Ramit Sethi — Automating Finances, Negotiating Prenups, Disagreeing with Tim, and More (#371)

35 Comments

Tim Ferriss and Ramit Sethi

“Most of us should spend less time on most decisions and we should spend a lot more time on a few key decisions.”
— Ramit Sethi

Ramit Sethi, (@ramit) author of the New York Times bestseller I Will Teach You To Be Rich, has become a financial guru to millions of readers in their twenties, thirties, and forties. He started his website, iwillteachyoutoberich.com, as a Stanford undergraduate in 2004, and he now hosts over a million readers per month on his blog, newsletter, and social media.

Ramit grew up in Sacramento, the son of Indian immigrant parents who taught him the art of negotiating — his father once spent five days negotiating with a car dealer, only to walk away over a set of floor mats. He wasn’t the smartest kid in his class, but he loved building systems, which ultimately earned him over $200,000 in scholarships, which he used to get bachelor’s and master’s degrees in technology and psychology at Stanford. His understanding of human behavior and money led to him creating innovative solutions in self development.

Ramit and his team of dozens of employees build premium digital products about personal finance, entrepreneurship, psychology, careers, and personal development for top performers. The IWT community includes one million monthly readers, 400,000 newsletter subscribers, and 35,000 premium customers.

He has written about personal finance for The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, and been interviewed on dozens of media outlets including NPR, ABC News, and CNBC, and popular podcasts like The Tim Ferriss Show.

Watch the interview on YouTube.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Castbox, or on your favorite podcast platform.

#371: Ramit Sethi — Automating Finances, Negotiating Prenups, Disagreeing with Tim, and More
Download


Want to hear the first time Ramit was on this show?Listen to Ramit and me talk about persuasion and turning a blog into a multi-million-dollar business. (Stream below or right-click here to download part one; right-click here to download part two.):

#33: Ramit Sethi on Persuasion, Negotiation, and Turning a Blog Into a Multi-Million-Dollar Business
Download


This episode is brought to you by LinkedIn Jobs. The right hire can move your business quantum leaps forward, while the wrong hire can crater it. Luckily, you can rely on LinkedIn Jobs to find you the most relevant, qualified candidates so you can focus on making a hire you’re excited about.

With five hundred million active members, LinkedIn attracts people every day who want to make connections, grow their careers, and discover new job opportunities. Note that 90% percent of LinkedIn users are open to new opportunities, but not actively scanning job boards. Post a job today at LinkedIn.com/Tim and get $50 off your first job post!


QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE

  • Connect with Ramit Sethi:

