I'm not going to wait and spend nothing while I'm paying this debt off. I'm going to be reasonable and have a balance. Another pattern is that people create a story for themselves and then they live it. But this story can often be popped like a balloon with just a few questions. So somebody will say something like, well, he's good with money. I'm not. And I'll go, is that true? And then she will go, oh, yeah, yeah. I go, hey, out of curiosity, have you read my book? No. Do you think if you were to read this book that you might be able to get pretty decent with money? And that's a beautiful moment because suddenly that person realizes that story they've been telling themselves may not be true. I mentioned that people minimize the problem. You know, they'll say this is a four out of 10, but a four out of 10 left alone in a couple, especially when there's kids in a mortgage involved turns into a nine out of 10. So whether it's emptying the dishwasher or spending on Starbucks, this one really surprised me, which is stress is not correlated to the amount of debt. Stress is not correlated to the amount of debt. So there was a couple that had about $600,000 of debt, educational debt. They were two of the most capable, calm people I've met. Like they were awesome. They have this huge amount of debt, but they had a plan. They were aligned and they were clearly in love the way that they were talking about taking care of each other. That really showed that the amount is not necessarily correlated to the stress. And finally, people often don't treat finances in their relationship like a business. And they let it they think that it's weird to have an agenda or a plan. As I mentioned, there's nothing weird about it at all. I've always been a fan of just doing things that might seem weird, but if they work for you, they work for you. And so for any couple listening, hey, if you have some weird thing you want to do, but it works for the two of you, fantastic. Don't let anybody, including me, tell you not to do it. Just focus on what where you want to get to together with your partner. Do you have any other recommendations for people listening who want to further explore developing the skill of financial comfort, which I do think is a skill.
The skill of financial comfort (01:18:42)
I think it has many different component parts. We've covered a decent amount already. Are there any other recommendations you might have resources that you think would help people develop a higher degree of comfort having these conversations? They're books like crucial conversations or crucial confrontations, I think the follow up to it that can help with these types of things. But any other thoughts, whether they be exercises, resources, anything else? I'll give you two. One is I'm a big fan of the Gottman Institute, and my wife and I took a class there for an entire weekend. And it was very time consuming and energy consuming, but it was really worth it just to put a stake in the ground that says our relationship is important to us. We're setting time aside for this. So that's one. And two is I often ask couples to write down what kind of couple they want to be. What do they want people to think of them? And we all know this. We all have couple friends where when we think about them, a few words come to mind. And I ask them oftentimes they'll say something like they're generous, they're fun. And then after they've written down this typically very glowing document of what they want to be known as, I ask them, how do you reconcile that with the conversation we've been having about spending money at Target or the pizza place? And it becomes very clear that there's a discontinuity. That's okay. Now we say, how can we rewrite our actions to match up? If you claim you want to be generous, can we just tip an extra 15% and just start being known as generous? Because we are generous. And suddenly they realize, oh my gosh, I created this thing, but I haven't been living up to it. And it only takes a tiny switch to completely change that. Yeah. Yeah. The tipping example is a great one, right? It's like, look, if the bill, even if the bill is small, if you just make the commitment to like always tip five bucks, it's incredible how far that'll go. Right? Like if you buy like a coffee and you tip five bucks, like you just made someone's day. And it's it really can change how you think about the positive power of money. It's such a such a small thing. I'm so glad we talk about that. My wife and I added that to our line item of expenses, the same as gifts, charity, we added tipping. And we added a number that was big enough that we have to go out of our way to tip larger. Like it actually is pulling us towards tipping more, not just reflecting what we normally tip. And the same as you, we recognize that a $20 tip to somebody else is incredibly meaningful, incredibly. And we would rather just work harder and earn more and be able to easily do that. And so, you know, when we talk about being generous and charitable and adventurous, this is what money can do for you and can do for the people around you. It's just a quick personal note. And I've mentioned this before, which usually I hate when people say that on any podcast, I'm like, well, I don't want to be the Johnny come lately getting this for the 20th time.
