April 20, 2020

Ramit Sethi | The Pyschology of Money: How to Design a Rich Life

Ramit Sethi | The Pyschology of Money: How to Design a Rich Life

Ramit Sethi dives into the psychology of money, unpacking some of the incredibly insightful advice and frameworks from his book, I Will Teach You to Be Rich. During this episode, we learn how to confront student loan debt, Ramit's rules for a rich...

Ramit Sethi dives into the psychology of money, unpacking some of the incredibly insightful advice and frameworks from his book, I Will Teach You to Be Rich. During this episode, we learn how to confront student loan debt, Ramit's rules for a rich life, how to go from asking $3 questions to asking $30k questions and much more.


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Ramit Sethi: Money Psychology and Living a Rich Life 


You had a new version of, I will teach you to be rich come out which I got my hands on immediately. We happen to have the same literary agent. Your brother has been a guest here on the show all of which we will get into, but I want to start by asking what I think is a really fitting question, given the subject matter of what you write about, and that is what birth order were you, and what impact did your birth order end up having on the things that you believed about money?

When you're growing up? 

Ramit Sethi: I was number three of four and I don't think it had any order, any impact at all. Really. I don't really believe in that. No. I think I think that you do No, you make your situation certainly influences you and your family, your parents, where you live your socioeconomic status.

I also think you can influence it and you can influence the world, but I don't really believe in birth order. 

Srini Rao: Yeah, I guess the reason that comes up for me is because of the fact that one of the things that I saw growing up with my own parents is that their economic situation was really different when my sister came along, versus when I came along, like by the time she got to high school, my dad was a tenured professor while going through all of that, my dad was a postdoc struggling to make it.

And so what I realized is that we have very different sort of internal narratives about all of this in which I think she was much smarter with how she was responsible with money. And I think I made a lot of mistakes because of it. And, I wonder that's I think, where I was going with that.

Ramit Sethi: Got it. That, I think we do have some things that happen in our family. Socioeconomically. We were pretty much the same. But listen, I remember doing a lot of chores as a kid. Okay. I was the vacuumer. I emptied the dishwasher and I remember mowing the lawn a lot. By the time my brother was the only guy in the house.

He was not doing those things. I would come back from college. I'm like, wait, who's that person in the back mowing the lawn. There's a gardener what's going on here. So then I'm watching my brother playing on some, a video game system or something. I'm like, dude, do you know how to mow the lawn? He's no.

I said, okay, got it. Things are really different for you than for me. But aside from that, I didn't have the huge change that you did with your your parent becoming a professor. That was not the case for us. Yeah. 

Srini Rao: W. So what I mean, what did your parents teach you about when he cause I know that this sort of standard Indian kid story, if you go to your parents and say, Hey, this kid at school gets $5 for every day and, Indian parents that's great.

You get a meal every night. Correct 

Ramit Sethi: that by the way. 

Srini Rao: Yeah. My dad, it was very clear. It was like, no, he's you're learning for the sake of learning. You don't need to be paid $5 for day, which, you know what later in life that has served me very well, because it's led to a lot of intrinsic motivation.

But what are your earliest memories with your parents prior to the whole, you're going to have to pay for college, yourself thing about money itself, 

Ramit Sethi: a lot of memories you have to remember that my dad worked and my mom stayed home with four kids. I remember a lot of lessons, including the, just day to day going out to eat, which was very rare.

I remember that my mom kept a drawer full of coupons and she was. Look at them and review them and take them to the grocery store. I remember that we would pack lunches, always. If we ever went on a trip, my mom would pack it for us. And I remember her going to Disneyland. I think I was like maybe 10 or 12 or something.

It may have been the first or second time we went to Disneyland. And I remember my dad pulling out like every single possible discount and just stacking them that he could. And I was actually in awe. I was like, wow, he's really getting the obscure ones today. But then I think about it. And I remember I didn't know our family's financial situation and I didn't understand the context of what an income meant for a family.

But when I think about it now, raising four kids we were all involved in sports. We had a house we felt safe that is very expensive to do. And And to be able to figure out how to do that was incredibly I think challenging for my parents, I later asked my mom and dad and in my twenties, I was like, how did you afford it?

And then I started to hear all these interesting stories. Like I'm like, first of all, my mom was like we never had any help. We certainly did not have a nanny or a house cleaner or anything like that. I remember folding clothes, my sisters folded clothes because you can imagine the amount of laundry with four kids.

And and then I remember hearing this story in my twenties where my mom said that we were playing AYSL soccer in California. That's basically like soccer for kids. And she called up and said, Hey, this is really expensive. All the equipment and the registration fees, is there anything you can do?

And they said, if you come by and chalk the field before the game or the games, we can waive the fees. And so in my twenties, I found out that's what my mom did to get the fees away. She went and chalked. And we never even knew about it. So those are some of the stories I remember. 

Srini Rao: Yeah. I think that the, I had similar, it brings my dad would call and say, Hey, if you ever get into this music school for summer, he said, call them, ask them to give you a full scholarship.

We can't pay for it. It's 500 bucks. And I, luckily it worked when I did, but by the time my sister came around, it was oh, you want to go to Europe? Cool. You need  a hundred dollars pair of jeans. Cause those are the only ones that fit. Great. That's fine. And it, like I said, I think it played out differently.

And of course then I ended up graduating into this mess of a situation. We'll talk about that when we get to debt. But one of the things that I want to talk about is your time at Stanford particularly working in BJ Foglight because that place seems like a breeding ground for just incredible people.

Why do you think that is? Why do you think that you've stumbled upon him? And then how do you explain the fact? So when I read other people's experiences of Berkeley, I hear these stories of professors who were amazing to work with. And I was like, wait a minute, where the hell did I go wrong? 

Ramit Sethi: Okay. So I this is a great question.

And I don't know that I've really talked about the process and what I got out of it. So I remember going to Stanford and the first night you go there, your, you have an advisor and this could be somebody on the faculty or anybody associated with Stanford. Who's like a grownup and they come and they find you it's actually the first week.

And my advisor came and she took me out to coffee and she asked me a lot about myself. What am I interested in? It's only something that I thought was really amazing. She said, Ramit there's going to be a lot of your classmates who are going to take 20 units. 20 units was the max number of units you could take.

That's like for the hot shots, the studs, 20 units. So busy. She's you should take 12. Don't take more than 12 units per quarter. And 12 is the minimum you can do. And that was a really different advice. I'm like why she's you can always take more units later. You need to go and participate, go find the clubs you want to join.

Go find, do re go talk to professors, go make friends. Don't worry about all the class load right now. And that was some of the best advice I got, which was really to focus. I ended up focusing number one on friends, number two on my own personal interest in clubs and research. And number three on academics.