Website  | Instagram | YouTubeTwitter

SHOW NOTES

  • Ramit shares a childhood story that beautifully illustrates why he grew up to be such a savvy negotiator. [03:09]
  • What made Ramit consider “I was right” as an appropriate beginning for the second edition of I Will Teach You To Be Rich? [05:55]
  • As someone who once wrote “How to Negotiate Like an Indian” as a blog post for me a few years back, why has Ramit rented the same apartment for 10 years instead of buying a house? Is it a myth that real estate is the best investment? [08:37]
  • Sometimes your good financial decisions won’t equal someone else’s good financial decisions — or even your own at another stage of the game. Small nuances add up. [12:36]
  • “What am I missing?” Why Ramit wishes he could go back in time and shake his 22-year-old self. [16:53]
  • An expenditure that once seemed frivolous and why it makes perfect sense today (after learning the hard way). [18:21]
  • What Ramit means by living a “rich” life — and why his might not match yours or mine. [20:26]
  • Life-running, invisible scripts that Ramit inherited from his parents. [22:44]
  • Examining wise but seemingly counterintuitive words from marketing consultant Dan Kennedy: “Why pay less when you can pay more?” [25:31]
  • Frugality has its place: Parts of Ramit’s life in which he chooses to be frugal and why. [27:51]
  • Adjusting what Ramit calls the “money dial” to spend extravagantly on things we love and cut costs mercilessly on the things we don’t. [31:49]
  • Examples of how convenience is applied to Ramit’s rich life. [36:56]
  • How does Ramit keep track of travel and other convenience protocols and convey them to his team when necessary? [39:04]
  • As we’ve discovered, some of the most game-changing conveniences and lifestyle upgrades are cheaper than you might expect. [40:30]
  • Even if you don’t generally carry cash, here’s why always having a few $20 bills on hand can save the day. [43:09]
  • A tip for becoming a lifelong VIP at your restaurant of choice. [43:39]
  • How Ramit’s wife got a free cooking class from their restaurant’s chef just by asking for a spring roll recipe on their honeymoon, and what this and a tea tasting taught Ramit about how easy it is to learn from people who love what they do. [45:06]
  • A recap of Noah Kagan’s Coffee Challenge and cultivating the muscle for asking. [51:31]
  • Two exercises for challenging accepted “truths” you may believe about money. [52:09]
  • Ramit gives us a glimpse at his own system for funneling income where it needs to go, including investments (and an explanation of target-date funds). [55:53]
  • Ramit is an open book about a much-shunned topic he and his wife agreed to share: the pros and cons of the prenuptial agreement (aka prenup) and why therapy might be the best place to start for any couple considering one. [1:02:20]
  • If we can avoid decision fatigue by having systems in place to automate the mundane, we might live long and prosper like Ramit’s uncle. [1:41:07]
  • Ramit’s Book-Buying Rule, the power of sub-accounts, and why some areas of your life shouldn’t have a budget. [1:42:10]
  • How a couple can reduce decision fatigue by establishing guidelines for travel and daily chores. [1:43:53]
  • How Ramit and I agree and disagree on morning routines. [1:48:27]
  • How we agree and disagree on the use of tools. [1:54:15]
  • The value in understanding that our principles change over time, and what has changed for Ramit in the 10 years between editions of I Will Teach You To Be Rich. [1:59:10]
  • Financial freedom, retirement, and mini retirements. [2:01:30]
  • How does Ramit encourage his students to think about their objectives? [2:02:41]
  • Checking in and general organization: If it’s not in the calendar, it’s just not real. [2:05:50]
  • Calendar rituals for the care and feeding of a healthy relationship. [2:08:20]
  • How do you say Ramit Sethi correctly? [2:19:18]
  • Parting thoughts. [2:19:26]

PEOPLE MENTIONED

Posted on: May 7, 2019.

Please check out Tribe of Mentors, my newest book, which shares short, tactical life advice from 100+ world-class performers. Many of the world's most famous entrepreneurs, athletes, investors, poker players, and artists are part of the book. The tips and strategies in Tribe of Mentors have already changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for a sample chapter and full details. Roughly 90% of the guests have never appeared on my podcast.

Who was interviewed? Here's a very partial list: tech icons (founders of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist, Pinterest, Spotify, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more), Jimmy Fallon, Arianna Huffington, Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York), Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Stiller, Maurice Ashley (first African-American Grandmaster of chess), Brené Brown (researcher and bestselling author), Rick Rubin (legendary music producer), Temple Grandin (animal behavior expert and autism activist), Franklin Leonard (The Black List), Dara Torres (12-time Olympic medalist in swimming), David Lynch (director), Kelly Slater (surfing legend), Bozoma Saint John (Beats/Apple/Uber), Lewis Cantley (famed cancer researcher), Maria Sharapova, Chris Anderson (curator of TED), Terry Crews, Greg Norman (golf icon), Vitalik Buterin (creator of Ethereum), and nearly 100 more. Check it all out by clicking here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration)

35 comments on “Ramit Sethi — Automating Finances, Negotiating Prenups, Disagreeing with Tim, and More (#371)

  1. Super excited to listen! Ramit jump-started my online career and his advice has helped me shape my purpose so I can get to the essence of the things that matter the most-to me.

    From his blog to his first book to spending thousands with him in online courses-he’s the man!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The second edition of Ramit’s book is great. I bought copies for my teenagers (who are soon off to college) and taped a $100 bill to the inside of the back covers, so they get the money when they finish the book!

    Like

  3. Many clients/businesses would fire their consultant/employee for pocketing the business class fare and flying coach. They’re paying that money because you are representing their organization, to allow you to more comfortably do some work along the way and to show up well rested.

