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Episode #148: Best and Worst Money Advice

Today, we’re sharing the best (and worst) money advice we’ve ever received. We’ll be sharing our book report for I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi, and Ramit will join us for an interview as well.

We’re also answering a few listener questions.

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Elsie’s best money advice: Change your mindset and get excited about the things you can do with money.

Emma’s best money advice: Be curious and ask questions.

Elsie’s worse money advice: To stay away from credit cards.

Emma’s worse money advice: Buy it because you deserve it.

Elsie’s rich life: Her house and decorating for holidays.

Emma’s rich life: Her house, a walkable neighborhood, and traveling.

Elsie’s advice: Define the bare minimum that you have to do.

Emma’s advice: Make a goal to say at least one encouraging thing to someone.

Elsie’s self-care strategy: Talk to people you love, feel your feelings, and help where you can.

Emma’s self-care strategy: Limiting time on her phone and setting a timer to feel your feelings.

Pros: They are cute and look good, they cover your eyebrows, and no Botox is needed on your forehead.

Cons: Keeping them trimmed and getting greasy bangs from skincare items.

Elsie: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess Podcast. Today we’re here to share some of the best and worst money advice we’ve ever received. We’ll also be sharing our book report for I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi and Ramit will also join us for an interview in this episode. We’re also answering a few listener questions as well. 

Emma: Awesome. 

Elsie: So before we began, we got to see each other last weekend. It was so fun. So I put a question box up and I said, we would do a little AMA and then we forgot to do it so we added some of those questions to the end of this episode. So it’ll be at the very end after the interview. But yeah, we had so much fun that we pretty much just forgot that Instagram existed, which I think is a good thing. 

Emma: Yes, I honestly don’t even have very many like, I have like two photos from the trip because I just didn’t get my phone out the whole time, basically. 

Elsie: It was fun. It was just like family cocooning. We were just staying in an Airbnb, walking to restaurants that were like two blocks away. It was wonderful. We had lots of cousin time. 

Emma: Yes. We went to a bookstore. We went to an art shop. Yeah, it was just really fun. Really fun to spend that time with our mom and really fun to spend it with each other and our brother’s wife, Ruby, just celebrating moms. 

Elsie: St. Louis is so cute. 

Emma: Yeah, it really is. 

Elsie: Yeah, I’m excited. So this week, we’re going to talk about our best and worst money advice. We are going to do a book report for I Will Teach You To Be Rich, which actually, have written it down, all the other times we’ve talked about Ramit’s book and the times he’s been on the podcast. It’s kind of like a reoccurring subject we’ve done a lot of times. So we have Episode 35, which I remember that’s the first time I met him and did the first interview. That was the early quarantine days. Which is so long ago. Episode 35 is called Rich Life Chat with Ramit Sethi and then in episode 74, Emma does an interview with him. It’s like a bonus episode, chat with Ramit. Then in episode number 115, we talked about money dials and he wasn’t a part of it or anything.

Emma: But he was a part of it. It’s his concept. 

Elsie: Yeah, money dials is one of the things that he teaches about in his book and he talks about on Instagram all the time. So in that episode, we talked about what our money dials are. In this episode, we’re gonna talk about best and worse money advice. I love talking about money. I know that it is a hot and cold subject. Some of our listeners have let us know it’s their favorite subject and some of our listeners have let us know that they would rather we didn’t discuss it ever. I think I’m on the team, I love it. What about you? 

Emma: Yeah, I’m probably on team, I love it. I guess maybe part of the thing is, it’s weird to talk about your personal money. I would never meet someone for the first time at a party and be like, so how much money do you make? Obviously, that is not something I would choose to do. I think most people would fill similar. 

Elsie: That’s what my six-year-old would say. How many dollars do you have? 

Emma: Exactly. How many dollars do you have? Well, I have this many coins and then she wins. Yeah, in that sense, I understand money is very awkward subject and really, there’s so many emotions wrapped up with it. But I’m with you. I like to talk about money. I like to stay curious about it. I want to learn more. It’s not something that I was born knowing about, like most things. So I just want to learn and I like to learn from people with very different lifestyles than me, very different income levels, and very different perspectives. Even if I don’t agree, I think it’s very interesting to hear. I like hearing a point of view that’s different from my own because worst case is just interesting and best case I learned something. 

Elsie: Yeah, me too. I like the thought experiment of hearing something controversial even if you write up not agreeing with it. It’s still interesting. The other thing I would add to that is, I think there’s a lot of bad money advice that goes around. There’s a lot of things that are just often repeated that we sort of just accept, but they’re really actually some of them are outdated cliches, some of them are just like bad mindsets, in my opinion. So I think that it’s fun to think about, like what is meaningful to you, what you want to do with your money, and what attitudes that you want to have because you don’t have to have the same attitudes as everyone else, which I think is pretty cool. 

Emma: Yeah, you can do it your way. Okay, so what’s the best money advice you’ve ever been given? 