Tim'S Noteworthy Encounter
Tim’s encounter with Billy Joel (01:22:04)
But it just goes to show the power of the experience. I have mentioned probably 15 times on this podcast that at some point, when I was 14 or 15, working as a busboy, Billy Joel would come into this restaurant where I worked. And he would have a coffee, read a newspaper, and he would tip 20 bucks for his coffee. And that blew my mind. I mean, like 20 bucks was a big deal to me. And I remember that being, and he also took time to chat. I worked up the courage one shift. I haven't told this part over like two hours, because he would take his time to walk up and ask him how he met Christie Brinkley, because they were together at the time. And that was, that was incredible. For those who don't know, incredible power couple. I mean, and I wanted to ask him. So I worked up the courage and he turned to me and he talked to me for a few minutes. And to this day, I remember that experience so vividly. I remember when I was wearing, I remember the table he was sitting at. I remember all of it. I remember which side of the table. And in that moment, I remember thinking, wow, one day, if I could just be so rich and successful that I could tip 20 dollars for coffee, that is the craziest thing I've ever seen in my life. So you think about the effect that had on me, right? This really small thing, which I'm sure, he's done a hundred times, so he would have no memory of it. But this like chance encounter, small thing just really can make an impact. So I'm glad you mentioned Timpik. That's awesome. And now for everyone to be able to hear all the millions of people listening is to be able to hear that, yeah, you can tip 10%, 20%, 100%, nobody stopping you from tipping more. And many of us find it easier to tip or to spend money on others, but you can also do the same for yourself. And there's no shame in spending extravagantly on the things you love. That is the classic way to create your rich life. Here, here. And if people go to Timpik.com/preneuf, which will be created by the time this airs, and people listen to our previous conversation, we talk about the levers, right, and 10xing on very specific things and how you can think through that.
Closing Remarks And References
Resources and parting thoughts (01:24:24)
But for this episode, we're coming to a close. Rameet Seti, Twitter, Instagram @ramit, R-A-M-I-T, his new podcast, I will teach you to be rich by Rameet Seti. You can find it wherever fine podcasts are served. You can find it also at www.iwt.com/podcast. I'm glad Better Late Than Never, you're finally in the audio game. And I've been looking forward to you entering the fray. So I have no doubt that it will be outstanding and encourage people to check it out. Is there anything else you would like to share any closing comments, requests of people who are listening, anything you'd like to point folks to before we come to a close? Yeah, I would love to hear from all your listeners, Tim, whether they want to do it through Twitter, Instagram, DMs, whatever. I'd love to hear how your first conversation goes with your partner. This is a real beautiful crux of a moment. You get to start this conversation. It will last you years and years. And it's you and your partner creating your rich life together. So let me know how it goes. I would be so curious to hear from you. And if you are not in a couple, you could, I'm going to volunteer you Rameet. Also get feedback because I know you have means for contending with this, for people who test the $100 challenge. Yeah, love that. In the next 48 hours after hearing this, then I will get the highlights and the lowlights via screenshots and text messages from Rameet. And I'm going to go order that cashmere onesie for you on Amazon. And then you can wear the infant swaddling cloth on your head. You might be able to fashion that into something, maybe a kerchief for your suit. And look forward to hanging again soon, man. Yeah, I can't wait to see you in person. Yeah, it'll be really fun to see you in person. And anything else you would like to add, do you feel complete? I do feel complete. And I want to thank you for the warm welcome to podcasting land. You have been a fantastic mentor. And you know, you just been a good friend and been patient as I spent the last seven years trying to find the concept that I was really excited about. But now that I found it, it feels right. And I'm very, very excited about it. Yeah, I'm excited for you. I'm excited for your listeners as well. I will teach you to be rich by Rameet Seti. Check it out. I W T dot com slash podcast, or you can just search Rameet Seti on the interwebs and podcast. And I'm sure it'll come right up. Rameet, thank you as always for hanging. Great to see you. Thanks, Tim. And to everybody listening, we'll also have links to everything we discussed in the show notes as per usual at Tim dot blog forward slash podcast. And until next time, thank you for tuning in. And I hope you enjoyed the video. And I hope you enjoyed the video. I hope you enjoyed the video. Thank you. you you you you