Ramit Sethi: “I Will Teach You To Be Rich, Second Edition” | Talks at Google

everybody doing? All right. A few months ago, I got a DM
from somebody on Instagram. And she was asking for help with
a financial question she had. And she wanted to know what to
do about her husband spending way too much on iced tea. I said, let’s do it, tell me
how much does he buy– how much iced tea. She goes, it’s crazy. Every day before he goes
to work he buys iced tea– 20 times a month. I said, oh, my god, how much
does this iced tea cost? She said, it’s $3 every time. We could make it at home. And then I said,
out of curiosity, what’s your household income? Dead silence. And anyone who’s ever
chatted with anyone online knows what 20 minutes of
no response feels like. It’s a lifetime. Finally she writes back. She says, I’m not comfortable
sharing that number with you– period. She hit me with a period. [LAUGHTER] I said, look, I don’t
need the number. Just give me the ballpark. Anyone want to guess how much
their household income is? AUDIENCE: 300. RAMIT SETHI: 300? OK. Anybody else? AUDIENCE: 500. RAMIT SETHI: 500– wow. People at Google– their
guesses are a little higher than average. [LAUGHTER] Got it. I see the room that I’m in. OK. Got you. She and her husband’s household
income is $600,000 per year. A few gasps in the room,
maybe a few of us saying, ha ha ha, so stupid, why is she
worrying about $3 iced teas? But I actually think this story
tells us so much about money and psychology. I think it, first,
tells me how easy it is to judge other people for
spending on ridiculous things or for judging other people. I think it tells
us how most of us are asking $3 questions in
life when really we should be asking $30,000 questions. And as we’ll talk
about today, we should actually go
even one level higher, to be asking even more
important questions. And I think it also shows how
many of us have never thought about what our rich life is. And if we have a partner, we’ve
never really talked about it with them. This conversation
was so revealing. And I’ve had millions
of them through emails. How many people here have
read my emails before? Cool. Through social media, through
in-person meetings like this. And I’ve learned so
much about why we do the things we do with money. So if I were to ask you,
what does a rich life mean to you, what would you say? In fact, who is willing to share
what a rich life means to them? Just raise your hand. I’ll toss this to you. It’s OK. There’s no right
or wrong answer. Yes. I’m going to toss this. AUDIENCE: Comfort. RAMIT SETHI: Comfort. OK. Great. Who else? Toss it to somebody
else whose hand is up. Anybody else? Yes. What does it mean to you? Keep it going. AUDIENCE: Options. RAMIT SETHI: Options. Very good. Who else? Toss it around to anyone
who’s got their hands up. Comfort. Options. Who else? Shout it out. Don’t worry. I can hear you. AUDIENCE: Happiness. RAMIT SETHI: Happiness. Good. What else? AUDIENCE: Balance. RAMIT SETHI: Balance. AUDIENCE: No stress. RAMIT SETHI: No stress. I like it. OK. Very good. Man, these answers are– they’re actually very positive. And I love that. When I ask this question around
the country and to my readers, I typically get three answers
that encompass about 95% of the common responses. The first one is “freedom.” And I say, that sounds great. What does freedom mean? “Comfort.” “Options.” I always say, what
does that mean? And when I say, what does
“freedom” mean to you, the answer is always the same– I want to do what
I want when I want. And I say, OK. That’s fine. Man, a little aggressive. [LAUGHTER] What do you want to do? And then they go like this. They’ve never thought about
what they actually want to do. What does their rich life mean? The next common answer
is “a million dollars–” no regard given to whether they
live in Kansas or Manhattan, just a million dollars. I don’t even bother
asking what they’re going to do with the million dollars. Because if that’s
the answer, they haven’t thought about
what it actually means. The third answer on what
does a rich life mean to you, the most common one is, “I
want to pay off my debt.” I actually find this to
be a most haunting of all. If the entirety
of your rich life is the dream of paying
off debt, it’s no surprise that you’re not living it. Because nobody wakes up
in the morning and says, yeah, I’m going
to get this debt. [CHUCKLING] It’s not motivational. It’s not inspirational. It’s not aspirational. It’s just a task. It’s like a to-do
item on your calendar. And what I want to
talk about is going beyond the simplistic answers. When I moved to New
York, my rich life was being able to buy an
appetizer at a restaurant– that specific, that small. Because growing up, I never
could order appetizers. We couldn’t afford it. Then it was being able to take
a taxi to go to a meeting– like this– and not have to
go on the subway, because I didn’t want
to arrive sweaty. Look at this body hair? I’m sweaty if I
get on the subway. So I wanted to get– and that
doesn’t cost that much money. But that was a rich life to me. Notice, again, the specificity. When I ask people what
their rich life is, I want to hear
answers like that. Now, they could be bigger. Mine have certainly
gotten bigger. But I want to hear the
specific answers of what a rich life means to you. That’s what we’re going
to talk about today. This became more
important for me as I was starting out
learning about money. And I discovered that
the most popular word for financial experts
is the word “no.” No, you can’t buy lattes. No, you can’t go on vacation. In fact, no, you can’t do
anything with your money– just take it, go hide
in a cave for 75 years, and maybe you can spend
a little bit of it. I just looked around
at my friends. And I did not want to
live that kind of life. I wanted to go out. I wanted to buy
a round of drinks without having to feel guilty. And as I got older, I wanted
to experience different things using my money. It’s funny. We live in this paradoxical
culture that, on one hand, it’s very puritanical– a lot of finger-wagging