Now I do think you need to be good at academics. I don't believe in the, this adage of just get by and you shouldn't go to school because everybody's an entrepreneur. I don't believe that. I think you should Excel in what you're doing. That's the thing that I learned from my parents.

It sounds like you learned from yours, but I knew that I wanted to scrape all the meat off the bone that I could at Stanford I won. They had so many crazy opportunities and I felt like if I don't take advantage of it, now that would be crazy. So one of the things that I did was I started looking around for research.

Now nobody does research as a freshman. It's very unusual, but I started looking around at professors and all the kind of stuff that was going on yeah. In school. And the way that I, I came about doing this came from my parents because even my it's a funny story. Even my dad, he had been communicating with the financial aid office at Stanford and he found a personal contact who he made friends with.

Her name was Mary. And when we went for basically me moving in, I'm putting my furniture in my dorm or whatever he goes, let's go say hello to Mary, the lady in the financial aid office. I'm like, dad, what are you talking about? I, this is my first day of school. He's come on.

So we walk over there. He's go in there and just say hello to her. Put a face to the name. And I did. And that is such a weird thing to think about your dad is telling you to go make friends with the financial aid lady. But I did. And it turned out to be very helpful because there were a couple of times while I was on campus for five years, that I had something that wasn't getting through the office.

I got in touch with Mary. And that was that. Similarly, I knew that building those relationships with professors and other people, it would just be amazing. That's what anyone can study something from a textbook, but it takes a lot of initiative to go and make personal relationships. So I was there's a distant office that's near the med school.

And I remember that I was speaking to this researcher out there because one of my professors had, I told him like, Hey, I'm interested in this he's you should go talk to this person. So I go over there and I was walking past the door and it said the persuasive technology lab, I was like, wow, That's like amazing.

I'm interested in persuasion. I'm interested in technology. What is this thing? So knock on the door. Nobody's there went home, looked it up and BJ, Fogg's a director of this lab. So I would go by, every week is pretty far out there against, by the med school and no one was ever there. So finally I sent an email to BJ and I was like, I'm interested, et cetera.

And I don't know if he replied, maybe I had to follow up long story short. He's we don't take freshmen as researchers, basically, no lab does, but I was persistent. And I finally found a way to meet up with him. And we, I remember we went out for coffee and we started talking and basically he could tell that I was taking the initiative and I said, I'll do whatever it takes.

I just want to be around this lab and learn what's going on. And so I started working with him and I ended up working with him for several years. And it's been an amazing relationship. He came to my wedding. I recently hosted him at 92, what 92nd street, Y in New York city for his book launch.

So he's really taught me a tremendous amount, both about the sort of technical parts of psychology, social psychology, and persuasion, but also the softer skills of building an organization and running meetings and just being a good person. So I have a lot of credit to give to BJ. Who's one of my mentors, 

Srini Rao: why I think that lab is the breeding ground that it is for people like you, like the Instagram fetters.

Is there something about that? Do you think it's just a self-selecting group of people? What is it, 

The Value of Taking an Unconventional Approach to Things

Ramit Sethi: first of all, it's unconventional. So you have to go out of your way to be in one of his classes or his lab. It's not mainstream at Stanford, at least it wasn't back then. That is a huge deal. Anything where people have to take the initiative or go through something kind of process to get in.


You're going to tend to find unconventional people who are willing to to go through some hardship. So I think that is a huge deal. NEC now it's become more popular, but again, back then, not so much. The second thing is that BJ himself is very much a visionary. So he's thinking years ahead about what academia and oftentimes industry hasn't caught up with.

I remember when we were working together, we were working on technology for pro-social good. We were working on some stuff related to distraction and focus that was in 2001, 2002, 2003 that's 15 years ahead of its time. And so you combine those two things. And of course you put it on the campus of Stanford.

I think you're going to find some remarkable people. 

Srini Rao: So I know from having read your work, having interviewed many people, who've worked with you in some capacity or another, that your work is really not about finance as much as it is about human behavior and behavior change with finances, the layer on top.

And where I want to start actually is by talking to you about behavior change in particular. And the example that came to mind is we had Selena Soo here as a guest who I know is like one of your star students. And when I look at online courses, I feel like you get one Selena and then a hundred people who have results pale in comparison.

So what I wonder is why do you end up with somebody like Selena and then somebody who literally doesn't move the shrink wrap? What is that, what accounts for that behavior? 

What Separates People Who  Change Behavior from Those Who Don't? 

Ramit Sethi: That's human nature. There's nothing wrong with that. That's human. Yeah. If you create something that is relatively easy for people to access, then by definition, you're going to get a very lopsided star success.

Why don't we look at the NFL for that matter? How come there's only a few NFL players? No, there's so many people play football, high school, that's human nature. That is you make it accessible to anyone. You're going to get a lot of people at the top of the funnel and the amount of people who become true stars.

And by the way, our public about it is a very small amount. That is the law of numbers. So there's nothing wrong with it. It's simply is how success 

Srini Rao: works. Now. Do you think that a person's behavior can change so that they can become I'm like that? 

Ramit Sethi: Some, I think you can absolutely give yourself an advantage.

I'm doing these fireside chats now, so ever since coronavirus began Basically Institute a series of things that I have started doing for our employees, for our customers and for our community. And one of the things I do is a fireside chat every night, where I talk about money, business psychology, et cetera.

Secret Habits of Top Performers

Last night, I talked about the secret habits of top performers. And it's interesting that if you think about spelling bees here we go. Two Indian guys talking about spelling. We're going to spend the next three hours talking about why we're so dominant in spelling. Let's talk about this.

I gotta hear it on the 

Srini Rao: first word in sixth grade, but that's probably because I did a shit job studying that is 

Ramit Sethi: shameful, that you should be ashamed of yourself.

So last night I asked the question, why is virtually every winner of the Scripps national spelling bee, an Indian person? It's not genetic. Okay. And the politically correct answer would be to say I'm really lucky that I'm not too good at too many things, but I have this fortunate one skill that I seem to have been blessed.

The politically incorrect truth is in sixth grade, I would come home from school, get a snack. And then my mom would quiz me on how to spell words for two hours a day, then three hours on weekends that's behavior. So yes, you can give yourself an advantage. Of course, there are just latent talents that people have.

I probably cannot no forget that I cannot be an NFL player. It doesn't matter how hard I trained. Like I can get the best coach in the world. I don't know any coach named, but I can get the best coach and it's not going to happen. Okay. That's talent. But there are certain things where we can certainly give ourselves every advantage within our band of opportunity and that's everything from money to business, to fitness and so many other skills.

It's very rarely that you cannot improve at all. You can change your behavior and you can change your chances of success. 

