Summary- I Will Teach You to Be Rich, Second Edition - Ramit Sethi

Summary- I Will Teach You to Be Rich, Second Edition - Ramit Sethi

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Here are the key highlights from the additional praise for Ramit Sethi and I Will Teach You to Be Rich:

• Ramit Sethi's writing style appeals to young people and takes a no-nonsense approach to personal finance. His advice is practical and actionable.

• I Will Teach You to Be Rich is a highly recommended book for learning how to build wealth. It provides knowledge and discipline in an easy-to-understand way.

• The book's advice is straightforward and beginner-friendly. It focuses on managing money through saving, spending consciously, and automating finances.

• Readers have used the book to pay off debt, increase their income, open high-interest saving and investment accounts, improve their credit, and build sizable nest eggs. The strategies in the book have led to life-changing financial success and stability for many.

• The book debunks common myths about personal finance and investing. It shows that you don't need a financial advisor to invest and build wealth. With a basic knowledge and the right strategies, anyone can become affluent in the long run.

• The overall philosophy of the book is that by optimizing essential parts of your financial life like banking, credit cards, saving, and investing, you can gain control of your money and spend on the things that matter to you without guilt. This approach leads to a "rich life."

That covers the main highlights and takeaways from the additional praise for the book and author. Let me know if you want me to explain or expand on any summary part.

  • Allocation and investing for the long-term is more important than chasing hot stocks.

  • The FIRE movement focuses on retiring early by saving aggressively and investing.

  • In investing, you can choose either convenience (using robo-advisors and target date funds) or control (picking your stocks and managing your portfolio).

  • Many investment options include stocks, bonds, ETFs, crypto, etc. It would help if you chose what's suitable for your needs and risk tolerance.

  • To maintain and grow your financial system, keep contributing money, ignore the hype, rebalance your accounts, have the proper tax perspective, know when to sell investments, and consider giving back.

  • Managing personal finance in relationships involves discussions around student loans, helping indebted parents, talking to your partner about money, considering prenups, paying for weddings, negotiating salary, buying cars, buying a home vs. renting, and planning for future big purchases.

  • The author admits three mistakes in the original book: not covering emotions around money, being too overbearing in the advice, and specifying banks' interest rates, which quickly became outdated.

  • The new edition corrects these mistakes, adds new tools/options, covers new scenarios, and shares stories from readers. The core techniques still work though.

  • The author has also changed in the ten years since the original book by getting married, growing his business, and learning more about personal finance and psychology.

The summary outlines the key topics, concepts, and frameworks covered in the book to maintain and improve your financial life over the long run based on the author's updated perspectives and experience. The core message remains taking it slow, maintaining a long-term outlook, and choosing what specifically works for your unique situation and goals.

  • Most people gain weight after college due to eating more and exercising less. The same behaviors apply to how people manage their money - they spend more than they realize and don't track their finances.

  • Managing money and losing weight are very similar. People prefer to debate minor details rather than take action. They feel this absolves them from actually having to do anything.

  • There are many reasons why managing money is hard for people:

  1. Information overload: More information leads to decision paralysis and people do something.

  2. The media prioritizes pageviews and stoking rage over providing helpful information. Most financial articles aren't useful for changing behavior.

  3. The rise of victim culture: Some people complain about their situation rather than trying to improve it. They compete over who has it worse and don't take responsibility.

  • The keys to managing your money well are: start investing early, know where your money is going, automate as much as possible, and don't become an expert. It would help if you took action.

  • The author refuses to indulge people's complaints about why they can't save or invest anything. Their excuses are misguided and end up costing them a lot. Even keeping a small amount can make a big difference.

Does this summary accurately represent the selected introduction's key highlights and main takeaways? Let me know if you want me to clarify or expand the resume in any way.

Here are the fundamental beliefs and messages conveyed in the passage:


  • Focus on what you can control rather than external factors you can't control. Don't adopt a "victim mentality."

  • Taking action and working hard to improve your situation is more critical than complaining.

  • Average investment returns are good and there's no need to try to beat the market constantly.

  • Excuses like lack of education, fear of losing money, or not knowing where to find extra money can be overcome.

Key messages:

  1. Take small steps and get started rather than being paralyzed by too many choices or trying to craft the perfect plan.

  2. The most significant barrier to managing your money well is yourself and your excuses or lack of action. Take responsibility and make a change.

  3. Focus on using your money to enable the life you want rather than making money the end goal itself.

  4. Automate your money management as much as possible so your accounts and financial life work together without constant effort or fear.

  5. Invest regularly and for the long-term to substantially grow your money over time regardless of market ups and downs.

  6. Reduce financial anxiety and "money guilt" by simplifying your approach and understanding barriers that hold you back. Then overcome them.

The overall message is that you can improve your financial situation by changing your mindset and habits, automating critical parts of your money management, and taking concrete action. Do small things consistently; you can build wealth and financial security over time without becoming an expert.

  • Focus on the big wins that will have a disproportionate impact, like automating your savings, finding the right job, and negotiating your salary. Get the big things right, and the small indulgences won't matter.

  • Investing should be boring but profitable over the long run. Stay calm by day-to-day changes.

  • You can only cut so much, but there's no limit to how much you can earn. Spending control matters, but at some point, your income growth becomes exponential.

  • Listen to advice from friends and family but stick to your plan.

  • Have a framework for evaluating spending, e.g., if you're considering buying a book, buy it without overthinking. The new ideas are worth the cost.

  • Beware of chasing "advanced" tips and ignore the basics. Keep things simple and consistent.

  • Take control of your finances. No one is coming to rescue you. You can build the life you want.

  • Be willing to live differently from others. Once the money isn't holding you back, design the life you want.

  • Live outside the spreadsheet. Automate your money management, then focus on what matters, like relationships.

The key messages are: Focus on the big, high-impact wins. Keep things simple. Take control of your life and make choices to live differently in a way that's meaningful to you. You can achieve financial security and life fulfillment with the right mindset and habits.

Here's a summary:

  • The author argues that most investing advice makes things too complicated. Simple, long-term investing works best for most people.

  • The book provides a six-week program to set up the necessary accounts and develop good habits. The topics include: optimizing credit cards, choosing the correct bank accounts, investing in a 401(k) and Roth IRA, automating finances, and selecting an investment portfolio.

  • In the first chapter, the author shows how to maximize rewards from credit cards and pay off debt. Most media stories use scare tactics about debt that make people feel helpless and not take action. But if used responsibly, credit cards provide many benefits like rewards, short-term loans, spending tracking, insurance, and credit score building. The key is paying the total monthly bills to avoid interest charges.

  • The author believes credit cards should be considered. With good management, their advantages can be gained without the risks of debt or overspending. The middle ground is using credit cards regularly but paying them off monthly.