experts telling us what we can’t do with our money. No, no, no. On the other hand,
what’s the first thing we do when we wake
up in the morning? We roll over. We open up our phone,
start scrolling Instagram, and find our annoying
friend who’s posting from Bora Bora on a Wednesday. How does he do it? I don’t know. [LAUGHTER] Which one wins– is it
the puritanical side or the consumer side? Of course it’s the
side that’s going to let us buy whatever
is in front of us. We live in a society
that’s engineered to get us to buy more,
usually unthinkingly. And so what do we do? We follow that. We buy it, whether it’s the
trip, the clothes, whatever. And by the way, I’m not
here to judge anyone for spending on
anything you like. If anything, I’m going
encourage you to spend more. But we feel guilty. Because after we buy that, we
go back, and what do we see? Some person telling
us what we shouldn’t be doing with our money. I think people are smart. I think that people don’t need
another article telling us not to buy $3 purchases. I think we don’t
need another article telling us to unscrew
our oven light because we can save $0.13 per year. We don’t need it. What I’ve learned, whether
it’s with politics, money, fitness, food,
is people are smart and people crave the truth. They don’t just want
to know generic pablum, generic guidelines. They want to know the
specifics– tell me where do you invest
your money, what are the fees you
pay, how did you afford to go on that vacation. Tell me the percentages
of your asset allocation. Get that specific. And I think people crave
the truth about money in a way that has
not been addressed. That’s one of the reasons
that I wrote this book. Well, as you can
see, first of all, this is a room
that’s very atypical when it comes to a money talk. Typically what happens
with money is, in our 20s, we ignore it– ah,
whatever, later. In our 30s, we’re like,
I have a little bit of money sitting around maybe. I should probably do
something with it. And then 40– uh-oh. Maybe we have kids. Maybe we have a mortgage. Certainly life has started
to catch up with us. And we say, uh-oh, I better
do something about this. Now, this is an atypical room. We know that from the
amounts you guys tossed out for a household income. Fine. But also, for
everybody watching, it doesn’t matter if you
live in this city or that. It doesn’t matter if your
income is this or that. Again, most of us have
been taught, most of us have been told over
and over how to save. But no one has actually
taught us how to spend. Most of us, like I said,
are asking $3 questions. No one has pushed
us to go beyond. What’s next? I’d like to start off today by
showing, not telling, everyone in the room how money
can be something that brings us joy, not
anxiety, embarrassment, guilt, and shame– classic. I would like to ask– I’m going to make this a little
dynamic, because I love hearing answers when you get a chance to
talk to the person next to you. So if you’re in the
room, get ready to talk to the person next to
you– introduce yourself. If you’re watching,
just play along. [LAUGHTER] What I would like
you to answer– turn to the person next to you. Introduce yourself. And in just 60 seconds,
I’m going to come back. I want to know the answer
to this question– what is something you spent
money on in the last two weeks that made you smile? Something you look back
on and it made you smile? It could be going out
to a nice restaurant. It could be hopping
in a taxi instead of the subway on a hot day. Anything in the last two weeks. Let’s take 60 seconds. And then I’ll
bring you all back. [CHATTER] OK. Please pass that mic around. If you want to share your
answer, please raise your hand. We will get a mic over to you. I want to hear from you. What is something you spent
in the last two weeks– let’s get those mics
going around the room. What is something you
spent in the last two weeks that just made you smile? Go ahead. AUDIENCE: I did a
stay-cay [INAUDIBLE] I did a stay-cation
with my partner. RAMIT SETHI: Stay-cation. Beautiful. A stay-cation. What, did you stay in the city? You went to a hotel? AUDIENCE: In Dumbo. RAMIT SETHI: In Dumbo. Great. OK. Who’s next? AUDIENCE: Surfing lesson. RAMIT SETHI: Surfing lesson. Awesome. Who’s next? AUDIENCE: Well, they
definitely won’t read. So I bought a bunch of
Classics Illustrated comics so I could get them to read. RAMIT SETHI: Awesome. AUDIENCE: I can’t
read something I sell. [LAUGHTER] RAMIT SETHI: Beautiful. Do we have somebody over here? OK. Let’s get one more. We got some up
here in the front. If you’ve got a mic,
just shout it out. AUDIENCE: I bought a phone
for my mom’s birthday. RAMIT SETHI: Love it. Love it. [LAUGHTER] All right. Let’s get one more. All right. AUDIENCE: I knew you
winced, too, but a ring. RAMIT SETHI: A ring. All right. Congratulations. Beautiful. OK. OK. This is a totally different–
man, you guys are good. Did you hear the
energy in the room when we were talking
about what we like? I was planning to
come in here and talk about some boring
compound interest. You guys are more fun than that. We’re not talking about
compound interest today. We’re going to talk
about a rich life. OK? Look at the joy,
look at the happiness just with this two-week
thing of what do you like, what made you smile. Everybody teaches
you how to save. Nobody talks about how to spend. People want the truth. They want to know how to
think about bigger, more important things with
their money than saving $3. Yes, you should save money. Yes, you should automate
your investments– low-cost, long-term investments. Yes. I’m not saying, don’t do that. But there’s so much more to
talk about with money than how to scrape $3 here and there. So that’s what we are
going to talk about– how to use money to
create our rich lives. Now, 10 years ago,
I wrote this book– “I Will Teach You To Be Rich.” It came out in March 2009. Did anybody buy this
book first edition? OK. Anybody buy it in March 2009? I don’t believe
in market timing, but that was an awesome
time for a book to come out. [LAUGHTER] Bottom of the recession. If you bought that book