How Your Environment Impacts Your Money Psychology

Srini Rao:  Yeah the funny thing is I also think about environment and the role that plays like money.

Somebody who wants told me that if you mismatch talent and environment, you're going to get poor performance. And even in my own life. I think I told you before we hit record, I got fired from every job, but I don't think you write books and do the kinds of things that you and I do. If you're not a self motivated person.

Cause nobody holds you accountable to finish that stuff. 

Ramit Sethi: Yeah, the, I agree with that. And I also think that ties back to your question about some of my star students, right? It's one thing to go to a classroom where you have to go every day because your mom and dad are checking your attendance. Okay.

You're going to absorb something just by pure osmosis. It's another thing to S to get access to a YouTube series, or even a course that you paid a couple thousand bucks for, and then to log in every day, follow along and apply it to your life. Even when you know, on Wednesday night, you might be tired or on Friday night, you're out with your friends to stay consistent.

That level of discipline is difficult. And it's certainly achievable, but you also have to have a why you have to have a reason driving you to it. And, I've had my own experiences with performance, whether it. In the fitness world or whether it be in spelling or in business. And truth of the matter is, sometimes you're just not ready for it.

You might commit to a diet or you might commit to buying some course, and you're just not ready. It's not the right time, but the same thing can be true. You can come back five years later or five months later and say, you know what, I'm ready now. Same material, profoundly different results. 

Srini Rao: Yeah.

I think for me it was largely circumstantial. I graduated into two recessions, April, 2009, no job. I was like, okay, perfect. I have all the time in the world. So it was like, I only have the discipline to finish this course. 

Ramit Sethi: Yeah. That, you know what, and I'm really glad you're talking about the environment around us because it profoundly affects us.

And I don't believe these tropes about pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. And that's unusual for somebody in self-development to say no in self-development it's very hardcore. You could change your own life anytime. And of course, I believe you can change it. But I also believe we have to acknowledge the systemic forces and the environments around us.

They have a profound influence on what our vision of success even is. Do we think it's possible? What are the people around us saying, and that can limit us or it can open up our opportunities? 

Srini Rao: I think that makes a perfect segue to talk about the emotions around money, particularly in the context of what we're bringing up.

Because I think that, no matter how hard you and I have worked in a lot of ways, we both come from backgrounds of privilege and  you've got to go to Stanford. I got to go to Berkeley son of a college professor, and I've always said like self development. Many of the things that we talk about in self development are really designed for people who are not, working three jobs to put food on the table and getting shot at while walking through the ghetto.

This is a completely irrelevant conversation today. And I think that one of the things that you've talked about early on in the book is this whole idea of a victim mindset. But what I wonder first off is, we talked about environment, how much of our behavior around money is based on an internal narrative and a story that we tell ourselves, because I feel like you can change tactical stuff all the time, but until that internal component changes, you somehow go back to the same behavior.

And over again, 

Acknowledge your money stories to understand your money psychology  

Ramit Sethi: I agree a hundred percent. In fact, in the second edition of my book, I talked about what I had changed in the book. I added 80 new pages of material. Of course I updated some of the accounts, but I also added that I can give you the perfect tactics and chapter five's perfect automation system.

But if you don't acknowledge your money stories and you don't work to change them, then it's just in one ear and out the other. And for example, one of the exercises that I do is to ask people, what are the. Memories you have of your parents talking about money around the dinner table. What words literally did they say?

And most common words are, we don't talk about money in this house or easy come easy go. Or we're not like those rich people who trample on others to make their money. Now just imagine the effect of hearing that as a young kid, maybe watching your mom or your dad, or both on the 29th of the month, sitting there with their checkbook, trying to figure out where they're going to pay for rent and thinking about how that affects you as you get older.

And what we find is that many people have a scarcity based approach to money that they just want to save. And I asked them, what does money mean to you? And it never really thought about it, but when they dig into it, they say it means safety. What does that mean? My dad lost he lost a bunch of money when he got laid off in 2009 and we had to give up our house safety, literally a roof over our heads.

If you don't acknowledge those stories that you have internalized believed, then those stories will continue to guide you for decades. And it is unbelievable. How many of my readers when we start talking about this, they go back and back and realize, wow, I'm being guided by these invisible scripts.

These money stories that I didn't even realize were gone. And so I think that yes, you can give people the perfect tactics, but you need to acknowledge your money stories. You also have to believe that you can change them and I've had to change a lot of my stories. Absolutely. And it has been scary nerve-wracking but also very empowering when you realize, oh my God, I can do this.

Srini Rao: So particularly in the context of what is happening right now with this pandemic I've said that if you're somebody like me is a knowledge worker, like this is more of a massive inconvenience than it is a real crisis. When you see the fact that people are literally, whatever income they have, they don't even have the ability to earn it anymore.

Given that you're doing these fireside chats what are you telling people? Who, what do you say to people who are literally working in restaurants and in places where they can't even go to work anymore? 

Ramit Sethi: The unfortunate, th the thing I tell people is in times of crisis, The most important thing is to accept reality, make a plan and move.

And I really mean that except reality. And the unfortunate truth is that if you're working in a restaurant, that job is probably not coming back and that industry is not coming back. At least for awhile. That's a really hard thing for us to acknowledge that, especially in America, we have this entire cultural invisible script of there's always a happy ending.

In fact, we have movies where they changed the ending for the American audience to be happy to people walking hand in the sunset, but in other countries like everybody, that's crazy. Think about that cultural script that we have been fed now in a way it's good because Americans, we are remarkably optimistic.

I'm an optimist, but on the other hand, that can work against us in times of crisis. In other words, if you only have one musical instrument and one note, it might work when you're playing with everybody else in concert. But if the concert is gone and situations change, you need to be able to change your note and maybe even your entire instrument.

So what many people do in situations like this is they freeze makes perfect sense. You're driving down the freeway, you see something stuck on the road in front of you. What do you do? You slam on the brakes? That's what everybody does. It's human nature. But in times like this, that's exactly the worst thing to do.

That's why I say you have to accept reality. Nobody's going to come and give you clarity on what's happening with your job tomorrow. Your boss doesn't know the government doesn't know except reality. That might not be coming back. Maybe not for awhile. Maybe not. Then make a plan. What are you going to do about it?

If it comes back great icing on the cake, but if it doesn't, what are your options? And we can talk about some of the financial options that I've been telling people, and then finally move. You got to take action. You cannot wait. 

Srini Rao: Yeah. Let's come back to that. I want to do one more piece on the emotional Cummins to this, and this is about debt and, I was telling you right before I hit record here, that I graduated into two recessions, April to April, 2000, right after December of 2000, when the.com bubble burst in April, 2009.