The author wants you to stop avoiding credit cards and use them responsibly to benefit from them. Using credit cards strategically can improve your credit score, get perks like cash back and travel benefits, and save money. The author shares examples of people using credit card points for free flights and hotel stays.

While student loan debt gets much negative attention, college degrees are usually worth the investment. The average bachelor's degree holder earns over $1 million more than those with just a high school diploma. However, some students were misled into degrees that won't pay off. With a reasonable repayment plan, student loan debt can be paid off faster than expected.

Most people need to improve at managing their finances and debt. Some don't even know how much they owe. The author wants to show you how to "win" at personal finance by playing offense instead of defense. In 3.5 years, one reader paid off $14K in credit card debt and $8K in student loans. Another opened retirement accounts funded them and improved their credit score.

The author calls out bad banks like Bank of America for mistreating customers. He doesn't make deals with or promote banks and calls out the best and worst for readers. Bank of America hates the author for calling them one of the worst banks.

Your credit, which includes your credit report and score, is vital to building wealth. Good credit can save you tens of thousands of dollars on major purchases through lower interest rates. Your credit report shows your accounts and payment history. Your credit score (FICO score) ranges from 300 to 850, indicating your credit risk. Higher is better. Credit scores are calculated based on the following:

  • Payment history (35%): How reliably you pay bills. Late payments hurt your score.

  • Amounts owed (30%): How much you owe and your credit utilization rate. Lower is better.

  • Length of credit history (15%): The longer, the better. It shows you're reliable.

  • New credit (10%): Older accounts are better. New accounts lower your score.

  • Credit mix (10%): Varied types of credit (credit cards, loans) are better.

Check your credit report annually for free and credit score for a fee to monitor your credit. Good credit can save you a lot over time, like tens of thousands on a mortgage. While others spend time on small savings and focus on big wins like your credit.

Here's a summary:

Credit scores have a significant impact on interest rates and how much you end up paying for big purchases like mortgages. For example, someone with a credit score of 660-679 could end up paying over $381,000 for a $200,000 mortgage, compared to $355,000 for someone with an excellent score of 760 or higher.

The author made some mistakes with credit cards early on, like using them to avoid overdraft fees and missing payments. He wishes he had understood how credit cards can help build credit. Using credit cards responsibly by making on-time payments is one of the best ways to build credit.

When choosing a new credit card, focus on rewards and perks, not retail store cards, which often have high-interest rates and fees. Cashback cards are a simple, straightforward option. Do some research to find the best cards for your spending habits. If you spend thousands per month, paying an annual fee for a premium card can be worth it. But run the numbers to make sure.

Only apply for a few new cards at a time. Two or three cards are a good rule of thumb. Each new card adds complexity, and too many credit applications in a short period can hurt your score.

The author shares the credit cards he uses to maximize rewards, especially for high-spending months. The choices come down to the following:

  1. Am I maximizing rewards for my spending levels?

  2. How should I handle significant one-time expenses to maximize points?

  3. When does using a cashback card versus a travel rewards card make sense?

With some research and optimization, you can earn thousands of dollars in rewards and perks each year by choosing the right credit cards for your needs. But start slowly, open only a few new cards at a time, and always spend responsibly by paying balances on time.

Travel credit cards versus cash back cards: • Travel cards: Maximize rewards like frequent flyer miles or hotel points. Only valid if you use the travel rewards. Usually have annual fees. Examples: Chase Sapphire Preferred and Amex Platinum.

• Cash back cards: Give you cash back on all your spending. Typically no annual fee. The cashback can be redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, or direct deposit into your bank account. Examples: Chase Freedom Unlimited and Citi Double Cash.

Key things to consider:

• Pay your bill on time every month. This is the most critical thing for your credit.

• Try to get fees waived, like annual fees. If not, consider switching to a no-fee card.

• Negotiate a lower APR if possible. Only matters if you carry a balance, but worth trying.

• Keep your main credit cards open for as long as possible. But also keep things simple — don't open more cards than you need.

• Consider closing old unused cards if you have too many. Having lots of new credit cards can be risky and complicate your finances.

• Main types of rewards:

› Travel: Miles, hotel points › Cash back: Straight cash, statement credits, gift cards › Other: Purchase rebates, entertainment, dining

• Decide if you prefer travel rewards, cash back, or both. Choose cards that match your spending and needs.

• Look for valuable perks like travel insurance, airport lounge access, and bonus reward categories. But only if the annual fee (if any) is worth it for you.

• You can combine travel, cash back, and other cards to maximize your rewards. But keep things simple and manageable.

Does this help summarize the key points about choosing and optimizing credit cards? Let me know if you have any other questions!

Here's a summary:

• Closing an old credit card will typically not hurt your credit score in the long run if you have a good payment history and credit. For most people, 2-3 cards are sufficient. Close unused cards to simplify your finances.

• If you miss a credit card payment, call your card company immediately. Ask if it will affect your credit score. If not, request to have any late fees waived, citing that it was a one-time mistake. Be polite but firm. Many companies will waive the fee if asked, especially for long-time customers.

• Only request a credit limit increase if you have no debt and pay on time. A higher limit improves your credit utilization ratio, which makes up 30% of your score. Call and request an increase every 6-12 months.

• Take advantage of your credit card's rewards and perks like cash back, travel rewards, warranty extensions, rental car insurance, trip cancellation coverage, and concierge service. Call your card company for a full list of benefits.

• Track all calls to financial companies like credit card issuers in a spreadsheet. Note the date, time, representative's name, ID number, and discussion details. Referring to previous calls and representatives by name gives you more leverage when disputing fees or charges.

The key takeaways are: ke Keep credit by paying on time and limiting unused cards; k. Know how to get fees waived, and limits increased to optimize your score; m. Maximizeizet card rewards and benefits; a. Meticulouslyinteractions with card companies to strengthen your position. Res on ib e credit card use can provide many valuable perks and protections.

• Most people have debt, especially credit card and student loan debt. • We know paying off debt is important, but psychological factors often prevent us from doing it. • Common "invisible money scripts" around debt include:

  • Comparing ourselves to others in worse situations to feel better ("At least I don't have as much debt as Michelle.”)

  • Rationalizing small purchases because the debt seems insurmountably large ("$100 is just a drop in the bucket.”)

  • Normalizing interest charges as just another fee ("Paying interest is just like any other fee.”)

  • Blaming credit card companies rather than taking responsibility for our spending ("These credit card companies just try to trap people.”)

• Mastering your psychology around money is critical to overcoming debt. Knowledge alone is not enough.