and followed the advice, you are set for life. OK? So my publisher
started e-mailing me. And they were like,
let’s do an update. And I was like, why? I write something
to be timeless. Good advice is timeless in
fact, some of my favorite books are decades or
even centuries old. I resisted for a long time. But meanwhile, I have these
bookmarks that I save online. I was saving all these bookmarks
about what was changing in the financial industry. And there was a lot. There are new accounts. Robo advisors didn’t
exist back then. I had switched my own
credit card for extra perks. And I’d switched my accounts. Things had changed in
my own life as well. I had grown my business to
dozens of employees and 40,000 customers. And I’d gotten married,
which was amazing, and also challenging from a
financial perspective– really having those conversations. I realized that I had started to
think about money differently. And this is a realization that
continues to unfold for me. When I was 22, if you asked
me, what does money mean to me, I would have said, it’s
good and I want more. [LAUGHTER] That’s pretty much the
level of intellectual rigor that I brought to the
table on that one. And actually, I think
a lot of people, if you put a challenge
in front of them and they are
achievement-oriented, they’re just going to go get it. They may not think
about why or how does this fit into the
context of my rich life. They’re like, you said a KPI? I’m going to get that KPI. What I have learned now
along my financial journey as my business has grown,
as I’ve gotten married, as I have talked
to even more people about debt, earning
more, salary negotiation, finding a dream job, starting
a business, is that– I liken my journey with
money to the journey that I took with fitness. About 10 years ago, I
decided to get more fit. And I started with a very simple
reason, which was pure vanity. I was like, I want
to look like that. And I think vanity
can be a good reason to get started with something. But I think if any of
us have done something that we got good at,
whether it be an instrument, or programming, or a
different language, you might start for one reason. What I found is that I ended up
falling in love with the craft; and the discipline to
go every single day; and to know that, yeah, you
might look a certain way, but that’s actually a
byproduct of all the work that you’ve put in every single
day and perfecting that craft. Same with money– whereas
I used to go after money, now I realize that
money is the byproduct of doing all the right things. And I actually remember this
as recently as six months ago. We’re on our honeymoon. And I love hotels. I keep a list of hotels
that I want to go to. I love them. And I remember we were
staying at the last place on our honeymoon. And we were already
happy, because we were on our honeymoon and just
having the time of our lives. But I remember being
even more happy, because I was at
this dream hotel that I’d been wanting
to stay at for years. And I was trying to figure
out, why am I so happy– even happier than the baseline. And what I realized was being
able to be there with my wife, but also be able
to be there and not have to worry about,
can we afford this, or, can we order room service. That meant that I had done all
the right things for years. I’d showed up at work. I got a team, which is an
amazingly talented team. We made the right decisions. We recovered when we
made the wrong ones. And now this is the payoff. This is one of the
rewards of our rich life. I would’ve never
thought like that at 22. I would’ve said, what’s
in my Excel spreadsheet, and what’s in my account? That’s just a number. But to be able to get in a
taxi and avoid the sweat, or now to be able to
dream bigger and go to a dream hotel at my wife– way more meaningful. So I learned to go beyond
just the dollar amount. And that is one
of the key things that I want to encourage
everyone here to take away. Now I’m going to show
you how we do that. Remember how I said one of
my philosophies is to spend extravagantly on the things you
love as long as you cut costs mercilessly on the
things you don’t? It’s a word that
you don’t hear too much in the financial industry–
spend “extravagantly?” What are you talking about? You’ve got to cut back. Again, $0.03 here, $3 there– that’s a rich life somehow. That’s what most say. But I don’t believe that. I haven’t found that
to be true in my life. So I would like now
to ask you to turn to the person next to
you– in just a second. And I’d like to ask you
to answer this question– what is something you
love spending money on? Not it gave you a smile,
but something specific that you love spending money on. Tell them why. And for those of you
who are willing to, tell them how much
you spend on it. Let’s do 60 seconds. I’ll bring you back. [CHATTER] All right. Let’s bring it back. I want to hear from you. The room wants to hear from you. Put your hand up if you’re
willing to share, please. We’ve got mics going around. I want to hear what is something
you love spending money on. Let’s get those hands up. Don’t be shy. There’s literally
no wrong answer. It is only what you love. So we’re going to
get a mic over here. Meanwhile, let’s get the mics–
we’ve got one over there. Let’s keep your hands up. We’ll get the mics going around. OK. Over here, what do you
love spending money on? AUDIENCE: Books. RAMIT SETHI: Tell me more. Why? AUDIENCE: Because I feel
like I’m getting knowledge every time I buy one. I’m getting something
very valuable in return. RAMIT SETHI: Amazing. Amazing. Do you have a bookshelf
in your house? AUDIENCE: Yes. RAMIT SETHI: That’s my dream. One of my dreams is to
have a massive bookshelf in my apartment or house. I have something called
a book-buying rule. Ramit’s book-buying
rule is if you ever think about buying
a book, just buy it. Don’t agonize. Don’t debate. [CHUCKLING] $10– yes, it’s self-serving. [LAUGHTER] Somebody asked me in the
back– they were like, were you rich before
you wrote the book? I’m like, I make
like $0.50 per book. That’s not making anybody rich. That’s not the point. I love that. And I love that books