Elsie: I think that the best money advice that I’ve ever received is when I learned to focus on the big wins, instead of rigid rules. I think that for so long most of my life until I was in my mid-30s, I was thinking of money as strictly as budgeting. Then I would just feel guilty, because anytime, like when I was younger, I would make a budget of how much you want to spend every month, and then it’s kind of a lot of work to maintain, to see if you’re on track or not. I’m not really a spreadsheet person, I could never keep up with it. So I always just felt guilty that like, I’m just not a person who likes to be on a line-by-line budget. But when I learned this completely different attitude of focusing on the big wins instead, then I learned it is totally okay to not have a budget, as long as I have goals that I’m meeting. So now I only worry about if I’m meeting my savings goals, and I never, ever worry about how much I spend on something small like Uber Eats or even groceries. In our budget, it’s not significant enough to ever become a big win. So yeah, it was like my path to freedom. It was completely a mind shift, mindset shift that I think I’m forever changed. I have achieved so much more with our personal finance since I made that shift. I think before I was kind of stuck in a rut just feeling bad about the kind of boring things that I wasn’t doing. But I wasn’t able to just get excited about the cool things we can be doing with our money. So now I’m mostly just excited. What’s yours?

Emma: I think one thing that you’re kind of mentioning there that really struck a chord with me is I do feel like for me, and I think maybe a lot of people, but I’ll just speak for myself, there was kind of a lot of guilt wrapped up with money early on. You do kind of learn some rigid rules. So for me, if there’s an area of my life where I feel a lot of guilt like it’s just a constant, I’m feeling a lot of guilt in this area. I just started avoiding it. I think that is probably the number one thing that gets me off the bus on that kind of mindset towards money. The best advice that I’ve ever been given about money is to be curious and ask questions. So I think like guilt, if that’s holding you back from asking questions around money because you feel like I’m doing it wrong and I’m bad, or I’m greedy, or I’m overspending, whatever this problem. For me, I’ve also had lots of moments in my life where I just didn’t understand the terms that people were throwing at me. The first time I bought a house, I felt there were so many terms that I was like, I didn’t learn this in high school or college. I don’t know what this means. I’m googling and I still don’t really understand. I guess I’m just going to have to ask and kinda feel like an idiot but here we go. Luckily, for whatever reason, I was given the advice, many times in my life, both about personal finance and also about owning a small business, to just ask questions and be curious. Don’t worry about looking stupid, that doesn’t matter. It does not matter. Just ask. I think that’s really helpful because nobody knows everything about getting a loan or your credit score or anything. You just have to ask questions so you shouldn’t be scared to

Elsie: I love this advice. Emma and I always say it’s like one of the things that we feel is a strength or a superpower that we have is that we’re not afraid to be in a big meeting and ask a really stupid question. I think that for anyone who, like remember that the next time that you’re in that situation to just ask it because I think that it’s so much more powerful to admit when you don’t know things and learn then to just go through your life, trying to pretend like you already know everything. How many people have mortgages and investments that they don’t understand? You don’t have to be that way, though. I love that being curious.  Okay, should we do worst? 

Emma: Yes. So what was the worst money advice you were given? 

Elsie: Okay, mine is, it’s actually kind of embarrassing. I don’t think I’ve told this on the podcast before. But I did not have a credit card. I had one when I was like college-age and then I didn’t have one until I was over 35. It’s because I was taught that having a credit card is dangerous and a trap and scary. Part of my guilt mentality was I had pretty small goals and I had a lot of things I was staying away from such as having a credit card that I didn’t really know why. When I first read, I Will Teach You To Be Rich and it was like, what kind of credit card oh, maybe you want a bunch of credit cards. It was explaining it all. I was like, oh my gosh, I guess I should just get it. 

Emma: I did not know you didn’t have a credit card. 

Elsie: Yeah, I didn’t get it until, I remember it was like sometime right before we went to China to adopt Marigold because when we went with Nova, we didn’t have one. It was like kind of an issue. They were like, why don’t you have a credit card, then we were like, we just don’t. But anyway, now I’ve had one for three years or whatever and I have never had a late payment or missed a payment. I know now that I can trust myself and that I am smart enough to do it. I think the biggest thing is I had like no confidence in myself. I was just afraid always that when it comes to money, I was afraid of failing. Obviously, you have to learn someone else’s plan and do that for a while to gain the confidence you need. Once I just tried it, it wasn’t hard. I think that the rewards came pretty quickly because I just discovered that I could do things that I had never even tried before. 

Emma: Certainly people do struggle with credit card debt. I’ve had some close friends struggle with that before. I think the idea that you just immediately decided you couldn’t trust yourself. That is kind of strange. Ramit’s book, which we’ll talk about a little more, but he kind of talks about using credit card companies like gaming the system a little bit use it to your benefit because there’s all different kinds. They offer different kinds of rewards. Yep, exactly. So you could get points for travel, you could get points for cash back, there’s all sorts of different options out there. You can use it to your benefit. Hopefully, you’re spending money that you would be spending anyway with a debit card or with cash or whatever you normally do with your payments. So then you could potentially get something out of it, which is kind of I think, a pretty smart idea and an interesting way to look at it. Okay, for me, worst money advice is kind of the I don’t know how to exactly how it’s been phrased to me before, but kind of the idea of, I want to hear what you think about this event. Even if you can’t afford something or even if it’s not in your budget for that time, like maybe you’re trying to reach some other goals, go ahead and buy it because you deserve it. You deserve it. That kind of thing. I do think obviously, you should treat yourself sometimes, obviously. It’s not like I think never do anything fun with your money, like, no, that’s the very opposite of living your rich life, which is what Ramit tries to teach. But I also just don’t like the idea that telling someone who might be overspending that you deserve it, like tying it to your worth. I think I really bristle at the idea that you’re tying your self-worth to the things that you purchase. That you either deserve them or you don’t deserve them based on your worth as a person or something. That to me is a very, I don’t like that at all. In my life, for example, I’ve had lots of different budgets over the years. I’ve had very different disposable income levels throughout my life so far. At no point was I worth more or less as a person so it’s just not like, I don’t know, I just don’t like that mindset. I don’t like where that leads. I think it could lead someone to overspend and feel very justified. I also think though it could lead someone to kind of think, oh, I can’t buy myself that thing so I’m not worth it. I really don’t like that idea, either. All of it. I just don’t really like the way that wording is. It’s a thing I’ve heard before and I just kind of bristle at it. I noticed a lot of times people mean well, so it’s not like it makes me angry when I hear it. I just really don’t prefer that at all.