    Like

  4. Tim, I listened to this podcast today and Ramit and you had some great content. Thank you. I heard you say you are looking for a trainer… I have something better. Check out F3 Austin, we meet downtown, it’s a great fitness group, completely free and an amazing workout. It’s early and hard but so worth it. [Moderator: link removed.]

    Like

  5. Tim, love 5 bullet Friday, but that’s all I want in my email. I had to unsubscribe because I didn’t want to get emails about new podcasts. Could you make a list group for 5 bullet Friday so I can subscribe to that only? It should be simple for you to do with ConvertKit.

    Like

  6. Very cool to know the book has been updated and I’m going to pick it up for my son. Funny comments about taking saving APR’s not being what they used to because I searched everywhere for those rates. Paid off a lot of debt using these methods. Just need to focus on cashflow vs debt.

    Like

  7. Hey Tim, thank you for the podcast! Toward the end you mentioned Enneagrams. I recently read “The Road Back To You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery” by Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile, a quick read that I found to be very helpful for navigating different personality types. Have you talked/written about this concept before? If not would love to hear you expand upon it.

    Like

  8. Every time I listen to your show (podcast) Tim, I walk away with delight and amazement. Why? Because you find and know the super team of brilliant minds, hearts and minds. It’s a treat for me to be a newcomer to this world of individuals who are inspiring.

    Like

  9. I wanna be your fixer in Copenhagen.
    I will load up the car with kettlebells and canned beans for your breakfast.

    Like

  10. Why can’t we do business like we do marriage? Or, maybe a better question: What if, we’d put in the same effort into business relationships?

    Like

  11. RE:5-Bullet Friday (5/24) – The Helix Sleep codes are not “an additional $110, $165, or $220 off, respectively,” they are an additional $10, 15, or $20 off, respectively.

    Like

  12. Tim – from your 5 Bullet Friday post this week, you shared what’s called a story map of The Amazonian Travels of Richard Evans Schultes. This is built on tech made by Esri, a billion-dollar company no one’s ever heard of. I highly recommend considering the private owner for an interview: Jack Dangermond.

    Here’s a piece from Forbes that gives a background. https://www.forbes.com/sites/miguelhelft/2015/03/31/you-cant-kill-jack-dangermonds-company-try-and-it-will-only-get-stronger/#738ebaee5cd7

    One from Bloomberg: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-12/bankers-can-only-dream-of-deals-with-reluctant-tech-billionaire

    And an interview he did with Ralph Nader:
    https://ralphnaderradiohour.com/good-news-for-the-environment/

    Feel free to contact me if you’d like to get connected!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great leads. Thanks for sharing! So interesting to learn about. I love when we consider ‘wealth’ in terms of the commons shared within the relational ecosystem.

      Like

  13. This note is regarding the blog post about Richard Evans Schultes’ travels in the Amazon. I am deeply in love with this character.

    I will reccommend additional material on the subject:

    Book: One RIver, by Wade Davis. [Moderator: link removed.]

    Movie: The Embrace of the Serpent [Moderator: link removed.]

    Enjoy!

    Like

  14. This is the first I’ve ever heard a frank chat about pre-nups. It is amazing how little there is out there on this.

    Loved the conversation all the way through. Long time fan of both of your minds and philosophies!

    Like

  15. Tim, this is for #TimInMexico but twitter had a character limit. I enjoy travel and food very much (>90 countries) and recently lived for 13 months in Mexico City and explored the country extensively. I love sharing travel tips almost as much as traveling itself, so below are a few recommendations beyond San Miguel de Allende.

    Oaxaca for me has an edge over SMdA. Both are worth a couple of full days of exploration each. Oaxaca has a stronger indigenous influence in its cultural mix and the food is spectacular. (Try Pitiona and Casa Oaxaca restaurants). Oaxaca is also where Mezcal comes from and a good visit to a production site (combined w/ Hierve el Agua and Arbol Tule) makes for a very nice daytrip outside the town center.

    Bacalar: this freshwater lagoon near the Belize border is a great place to unwind. it is still not super developed, so Alkalki hotel is one of the best bets there. (This place is best to go as a couple)

    Mexico City itself is one of the most underrated metropolises in the world. Also worth exploring for ~3 days.