• Possible solutions include:

  • Recognizing and challenging invisible money scripts when they arise

  • Making a realistic payoff plan, starting with consistent small steps

  • Stopping new charges and paying more than the minimum

  • Consider consolidating high-interest debts

  • Seeking counseling or coaching if needed

  • Rebuilding your relationship with money through better habits and mindfulness

The summary outlines the key problems around debt psychology and possible solutions for overcoming debt by gaining control of your financial mindset and behavior. The core message is that more than knowledge is insufficient; you must work on your underlying money beliefs and habits.

  • People often blame external factors like credit card companies for their debt instead of taking personal responsibility. Until people take responsibility for their decisions, credit card companies will remain a "convenient enemy."

  • Over 75% of people in debt need to learn how much they owe. Knowing the amount of debt and planning to pay it off gives people power and control over their situation.

  • Common "invisible scripts" people tell themselves about debt include: "I'm just trying to do my best," meaning they have no control over their finances; "I don't even know how much I owe," indicating they are avoiding the problem; and "This is the surrendering of responsibility for personal decisions," showing they are blaming others.

  • Paying off student loan debt is difficult, but paying even $50-$100 more monthly can save thousands in interest and years of payments. People should call their lenders to explore options like extending the payoff timeline or lowering interest rates.

  • Internet commenters often complain about their inability to save money or invest but have never tried. The stock market has historically returned 8% annually, and people can start saving and investing even with small amounts like $20 per month.

  • Credit card debt accumulates gradually due to undisciplined spending and a lack of a plan. People feel intense guilt over their credit card debt but avoid educating themselves on how to solve the problem. The solution lies in planning to pay off the debt and taking disciplined steps to reduce spending and pay more each month.

  • Credit card companies take advantage of uninformed consumers with bad spending habits. People should stop blaming companies and take personal responsibility for their choices.

Credit card companies have become adept at getting people to spend more money and carry balances. Many people only pay the minimum amount due each month, which means high-interest charges accumulate, and it can take years to pay off the debt. The key is to pay off the balance each month to avoid fees and interest charges.

If you find yourself in credit card debt, here are some steps to pay it off:

  1. Figure out how much you owe. Call each credit card company and get the total balance for each card. Put this information into a spreadsheet so you know exactly how much debt you have.

  2. Stop using your credit cards. Cut up your cards or freeze them in ice to avoid future spending. Only spend what you can afford to pay off each month.

  3. Make a budget and spending plan. Track your income and expenses to find areas where you can cut costs. Look for ways to increase your revenue. Create a realistic budget and spending plan.

  4. Pay off high-interest debts first. Make minimum payments on all debts but focus extra charges on high-interest credit cards first. Pay as much as you can above the minimum.

  5. Pay fixed amounts above the minimum. Paying an extra $20 or $50 above the minimum payment can reduce the time it takes to pay off the debt and save on interest charges. Set up automatic payments for at least the minimum amount due.

Paying off debt aggressively can save thousands in interest charges over time. Make paying off credit card debt a priority and stick to a plan to become debt-free. The emotional and financial benefits of being debt-free are well worth the short-term sacrifices.

Here's a summary:

  • List all your debts, including the balances, APRs, and minimum payments. Organize the debts by either the highest APR (standard method) or the lowest ratio (snowball method) to determine how to pay them off.

  • Call your credit card companies to try to negotiate lower APRs. This can save you money if successful. Follow a suggested script to increase your chances.

  • Decide where the money will come from to pay off the debt. Balance transfers, 401(k) withdrawals, and home equity lines of credit are not recommended. Reducing spending and prioritizing debt payments is the best approach.

  • Get started paying off your debt as soon as possible. Take action instead of overanalyzing the situation. You can fine-tune your plan over time.

  • Paying off debt provides freedom of choice and security. Learn from your mistakes and commit to living within your means in the future. Establish a strict budget, reduce spending and set up automatic debt payments.

  • Check your credit report and score. Make sure there are no errors. If needed, apply for a no-fee credit card. Set up automatic payments and get any fees waived. Monitor your credit and apply for credit limit increases if you manage your spending responsibly.

  • Take action in the first week by checking your credit, setting up automatic payments, determining your payoff plan, and making your first accelerated debt payment. Continue monitoring, adjusting, and paying off your debt over time.

• Banks routinely mistreat customers by levying unnecessary fees. Examples include overdraft fees, account maintenance fees, etc. • Big Banks like Wells Fargo have been caught committing fraud against customers, like opening fake accounts to generate fees. • Banks generate most of their profits from fees, not lending money. Overdraft fees alone generated $34 billion for banks in 2017. • One solution is to choose better banks that don't charge predatory fees and have a track record of good customer service. Some recommended banks include Schwab, Ally, and credit unions. • Another solution is negotiating with your current bank to waive fees, set up overdraft protection, and minimize charges. Getting banks to reverse fees is possible if you call them out. • The bottom line is that you must go on offense against the big banks, choose alternative banks where possible, and don't tolerate unnecessary charges. Take control of your accounts.

Here's a summary:

  • Bank fees matter more than interest rates for most people. -$1,000 in an account with 1% higher interest is only $10 per year more. A single overdraft fee is $30 or more.

  • Bank of America and Wells Fargo frequently add new fees that anger customers, especially those with lower balances.

  • The hassle of changing banks prevents many people from switching, even though they hate their bank. They have had accounts at the bank for a long time or have multiple interpretations.

  • However, those who switch to recommended banks like Schwab love the service and lower fees.

  • Checking accounts for frequent transactions, withdrawals, and bill payments. Savings accounts are for longer-term goals and pay marginally higher interest.

  • Having your checking and savings accounts at different banks is best. This psychology encourages saving by separating where you withdraw and deposit money. It also allows for using the best bank for each account.

  • The interest earned in a savings account is nearly meaningless for most. Focus on setting up the funds, then move on to more important money matters like investing. Don't worry about optimizing tiny interest rates.

  • Having savings and checking accounts, even with little money, builds the habit of saving and managing your money well. This habit will benefit you for life as your income and wealth grow.

According to the author, that covers the key highlights of strategies for choosing and using checking and savings accounts. Let me know if you want me to clarify or expand on any summary part.

Here's a summary:

  • It's best to build good financial habits when you have little money. That way, when you have more money, you'll know how to manage it properly.

  • Choose bank accounts that match your personality and needs. The options are:

  • Basic: Checking and savings account at a local bank. Simple but sufficient.

  • Basic + Optimization: No-fee checking at a local bank and high-yield online savings account. Get the convenience of a local bank plus higher interest.

  • Advanced + Optimization: Multiple accounts at different banks to maximize interest and features. Complicated but can be rewarding for some.

  • The author uses multiple accounts for different purposes that automatically transfer money between each other. His system is based on a monthly cycle.

  • When choosing bank accounts, consider trust, convenience, and features. Avoid banks that nickel-and-dime you or upsell you to expensive bills. Look for no-fee, no-minimum options.