Elsie: No, that makes perfect sense. The idea that you deserve something. It doesn’t really make sense because when you’re poor, you still deserve everything and when what superrich, you don’t deserve more, that makes sense. I think that you have a good point. I do think that that’s one of the many ideas floating around that people just haven’t thought through.

Emma: Yeah, I think it’s meant to be encouraging but I just don’t think it actually is. I think it’s just a little bit empty. So anyway, that’s not the best advice so I’m putting it on the worst list. I’m sure I’ve heard other random things over the years though too. People are like, I don’t know, anytime you hear someone give advice that’s like, this is true for everyone. No one should buy a house, everyone should buy a house, whatever. I always feel like okay, let’s look into that a little bit more because usually, things aren’t for everyone or no one. Those are pretty extreme. There’s just so many different scenarios that when I hear advice like that, I’m like, I don’t think you’ve thought that through for everyone.

Elsie: Agree. Agree. Agree. Okay, so for the book, I Will Teach You To Be Rich, let’s merge into our book report part. So we said before, this book is not for wealthy people, it’s about having a wealthy mindset. Big majority of the book is about working on your own mindset for your own rich life. There are also parts of it that are about setting up investments and things like that, that are practical, too. But I think that it’s all things that you could do in a big variety of different situations. Okay, we’ve discussed this book before on our podcast, but I just wanted to include it in our book club, because I know some people have had it on their list of meaning to read it. If you read it, we would love to hear your comments. Send us a message, leave us comment on the blog today is the best place where we can chat back and forth. I want to hear what it meant to you. But we’re going to share some of our personal favorite takeaways from the book. For me, it was definitely life-changing. I feel like I’ve done a good amount of gushing over it through the past couple years. 

Emma: Yeah, we’re definitely fangirls. I hope that’s clear. Like Elsie was saying, I think one of my favorite things about the book overall if I was just going to recommend it to someone and they’re like, why this one. Of all the personal finance books I’ve read, which has been quite a few over the years, I think this one is the perfect mix, at least to me, of things about mindset. Then also practical things like what type of credit card you might want to set up, what type of bank account, investments, and practical advice alongside mindset stuff. I feel like a lot of books, it’s either one or the other and I love that this book, really, I think has a perfect mix of both because you actually really do need both. You need to have that healthy mindset towards money but then if you don’t have practical tips, you may not know what to do with this now healthy mindset. Then if you only have the practical tips you might miss out on your rich life. Let’s share a couple of our takeaways from the book, things we learned and implemented, and then maybe let’s share a little bit about what our rich life is, and what it means to us.

Elsie: Alright, so my big takeaway is, I read this book about three years ago for the first time and then I read it again last year, and it’s kind of like a pump-up thing for me. It makes me feel very amped. So I spend a lot of time on making a good plan and then I spend very, very little time micromanaging our budget now. So the thing that I love about it, I feel like I have a very free life. I like my charts that I color in. So I have my color and charts for savings and we’re working on retirement right now. I am coloring in little boxes each time we hit a new marker. That is very encouraging for me. It’s something that just like works for me, that is a motivator. I’ve heard a lot actually, this is on Ramit’s podcast quite a bit, a lot of couples fight about small purchases. You’re spending too much on this, what did you buy at this store type of things. My husband I, we basically don’t have those fights or conversations even almost at all. We talk about big things that we’re spending money on but like the little things kind of it feels like it’s not a stress point anymore in our relationship, which it was a couple of years ago because I used to always be like, we should spend less on this, we should spend less on this. It was kind of mindless it didn’t have like a big purpose. It was just like what I thought we quote-unquote, should do. So I think that’s the biggest change to my life is now I have almost no guilt spending money because I know that we are living according to our values that we set up together, we created together. So we kind of don’t have to be sad or stressed or worry or compare ourselves to other people. We just get to live our rich life.