    Quintonil and Pujol are must try restaurants. At Pujol, try to get the Omakase tacos bar option for a 4-5 hr lunch at an 8-person counter, with fine dining eat-with-your-hands experience, each course paired with it’s own creative beverage/cocktail/mezcal etc…

    Other 2 must try restaurants:
    Contramar (lunch only, seafood, if cannot book a table just show up 10’ before opening time.)

    Maximo Bistrot: Read this piece before and the food will suprise you even more: http://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/25/style/eduardo-garcia-restaurants-mexico-migrant-worker-convict-deportee-star-chef.amp.html

    Add a day in the Capital region for a day (or overnight) jaunt to Tepoztlan. which has a great short (<1h) steep hike to a piramid at the top of the cliff, and is the best place in the country to try the hot Temazcal Ceremony.

    Finally, for an off the beaten path, natural and historical exploration, the state of San Luis Potosi offers the following (along w several gorgeous waterfalls)

    1) The crazy folly/castle of eccentric brit and Surrealist patron Edward James in the town if Xilitla. (Rene Magritte lived w him for a bit and at one point he cut a deal with Salvador Dali to buy everything he painted for a full year)

    2) watch 3 million birds fly out of the largest cave shaft in the world and then rappel down into it to explore (cave of swallows, sotano de las golondrinas)

    3) visit Real de Catorce, ancient silver mining town next to the sacred valley where Peyote grows and the Huicholes still make a pilgrimage to each year, foraging the cactus and performing ceremonies at a nearby mountain top that is their most sacred site.

    Also worth researching: Chiapas (nature/ruins) and Valle de Guadalupe (gastronomy)

    I hope this helps!

    Cheers and happy planning!

    Like

  16. Hi,
    Great to see Ramit back on the podcast! I have been listening for a long time and it is a great use of my free time (sometimes so fun it becomes procrastination). I would love to hear you interview Eric Barker, the author of the great blog Barking Up The Wrong Tree.
    Thank you

    Like

  17. Really open, informed discussion about prenups. Thanks and well done. I went back and listened to Ramit’s original interview on the show afterwards. It’s striking how being in relationships has changed both of your priorities. Great content, thanks again.

    Like

  18. Ramit Sethi’s approach to finances is amazing and I really appreciate how he openly mocks financial advice like “Don’t spend money on lattes”.

    Like

  19. Great show, I heard Ramit on the Mad Fientist podcast and was pleased to see that he was making the rounds. On the relationship front re: having regular meetings, I’d recommend the RADAR Template from the MultiAmory Podcast (Google “Multiamory RADAR Template”). It is a great starting point for anyone in a long-term romantic relationship, modify for your own use. We are monogamous (20 years) but I’ve found these monthly meetings to be super helpful. Good luck!

    Like

  20. I am so sorry Tim but the section on pre-nups was very uncomfortable for me personally.

    Everyone is entitled to their views on marriage and relationships and money and I respect that a man has worked hard to amass a certain amount of wealth.

    But it reeks of complete selfishness – and disrespect – to yourself to use your money, your net worth, your assets, as a weapon of power in a relationship. When you love someone, you don’t ‘trade’ money for affection, for sex, for love – or for admin services for a vacation.

    Both you and Ramit are lucky to have tolerant women who accept this power imbalance in the name of love.

    Like

  21. Hi Tim,
    I liked the reshaping of the money mindset to spending money without guilt on the things you truly love and being extremely frugal in the areas you couldn’t care less about. I was raised by very poor and frugal parents and have always had a guilt complex about spending money. Seeing spending as an investment in my future happiness or productivity helps to reshape that and makes me feel more comfortable in spending while still being able to save in other areas.

    QUESTION: What Podcasts are you listening to? I have listened to all the backlogs of this show and need some new inspirational and brain stimulating suggestions? Thanks for all the material you have put out!

    Like

  22. Ramit on Tim! My eyes popped seeing the re-match post, having learnt so much from you both.
    I jotted a ream of questions and “heuristics” on which to muse, the top being:
    – Remember the North Star
    – Go slow to go fast
    – Learn about yourself by observing what you actually do.
    – For habits and goals, the default is that you have to opt-out
    – Have things for which you’ll buy without even thinking about budget
    Appreciate too the conversations and sharing from your relationships on check-in meetings and reviews.
    Look forward to Round 3!