  • Credit unions are nonprofit and member-owned but have squandered opportunities to provide good services and options for customers. They should focus more on explaining their ownership model.

  • Watch out for common bank marketing tricks like teaser rates, minimum balance requirements, upselling, and bundling useless products. Please don't fall for them.

  • A good bank should be convenient, with a good website and customer service. It should have competitive interest rates and free features like transfers, bill pay, and a useful app.

Here's a summary:

  • Don't switch bank accounts to chase slightly higher interest rates. It's usually not worth the hassle for a slight difference in rates. Find a version you like and stick with it.

  • The author recommends Schwab Bank Investor Checking and Capital One 360 Savings. They have no fees, no minimums, reimburse ATM fees, and offer high-interest rates.

  • Look for checking and savings accounts at major online banks like Ally, Marcus, and American Express. Avoid big banks like Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

  • Optimize any accounts you have by calling your bank to negotiate fee waivers and lower or remove minimum balance requirements. You have leverage as an existing customer, so use it.

  • Almost all bank fees, especially monthly and overdraft fees, are negotiable. Call and ask to have them waived, reduced, or removed. Cite competitor offers and your longstanding relationship to strengthen your case.

  • If a bank says they "don't offer" no-fee accounts, don't take no for an answer. Push back by mentioning competitor deals and your years as a customer. They will likely find a way to meet your needs to keep you happy.

  • Banks charge overdraft fees if you spend more money than you have in your account. The best way to avoid these fees is to keep enough cash cushion in your account and set up automatic transfers.

  • Most banks will waive overdraft fees the first time, especially if you're a long-term customer. It's always worth calling to ask. Be persistent and have a clear goal of getting the fees waived. Point out your good history with the bank and that it was a mistake that won't happen again.

  • Other bank fees like ATM or processing fees can often also be waived by calling and asking, especially if you're a long-term customer. Banks want to keep your business, so use that to your advantage.

  • Open a free checking account with no fees or minimums. Call your existing bank to confirm your account is truly free, and they threaten to leave if they don't switch you to a free account.

  • Open an online high-yield savings account to keep part of your emergency fund. Leave enough in checking for about 1.5 months of expenses, and move the rest to savings. Even if you can only put in $30 to start, do it.

  • Now that you have the basics, it's time to start investing. Saving a little here and there needs to be more. You must put your money to work earning more than a high-yield savings account.

  • Over the long run, the stock market returns about 8% annually after accounting for inflation. Investing $1,000 at age 35 can grow to $13,705 in 30 years at an 8% return. After accounting for inflation, the same amount in a 3% savings account would only be worth $2,427.

  • Start with contributing enough to get any matching from your employer's 401(k), then open an IRA and contribute as much as possible. Even starting with $50 or $100 monthly makes a big difference over decades. The key is just getting created.

The key points the author is making are:

  1. Investing your money over the long term is crucial to building wealth and securing your financial future. However, most young people today need to invest more.

  2. There are several reasons why people don't invest:

  • They find it intimidating and overwhelming. There are many options, and knowing where to start is hard.

  • They are afraid of losing money. But in reality, not investing means losing money to inflation.

  • They need to gain knowledge and education about investing and personal finance.

  • They procrastinate and make excuses for not investing right now.

  1. Many older people would instead not start to invest earlier and save more for retirement. It's essential for young people today to learn from these mistakes and start investing as early as possible.

  2. People often have "invisible scripts" or excuses they tell themselves why they can't invest. But these scripts often reveal a need for more understanding of investing. Investing does not have to be complicated or risky if you keep fees low and take a long-term, hands-off approach.

  3. In summary, most people worry a lot about money and retirement but need to take more action to invest regularly. It's essential to prioritize investing, keep it simple, and take advantage of the power of compounding returns over time. Boring but consistent investing is the key to financial success.

Here's a summary:

  • Two-thirds of American millionaires are self-made, meaning they built their wealth over time through saving, investing, and sometimes entrepreneurship. They didn't inherit their money.

  • According to studies, most millionaires say their most significant investment gains came from consistent saving and investing over the long run, not risky bets. Small, regular amounts invested over decades can lead to life-changing sums.

  • Your net worth depends more on how much you save and invest over time, not how much you earn each year. Someone making $50K a year can end up wealthier than earning $250K if they save and invest more.

  • American culture glorifies the lifestyle of the rich but rarely shows the everyday habits that lead to building wealth. This contributes to anxiety and the belief that getting rich is mainly based on luck. But with discipline, anyone can invest and build wealth over time.

  • The solution is understanding your psychology and behaviors around money rather than just gathering more information. Change requires confronting your beliefs and habits, and deciding you want something different.

  • Investing, especially in the stock market, is the most potent way for most people to build wealth over time. Even small, regular amounts can grow into life-changing sums over decades thanks to compounding returns.

  • The "ladder of personal finance" includes steps like taking advantage of any 401(k) match, paying off debt, funding a Roth IRA, contributing more to your 401(k), opening an HSA, and taxable investment accounts. Following these steps systematically can set you up for financial success.

  • A 401(k) is a tax-advantaged retirement account many employers offer. It's a powerful way to build wealth over time through tax-deductible contributions and tax-deferred growth. Maximizing any employer match and contributing as much as possible is critical. The name is boring, but the potential impact is enormous.

Here is a summary of 401(k) retirement plans companies offer to their employees:

  • A 401(k) is a tax-advantaged retirement account. Money contributed to a 401(k) is taxed when withdrawn. This allows more money to be invested and compounded over time.

  • 401(k) contributions are automatically deducted from each paycheck. The money goes straight to the 401(k), so employees never see it in their take-home pay.

  • Many employers match a percentage of employee 401(k) contributions. This is free money that can significantly increase retirement savings.

  • 401(k)s allow automatic investing since each paycheck automatically contributes money. This makes saving easy and helps people invest money they would otherwise spend.

  • There are penalties for withdrawing money from a 401(k) before age 59 1/2, including income taxes and a 10% early withdrawal penalty. 401(k)s are meant for retirement, not short-term needs.

  • If an employee leaves a job, there are several options for their 401(k) money: roll it over to an IRA, roll it over to a new employer's 401(k), leave it with the previous employer's plan, or cash it out (not recommended due to penalties).

  • Roth 401(k)s allow after-tax contributions. Contributions to Roth 401(k)s are not tax-deductible, but withdrawals in retirement are tax-free. Roth 401(k)s have no income restrictions like Roth IRAs.

  • The main advantages of 401(k)s are using pre-tax money to invest, possible employer matches, and automatic contributions, making retirement savings easy.