Emma: Yeah, and I think for me, in a similar way, it kind of freed me up to spend more on little things that make me happy. I spent a lot of time earlier in my life having a pretty rigid budget, not as much out of guilt. I just needed to because I didn’t have a lot of income. I had some big goals. I talked about this in other episodes, but I saved up like $10,000 by the time I graduated college so that I could move to LA and I had kind of a cushion so as I started my life there. So like that. When I moved back to Missouri, I had a goal that after a year I wanted to buy my first home,. I was 25 at the time and single. I was able to do that and again, I had to be pretty rigid in my budget in order to make those goals happen. That’s what I wanted at the time, those goals so it was totally worth it to me. But I think I just got into kind of a habit of that after that point where I never really loosened those reins for no real reason. I just was like, oh yeah, I just don’t buy nice clothes. I just don’t buy skincare just because I feel like. I just would never buy things basically that were kind of just fun stuff. I mean, you do need clothes. I just sort of realized over the years like now and again, not like every day or anything, but just like now and again, I should just like buy things because it makes me kind of happy to have a new jumpsuit because I’m a jumpsuit fanatic or a new pair of glasses because I’m trying to wear my glasses more and I didn’t love the one pair that I had. Elsie trolled me because I didn’t buy prescription sunglasses for years because I was like I don’t need those. I just need the prescription glasses. Then I was like, why are you doing that though, Emma? You can afford to buy prescription sunglasses, just buy them. Now I have a pair and I wore them on a walk last night with Oscar and it was great because I didn’t have to get a hat because I had glasses, blah, blah. So anyway, I think thinking more about rich life and just some of the concepts. The mindset stuff from his book kind of made me realize I had just kind of gotten into a habit of being cheap for no reason. It served me for a time and that was wonderful, just kind of realizing like, oh, this habit you’re in is no longer serving you and it’s okay to change it. That’s okay.

Elsie: I love that idea that your mindset about money and your rules for yourself can and should change throughout your life.  For me, a lot of it was like these judgment attitudes, where you’re thinking like, oh, you shouldn’t spend money on that, or oh, that’s too expensive. What is quote-unquote, too expensive, is a relative thing. I don’t think I knew that when I was younger. I think I thought it was an absolute fact.

Emma: This is too expensive for anyone so if anyone has it, they’re overspending. 

Elsie: I think that yeah, how I was raised, not necessarily by my parents, if my parents are listening, but just by my cultural, bubble. I think I was raised to think that regardless of if you earn more when you are later on in life, that you should spend the absolute minimum. Now I do think that that is kind of a self-defeating mentality. So yeah, I think like the whole theme of evolution, keeping an open mind, being willing to change your ideas, that is also healthy. That’s what I want our listeners to get out of this book as well. 

Emma: For sure, maybe we should tell a little bit what our rich life looks like. 

Elsie: So the rich life concept, it’s pretty much like you’re choosing the things that mean a lot to you. So I’m going to spend more on the things that mean a lot to me and then the things that don’t mean as much to me, I’m not going to spend as much on them. So something that’s an example for me of meaningful is obviously my house. My husband and I both work from home and I love it. I just love house decorating, feeling cozy, having guests, any and all of it, holidays, it’s my special thing. So for me, having a big closet of Halloween decorations is actually a part of my rich life. An example of something that is not important for me personally, is having a fancy car. So a lot of people in our Q&A, always ask us what kind of car we have and I think it’s because they want to know how much money we have. But I have a regular brand, I’ll just say what it is, I have a Ford SUV. It’s a regular car. It’s a good family car. It’s not a Lexus, there’s even way nicer cars than that. I mean, some of my friends are into that and I love that for them. I don’t think it’s vain or wasteful at all for them. But for me it may be would be because it’s just not something that brings me joy or that I’m passionate about. What are yours?

Emma: Honestly mine are so similar. I am very passionate about my house, my home. For me, it also has to do with location, I really love being able to go on walks and take my son on walks. Right now he’s in a stroller someday, I will be scurrying behind him as he learns to ride a bike, whatever, like different seasons. But a walkable neighborhood is really important to me. I just also love a home that feels nice and has everything that you need. You feel excited to have people over but I don’t feel like I need a necessarily giant house or necessarily small house. I think the biggest thing is really the walkable neighborhood. We have a dog and we have a son and I work from home so there’s all those considerations and things too. The other thing that I have a feeling it’s kind of on your list too, is travel. I love to travel and I don’t feel like I need to do it all of the time. I’m now in a season of my life where I would miss my son if I did it all the time but I do love to travel. That’s something that I want to spend money on. I have a dream, someday, I’m going to go to Antarctica. I don’t know when. It’s gonna cost a lot of money and it makes me a little anxious to think about but I really want to go. It’s just on my bucket list for life of like, I want to go to Antarctica. I just think it looks beautiful, interesting and just one of the farthest places you can go on our planet, which I think is kind of fascinating. That to me is worth spending money over even though it’s kind of a big-ticket item. Similar to you, Elsie I don’t give a sh*t about cars. I just don’t care. I couldn’t care less. I have a 2014 Subaru and I love it. I’m gonna drive it till it’s dead because I don’t care. It doesn’t matter to me, it works great. It’s great. Don’t care. 

Elsie: That’s the whole point of it. We could share every single thing that’s on our list and every single thing that’s not but it’s kind of not the point. The point is you have to make your own list and pick the things that bring you joy and make your life, make you feel like you’re f*cking living like that’s what it’s supposed to be. It doesn’t matter what anyone else does with their money. I love the idea of just reserving judgment because I think so many people don’t do that. Okay, so if it’s okay with you, let’s go ahead and jump into my interview with her Ramit. Then we will come back and do a few Q&A at the end. Well, I’m so excited to do this interview. 

Ramit: Thanks me too. 