So as a result, I feel like I have a mountain of student loan debt that I look at and I'm like, wow. If I went and just did I got a paycheck, I would basically on my tombstone, they would, he paid off his debt, even if I managed to, because I looked at that, I was like, wow, is there any way that I could get out of this while at a massive windfall?

And I don't think I'm alone here. So I wonder one, let's talk about the guilt piece, when people have like substantial amounts of debt from situations like that, what is the solution to that? Or is there.

How to Get out of Debt 

Ramit Sethi: Okay. First off, are you willing to share any numbers of how much? 

Srini Rao: Yeah, it's in the high six figures.

I'll leave it at for my student loan 

Ramit Sethi: high six figures means like 900,000. 

Srini Rao: No. Like a little under 200,000. Okay, 

Ramit Sethi: great. Okay. Okay. That's a lot of debt and then but it's also, there's a way to work your way out of it. Now I want to first say, we talk about acknowledging reality and also acknowledging these systemic forces.

So in the past, there was an option to be able to discharge your debt in bankruptcy, student loan debt that has been removed, that is political and more and more I've been talking about politics. Although I never talked about it before, because money is political. Pandemics are political. Being a citizen in this country is political and I have become very tired of people using these.

These shallow arguments both sides do it. No, that's incorrect. And in fact, there's one side, one political party who made it people like you unable to discharge your debt in bankruptcy. So you will have to pay that off for decades. And there is one political party that did that. Not both political parties.

So I think we should get angry. And I think young people in particular can start to see how their vote actually does matter because that is a direct political action. It's again, it's usual for a guy in self-development to be talking about this most self-development wants to say create a YouTube video, slap some ads on it and monetize and pull yourself up.

No, yes. Take control of the things you can, but also acknowledge the systemic forces work working against you. So that's number one now, what do we do about it? Let me ask you this. What is your debt payoff date? 

Srini Rao: I don't think I have one because I honestly just didn't feel it was possible. And I to me, it was okay, is the trade off is, do I live?

Am I going to basically service this for the rest of my life and not have been lived any aspect of my life? So I don't know that I have one, to be honest, candid, 

Ramit Sethi: I appreciate the candor. And this is really common. It's really common that people, so first of all, 90% of people don't even know how much they owe, like 99% of people do not know their debt payoff date for exactly the reasons that you just said.

Money Psychology and Emotions

And this is where we get into the emotions of it. Right now, I can understand your emotions. What are they overwhelmed resignation. What else do you feel when you think about this debt? 

Srini Rao: I think overwhelming resignation probably is the really big one. Like I hear stories from my friends of mine who were in similar situations or graduated the same time I did.

And I hear horror stories like, oh, when your parents die and the life insurance policy kicks in, that's how people pay off this kind of debt. And I was like that's not what I want to have happen to do this. Yeah. 

Ramit Sethi: I agree. 

Srini Rao: Anger, situation that, I can control, like you said, systemic forces 

Ramit Sethi: without guilt.

Srini Rao: Yeah. In guilt, like I feel guilt because I feel guilt and I also feel that, wow. Like I haven't been able to do the things that people, my age should be able to do, get married and start families and all that stuff, because, you mean like my I've had relationships end over financial difficulty, so it's one of those things that guilt is done.

Ramit Sethi: Yeah. So I think it's so important that you are sharing how you feel about it because. Most people jumped right into one of two things. One, they just ignore it. It's that's the easiest thing to do. They don't even want to open up their bills or to, they try to start jumping to solutions without ever thinking about how do I feel?

So it's important to acknowledge anger, overwhelmed, resentment, resignation, guilt, those are really important. And they, and we should acknowledge them. What I would say after you acknowledge how you're feeling and what the actual situation is okay. Now it's time to make a plan. So right now, my guess is the plan has been to just ignore it or pay the minimum.

Would that be okay? 

Srini Rao: That's pretty accurate. And I, in fact, I was actually very scared to tell you this, because I remember reading that part in the book about how you said, people think I'm going to judge them because I teach this stuff and I was like, okay, this guy's going to think I'm an idiot for having managed a substantial book deal in 10 years of building this.

I'm somehow still buried in this. 

Ramit Sethi: No, I don't think you're stupid at all. I think that we all have areas of life that we feel the exact way. You feel overwhelmed, anxious, just not sure what to do. We don't know what to do, but we know that it's bad. Every one of us has that. It doesn't matter how successful you are in one part of life.

We all have something like this. So I've become much more compassionate after 15 plus years of self development, because first I've seen how many people feel this and is virtually everyone. And I feel it myself in certain areas of life. And then I have also basically realized that judging people doesn't get them to change.

It makes you feel good for one second, but it doesn't help anyone change. And so that question, would you rather feel good or would you rather be effective, really made a big impact on me? So for you, like I said, Your numbers are not unusual. I've met many people like it. The way you talk about your debt is very common.

The one thing that I would propose to you is let's talk about a potential plan here because the plan of ignoring or paying the minimums, I probably don't think is the most effective. Would you agree? Yeah. Yeah. What do you think that plan would look like an effective one for your debt? 

Srini Rao: I think the sort of balance is okay, how do I make sure I have enough to live off of again?

Like not to the point where I'm doing nothing but eating rice and beans and living in poverty, but enough to live. Like we talked about environment plays a big role. So if your environment is something that just makes you completely miserable, then you're not going to thrive in that environment.

So enough to it's funny because I don't necessarily have a ridiculously high standard of living. When we talk to them about conscious spending, we'll talk to you a little bit. Like I'm a surfer and snowboarder. Those are the two things I love doing. So I would probably spend money, there, I want to be able to keep doing the work that I love doing and make enough doing this where I can allocate some of it to the debt, but also maintain my standard of living and then be able to also do things like start a family.

Ramit Sethi: I noticed that you did something in your answer. So let's just rewind to what I asked. I said, what do you think that plan would look like? And then what is your answer consistent? 

Srini Rao: I think I described the life. I want to live, not the plan itself. 

Ramit Sethi: Agreed. You did that, but you also spent 90% of your time answering what you didn't want to do.

I don't want to live on ramen. I don't want to forsake this. I don't. It's so much easier for us to talk about what we don't want. And you see this a lot when people are looking to be in a relationship, you're like, what kind of person you're interested in? They're like I don't want someone who's decided I don't want someone who does this.

They, I don't want someone who works in this industry. I'm like okay. Let's talk about what you do. And it's interesting that human psychology, it's almost like a vortex. When people start talking about what they don't want, they can go on forever. They're almost eight days. And when I say, that was, I understand you have a lot of things you just mentioned, but did you notice that you just spend 90% of your time talking about what you don't want, the visibly shake out of it?