are your love and joy. They’re one of mine as well. I also love taking
the things that I love and putting simple
rules around it. Why should you even
debate for two seconds a $10 purchase which can have an
author’s lifetime of work in it and that can measurably
change your life? Never think about it. There are things that
we should think about. When it comes to the biggest
purchases of our lives, yes, we need to build
models and understand it. But a $10 purchase that could
change your life, and clearly has? Love it. Who’s next? Let’s go over here. Yes, please. AUDIENCE: Cleaning
lady and a nanny. RAMIT SETHI: OK. Tell me why. AUDIENCE: With the
nanny, I love– it’s so expensive,
but I love not to have to worry for when the
kids have a day off at school, when they’re sick. We used to so
stress out about it. And now with the guilt of
paying that huge sums of money every month comes with
this relaxation of, OK, they’re sick. We can still–
they have a person that they love that’s
taking care of them. We can still go off to
work and do our thing. And same with the
cleaning lady– it’s just such a luxury to
come back to a clean the house and not have to do it ourselves. RAMIT SETHI: Thank you. Thank you for being so candid. Did you hear the
words that she used? “Relaxation,” “relief,”
“luxury–” not words you typically hear when you’re
talking about personal finance. I really love that. I think we probably share
the same money dial– we’ll get to that in one second. You and I have a lot in common. Although I don’t have
kids at this point, I hear what you’re saying. And I can feel– I can see the smile on your
face and feel the relief in what you’re saying. To know that your child is
safe and that you can also do what is fulfilling
to you is amazing. Thank you for sharing that. Who’s got another one? Yes. Who’s got the mic? AUDIENCE: Hi. Over here. RAMIT SETHI: Go ahead. AUDIENCE: I love buying
vinyl records, for sure. RAMIT SETHI: Vinyl records. OK. Why? And would you just raise your
hand high so I can see you? AUDIENCE: Yeah, I’m right here. Yeah. RAMIT SETHI: Thank you. Why do you love them? AUDIENCE: I really like the
process of finding them. Sometimes it’s not about money. It’s just kind of
discovering them. RAMIT SETHI: What? It’s not about money? What do you mean? [CHUCKLING] AUDIENCE: Yeah. Yeah. RAMIT SETHI: What do you mean? AUDIENCE: What do I mean? I think I get excitement
from when I see it. And I don’t think about the
price tag at that point. I think about what its quality
is and what it sounds like. And then money is
just this factor of me getting it to my house. And I like the allocated
time I have to listen to it, and pick up the needle
and kind of take myself to listen to an album fully. RAMIT SETHI: Wow. A very interesting journey. A very tactile experience
too by the way– putting it down– almost
like the equivalent of making coffee. Someone who really
loves coffee, right? I want to smell the beans. I want to grind it myself. I love the way
you talk about it. It’s funny. We teach people how
to start a business. And one of the things
we talk about– people are petrified to charge money. And we talk about when you
understand your customer and when you find
the right customer, price is a mere triviality. And you demonstrate that. When you say you
love buying vinyl, you mentioned that you like
to go through the journey, the process of finding it. That’s very much
like when I travel. I want to research it all. And I almost get half the
joy from just finding out where we can go. And then being there
is an added bonus. So thank you for sharing that. Let’s get one more. Yes, sir. AUDIENCE: I’m a collector. I’ve always been a collector. My current collecting thing are
high-end military miniatures, because they remind
me of history. Because I’ve always been– most of my collections
have always been about things that
relate to history. And they help me learn. They help me put
things in perspective. Things like that. RAMIT SETHI: Wow. Is it expensive? AUDIENCE: Yeah. RAMIT SETHI: Hmm. [LAUGHTER] Do you care? AUDIENCE: A little bit. RAMIT SETHI: [LAUGHS] That must be very expensive. OK. I like it. [LAUGHTER] You know what’s interesting– I don’t know if you live in– your living situation. But I can almost
imagine painting a picture of you going in
this area in your living space of having this
history, where you go and, like you said, it
gives you perspective. It’s a respite in your
apartment or your house that gives you a bigger picture,
a bigger vision in what you’re doing. Priceless. 20 years from now,
you’re going to look back and say, oh, I wish I hadn’t
spent that extra x dollars? No. This is something you live– probably live and
enjoy every day. So thank you for sharing that. I call these money dials. Every one of us has at
least one money dial. We all intuitively know
what our money dial is. It didn’t take long
for anyone to turn to the person next to them
and share what you love. A money dial is the thing you
love spending money on– it gives you joy, you actually
want to spend more on it, price is a mere triviality. And if I asked you what would
you do with the next $10,000, beyond the– people give a lot of BS answers
when you ask that question. They’re like, I’d
pay off all my debt. I’m like, then why
haven’t you already? They’re like, oh. [CHUCKLING] If you had $10,000 more,
you would happily put it towards this thing you love. That’s a money dial. Why is it called a money dial? Because like a radio dial,
you can turn that dial way up. You can spend extravagantly
on the things you love. How extravagantly? Well, we’re about to find out. I would like you to turn
to the person next to you. And this time,
here’s the question– what if you could
quadruple your spending on that thing you love? What would your life look like? And what would your
life feel like? 60 seconds. Put your hand up. We’ll get the mic to you. And I want to hear from you. Yes. If you could quadruple your
spending on the thing you love. AUDIENCE: So I said travel. That’s the one thing I will
just spend whatever on. But if I could