Elsie: Yeah, thank you for being a part of our book club. So I just looked this up and did you know that you first came on our podcast on episode 35 and now it’s episode 148?

Ramit: Oh, my gosh. Well, I’m flattered to be back. That means a lot.

Elsie: I think you just got the award for the most frequent podcast friend.

Ramit: I’ll take it.

Elsie: Okay, so this episode is called Best and Worst Money Advice so rich life one on one. So we explained the concept sort of earlier when we were talking about our rich lives. We were giving examples of what we defined for ourselves and what helped us. But I was hoping that for our listeners, that you could talk about the benefits of personalizing your own money values. I think a lot of people don’t understand how vast the differences are. It can be such a big variety of different types of things for different people.

Ramit: So I love this concept of creating your own money rules. I have 10 of my money rules and I think everybody should have 10 of your own money rules. When you first hear the word rules, a lot of people think that it is restrictive, negative, it’s the things you can’t do. But I love money rules that are expansive, that say yes. So I’ll give you an example of some of my money rules and then I’ll tell you why I chose them. One of mine is never question spending money on books, appetizers, health, or donating to a friend’s charity fundraiser. Now, let me tell you why I chose that. First of all, I never question it because I have an opinion that if you see a book that is interesting to you, you should just buy it. It’s called Ramit’s book buying rule, just buy it, 10 bucks and you get years’ worth of an author’s expertise, the best value you can spend. Appetizers, when I was a kid, we didn’t really buy appetizers. We couldn’t really afford them and so now to be able to go to a restaurant and see two or three appetizers and say I’ll just take them all, that feels very rich to me, even though it’s 20 bucks or so. So you can see that it’s personal to me. You may not care about appetizers, so don’t have a money rule about it but I do. I care about health, I want to spend money on it. Here’s another example, business class on flights over four hours, okay, a little bit more extravagant. Again, a lot of people listening go, that must be nice, must be nice. It is nice. That’s why I chose it. The rule for me is I want to simplify making decisions. So I don’t have to sit there and choose which flight and debate with myself, I just have a single rule. If anyone’s booking my flight for me, they know about that rule. Now, you might not care. I don’t care about spending money on business class, or you may not be able to afford it. That’s why it’s my rule, not yours. But I include this rule because I want to show you that rules can be fun. Of course, I have some basic ones, like always have one year of emergency fund cash, save 10%, invest 20%, minimum of gross annual income. Those are sustainable things that are good for my financial management but then there’s this stuff like business class. So I challenge everyone here to create your own money rules and the more you create them, the more personal they are, and the more incomprehensible they will be to other people. You listen to my rules, you go this guy’s a psycho. Why is he talking about business class and appetizers and number 10 marry the right person. Why? Well, because that matters to me, and my money. For you, what matters to you? I should be able to look at your money rules and tell that it’s specifically handmade for you. That’s when you know you have 10 great money rules.

Elsie: I love that. I was actually listening to your podcast last week and I started working on my 10 money rules, and I found it kind of hard to get to 10. So I’m still working on it.

Ramit: So I’ll tell you what most people do when they come up with their money rules for the first time. Their money rules all sound like this, don’t waste money on organic blank. Don’t waste money on this. Never buy that. It’s all restrictive. I go, hey, look at your rules, do you actually feel good looking at those rules, and then they kind of sheepishly go no. They’ll say stuff like never eat out when I can cook at home and I go, when was the last time you ate out? They go Tuesday. I guess why are you putting a rule like that? They feel that they have to create rules that they have to live up to, in a negative way.

Elsie: Yeah, I think that’s what we were talking about earlier in this episode is that a lot of the bad money advice is just like, really restrictive guilt-based advice, that we spent a lot of years like, I never really followed it. I just felt bad all the time. Emma followed it and followed it and sort of drove herself insane. Thinking about an abundant life, I like to make the vision boards like the collages with all the cool things on them. I think it’s kind of like that, but with your money.

Ramit: I love that. Yeah, absolutely. What you said is so true. We spend our lives feeling guilty about this restrictive money advice and we don’t even follow it. So what’s the point, it doesn’t work. So we might as well pick things that are abundant, that are meaningful to me, and look, if you can’t afford a business class flights, and honestly, you don’t care about it. It might be pick my daughter up from school every afternoon. That is a rich life, costs you nothing but you can start to see how you create your own rules that make you feel good, not bad.

Elsie: I love that. Okay, so I want to share with you my unique example. That is pretty weird and crazy and I hope you love it. But I was hoping before that you could just share some of the examples you’ve heard through the years of just like people’s rich lives that’s like this wouldn’t apply to 90% of people, but it makes this person so happy.

Ramit: Well, my favorite example ever was a young mother, who wrote me and she said, Ramit, I heard you talk about a rich life for years, but I never really got it. It didn’t connect with me until I went with my daughter to Disneyland. She said that her daughter is disabled, and her daughter has special needs. She said I thought about what I wanted to do to make that day special for my daughter. I decided that I was going to get a behind-the-scenes Disney VIP pass and she said that it was magical for her daughter. They got to go to the front of the lines, which was helpful for her daughter. They got these beautiful photos, they met their favorite characters and she said that was the moment where I realized I can use money to create my rich life.

Elsie: That’s absolutely incredible.