  • To set up a 401(k), employees fill out paperwork with their HR department to open the account and select investment funds. They must specify a contribution amount to deduct from each paycheck, especially enough to get any available employer match.

Here's a summary:

  1. Pay off your high-interest debt like credit cards before investing for your future. Student loan debt can be paid off over time with a lower interest rate.

  2. Once your debt is under control, start investing in your retirement by contributing to an employer-matched 401(k) plan.

  3. Open a Roth IRA account with a discount brokerage like Vanguard, Charles Schwab, or Fidelity. Roth IRAs have tax benefits since you can withdraw money tax-free in retirement. Contribute as much as possible to your Roth IRA, up to $5,500 annually.

  4. When choosing a brokerage, consider minimum investments to open an account and available features. Most discount brokerages are similar, so don't sweat the slight differences. The most important thing is just opening an account and starting to invest.

  5. You can open a Roth IRA with as little as $1,000. Some brokerages like Fidelity have no minimum. Set up automatic monthly transfers into the account to meet any minimums if needed. The key is just getting started as early as possible.

  6. Treat your Roth IRA as a long-term investment. You can withdraw your contributions without penalty, but earnings should stay invested until retirement. Some exceptions exist for first-time home down payments, education, and other life events.

  7. Once you max out your Roth IRA, increase your 401(k) or other workplace retirement plan contributions. The key is saving and investing as much of your income as possible for the best chance at a comfortable retirement.

That covers the key highlights and recommendations on crushing your debt, opening and funding a Roth IRA, choosing a brokerage, and other tips for building wealth. The most critical steps are just getting started as early as possible and consistently saving and investing over time.

  • Opening an investing account should take about an hour. You can do it online or by phone. Make sure to specify you want to open a Roth IRA.

  • You can automatically link your bank account to transfer money into your investment account. Many companies waive minimum fees if you set up automatic monthly contributions of $50-$100.

  • Robo-advisors like Betterment and Wealthfront offer easy-to-use investment services for low fees. They have pros like convenience, low costs, and valuable tools. But their fees may not justify what they offer compared to low-cost firms like Vanguard.

  • The most critical choice is to start investing in the long run with low fees. The specific company you choose, like a robo-advisor or Vanguard, is a minor detail. Just pick one and get started.

  • Contribute at least $50/month to your Roth IRA to waive minimums and build the habit.

  • Once you've maxed out employer matches and Roth IRAs, you can invest more in your 401(k) (up to $19,000/year) and HSAs. These provide tax benefits.

  • Set up automatic contributions so you never even see the money.

  • Keep track of all your accounts in a password manager like LastPass.

Here's a summary:

  • The author would rather listen to Ariana Grande's remixes in hell for 10,000 years than write about health insurance. Most people dislike discussing health insurance which is why the author isn't going to focus on it.

  • Instead, the author will show you how to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars by investing in a Health Savings Account or HSA. An HSA allows you to contribute pre-tax money for qualified medical expenses. The cool thing is you can support the money in an HSA.

  • HSAs get ignored for three reasons:

  1. Anything related to insurance is boring.

  2. HSAs are only for people with high-deductible health plans, which most people need help understanding.

  3. People with HSAs must learn how to invest money to make money properly.

  • An HSA can be an excellent investment account because you contribute tax-free, get a tax deduction, and money grows tax-free. Used properly, you can earn hundreds of thousands.

  • To invest in an HSA, you need a high-deductible health plan and have completed the first few rungs of the personal finance ladder like 401(k) matching, paying off debt, and maxing out a Roth IRA.

  • How an HSA works:

  1. Contribute money to the HSA

  2. Use a debit card to pay for qualified medical expenses tax-free

  3. The real benefit is investing money in the HSA. The money grows tax-free.

  • The author provides several examples showing how an HSA offers the best tax advantages and growth potential. Contributing $3,000/year for 20 years to an HSA could yield $137,286.

  • Beyond HSAs, you can invest in other accounts like cryptocurrencies. The key is to take advantage of all options to maximize your money's growth.

  • Congratulations if you've started climbing the personal finance ladder. Even small steps, like contributing $50/month to a Roth IRA, are significant.

  • Action steps for Week 3:

  1. Open a 401(k) and contribute enough to get any employer match

  2. Develop a plan to pay off your debt

  3. Open a Roth IRA and set up automatic monthly contributions

Here's a summary:

  • The author hates budgets and budgeting because most people need to follow budgets. Instead, the author recommends creating a "Conscious Spending Plan" where you automate your savings and investing and then spend the rest guilt-free on what you want.

  • The author dispels the myth that avoiding frivolous spending makes you "cheap." It's about consciously choosing to spend on what you value. Most Americans were never taught how to do this, so they overspend on things they don't care about.

  • Saying no to things you don't care about gives you power. Saying yes to something you love gives you even more power.

  • U.S. consumer spending makes up 70% of the economy, so there's little incentive to change overspending behaviors. Social influences also drive overspending, like keeping up with well-dressed friends.

  • The key to building wealth is the mindset of "conscious spending" - lavishly spending on what you love and ruthlessly cutting costs on what you don't. Studies show millionaires spend little on suits, shoes, watches, etc.

  • The goal of conscious spending is to automate your "musts," like saving and investing. Then you can spend the rest guilt-free on what you choose. This approach leads to less overspending on things you don't care about.

The key idea is that people should spend consciously by deciding what is important to them and allocating their money accordingly, rather than paying blindly for everything. Most people need to determine what is important and end up spending reactively. Conscious spending means deciding in advance how much to spend on going out, saving, rent, etc. This leads to guilt-free spending and progress toward goals.

There are two types of spenders:

Cheap people:

  • Care only about low prices

  • Try to get the lowest price on everything

  • Their cheapness affects others

  • Are inconsiderate

  • Think short-term

Conscious spenders:

  • Care about value, not just cost

  • Get low prices on most things but will spend lavishly on priorities

  • Only affect themselves

  • Are considerate

  • Think long-term

The article gives three examples of conscious spenders:

  1. Lisa spends $5,000/year on shoes because she loves shoes. She has funded her retirement accounts and other savings, gives to charity, and has money to spend on her priorities.

  2. John spends $21,000/year going out but makes a six-figure salary. He has automated his bills and savings. Although the amount seems high, he has decided going out is essential to him and skips other expenses like vacations and home decor.

  3. Julie makes $40,000 at a nonprofit but saves $6,000/year by being frugal in other areas of her life. She maxes out her retirement accounts and travel fund, then spends guilt-free on priorities.

In summary, money does contribute to happiness and life satisfaction, especially when spent on time-saving purchases and priorities. The key is making a conscious spending plan to allocate money to the essential things in life.

The critical points in the passage are:

  1. We often make snap judgments about other people's spending based on superficial factors like their job or clothes. But a person's financial situation is not always what it seems on the surface.