Like they didn't realize that was happening. Is that the experience? Oh, 

Srini Rao: until you said it up wow. I didn't. Cause I just literally rambled it off. When you ask. Yeah, it didn't occur to me that everything I said was what I didn't want. 

Ramit Sethi: And what you don't want is helpful, but it's a way more helpful to know what you do want.

So let's try it again. Let's start off with what lifestyle do you 

Srini Rao: want? I want to be able to surf and snowboard as much as possible, how much I would like to take at least a two, two surf trips abroad every year. God knows when that's going to be given, assuming that we get out of this mess. I would like to buy a season pass every year for ski resorts here in the United States, which I do right now.

And I would also like to be able to travel to various ski resorts within the United States and be able to do weekend trips at least once a month. 

Ramit Sethi: Great. Anything else? As 

Srini Rao: far as lifestyle goes, there's the big ones? It's funny because outside of those two hobbies, my other hobbies are like video games, books creative hobbies, that kind of stuff.

But no, those are really the big ones. Okay, awesome. Having a CrossFit gym that I can go to is another one and then being able to live. But I love where I live right now. This is my favorite place I've ever lived my entire life because of the fact that I have an office that is separate from my bedroom enough space in here to put in a floor to ceiling bookshelf things that I've wanted for a very long time.

So I have that. I want to be able to start a family and get married and basically maintain the standard of living I have now, but also do it with a family. And 

Ramit Sethi: when you mentioned earlier that, money has been a factor in your relationships, and it sounded like maybe you were also hinting that it might still be an issue.

Can you talk a little bit about that? 

Srini Rao: I it's funny. I was going to ask you about this because it was an issue of boundaries. So when I was, I think right before I went to business school, I was dating somebody who liked, really expensive things. And I basically credit carded entire relationship because I was afraid that the relationship.

And I basically agreed to do all sorts of things I knew I could. 

Ramit Sethi: So do you hear the pattern of avoidance in both of those cases, the student debt and then the relationship one? Yeah, it's a story, right? It's a characteristic or a trait, not a trait. It's a story you tell yourself that it would be better to avoid this than to have a difficult conversation either with my ex partner or with myself.

So let's just pretend that you did have that conversation with your partner back then. What do you think would have happened 

Srini Rao: doing this? The relationship would have ended, but that actually would have been a blessing in disguise. It did. It did eventually end because it was toxic in ways that I didn't even realize, but I probably would have saved us both, a lot of 

Ramit Sethi: suffering.

Okay. Okay. And what about if you'd had that conversation with yourself? 

Srini Rao: I think I would've come up with a plan much earlier to at least make some sort of dent in this. Okay. 

Making a Plan to Get out of Debt

Ramit Sethi: I agree. Why don't we just have that conversation right now? Let's talk now we've acknowledged reality. We've talked about what kind of lifestyle you want and we're fast forwarding through this because normally this would be a much slower process, but let's just talk about a basic back of the napkin plan.

Okay. What do you think success would look like for you at the end of this plan 

Srini Rao: at the end of this plan? Do you want me to give you actual 

Ramit Sethi: numbers? It could be numbers or it could be how you feel. You tell me. I think 

Srini Rao: the biggest thing that I would feel is a sense of relief and a sense of freedom and a sense of confidence.

What the other thing is that, throughout this period, my parents have had to help me at certain times when even now in the midst of this crisis, I've had to ask for help. I think independence is another one. And then I would feel independent that, how is it that I'm 40 and still having to ask for help at 

Ramit Sethi: times?

I really appreciate your honesty and the candor. I think that so many people have experienced one aspect or another of your story debt, having to ask parents for help being overwhelmed and not making a plan. It is relatable and vulnerable that you share this with the people listening. And also that we can show everybody that once you admit these things, it's not like someone is gonna come down and strike you with lightning or judge you and shun you.

They're actually people around you that care about you and can help you acknowledge it can tell you like that sucks. And then if you are ready, they can help you make a plan. So I really appreciate that you're sharing this kind of level of honesty. I really did not. I didn't expect it and I think it's awesome.

Thanks. So you would walk out of a plan if it's successfully executed, feeling confident, feeling independent and feeling more. Yeah. Is that right? Yeah. Okay. One, one thing that I've found when people have debt is that it almost doesn't matter how much debt they have. They feel overwhelmed. I had somebody write me on Instagram yesterday, and he was like, I've ignored my debt for awhile, but I think I should declare bankruptcy.

And I said, how much debt do you have? Guess what he said, 

Srini Rao: Thousands 

Ramit Sethi: $15,000 CTU. You're laughing because you're like the must be nice to this guy. It's overwhelming. And it reminds me of this whole research study that sun Microsystems did in the nineties. Remember this is the nineties on email.

And they found that people would complain and feel overwhelmed about the number of emails they had, whether it was, I think it was like 10 a day versus 50 a day. Again, it was the nineties. Okay. So these numbers are smaller, but it doesn't matter what amount they had. They still felt overwhelmed. So the same is true with debt.

People feel overwhelmed almost regardless of what the amount is, either way we need to make a plan. So the basic information you need to make a plan is number one, how much do you owe? All right. And like I said, a lot of people don't know the exact numbers. Find them out. Number two, what is your interest?

And if you don't know what they are, that's okay. You call up your companies and tell them to tell you, and then number three, how much are you paying towards it? So by paying the minimum, you're basically just extending this forever. You'll never pay it off and we don't want that. But what's interesting, especially with large amounts, like the amount of debt you have is that if you put even a little bit more towards it, like an extra hundred or 150 bucks a month, or you take any sort of windfalls, you get maybe birthday gift or tax refund or something, and you put it towards that.

You can often shorten the payoff period. By years, I'm talking major amounts of years. So I did a calculation for a guy he owed I think it was $250,000 in student loan debts. And I showed him that by paying a tiny bit earlier, he shaved off something like 20 years on the payment. It was crazy. It was absolutely crazy.

And what was critical about that interaction we had was that if I was just showing him the facts and the numbers, it just bounces off. People just goes in one ear and out the other. But if we start at what does it feel like? It feels bad. And what would it feel like if you achieve this goal? Feel good.

Now the information is way more palatable. So you can go to, it's called a debt payoff calculator. You can find any, there's a million online. You can plug in your numbers and play around and you will be shocked. And at the end of that, you can set up an arrangement with your company. You can also, by the way, negotiate, especially now, a lot of them are doing pauses with no finance or interest charges.

Some of them are even forgiving certain amounts, which is pretty incredible, but you can call them and work with them. And you. First of all know exactly how long it will take. You will know the month and the year your debt will be paid off. And two, you can play around with the numbers to even shorten that by years.

Wow. So that gives you, even though you may not have paid it off by next week, at least you have a plan and that feels amazing. Yeah. 