Ramit: I love that. This idea that we can earn money, and we work so hard. We save it and we invest it and then we turn around and restrict ourselves from actually using it. It just drives me insane. So when I hear people spending money on the things they love, of course, they should be able to afford it. Of course, they should think about what’s meaningful. Yes, but okay, you did that. Now spend it and spend it guilt-free. This young mother did it and I was so happy she shared her story with me.

Elsie: I love it. I think that that’s one of the things I love that you teach. So I hope that our listeners will get into that and I hope a lot of people have had a chance to read the book because it was really really life changing for us. I love that your advice about making money highly personal. I used to judge myself so much and also judge others like bad habit from middle class that I had to get rid of in my life, doing a lot of comparing and stuff. So I was curious what your advice is for our listeners who want to have more confidence with their money?

Ramit: Yeah, I use a principle I call D to C, the D to C principle. It stands for from disparagement to curiosity. When I used to go on airplanes, when I was younger, I would always sit in the back the cheapest seats. I remember walking past first-class and business class and I would go, these people were so stupid, why would they pay four times the same price? We’re all getting to the same place and it was disparagement. What I wish I had done is to get more curious and say, hey, these people are obviously smart enough to be able to afford something up here. Why? Why would they spend four times the amount when we’re all getting to the same place? If I had asked that question, I might have started to understand certain things like, maybe they make so much money, that a first-class seat is just the same as an economy seat is to me. That would have allowed me to say, what kind of job do they have? How did they start making so much? What can I do to make more? I might have learned that some people have a health issue, and they need more space to stretch out their legs. But I never got to any of that, because I was judgmental. I fight that tendency every day still, it’s born and it’s taught from a young age. We learn certain things about judgment, like from movies, rich people are evil. But I also think that if you grow up believing that making more money makes you a bad person, then you’re not going to make more money. In fact, you’re not even going to enjoy the money you have. 

Elsie: That’s so true. Okay, so I want to talk about the podcast, I am so excited. I always, always, always was annoying messaging you when are you going to start a podcast, I can’t wait for your podcast. You’re like, there’s no podcast, Elsie. There’s not a podcast and one day, it magically appeared on my phone and I’m so happy. So I wanted to mention a couple of my favorite episodes that I think our listeners would also really like. Okay, so basically, it has the vibe that you’re listening to either a private marriage conversation or maybe even something they would be talking to a therapist with which I know you’re like, clearly say I’m not a therapist, but it has that vibe like people really are super, super honest. I am so amazed, like the things that people are saying on there. They’re like so honest. Okay, I really liked episode 22, which is called I’m quitting my job but I’m Worried My Husband Doesn’t Support Me. So this episode, they couldn’t decide whether or not the wife could spend $200 a month buying supplements. It kind of like went on for almost the entire episode and I thought that was really relatable because we all have these financial hang-ups. Where it’s like you can spend whatever on so many budget items. We all have this one budget item that we notice more than the other ones and a lot of times like in a partnership, it can be the thing that the other person spending money on. So yeah, I really liked that episode. Then the other one that I loved was okay, just listen to this one, episode 41, My Wife won’t Admit That Her Business is Failing. My husband and I are both serial entrepreneurs so we’ve started lots and lots of businesses through our relationship. We’ve been together 15 years, and some of them failed. So if you start a lot of businesses, you usually don’t have like a perfect track record, and determining whether or not it’s a success, or a fail is so difficult, especially when you’re not sure if it’s premature or if you’ve had enough time decide. So I loved that one. I thought it was fascinating. It gave me a lot of memories as well. So yeah, have you had a favorite?

Ramit: Yes. But it’s like children, you can’t really say. There are some that really, really stand out to me. Episode one, where there was a husband who didn’t trust his wife on running their business. I actually lost my temper on that episode and I actually really regretted it. We were in the edits and they wanted to cut it out. This was the first episode and I said, no, we’re going to put it in. This is going to be real. The podcast is about real conversations with real people and real numbers from behind closed doors. So I’m not always perfect on these things. We’re going to put that in and we put it in and you can hear me lose my temper, and I apologized. But I remember that one. I also remember an episode where the husband wrote me a letter in all caps and he said, please help me. My wife of 21 years is about to divorce me because she says I’m cheap and he had a net worth of $13 million. He would only fly economy. His wife spent two weeks finding the right mattresses for their kids and then he said, no, that’s too expensive. Just this lack of trust. But it was quite amazing listening to why. Why can someone make millions of dollars and still feel scared about money? I actually think that shakes a lot of people because a lot of people believe deep down once I have X dollars, I’ll stop feeling bad about money, and you will never stop feeling bad. It’s not a number. It’s a feeling. It’s your money psychology. I’ve another guy who made $8 million, and he would compare the price of strawberries. Why? Why? Because as you make more money, it doesn’t magically change your feelings about it. Well, I appreciate you listening to it. Do you know why I started the podcast? 

Elsie: I want to know. 

Ramit: You were telling me for a long time, do a podcast. I was like I want to but I have no ideas. I don’t want to just sit around interviewing. I’m not that good at it. I don’t really enjoy it. So I thought back to when my wife and I started talking about money when we were engaged. We really started having these conversations. In fact, we were talking about signing a prenup and it was really difficult. I went online, and I’m like how to talk about a prenup. All the advice out there was so generic, it was like have the conversation. I’m like, what conversation? Literally, what am I supposed to say? I wish that I could listen in to other couples, but you can’t. There’s no place to listen to them. So finally, out of the blue, somebody reached out on Instagram, they’re like, hey, my wife and I have $700,000 of debt, approximately. We don’t know how to deal with it. So I said, hop on Instagram Live, let’s just talk about it. We did and it was mind-blowing. That’s when I realized, I want to talk to couples but the catch is I want them to share their real numbers. You and I have never heard conversations like this. 