  2. Despite her circumstances, Julie has prioritized saving and investing. She has been able to quit her job, start her own business, and improve her mental health due to focusing on her financial security.

  3. Hilary has a monthly income of $50,000 and realized 30% of it was going to subscriptions. She recommends the "A La Carte Method" to cut subscription spending by canceling them and paying for things as needed. This makes you more mindful of your spending and helps you pay the appropriate amount.

  4. The downside of the A La Carte Method is that it requires effort to manage your subscriptions and payments. But it can help you save money that you can reallocate to things you value.

  5. Successful savers like Matt have a plan to spend on priorities and save on the rest. They pay themselves first by automatically transferring money to savings. They spend less time worrying about money as a result.

  6. Consider the context rather than judging how others spend their money. If someone already saves plenty and splurges occasionally, that may be fine. But frequent lavish spending on a small income often needs more financial awareness.

  7. A "Conscious Spending Plan" involves allocating your income to essential fixed costs (50-60%), investments (10%), savings goals (5-10%), and guilt-free spending money (20-35%). Fixed costs include things like rent, debt payments, and utilities. The other categories allow you to save, invest in the future, and enjoy your money.

The key lessons are: Make a plan for your income. Pay yourself first by saving automatically. Be wary of overpaying for subscriptions. Consider the context before judging other people's spending. Allocate your money to the things that matter to you. Focusing on financial security and stability can reduce stress and provide more freedom and flexibility.

• The easiest way to track your spending is by looking at statements from your credit cards, bank accounts, etc. This will capture about 85% of your expenses, which is good enough. Then add 15% to account for missing costs like car repairs, medical bills, donations, etc.

• Once your expenses are tracked, subtract them from your take-home pay. The remainder is what you have left to invest, save, and spend freely. Looking at your expenses will also show areas you can cut costs.

• For long-term investing, aim to put aside at least 10% of your take-home pay. Contributions to retirement accounts like 401(k)s and IRAs count toward this 10%. Investment calculators show how much your money can grow at different contribution rates.

• For savings goals, determine how much you need to save each month based on your goals. Some examples: › Gifts for holidays/birthdays: Figure out how much you spend and save that amount each month. › Vacations: Save however much you need monthly to fund your vacations. › A wedding: Save $1,000-$2,500 per month for a $30,000-$35,000 average wedding, depending on your age. ›Buying a house: Save $1,000 per month for 5-10 years for a $300,000 house with a 20% down payment.

• The best strategy is to "cut mercilessly" on unimportant expenses so you can spend guilt-free on what really matters to you, like travel or weddings, because you've budgeted for them. Please focus on the oversized, essential items and don't feel guilty enjoying them.

• Time can work for or against you. The sooner you start saving for big goals, the less you must put aside each month. But waiting too long means saving much more each month to achieve the same goals.

Here's a summary:

  • A good rule of thumb is to save 5-10% of your take-home pay for your goals. 20-35% can be used for guilt-free spending.

  • Focus on the significant expenses that vary a lot, like eating out, travel, and clothes. Do an 80/20 analysis to find the most critical areas you overspend on.

  • To optimize spending, focus on the most significant expenses and make a measurable change. For example, call your credit card company to lower your interest rate, cancel unused subscriptions, and spend less eating out. These big wins will make a more significant difference than minor changes.

  • Set realistic goals. Stay from zero to 100 overnight. Start slow and build up gradually. It's better to do less but sustainably rather than burn out quickly by being too ambitious. For example, start by exercising just once a week instead of three times. You can build up from there.

  • Getting help from others, using investment money for other goals, and theoretical solutions will only sometimes solve the underlying issues. It's best to create a solid plan that addresses the root causes of overspending. A conscious spending plan helps make your money go where you want it to.

  • Monitoring your spending, adjusting as needed, and making targeted improvements will help optimize your plan. Stay on top of the numbers, look for trends, and change the required areas. The key is a system alerting you when something needs fixing.

  • Many valuable tools to help manage your finances, like Mint, You Need a Budget, Personal Capital, and Bankrate calculators. These provide an overview of your spending, let you create budgets, track investments, and run scenarios.

Does this summary accurately reflect the key points? Let me know if you want me to clarify or expand on any summary part.

The key idea is that making small, sustainable changes is the key to success in personal finance and habit change. Going from one extreme to another is unrealistic, and the changes usually only last a while. It's better to make incremental changes over time by identifying your "big wins" - areas where you spend a lot but know you can cut back.

For example, if you spend $500 monthly eating out, cut that by $25 monthly. In 6 months, you'll have cut that spending in half sustainably. Apply this approach to other areas, saving hundreds per month.

The "envelope system" is a simple tool to help with this. Decide how much you want to spend in each budget category and put that cash in envelopes. Once the money is gone, you can't pay more in that category for the month. This helps build awareness and discipline.

Some people legitimately don't make enough to cut more from their budget. In that case, the focus needs to be on earning more money through:

  1. Negotiate a raise by becoming a top performer, demonstrating your value, and practicing the conversation.

  2. Developing skills or a side hustle to increase your income. Things like driving for Uber, online surveys, freelancing, etc.

  3. Reducing enormous fixed costs like rent by moving to a more affordable place or getting a roommate. This frees up more of your income for essentials and savings.

The key is taking action and starting small. Don't make unrealistic changes but build better habits and increase your income over time through continuous progress. Success comes from sustained effort rather than overnight shifts.

  • Ask your boss for a 15-minute meeting to discuss becoming a top performer. In the session, discuss your key areas of responsibility and how you can improve each site. Get specific feedback and goals from your boss.

  • Develop an aggressive but achievable 6-month plan to meet those goals. Ask your boss if achieving those goals would qualify you as a top performer. Update your boss regularly on your progress.

  • Two months before asking for a raise, meet again with your boss to review your progress. Ask what you can improve. Mention you want to discuss compensation in a month. Ask what to prepare.

  • Ask coworkers to put in a good word for you with your boss. Provide specific examples of your impact and results.

  • Practice negotiating with friends. Be ready to address objections like "You didn't hit your goals" or "I didn't agree to a raise." Come prepared with performance data, current salary, and competitive salaries. Ask to be compensated fairly as a top performer.

  • If you get the raise, great! If not, ask what you need to do to advance or consider finding another job.

  • Other ways to increase your income include:

  • Quickly calculate your approximate hourly rate or annual salary. Use this to determine if purchases are "worth" the work hours required.

  • Looking for a higher-paying job. You have the most leverage to negotiate salary during the hiring process.

  • Doing freelance work in your spare time using skills and interests you already have. Drive for Uber, do virtual assistance, tutor, walk dogs, etc. Many possibilities exist.