Srini Rao: Wow. Yeah. I think that it's funny because I think back to one of the things you wrote about in the book where you were talking about the thousand saving a thousand dollars a month, being an aspirational goal and not necessarily the point of the exercise and yet because people basically saw that it was impossible.

They didn't try at all. 

Ramit Sethi: Yeah. Yeah. People discount themselves a lot and they will do things like what you instinctively did, which is to talk about all the things they don't want and they don't realize they're doing it. They will also do another thing you did, which I call extreme reach barriers.

Extreme Reach Barriers

You say something like Hey, if you set up a little payment, you could pay off your debt and save a decade. It's not like I want to eat ramen for the rest of my life. They go to the very extreme as if they are going to have to take 99% of their money and put it towards their debt.

Same thing with diets, right? Somebody comes, they say I want to lose weight. Okay. There are a few things we could do. It's not I don't want to give up pizza for the rest of my life. That's an extreme reach barrier. And again, I'm not judging because I've done it myself. We all do it.

It's a human tendency, but it's important to know these psychological quirks that we have because it doesn't matter how smart you are. It doesn't matter how educated you are, how successful you are. You will do these at one point or another when it comes to making a change. And it's important to know this catalog of human quirks so that you can see when you're doing one of these things.

And say, oh, wow, I'm doing that. Let me take a break. Let me go for a walk. Let me roll back a little bit and start fresh. And I can avoid that pitfall. Wow. 

Srini Rao: Let's do this. Let's shift gears. There's two areas of this that I didn't want to leave without talking about the, what you call the rules for a rich life.

And I don't want to go through all of them, but there were two, I think that were particularly interesting, mainly because I was just talking to a guy about how to make decisions faster. You're talking about spending frameworks, which I was fascinated by because I was like, wow, I just spent two hours looking for a stupid hanging shelf on Amazon.

Okay, you know what? This is a really inconsequential thing. Why did I spend this much time on this? So I wanted to talk about spending frameworks and how those change over the course of your life, based on your circumstances. And then the things that you talk about for disproportionate results. And then I want to wrap it up by talking about relationships.

Cause I know you just got married and I remember you talking to Tim Ferris about the prenup thing and I was like, wow. So let's definitely let's go to that second, but let's talk about this whole idea of rules for a rich life 

Rules for a Rich a  Life 

Ramit Sethi: yeah. So I wrote up something called  10 rules. I think it was 10 money rules and you can just Google it and you'll see mine.

And you don't have to agree with all of them because they're my rules, not yours, but I think that it is important for some critical areas of life to develop a philosophy. And I think one of the most rare things on earth is to meet somebody who has a point of view. Doesn't mean you have to agree with it, but for someone to have really thought about what they believe and to actually write it down is incredible.

It shows a huge level of initiative. And self-awareness so take, for example, a parent and you ask them, which we ask a lot of our friends who have kids where like, how do you raise your kids? We want to know my wife and I are really curious and some parents. They're like do you really want me to tell you like yes.

And they just, they go we have three principals, 1, 2, 3, or we have a rule that we always do this and we have a rule that we never do that. And again, I don't have to agree with all of it because sometimes it's stuff that I find crazy personally, but I admire that they have taken the time to put this down on paper.

And so that is what I did with money, because I've thought about, money is part of my business money and business. I teach people how to save it, grow it, and use it to live a rich life. And so I wanted to show people how I think about my rules. I think it's important to have a few rules, not too many, and they just provide this framework.

So when you confront these situations, you don't have to be thinking about it over and over. You basically build an SOP standard operating procedure. And then when you confront these situations, boom, you lean back on your rules and you're good. 

Srini Rao: It's funny, as I was thinking about something yesterday, I remember my roommates Hey, can you upgrade our water to alkaline water?

And it was like a dollar more. And I was like, okay, why did I send 20 text messages? I should've just been like, Hey yeah, fine. It's $2. What difference is that? 

Ask 30,000 dollar Questions Instead of 3 Dollar Questions

Ramit Sethi: Yeah, so that's interesting. So again the big wins philosophy is a core part of, I will teach you to be rich cannon and most of us have been raised to ask $3 questions, right?

Should I buy lattes that alkaline water? Who, I don't know. I want this a LaCroix, but the generic one is 13 cents cheaper. I was raised to think about those questions in myself. Most of us have been raised as $3 questions, but we really should be asking $30,000 questions. The big ones. That's what these rules are about.

Those rules include things like, do I have a good job and am I paid. Okay. That's important. Spend time developing those skills. Am I automatically saving and investing? That's important. That's going to be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Have I married if I'm married or if I'm in a relationship, is it with the right person?

That is massive. And that's actually one of my money rules, which is probably the most controversial, one of all, but most of us were asking these questions. Should I buy a latte? Should I get an extra large instead of a large, when in reality, if we get these five to 10 big wins in life, right? We never have to worry about lattes or cheesecake or any other $3 questions.

Hey, Sharina has put together a worksheet for this episode with Romita best advice on how to work on your money stories, pay off debt and develop spending frameworks. Just go to uc.com/worksheets to get it again. That's usi.com/work. 

Srini Rao: One thing I did want to ask you about, because I remember emailing you about this and I was still confused and I finally clicked.

And you're talking about automation and defaults and particularly when it comes to paying off debt, a lot of people listening to this are freelancers creatives. Particularly the coronavirus as somebody who does public speaking, that was like this huge chunk of cash that would come in every month.

I know that's not happening. How do you deal with the, how do you manage this automation component and dealing with debt when you're navigating inconsistent income, 

Ramit Sethi: this is a big deal. And this was a, an area that I included in the first version of my book, but I spent even more time in the second version because now we have a lot of folks who are doing freelance.

They're Uber drivers. They are a feast or famine. In many cases, they could have a month where they. $15,000 and then they could go four months. Yeah. Four months with zero. 

Srini Rao: You're supposed to do with that. Where I made, I went from, I think one speaking gig every month to literally nothing.

And my accountant looked at this he's like, how did you even manage to live? I was like my speaking agent told me to put aside 50% just in case 

Ramit Sethi: smart. So your agent was very smart. The basic way to deal with this is you want to use your irregular income to build up a buffer that simulates a consistent income.

Okay. So the way you do it is I'll just use easy math. Let's say that you need a thousand dollars a month to live on again. This is just fake numbers. So if one month, and we also know that we want to put about six to 12 months away, in fact, based on what's going on right now, I'm recommending to all my readers one year of basic expenses in emergency fund.

So you want to work towards that. 12,000 bucks in an emergency fund in a savings account, totally liquid. So let's say you get paid 6,000 bucks one month. Great. You spend 1000 just to live. That's your expenses. Take that 5,000, put it in your emergency fund. Okay. Next month. Same thing happens. Now you've got 10,000 in that fund, but then the next month you make zero.