    Like

  23. A lot of what you two spoke in this episode has been applied to my life in relationships and work over the years now – absolutely brilliant, has made my life some much more meaningful, because there is a lot more time to do what makes my heart tingle. It’s so nice not to deal with food management and grocery decisions when you can automate a lot of simple, but important aspects of your life.
    Thank you, Tim, for starting this podcast, been listening from the beginning, grown a lot and will keep on.

    Like

  24. Tim and Ramit, Among the takeways for this episode are your approaches to using the calendar in relationships for checking in, and using an agenda for that time. Much appreciated!

    “If it’s not on the calendar, it’s not real.”
    “Everything important should be opt-out.”

    Like

  25. Tim, Great interview (as usual)! Do you have an agenda or list of topics you cover in your monthly sit down with your girlfriend?

    Like

  26. Tim – Interest in grabbing a run in Austin either Wed afternoon or Thurs AM? (Doesn’t hurt to ask, right?) I’m starting a wellness and curative disease center in Utah with 2 world renowned Cardiologists and would LOVE some advice. I’ve enjoyed your books and podcasts and believe you could play a big role in what we are looking to do. Mainly looking to CURE chronic diseases via sleep, long term fasting, movement and outdoor therapy all under guidance of MD’s in a research environment.

    Like

  27. Kind of a waste of time.. talking about his travel routine and “spending money on what you love”, what does that have to do with finance…

    Like

  28. loved this interview! I was really intrigued to hear that Ramit set a value of convenience and would be really interested in a follow up in-between-a-sode where he could go into crazy detail T Ferriss style. I’d love to hear what his regular meals are and all of the unique and creative ways he’s found short cuts. Thank you for all the great content!!

    Like

  29. I really enjoyed this episode, and appreciated the open dialogue you two had on difficult topics. I got hung up on the comment about not having a consistent personal trainer. I’m a physical therapist and personal trainer, and would jump at the chance to meet that need for you. I couldn’t listen to this podcast and not ask. Thank you for all of your content and please keep it up.

    Like

  30. Tim is growing/aging perfectly and so we are. By far I loved this episode. I would like to hear more insights on building healthy romantic relations e.g, from hookups, early-stage dates to maintaining mature relations. I also enjoyed episodes with Alain De Botton and Alice Little. Probably soon we will start hearing episodes on how to grow your kids. 🙂 Good job!

    Like

  31. Fascinating podcast. I found the discussion of pre-nups interesting but problematic. You made an analogy to safety briefings on aeroplanes: it’s not that you’re planning on the plane crashing, but rather that you are preparing for a worst-case scenario. The critical point where the analogy fails is that the safety briefings themselves don’t change the chance of that scenario actually occurring (they don’t make a plane crash more likely).

    I think the fear that some people have about pre-nups is that preparing yourself for a worst-case scenario (relationship breakdown) could change your behaviour within the relationship when the marriage gets tough – thereby making the relationship breakdown more likely.

    Compare with your interview with Jim Collins and the negative value of a safety net. When making a decision about going it alone (his “Thelma and Louise moment”), a colleague advised him NOT to keep the option of a return to a ‘safe’ job at Stanford open – because that would change his behaviour (and make success outside of the university less likely). THIS explains why people think pre-nups could have a negative effect on a relationship.

    Can you explain whether/how you reconcile these viewpoints (i.e., pre-nups are a good idea, analogous to aeroplane safety briefings – but safety nets can have negative value)?

    Like

  32. So uhm, this was a fantastic interview. I’d like to know if/when you will be doing a follow-up podcast on your topic of couple’s having a scheduled meeting to have open dialogue and your format for being able to bring up often difficult conversations (What I’ve done well, What I need to work on, what you’ve done well, and what I’d like to see…). I think this is just great advice, and so super simple. My wife and I just scheduled our first meeting. Also, you and Ramit should prolly have regular podcasts together. Your dialogue and batner is catchy and fun to listen to. I thoroughly enjoyed listening and 2 hours went by like nothing. Thanks!

    Like