  • Leveraging your expertise. Email companies that could benefit from your skills and offer to help them, e.g., by rewriting their website copy. This could lead to consulting work.

  • Maintaining your spending plan takes time and practice. Don't flip out over small mistakes. Make tracking your spending a weekly priority.

  • Account for known irregular expenses like gifts or vacations by saving a little each month towards those costs. For unknown costs, add a buffer to your fixed costs and start an "unexpected expenses" fund.

  • When you get extra or unexpected income, use some for fun but save the majority. When you get a raise, increase your standard of living a little but keep most of the extra money.

  • A conscious spending plan gives you freedom from guilt over your spending and makes it easier to say no. Follow your plan and spend without worry.

  • Automating your money management will generate wealth over time with little effort. The steps to automate:

  1. Get your income and determine your conscious spending plan allocations (fixed costs, investing, saving, guilt-free spending).

  2. Optimize your plan by evaluating expenses and setting savings goals. Look for ways to cut $200/month.

  3. Pick one or two "big wins" to target, like reducing utility bills or dining out. Use the envelope system.

  4. Maintain your plan by recording all cash transactions, tweaking percentages, and ensuring the project is realistic so you'll stick to it.

  5. Automate the plan by linking accounts so each dollar is allocated automatically to the proper category. Automation generates wealth over time with little maintenance needed.

Here's a summary:

  • The author argues for automating your finances to save time and ensure your money is being distributed correctly. Manual budgeting and money management require constant effort; most people must do it more consistently.

  • By spending some time upfront to set up an automated system, you can benefit for years without managing your money regularly. This allows you to focus on enjoying life rather than worrying about finances.

  • The "Curve of Doing More Before Doing Less" means doing more work now to set up the system in order to do less work managing your money in the future. Although it may take a few hours to set up, it will save many hours over time.

  • Relying on "defaults" and automation helps overcome our tendency towards laziness and inaction. Automating savings and bill payments will continue even if you need to remember or feel like managing your money.

  • The "Next $100" concept involves deciding how the next $100 you earn will be allocated according to your spending plan before receiving it. For example, $60 to fixed costs, $10 to investing, $10 to savings, and $20 to guilt-free spending. Automating this process allows the money to be distributed to the correct accounts without your ongoing effort.

  • The author's friend Michelle automated most of her finances. 5% of her paycheck goes to her 401(k), 5% to a Roth IRA, 1% to a wedding fund, 2% to a house down payment fund, and 2% to an emergency fund. Most bills are paid automatically. She only spends about an hour a month managing her now mostly automated finances.

In summary, the key message is that automating your finances through automatic bill payments, automated savings contributions, and an automated "money flow" allocation of incoming money to different accounts is the best approach for most people to save time and achieve financial goals. Spending a few hours upfront to set up the system leads to managing your finances quickly and efficiently in the future.

Here's a summary:

  • Michelle budgets her discretionary spending each month by setting alerts in her financial software to notify her if she exceeds her spending limits.

  • She keeps $500 in her checking account as a buffer. If she overspends, she transfers money from her savings account.

  • She uses her credit card for discretionary purchases to track her spending easily. She budgets $100/month for cash spendings like coffee and tips.

  • Mid-month, she checks her budget to ensure she's on track. If needed, she cuts back to get back on budget. She only has to do this infrequently.

  • By the end of the month, she's spent little time monitoring her budget but invested 10% of her income, saved 5% in various sub-accounts, paid all bills, paid off her credit card, and stayed within her discretionary budget.

The "invisible scripts" summarize common reasons why people don't automate their finances and counterarguments for why they should:

  • "I feel like I have more control doing it manually.": Automation gives you more time, money, and higher returns. You're still in control and can make changes.

  • "I only have a little money. It's not worth it.": Start small and build the habit. Your system will grow with your income.

  • "My income varies. It's hard to automate.": Irregular income can work with automation.

  • "I don't know how.": Many resources can teach you, and it's worth learning.

  • "The fees are lower when I do it myself.": The evidence shows automation leads to better returns, despite any fees. Follow the evidence, not feelings.

The article then provides step-by-step guidance on setting up an automatic money flow, including linking accounts, setting up automatic transfers on a schedule, and synchronizing billing dates. The key is to automate as much as possible to minimize effort and maximize returns.

  • Your salary is direct deposited into your checking account on the 1st of the month. Showing up may take an extra day, so leave some buffer money in the report.

  • On the 2nd of the month, part of your salary goes into your 401(k).

  • On the 5th of the month, set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account. Aim for 5-10% of your income. Start with $5 if needed.

  • Also, on the 5th, set up an automatic transfer to your Roth IRA. Aim for 10% of your take-home pay minus what goes into the 401(k).

  • On the 7th, set up auto-pay for monthly bills like utilities, loans, etc. Pay with a credit card; otherwise, link to your checking account.

  • Also, on the 7th, set up an automatic transfer to pay off your entire credit card bill. Get email alerts about your statement to adjust the payment if needed.

  • Review your credit card charges weekly at first to catch any errors. Keep receipts to compare charges. This ensures the automation is working correctly.

  • If paid twice a month, replicate the system for the 1st and 15th, using half the amounts each time. Or keep a buffer in checking to simulate once/month pay.

  • For irregular income, first, save enough to cover 3-6 months of essential expenses. Then use the excess in good months to build the buffer and follow the standard system. Pay yourself from the pad in slow months.

  • The key is ensuring your bills are paid on time while automating as much as possible. Start with small amounts and build up as you get comfortable.

The author went out for a meal and was charged $50 instead of the $43.35 on the receipt. Using "Ctrl + F," the author could not find $43.35 listed as the total amount after the tip. The author knew someone was trying to make extra money by overcharging, so the author called the credit card company to resolve the issue.

The author used to do weekly reviews of transactions to catch overcharges like an extra $6 tip but now relies on the system and experience to spot unusual charges. The author accepts that some waste and errors will get through but focuses on the overall big picture. The system works by setting up safeguards and doing spot checks, even if some minor issues slip through.

The author has saved $400,000 over seven years and maxed out retirement accounts by automating finances. The author recommends setting aside 40% of income for taxes to avoid surprises at tax time. The author uses budgeting tools for irregular income.

Once saving and spending goals are met, the author recommends spending leftover money on things like vacations, hobbies, networking, and charity. Investing in yourself and giving back to the community provides good returns. Saving too much money isn't good if you don't spend it.

The automated system takes advantage of human psychology by working in the background when motivation and focus fade. The flexible design can work with small or large amounts of money. It allows shifting from emotionally-driven daily spending decisions to long-term "cooler" choices. The system enables guilt-free spending and living a "rich life" by using money for good things.