Elsie: I’ve never heard anything like it.

Ramit: Yeah, because people don’t talk about this stuff publicly. But every couple has arguments about money. Every single couple. Every single couple has disagreements. One person’s overspend, one is cheap. One person doesn’t want to do this and the others a hardcore investor. I wanted to bring those to the surface so they’re not hidden anymore in the darkness. That’s what I hope to do with this podcast.

Elsie: Yeah, it really comes through. It’s unlike any podcast I’ve ever listened to, which is, I mean, the coolest thing about it. I think I had an idea of what kind of podcast you would make and it’s completely different. 

Ramit: So what did you think I was gonna do? 

Elsie: I think I thought it would be like, like, the Smart Passive Income or something like, I don’t know, like, just a regular money podcast. I love that podcast. I did not think it would be like the one-on-one conversations and I don’t know how much time it takes for you to get people to be so honest but whatever it is, it’s worth it.

Ramit: Thank you. 

Elsie: Alright, so how can we follow you?

Ramit: Okay, you can follow me on social. I’m @ramit on Instagram, @ramit on Twitter. You can follow me on my newsletter, where I talk about a lot of this stuff in more detail, specifically, money psychology, you can go to, to sign up.

Elsie: Awesome. Okay, thank you so much Ramit. 

Emma: Let’s do a few listener questions before we go. So these are things that we got asked and we forgot to answer on our St. Louis trip. So we’re doing it now. First one was, do you deal with social anxiety and then follow up is do you have advice for dealing socially? 

Elsie: So I do have like pretty bad social anxiety and it does affect my life. It’s one of the things I work on in therapy and it is pretty annoying. So for me, the thing that I find helpful is to basically define for myself in advance if this is a thing that I can skip at the last minute, or if this is a thing that I absolutely cannot skip. I think having those parameters helps me because I kind of want to skip everything. If it’s going to a place that’s crowded, especially if I have to go without like my comfort zone, which would be having Emma or Jeremy with me. If I have to go by myself to a crowded place like a party, it’s very difficult for me. Yeah, deciding is this something that I can skip or is it something where I can go there and be for 20 minutes or 30 minutes, and I don’t have to stay all night, things like that. I think it’s, for me, at least a permanent struggle. But I think that just knowing how much I have to do, like what’s the bare minimum is helpful for me. Sometimes you arrive somewhere and you’re having so much fun and you meet someone who you click with, and then you want to be there and it changes instantly and then sometimes it doesn’t and I leave early. I mean, I hope that that’s normal. I don’t know.

Emma: No, I think it’s very normal. I don’t know if I get social anxiety but I definitely get anxious to be around new people sometimes, or I’ll feel like, well, I guess for me, I start playing the role in my head of all the weird things people have said about us over the years on the internet. And I think, oh, what if this new person I’m meeting is thinking this stuff, right now. They’re thinking that I’m, whatever, XYZ all the mean things people say. Sometimes I really gotta quiet that and shut that down and just kind of be like, number one, very unlikely that’s happening. Number two, if it is it’s not my problem. It’s their problem. I think that’s a hard stance to take but you know, there it is. This is a little dorky but it is what I do. So if I’m going somewhere, and I’m going to be around people that maybe I don’t know that well and that’s usually more what will spike my nervousness. I’m like, I don’t know what I’m going to talk about. What if they asked me a question, and I don’t really know, like when people are like, what do you do for a living? I’m always like, oh boy, because it’s just like, a lot to explain. I’m like, are you even interested? I don’t know if I can explain this in an interesting way. So what I’ll do is, before I head out, I’ll kind of in my head, try to remind myself, look, there’s probably a lot of people who are going to be there, or this other couple you’re meeting with or whatever they might feel as nervous as you are. So how about you just make it your goal to say one really encouraging thing to someone tonight. That’s just it, and then I focus on that. Then if I do that, then I consider the night of success. So if anything else goes weird, or there’s like a moment where I’m standing by myself, and it’s awkward, I’m like, you know what, I said that one encouraging thing to that person and I really meant it. I thought through what they were saying to me, I asked them some questions. I really tried to say something helpful. That’s success. That’s it. That’s all I got. I move on with my life because it’s like, well, there you go. 

Elsie: Yep. That definitely gets my stamp of approval. 

Emma: Okay, next question was, will there be a Halloween special this year? 

Elsie: So last year, we did a Christmas special and we promised everyone we would do Halloween special. 

Emma: Did we? No, we did.

Elsie: I think we made a big deal about it. So I’m proud to say we have already booked our week of shooting in August, and we are going to shoot Halloween and Christmas but we are going to do it differently. We’re gonna do a different format this year. We’re trying to just improve on our experiences and learnings from last year. So we’ll have to wait and see how it all rolls out. But we are making a ton of really cute videos for the Halloween and holiday season. It’s gonna be fun is our favorite time of year by a lot. 