Guess what? You get to use that fund. So it's going to go up and down a little bit, but after a while you have this fund that you can now use your buffer as a freelancer or a creative, and you can take it out and tap it when you need it. And then when times are good, you refill it back up. That is the way you do it.

And once you have that again, it takes a while. You can then use all the automation flows in my book because you have a buffer that allows you to simulate a consistent. 

Srini Rao: All right. Let's get into what I think is probably one of the most emotionally charged subjects for many people. And that is this idea of talking about money, particularly in the context of relationships and intimate relationships.

I think that, I think for men in particular, this is a very difficult thing. Like I know a lot of guys who will happily fork over money, they don't have, hell I was one of them specifically to please a girl. 

Ramit Sethi: W what was going through your head when that happened? 

Srini Rao: W with the relationship in like 

Ramit Sethi: before business school, the one where you were spending, 

Srini Rao: literally, I was like it's been a while since I've met somebody, this girl clearly likes me.

And, I afraid that if this doesn't, if I don't do this, I'm going to lose her. And then there won't be anybody else that was complete. And then I, years later I had another situation where, our business kind of just hit a rough patch and I had to go totally.

She was like, I want to live in upper middle class life. And you guys are in a stressful situation now. So I don't think I can do this. And I remember that really just made a mess of my head for years. 

Ramit Sethi: What happened when she told you that's a brutal comment 

Srini Rao: to you? Oh, I cried. And then after that I swore I would never cry in front of women again.


Ramit Sethi: Wow. What do you think do you think that was the best thing that could have happened in a lot 

Srini Rao: of ways? Yeah. I'll tell you why, because it, one, it forced me to go and acknowledge that I actually had zero boundaries totally anybody in my life. And I, it took seven months of therapy to figure that out, but I realized wait a minute, this is a persistent pattern.

This isn't about relationships wound. This is playing out everywhere in my life. Like I don't stand my ground. 

Ramit Sethi: Now, if that happened, what would your response now? I 

Srini Rao: would be like, great. Sorry. That's just, probably just, isn't gonna work out. I can't give you what you want. And I think it would be better if you find somebody who did.

Ramit Sethi: Yeah. Yeah. That's an amazing transformation. And to acknowledge that, to seek help and a therapist, which, I've been to as well. My wife and I went together and and then just to be able to reflect back and acknowledge areas that you needed to work on. That's amazing. Yeah. 

Srini Rao: So you and your wife before you got you, I know because I haven't read the book you go in and you're talking about the prenup, which, I had a cousin who had fortunes that he lost because he didn't have a prenup in a divorce.

And I, I appreciated the fact that you acknowledge the reality of the situation as much as we all want the Hollywood romantic ending. That's just not necessarily how life works, but without a doubt, it is probably one of the most uncomfortable conversations to have. And you didn't have it for quite some time from what I read.


Ramit Sethi: I violated my own rules. So listen, all this stuff I said about have your 10 rules, but you should have your 10 rules, but you should also follow them. And in my I neglected to, and the way that I re I didn't even realize it. See we're humans, we're really good at covering up. When we're doing something that deep down we probably know is not right.

And my, at the time fiance, she told me, she's I feel really uncomfortable because you know everything about my finances, but I don't know anything about yours. And it was like this moment where in a movie, you know the sun comes up and you're looking upwards and there's music playing, and there's a huge shadow behind you.

And I was like, oh shit. And I realized I had not told her. And that was the beginning of a series of conversations. First of all, My finances, then our finances and then a prenup. And then once we got married also day-to-day expenses, which is a whole nother ball game. So I agree. Those were probably the most, or some of the most challenging conversations that we've ever had.

And I say conversations because it was not just one, it was a law, a lot of them over a long period of time. 

Srini Rao: No, do you ever fear in moments like that, that like this could be the undoing of this relationship that I've gotten to the point where now we're engaged? 

Ramit Sethi: Wow. That's a good question 

Srini Rao: of people.

I know. I would, I'd be like, oh my God, this really could be the end of it. If I, if this doesn't go as, as I want it to, 

Ramit Sethi: I think that I did. So first of all, I felt very safe and I do feel very safe with our relationship. I think that's critical, but I also knew that there were certain boundaries that I just wouldn't cross.

And it's one thing to intellectually have boundaries. It's, everyone can say, oh this is the line. But as you start to approach that line, it becomes very emotional. And I know I got this sort of it's feeling in my gut, that soreness where, this is a dangerous area because we're approaching that boundary.

And I know that if I set this boundary, one of two things can happen either. I don't honor it. In which case I can't trust myself for anything or I do honor it. And then this is over. That is pretty scary. That's where you have that cramp in your stomach. That's where I did. I would say that as we were approaching that, that's when my wife said we need to go talk to somebody else because we need to get some outside help.

And I'm really grateful that she said that, cause she was right. We did need help. And we were just spinning and not going in a good direction. 

Srini Rao: It's funny you say that I had a roommate right when I graduated from college and he and his wife went to marriage counseling before they got married. And he said, he's there's so many things that actually won't come up between the two of you, if you don't do that.

Ramit Sethi: Yeah. Yeah. I totally agree. In fact, after we went and after everything was like nice and done, we reflected back on it. And we were like, we were really glad that we did because it gave us the space to talk about these topics. We never would have had that formal space. And that's one of the reasons, for example, that my students join my programs.

Could you learn stuff on YouTube? Yes. There's a lot of information or $10 information. Our information is better, but that's not the only reason you pay a premium price. You also pay a premium price because you are signifying to yourself and you are creating a space for you to take this seriously.

It's exactly why people go to a gym. You are paying to signify to yourself. This is important, and you are creating a space both time and a physical based space where you can Excel in the thing that you were investing in yourself for same thing. With our relationship conversations, we could have sat at home and we did do that.

But when we physically went somewhere, when we spent money, we spent time, it took on an even more, a higher level of significance. And that really did make a difference. 

Srini Rao: I think that explains why you go to a CrossFit gym and it's $200 to join per month, which is not like a 24 hour fitness and people show up all the time.

Ramit Sethi: Yeah. Yeah. People are people overvalue price a lot. They most of this country, like I said, has been raised on $3 questions. So their first place that they go to is, oh my God, that's so expensive, but it's a total false narrative. Because if you ask any person, give me 90 seconds with any person in this country.

And I will find out something that they pay a premium price for. Yeah. I don't care how much income they have. They pay a premium price could be for diapers. Why don't you get the generic diapers? Oh, I would never do that to my kid. And so when and now of course the numbers are different premium diapers versus a premium gym is a big difference, but we all have that mentality of, we will pay more.