quadruple spending, I’d probably not fly
Norwegian economy. [LAUGHTER] And not stay at
hostels or Airbnbs. I’d probably kind of amp
up the luxury aspect. RAMIT SETHI: Tell us what
amping it up would be for you? AUDIENCE: Yeah. So if I could buy a
first-class ticket, I would like to
have that option. I’d probably go
places further away that I’ve never
been to or flights that I’ve kind of ruled out
because they’re too expensive. I would take them anyway. RAMIT SETHI: And do
you have a sense– do you have a secret list? What’s the place
you would go to? AUDIENCE: Well, before
they’re underwater, I’d love to go to the Maldives. So that is probably number
one on my bucket list. RAMIT SETHI: Thank
you for sharing. Thank you. Yes. Yes. AUDIENCE: Mine’s
not very deep, but I would be the most fit
person you’ve ever met. [LAUGHTER] Because I love fitness. And I love fitness classes. And I do close my eyes to
my monthly bill on that, because I spend what I want. But if I was very rich,
it would be great. RAMIT SETHI: OK. [LAUGHTER] I heard a lot there. You mind if I ask you
a couple questions? AUDIENCE: I’m a little nervous. RAMIT SETHI: Don’t be nervous. [LAUGHTER] Don’t be nervous, because
I share the same– that’s one of my
money dials as well. Fitness. Thank you for sharing that. How come you started off by
saying “mine’s not that deep?” AUDIENCE: People are talking
about their families, buying rings for
significant others. [LAUGHTER] I’m like, [INAUDIBLE] RAMIT SETHI: I know. She set the bar a little high. She’s talking about,
my kids are safe. And you are over here saying, I
want to go work out at Rumble. I get it. AUDIENCE: Yeah. [LAUGHTER] RAMIT SETHI: OK. But what’s behind it? Why do you love fitness? And hold that up. AUDIENCE: Well, I love fitness
for a number of reasons. But from what you said,
I do like the discipline of it and having that routine. And it helps to clear my
head and keep me balanced. But then also
through it, I’ve met a whole community of people. And that has become a
really big part of it. Because when you go often and
you’re seeing the same people at 7 AM in the
morning, you kind of have a connection with that too. RAMIT SETHI: Does
anybody in this room feel that a community and
discipline is actually a very deep set of concepts? [CHUCKLING] Thank you for sharing that. We often talk ourselves
out of the things we love. We often minimize them
as if they’re just vain. But your rich life is yours. It’s not mine. It’s not your
families or parents. It’s yours. And what I want to
encourage everybody here is to really dial in on that
and to be unapologetic about it. The most common money
dials by the way are food, travel,
health and fitness. And then there’s roughly–
there’s a bunch more. Money is convenience. I love every single thing
to be p– like a ballet, I want to wake up
in the morning, everything is just
move– my calendar is perfectly organized. When I travel, my assistant
activates our travel protocol and– [CHUCKLING] I’m not kidding. I know– it sounds like a
serial killer, but it works. [LAUGHTER] It’s so good. It’s so good. Most of the people in here
are like, this guy’s insane. But that’s what I love. And I don’t apologize for it. On the other hand, there are
things I just don’t care about. And we’ll talk about cutting
costs mercilessly in a second. But I want to hear more. I want to hear
what else would it look like if you quadrupled
your spending on the things you love. We’ve got a hand up here. Yes. AUDIENCE: So I’m really
into personal growth books. So I think that if I
a had a lot of money, I’d sign up for direct mentoring
maybe with the authors, something like that. But those are really
expensive usually. RAMIT SETHI: Mm. How expensive? AUDIENCE: Could go up to
$10k I think for a session. RAMIT SETHI: Cool. I love that. Self development– I love that. That’s my whole business. I love that you
invest in yourself. [LAUGHTER] But I also live it. I don’t just sell
it to other people. I also attend a bunch
of classes, conferences that I don’t need to. But I love it. Right? So I truly believe in that. And I appreciate
you saying that. What I really loved
about your answer is– what most people do when they
answer the “quadruple” question is they think very linearly. I had somebody in DC who
said, I love to eat out. I said, OK, you
quadruple your spending? He’s like, I’d eat
out four times a week. [LAUGHTER] Like, that’s it, man? Come on. So I had to do a little
work with him, right? Meanwhile, the
whole crowd’s like, this guy’s– the
answer is so obvious. What he came to the
resolution on is– I had to push him to think big. Most of us don’t. We’ve spent all our
lives being told what we can’t spend money
on that when we actually think about what we
love, we don’t actually know how to spend more on it. It turned out for him, he
loves nice restaurants. Why? Because he never could eat
there when he was a kid. He loves the experience. He loves the ambiance. He loves the artisanship
or craftsmanship of the food being presented. So what would he do? He made a list of every
Michelin-starred restaurant in DC. And I said, love it. Who are you going
to take with you? And he didn’t miss a beat. He said, I’m taking
my family with me. That is not thinking linearly. That’s really thinking in
a multi-dimensional way about what your rich life is. One of my favorite
examples of this was a young woman in Pasadena. And she had the whole
crowd on her side. They loved her because– I asked her, what do you
love spending money on? And she said, I love
online shopping. I love it. And the whole crowd was like,
oh, my god, this is insane. [LAUGHTER] And I said, what
do you like to buy? She’s like, I shop at Topshop. I love it. I said, great. Quadruple you’re spending–
what would you have? She goes, I would
have boxes everywhere. [LAUGHTER] I love her. And then I said, is it possible
that if you 2x, 4x, 10x your spending, you might
not shop at Topshop? The whole room,
completely silent. She had never considered that
she might not shop at Topshop. [LAUGHTER] We laugh, but how many
