I Will Teach You To Be Rich

I Will Teach You To Be Rich (2nd Edition) by Ramit Sethi | Hachette UK


I’ve always wondered why so many people get fat after college.  I’m not talking about people with medical disorders, but regular people who were slim in college and vowed that they would “never, ever” get fat.

Five years later, they look like the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man after a Thanksgiving feast, featuring a blue whale for dessert.

Weight gain doesn’t happen overnight. If it did, it would be easy for us to see it coming—and to take steps to avoid it. Ounce by ounce, it creeps up on us as we’re driving to work and then sitting behind a computer for eight to ten hours a day.

It happens when we move into the real world from a college campus populated by bicyclists, runners, and varsity athletes who once inspired us to keep fit (or guilted us into it).

When we did the walk of shame back at school, at least we were getting exercise. But try talking about post-college weight loss with your friends and see if they ever say one of these things:

“Avoid carbs!”

“Don’t eat before you go to bed, because fat doesn’t burn efficiently when you’re sleeping.”

“If you eat mostly protein, you can lose lots of weight quickly.”

“Eating grapefruit in the morning speeds up your metabolism.”

I always laugh when I hear these things. Maybe they’re correct, or maybe they’re not, but that’s not really the point.

The point is that we love to debate minutiae.

When it comes to weight loss, 99.99 percent of us need to know only two things: Eat less and exercise more. Only elite athletes need to do more. But instead of accepting these simple truths and acting on them, we discuss trans fats, diet pills, and Atkins versus South Beach.


Most of us fall into one of two camps as regards our money: We either ignore it and feel guilty, or we obsess over financial details by arguing interest rates and geopolitical risks without taking action.

Both options yield the same results—none. The truth is that the vast majority of young people don’t need a financial adviser to help them get rich. We need to set up accounts at a reliable no-fee bank and then automate savings and bill payment. We need to know about a few things to invest in, and then we need to let our money grow for thirty years. But that’s not sexy, is it?

Instead, we watch shows with talking heads who make endless predictions about the economy and “this year’s hottest stock” without ever being held accountable for their picks (which are wrong more than 50 percent of the time).

Sometimes they throw chairs, which drives up ratings but not much else. And we look to these so-called “experts” more than ever in turbulent times like the global crisis of 2008. “It’s going up!” “No, down.” As long as there is something being said, we’re drawn to it.

Why? Because we love to debate minutiae.

When we do, we somehow feel satisfied. We might just be spinning our wheels and failing to change anyone’s mind, but we feel as if we are really expressing ourselves, and it’s a good feeling.

We feel like we’re getting somewhere. The problem is that this feeling is totally illusory. Focusing on these details is the easiest way to get nothing done. Imagine the last time! you and your friend talked about finances or fitness. Did you go for a run afterward? Did you send money to your savings account? Of course not.

People love to argue minor points, partially because they feel it absolves them from actually having to do anything. You know what? Let the fools debate the details. I decided to learn about money by taking small steps to manage my own spending.

Just as you don’t have to be a certified nutritionist to lose weight or an automotive engineer to drive a car, you don’t have to know everything about personal finance to be rich.

I’ll repeat myself: You don’t have to be an expert to get rich. You do have to know how to cut through all the information and get started—which, incidentally, also helps reduce the guilt.

Although I knew that opening an investment account would be smart financial move, I set up a lot of barriers for myself. “Joey,” I said, “you don’t know the difference between a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA. There’s probably a lot of paperwork involved in getting one of those started anyway, and once it’s set up, it’s going to be a pain to manage. What if you choose the wrong funds? You already have a savings account; what’s wrong with just having that?” Clearly this was the voice of my lazy half trying to talk my body into staying on the couch and not taking action.

Who wins at the end of the day? The self-satisfied people who heatedly debate some obscure details? Or the people who sidestep the entire debate and get started?



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