Emma: Okay. Third question is how do you manage all the hard news and do you have a self care strategy? 

Elsie: I think that this is just an ongoing thing that we’re always going to be learning our whole lives. As far as managing the hard news, honestly, I just talked to my husband, Jeremy and I talked to Emma, and I let myself feel sad. If there are things we can do to help, and sometimes there are and sometimes there aren’t like things you can donate to, then I think that’s great, too. If there’s something we can do in our own community, that’s always the best but there’s not always.

Emma: Yeah, there’s not always sometimes it’s like a bigger thing that you’re like, well, how do I even help with that? One thing I’ll do is, and we talked about this in a previous episode, but limiting my time on my phone. It’s not me saying be uninformed, totally tune out. Never look at the news. No, that’s not really my point. My point is more to say, for each of us, we have a certain capacity, and we have lots of things in our lives, we have to take care of ourselves, take care of our families, do our jobs, and whatever is in your life and we only have so much capacity. So if you realize you’re reaching yours, and I often realize I reach mine, especially emotionally. For me, that’s a time to get rid of the phone because I am going to see something that’s probably going to make me go over my emotional capacity, and I just can’t really do that I need to take care of myself. The other thing I was gonna say is I kind of like set a timer for my feelings. I don’t literally set a timer but what I mean is I’ll kind of look at the clock and be like, okay, you can have, you know, five minutes or 10 minutes to just feel angry or scared or whatever it is that I’m feeling. Sometimes I’ll do this on a walk too. I know that like, oh, I’m gonna walk down this block and then backup this block or whatever. So I’ll be like, alright, this whole block, go ahead and rage as much as you want, feel as sad as you feel. There are times I’m on a walk and I’m crying. It’s like rolling down my face, tears, because I just give myself the space to be like, I have some feelings about this. Usually it’s a lot of like fear and sadness but sometimes I’m feeling a little rage. It’s not like, you know, timer goes off and you’re not allowed to feel anymore. It’s not so much that. It’s just for me, I can kind of spiral and spiral and then I’ll get to the end of my day and feel like I didn’t get as much done as I wanted at work or I wasn’t as present with Oscar, or I didn’t spend at least part of my walk thinking about what I’m grateful for in my life right now, which exist at the same time as feeling sad or angry about something. Those things can coexist and it doesn’t mean that you’re being fake so I think that for me is a part of it is kind of quote-unquote setting a timer on my feelings to both give them space and also not let them take over.

Elsie: Sometimes a little bit of crying is just as good as a lot of crying.

Emma: Yeah, does the same body thing that it’s gonna do and it’s one will save you a lot of time though. Okay and then the fourth and final question is pros and cons of having bangs. They’re thinking about it. I don’t have bangs so this is all Elsie. So what are they all, Elsie, a pros and cons. 

Elsie: All right, so Emma has had bangs before. 

Emma: I hate them con con con for me. 

Elsie: I know so many people who think that they’re just a burden in your life but I’ve mostly always had them. So pros and cons. Well, the pro, I would say that they, for some people, they’re cute and they look good. 

Emma: Yeah, definitely. 

Elsie: Like I’m one of those people. Whenever I cut my bangs, people all of a sudden are giving me more compliments and just generally seem more like into how I look. So they work for some faces and I think for some people, it also like, I feel like the whole eyebrow trend of the 2020s. You know how it’s been like, people put a lot of work into their eyebrows. I feel like I don’t have to put that much work into my eyebrows because I have bangs which I love. I also don’t get Botox on my forehead because I don’t care. I almost did once and the lady was like, why do you care because you have bangs. I was like, you know what, you’re right, I don’t care. Yeah, I would say those are the main pros. And the con. For me the biggest con is I had to learn to cut them myself. For me, I’m a type seven and a creative person. They’re just not consistent. I can’t get them exactly the same every time. My hair grows really fast so I do have to cut them more than once a month. So I could not go to a professional every time I do that. It’s just not realistic for my schedule. So yeah, the cons are learning to cut them and then the other con obviously is like getting greasy bangs. So I am one of those people with the jelly donut face when I go to sleep. I put all the skincare products on, zillion step rountine and I love it, it brings me joy. That can obviously make your freshly washed bangs not last as long. So yeah, overall, I think it’s a small commitment. I think everyone should have bangs once in their life just to see if they like it or not, especially if it’s something that you think is cute. A lot of people also think they’re not cute, which I can’t help you with that. 

Emma: I think they’re cute.

Elsie: I understand that there are more maintenance than not having them. But for me, it’s just how my face was born so I can’t change it. I’ll probably always have them. 

Emma: I felt that it just didn’t look good on me. Then also I definitely have greasy skin and then also jelly donut skincare. So it just was too much for me so I didn’t like them. I don’t know, I’m just a lazy person. So really, my aesthetic is like what works for being pretty lazy. Here we are. 

Elsie: Well don’t get them if you don’t really want them. Okay, so we will be back next week with our final episode of spring. We’ll be sharing our summer reading list as well as our summer bucket list so it’s gonna be a fun episode. Be absolutely for sure that you are subscribed to the podcast before our break because we are going to have two months off for our summer break and we don’t want you to miss it when we come back just because you fall out of the routine. So yeah, we’re very grateful for your support, make sure you’re subscribed, and we will be back next week.

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