people in this room have done the exact same thing? We think linearly. And I said, if you turned
that money dial up, maybe you shop at
a different brand. If you turn it up
even more, maybe you get something
custom-made for you. What if you turn
it up even more? Maybe you fly to Italy
and visit the factory of your favorite brand. Now, for 99% of people in this
room, it sounds ridiculous. OK? But if she truly loves spending
that much and she loves that topic– clothes– unapologetically, that might
be what she wants to do. I loved how excited she got. I love– This is my favorite
question in all of money. OK? Because people want to
talk about what they love. They never get asked. And they’ve never
been challenged to rethink the way
they think about it. Now, I said spend extravagantly
on the things you love as long as you cut costs mercilessly
on the things you don’t. In my own life, there
are several things I just don’t care about. I don’t have a TV. I use a MacBook Air
that’s seven-years old. I should probably work
off a dual-monitor setup. I just don’t care. And I’ve lived in the same
apartment for 10 years. And I’ve rented. And I know society tells you
that renting is throwing money away. That’s not true. These are things that I
just don’t care about. But on the other hand– convenience, I’ll spend
essentially anything. Hotels, I will spend
essentially anything. And there’s a few
other examples . My wife and I together– we’re
coming up with our own money Dale’s. Relationships is
a big one for us. So I would encourage everyone
to really take this concept and think about it. And don’t stay at
the surface level. If it’s fitness,
like yours, great. Really think about
what that looks like. Another woman in DC–
she was into fitness too. And I said, what would your life
look like if you quadrupled? She’s like, I would be shredded. I was like, love it. Think big. Don’t talk yourself out of it. So that is what I’ve
learned about money dials. I was raised– where our
money dials come from and the way we think
about money has a lot to do with the way
we were raised. The way that I
looked at the world– imagine I’m putting
on a pair of glasses. My money lens– the way
I look at the world– was frugality. Probably like some of
the people in this room and some of the
people watching, I was raised by two
immigrant parents. My dad worked. My mom stayed at
home with four kids. And I remember that when
we would take a vacation– a vacation for us was
driving from Northern California to
Southern California and staying with family. And on the rare time
we went to Disneyland– which I think was
once or twice– we would wake up really early
from our cousin’s house, go to Disneyland. We would pack lunches,
because there’s no way you can buy six lunches
for a family at Disneyland. That’s too expensive. And we would stay until the
end of the day– very end. Why? Because we’re not
coming back here. We’ve got to get everything
we can from this place. That was my money lens. And I think it served me
in a lot of ways, right? I mentioned the computer. I don’t need certain new things. If it works, I like to buy
the best and keep it forever. But I also think that there are
other money lenses, other ways to look at the world. We heard in the
back from the woman who said that she loves
to spend on convenience, which is my money dial– feel safe, feel relief,
feel luxury and fortunate. Safety is something that
we all kind of intuitively get when it’s for someone else– oh, we’ll spend extra so
that our kids are safe? Never going to question that. But when it comes
to our own spending, we put back that frugality
lens so much of the time. It’s been drilled
into us by society. There are other money lenses. There’s the result– the
money lens of results. I could get a workout
on YouTube or I can pay a personal trainer
for better and faster results. There’s pure–
there’s experience. Why do you think people go
to a really nice restaurant, five-plus courses? The experience. There is pure luxury. This sweater is not going
to last 10 times longer than that sweater. But you just want it. And so sometimes we need– I think of it almost
like a musician. You want to have the
note of frugality, but you don’t want to
be a one-note player. Sometimes frugality
is the perfect note. But sometimes there are other
notes you want to play– security, luxury, results,
whatever your money lens is. I don’t want anyone in this
room and anyone watching to be a one-note player. There are different notes
to use at different times. For me, it was very
hard to change my view. I would much rather, in my
early 20s, judge other people. That’s why I really loved
that iced tea example, because it took me back. When she first said “iced
tea,” I was like, ugh, this is so– this is insane. It took me back to what I used
to be like in my early 20s. I would walk on to a
flight and pass the people in business class
or first class. And I would laugh– so stupid. They’re so stupid. Why are they spending
four times the money? We’re all getting
to the same place. What I should have done
instead of disparagement was switch to curiosity– D to C. Why are they doing that? Why might someone want to
spend that crazy amount, to me, on a
business-class flight? What do they know that I don’t? And I might discover that
I don’t actually agree– I don’t value that, I don’t
care, I think it’s not for me. But had I– I instead of closing
the conversation disparagingly, I should’ve gotten a lot
more curious and said, why? Why does someone go
to this restaurant? Why does someone want
to go to the Maldives– which in my early 20s, I
didn’t even know what that was? Why? And that has really
transformed the way that I look at
money– from one-note of frugality to being able
to play different notes at different times. The one thing that I’ve
learned is that most of us have never thought about
what our rich life really is. So you ask people,
what is your rich life, I told you– we actually had
some great answers in here. The most common answers– I told you the three. Most people have
complained about money. Especially in their 40s, it