For the thing that is important to 

Srini Rao: us yeah. Mean my dad will drive across town to Costco to save money on gas, but he'll spend $80,000 on a car. 

Ramit Sethi: Totally. And if you ask him why, by the way, a lot of people, they don't want to just come out and say I like it, or it makes me feel good. What kind of car is it?

Don't tell me let me guess. Mercedes. Yeah. Indians love Mercedes. So it's they don't want to come out and say, it shows that I am successful if I drive a Mercedes. Yeah. In fact, I have this concept called money dials. What are the things we love to spend money on? And you can Google money dials.

You'll see it. The most common one is eating out. The second, most common one is travel. The third is health and wellness. Mine is convenience. The least popular of all that. I've almost never had anyone admitted. Is status. And yet the people replying are using an iPhone. They're wearing a certain brand of clothes and they're like, oh no, that's not for status.

That's because I prefer the four, four ply cotton. And the technology of the iPhone is so sophisticated. It's okay, maybe, but it's also status. 

Srini Rao: I got these shirts from proper cloth, which are super pricey, but I got five of them instead of 20 shirts that I don't like. There you go. Wow. I feel like I could talk to you for three more hours about this 

Ramit Sethi: deep rabbit hole.

Yeah. It definitely goes deep. And it's, we talked about money. We talked about relationships with is super juicy. We also talk about the psychology part of it, which is facts and figures alone are not going to solve these problems. If you want the facts. Yes. Get my book. You'll read about Roth IRAs and all that stuff.

But what is much deeper and more meaningful in that book or in my programs or any of the stuff that you can find from people who think about this is this psychology, right? You already know you should be flossing. So why don't you already know you should be working out more. So why don't you, if we can start to really tackle that meaningfully, then suddenly all those facts and figures that are available to you become amplified and you can really change your life.

Srini Rao: So I have two final questions for you with age, with having, gotten as successful as you are. How has your definition, your personal definition of what it means to live a rich life changed from when you were in your twenties to now 

Ramit Sethi: it's changed in a huge way? A lot of ways. I think one it's gotten the dream.

My dreams have gotten bigger. And then two, I've also added new dreams as well. So when I think back in my twenties, like a rich life was to be able to buy an appetizer cause we never did with my family or to be able to take a taxi without worrying about the ticker. How much is ticking on the bill.

And now it's, I want to travel with my wife for six weeks a year. I want so, so that's an example of the dreams getting a lot bigger, but then I also added new dreams, which is like when my wife and I went on our honeymoon, we both independently came up with this idea that we wanted to bring our parents with us, at least for part of it, not for all of it, but for part of it.

And and that really goes back to our own core rules of, relationships are really important to us. So our parents they're healthy, they're alive. We want to bring them with us and create these memories. And if we can use money to do it awesome, that's the best money we can ever. That is not a dream I would have had in my twenties.

First of all, I would have probably only been thinking of a four or five day honeymoon. That's the common, natural thing that most of us, maybe seven days and second, I would have never had the abundance to think let's bring people with us. Like my first thing would be I don't want to have to stay in a room with my parents, but we don't have to do that.

We can actually be totally abundant and we can use our money, not just for ourselves, but actually for other people. So I think that is one way it's changing. I try to replicate that with my company, my employees, my customers, like you can be very generous and you can also live a very good lifestyle.

And that is the model I'm trying to show people. Like we're about to do a donation that we're announcing right now for Corona virus. And we are we're going to give $25,000 to feeding America. And one of my teammates was like, Hey, she's let's tell our community and let's match and we'll match.

It will increase the number. I was like, awesome. Let's do it. One of our core values as a company is we are better as a team. We're better together. And so we're going to give 20 5k no matter what, I don't care how much people donate. We're still going to give the full amount, but now we can give more. So I think with money again, my dreams have gotten bigger.

They've also added on more dreams. And my favorite part of this is that there's this old phrase people use, especially in small towns where they say money changes people. They say it in a very negative derisive tone, money changes people. My answer is, yeah, money does change people. It should. It should make you dream bigger.

It should let you add more dreams. It should let you deploy your money for things that are important to you today. And for things you can't even imagine are important to you yet, but they will be tomorrow. So yes, money does change people. It should. 

Srini Rao: I think that to me, what I hear when I hear you say this is that it's and I think I've experienced this myself is that you have a certain set of value shifts that happen as you get older, like spending time with my parents.

I would have never thought that, oh, spending time with my parents is something I would value so much until we went shopping for my sister's wedding in India, which you probably are all too familiar with. And it was the first time my sister called me and she said, look, I know you've had a rough year financial issues.

Like I'll cover you if you want. Fortunately, I had, miles rare credit cards she said, but this is probably the last time we're going to go together. Mom and dad. And it's the first time in 25 years. How'd I miss that? That would have been one of the great regrets of my 

Ramit Sethi: life. Amazing. Talk about a rich life right there to be able to.

To acknowledge your financial situation. Here's what I have. I have some points over here. I might need a little help over there, but to acknowledge it and then to step back and say, what is important to me? What will I be thankful for in 10 years? Or what will I regret? And then to focus all of your resources, your own finances, your business, but also your relationships who can help and to be able to create those experiences like that.

To me, is the pinnacle of a rich life and notice that the money part of it, it's an important part, but it's a small part. There are lots of people who have money, who would not have gone on that trip, not for that long because they haven't put the pieces together. That money is a small but important part of a rich life.

But so is intentionality. So is thinking ahead. So is values. And if you can put those altogether, suddenly you are on the path to Lea leading a very rich life. 

Srini Rao: Amazing. So I have one last question for you, which is how we finish all of our interviews at the unmistakable creative. What do you think it is that makes somebody or something unmistakable?

Ramit Sethi: I think the rarest thing that somebody can have is a point of view. And if you can meet people who have that point of view and they've really thought it through it's, it is I don't know. It's one of the most rare, amazing things. And I always love when I meet someone like that. 

Srini Rao: Amazing. This has been really mind blowing.

And it's very cool to get to talk to you again 

Ramit Sethi: after again. Yes. I'm so glad. It's like what a trip to be able to talk way back then, and then to be able to circle back now. 

Srini Rao: Evolution, it really is. Our conversations are very different now than they were normally, I would say, where can people find out more about you and your work, but I think no unless they've been on the moon for the last 20 years, they probably know.

But if there is there anything you want them to go check out? 

Ramit Sethi: Yeah. So thank you for saying that, but I first off you can find me at, I will teach you to be rich.com and I have a newsletter. I send it out to a few hundred thousand people. I'd love to share some of my thoughts with you. I'm on Instagram @ramit

For those of you who are interested in potentially earning more I'm iwt.com/earn, and then I'm on Twitter @ramit