becomes the number one thing they worry about. But they’ve never spent a
weekend reading a good book. Most people talk
about certain things about money– oh, I
wish I could have this– but they’ve never actually
sat down and said, what is my rich life,
down to the level of, I want to be able
to buy appetizers without looking at the price. If we did that, imagine how
our spending would change. Imagine how our psychology
around money would change. Now, this is important. I’ve learned this is
increasingly important. Because in the first
edition of the book, I had all this technical
stuff about Roth IRAs, and compound interest,
and all that. It’s in there. It’s updated. It’s all there– how do
you automate your money and what credit cards can
you squeeze the perks out of. Yes, use it. But what I’ve realized is that
if we don’t tackle our money psychology, no
compound interest chart is going to change anything. From talking to people
for a long time, one thing I’ve learned
is about the way we treat money is it’s
almost like– imagine you get on a raft. And you’re floating
down this river. It’s a nice day. The river is going to
end up in a good place. This is the river of life. It’s a pretty good life. Especially for people watching
this, people in the room, life is going to be pretty good. Right? You’ve sort of
done well already. If the river goes
left, we go left. What I have found is it’s a lot
more fun to pick up my paddle and row the direction
that I want to go in. Sometimes I might get
it wrong, but I’ve learned that it’s a lot
more fun to chart out what my rich life is. And interestingly, the
more you really refine what your rich life
is– for example, vinyl. And maybe you actually go
to a vinyl-making class from the original vinyl guy. I don’t know. Some people around you might
say, that’s pretty weird. Why are you doing that? That’s ridiculous. My favorite word–
that’s “ridiculous.” But the more I dialed in on my
money dials in my rich life, the more I realized I really
love unapologetically charting my path and going towards
it, spending extravagantly on the things I love and cutting
costs on the things that I don’t. Now, it’s one thing to do
this yourself– to come up with your money rules. I’ve got 10 money rules. You can Google
“Ramit’s money rules.” And they’re about
spending and saving. And one of them is,
“marry the right person,” which I think is actually one of
the most important money rules that you can possibly have. It’s one thing to come up
with your own money rules. It’s another when you
bring somebody else into this conversation. How many people here
are in a relationship or have been in a
relationship where money was a topic of discussion? Quite a few. I’ve had magical experiences. And I’ve had
challenging experiences. And I’d like to tell you
a little bit about both. My wife is here in the room. I remember when we were engaged. And we went out to dinner
with two couples who were a little older than us. And they asked us where we were
planning to go for a honeymoon. And we were excited. We were planning to go on
a safari, eight or 10 days. And we told them, we’ve
never been and we can’t wait. And they were excited–
oh, my god, that’s going to be amazing. And then one of them
mentioned, yeah, when we went on our honeymoon,
we took six months off and we traveled the world. [LAUGHTER] We were like, what? And then the next
couple, who were– again, they were little older than us,
but we thought they’re just– they’re not that much older. They said, oh, yeah, when
we took our honeymoon, we went for a year. It was life-changing. And we walked out
of that restaurant. And we looked at each other
like, did you hear that? [LAUGHTER] Who are these people? It would have been easy for us
to say, that’s “ridiculous.” But together– we both
love self development. We’ve both learned
about the tools to use. And we continue to
learn about the tools to use to have
these conversations. We went from this place
of “that’s ridiculous” to this magical question
of, what if we did that? And the first thing our minds
do is try to talk us out– well, we’ve got a business; can we
afford it; da da da; what if– we can’t do it. And then we just said,
what if we did that? And when you go from a
place of “can we do that” to “how can we do that,”
it becomes magical. So we fast forward a few months. We decided to take, not
a one-year honeymoon, but a six-week honeymoon. And one of our money dials is
relationships– our joint money dial. And we independently
came to each other with this idea–
we wanted to bring our parents with us to the
first part of our honeymoon. So in Italy, we told our parents
to just show up at the airport and don’t worry
about anything else. And we remember taking them
to a farmer’s market in Rome with a chef. And we picked vegetables. And we took it to a kitchen. And we cooked a
five-course meal. And it turns out
that none of us had ever– the parents had never
done a cooking class, never. And we remember sitting there
chopping vegetables in Rome and eating this amazing meal. I remember taking
my mother-in-law to the Vatican, which was
very meaningful to her. And she’d never been. She never thought she would go. And when they left and we
continued on our honeymoon, we just looked at each other. And we didn’t have
to say a word– we knew we were creating
memories right then that we would never forget. So that was our rich life. We also had challenging
conversations. When we sat down
to talk about, how does money work together for
us, how are we going to spend– to me, this is so obvious. I had the most beautiful
financial systems in the world– so flawless, all
convenience-oriented, it’s perfect. I wanted to jump right
to the spreadsheet– look at this model. I’m going to build this model. The flow is going
to be so crazy. Cell C3– it’s so logical. [LAUGHTER] That did not work. We look at $10,000,
or $1,000, or more, and we see different things. I see growth, compound
interest, investment. I see opportunities. I see a really nice
hotel that’s on my list. My wife sees that money. And it makes her feel safe. I had never thought
of the word “safe” when it came to money, never. Has anyone here thought
of the word “safe” when you think about money? Yeah? Look at that. A lot of people. It had never occurred to me. And so we were speaking in
completely different languages. And I wanted to jump
right to the spreadsheet. But we actually had to go
way back for both of us to talk about, what
did money mean, what were some of the phrases
we heard from our parents growing up. Now, I would be willing
to bet a lot of us heard phrases like, “we
don’t talk about money in this family,” “money
doesn’t grow on trees,” “we can’t afford that,”
“why would you buy that when we can do it at home.” These are very common. Until we unwound those phrases
that we carried with us for so long, there was no way that
this spreadsheet would ever mean anything to us. And that has taken
us a long time. Actually, it
continues to happen. Maybe you guys can have
me back in five years and I’ll tell you
what else I learned. But that is where money
goes from a pure number in a spreadsheet to actually,
what’s the meaning of it. And that meaning comes
from how we grew up, how we spent it, who we
surrounded ourselves with. Suddenly, that iced tea example
made a lot more sense to me. Suddenly, the woman
who wrote me– extremely frustrated
enough to DM me for the first time she
ever reached out to me and ask about $3 iced tea. Suddenly, it made
a lot more sense. Every single day,
she wakes up and she sees her financial
values being violated. But they’ve never
talked about it. And based on her name, I
would be willing to bet– I don’t know for
sure, but I’d be willing to bet that she
grew up, like I did, probably with immigrant parents. And I’d be willing to
bet that the husband– who I don’t know– probably he looks
at this $3 thing. He says, we earn a ton of money. This isn’t even
a rounding error. Why are we even
talking about this. But they’re down here
discussing $3 questions. We’ve talked about
$30,000 questions. And we’ve even talked about
the highest level– values. What is your money dial? How do you view the world
through your money lens? And what is your
partner’s, if you have one? These are the kind of questions
that I want to leave you with. I want you to think about
what your rich life is. I want you to think about what
your money dial is– that think you love spending money on. I want you to think what life
would be like if you spent extravagantly on the things
you love and, of course, you cut costs mercilessly
on the things you don’t. And I’ll leave you
with just three things. First, your rich life matters. It really matters. Take it seriously. Don’t talk yourself out of it. Don’t minimize what you love. Intuitively, we all know
what we love inside. Don’t talk yourself out of it. If anything, make it
bigger, lean into it. You will start there. And that’s way more
aspirational than, how do I cut $5
here and $10 there. The more you develop
your rich life, and articulate it, and perhaps
even boil it down to five or 10 of your own money rules, the
more that the people around you might find it surprising,
even ridiculous. That’s OK. Your rich life is yours. It’s nobody else’s. The second thing is, when
you’re building your rich life, start from a place
of possibility. It would have been
so easy for us to walk out of that dinner
with those two couples and say, that’s ridiculous,
who does that? But we were fortunate
enough to have really worked at having these
conversations and to say, what if we did that? What if? Imagine you have a magic wand,
and your rich life is totally yours and maybe your partner’s. What does it look like? How often do you travel? What do you wear? What’s childcare like? Are you bringing
anybody with you? These are the kind
of questions that are $30,000, $300,000
$3 million questions, and even higher-level. And finally, the last thing
I want to leave you with is my personal dream– my dream is that, if
you’re in this room or you’re watching, that you
on– page one of my book, I put my email address. I want you to read it,
and email me, and tell me what your rich life is. That’s my dream. because it’s my mission
to go and stop people from talking about
only cutting back, and actually to talk more
about what their rich life is. Use the tools, invest, grow,
negotiate your salary– all that stuff is in there. But what I want to
really hear from you on is, what is your rich life. Thank you very much. I appreciate it. [APPLAUSE]

18 thoughts on “Ramit Sethi: “I Will Teach You To Be Rich, Second Edition” | Talks at Google

  • It's been more than two weeks, but the last thing I purchased that continues to make me laugh and smile is the fake rubber dog shit I got for $1 at the dollar store. That shit continues to make me laugh every time I see that shit💩

  • I wonder why people think that they all can achieve the same level of "success" after being taught a skill. For example, I could be taught how to play basketball from Stephen Curry. Still at the end of the day I will still be at best junior college level player. Its an interesting speech and it could help some people. The nicest part of this is it should help you understand yourself better and that is a good thing.

  • Summed Up:
    Lesson 1: Start taking responsibility for your money

    Lesson 2: Take fixed cuts off your paycheck and automatically spend them towards your goals
    Lesson 3: Start investing today. No joke.

  • This is a variant of old "rich folks, don't feel guilty, spend your money"… (our consumerist "economy" depends on it)
    Most people need more money just to pay bills and survive to the next month.. or to have healthcare and generally to stave off mind numbing uncertainty that everyone is facing.

  • If there's one thing this guy is good at it's marketing. He has had no other financial and business success in his life other than selling his courses and books to people wanting to get rich. There's a brilliance in there that he managed to get rich off of people wanting to learn how to get rich. But at the end of the day if it helps people, who am I to judge?

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