The author gave the example of buying expensive cashmere sweatpants after setting up an automatic system that included saving, investing, and charity. Without context, the purchase seems extravagant, but within the system, it's guilt-free. The author also used the system to invite parents during the honeymoon to create cherished memories.

The next chapter will cover becoming an investment expert and getting the best returns.

Here's a summary:

  • Americans love experts and defer to them in many areas of life. But expertise should be judged based on results, and many experts fail to deliver good results, especially in investing.

  • In a study, 57 wine experts couldn't tell the difference between a red and white wine. This shows that expertise is only sometimes meaningful.

  • Most people need help to beat the market regarding investing. Financial experts and fund managers also usually fail to hit the market long-term.

  • The media and pundits make flashy predictions about the stock market to get attention, but their predictions are usually wrong. No one can predict where the market is going.

-Even when fund managers have a good year or two, there's little chance they'll continue to beat the market over the long term. Past performance does not predict future results. You can adequately evaluate a fund by looking at 10+ years of returns.

  • A study found that missing just a few of the best days in the market over 15 years drastically reduced returns. This shows how futile it is to try and time the market based on predictions. The only reliable approach is to stay invested for the long run.

  • The key takeaway is that you should ignore predictions from experts and pundits, don't chase last year's hot stocks or funds, and don't try to time the market. The most reliable way to invest is with low-cost, broad-market index funds held for the long run. Expertise and active management usually do more harm than good.

  • It feels good to try and predict the market, but emotions often lead investors astray. The key is to invest regularly for the long term, putting money in low-cost, diversified funds even during downturns. Time in the market is more important than timing the market.

  • Financial experts and companies employ tricks to hide poor performance and convince people to use their services. They rarely admit when they're wrong. Rating companies continue to give buy ratings even as companies are going bankrupt. Fund ratings are meaningless because there's no evidence top-rated funds outperform and they rely on "survivorship bias," ignoring failed funds. Mutual funds start many funds and market only the successful ones, burying the failed ones.

  • Though a few legendary investors like Warren Buffett have beaten the market for years, most people can't. Theoretically it's possible, but with so many trying, it's mostly luck. Even the experts say their success comes from the resources individuals need.

  • Scammers can engineer the appearance of stock-picking success through probability and luck. By picking half their targets to say one stock will go up and a half to say another will, and eliminating those who get it wrong each round, they'll eventually have a group that has seen multiple "successful" picks, even though it's chance. People will ascribe expertise where there is none.

  • Most young people don't need financial advisors. Their needs are simple, and they can set up an automatic finance system with a few hours of work. Advisors aren't obligated to do what's best for clients. Commission-based ones often recommend expensive, bloated funds to get commissions. Stories show how advisors gave bad, expensive advice, suggesting whole life insurance that clients had to cancel.

  • Signs that Joe's financial advisor was taking advantage of him included expensive, actively managed funds; frequent trading that only benefits the advisor through commissions; opaque fees; and "special" investment opportunities usually only benefit the advisor. The advisor likely viewed Joe as a "meal ticket" for decades of fees and commissions rather than helping him. The solution was for Joe to move his money to low-cost index funds at a place like Vanguard.

Here's a summary:

■ Whole life insurance, annuities, and Primerica are usually bad investments with high fees. You'll likely overpay by hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime.

■ Move your money to low-cost brokers like Vanguard, Fidelity, or Charles Schwab. They charge lower fees and typically get better investment performance. Your current advisor will likely use emotional tactics to keep you, so communicate in writing.

■ Most people don't need a financial advisor and can invest independently. Only consider an advisor if you have a complex situation, over $2 million in assets, or are too busy to learn independently. If hiring an advisor, choose a fiduciary fee-only one.

■ An example shows how two wealth managers from Wells Fargo tried to recruit someone by appealing to emotions and focusing on "asset preservation" rather than matching the market. Their high fees would likely lead to lower investment returns over time.

■ Questions for a prospective financial advisor include: Are you a fiduciary? How are you compensated? Have you worked with people like me before? What's your working style? You want a fiduciary fee-only advisor.

■ Big banks like Wells Fargo and Bank of America commonly overcharge and use deceptive practices. It's best to avoid them when possible.

■ If considering an advisor, do initial research and go into meetings prepared with questions. Make sure their fees and investment approach align with your needs and goals. Stay skeptical of emotional appeals and promises that sound too good to be true.

So in summary, be very wary of whole life insurance, annuities, and high-fee wealth managers. Do your research, choose low-cost options when you can, and be an informed consumer if hiring an advisor. Watch out for deceptive practices from big banks. And remember, simple, low-cost index funds usually outperform most actively managed options over the long run.

  • The author met with wealth managers in his early 30s as part of a hilarious ruse. When he asked about their prices, they tried to downplay a "nominal" 1% fee.

  • 1% fees may seem small, but over time can reduce returns by around 30%. A 2% fee can reduce returns by 63%. These fees compound and significantly reduce wealth over time.

  • Due to counterintuitive math, most people must understand how much fees impact their returns. Wall Street hides these fees to benefit itself.

  • The author suggests learning to invest yourself to avoid these outrageous fees. Paying over 1% in fees is unacceptable. Payments of 0.1-0.3% are ideal.

  • The author recommends reading certain money columnists like Morgan Housel, Dan Solin, and Ron Lieber. The Bogleheads forum is also recommended.

  • Key takeaways:

  1. Pretending to be naive with financial advisors can be amusing. Most people don't need wealth managers or advisors. They can learn themselves.

  2. Wealth managers can't beat the market, so they claim to add value in other ways, like helping during market downturns. But people should develop their resilience.

  3. Consider advanced advice only once you have $1M+ in assets or complex needs. Otherwise, learn yourself.

  4. Fees significantly reduce returns over time. This is counterintuitive but important to understand.

  • The author discusses active vs. passive management. Active management (used by mutual funds) involves portfolio managers picking stocks and trading frequently. But they usually can't beat the market and charge high fees (often 1-2 %/year).

  • Passive management (used by index funds) involves computers tracking an index like the S&P 500. Fees are much lower, around 0.14%/year.

  • While returns vary yearly, the stock market returns about 8 %/year after inflation. Fees significantly impact long-term returns.

  • Examples show how much more fees reduce returns over time, even for small amounts invested. The less in payments, the more money stays in your pocket.

In summary, the key message is that while investing is essential, high fees charged by active mutual fund managers usually outweigh any benefits. Lower-cost passive index funds are a better option for building wealth over time. Keeping costs low allows you to keep more of your own money.

Here's a summary:

  • Paying higher fees for actively managed funds usually results in lower returns than indexed funds with lower prices. Even slight differences in costs can significantly reduce your returns over time through the power of compounding.

  • Actively managed funds fail to beat the market most of the time. It is challenging to pick funds that outperform the market consistently.

  • It is best for most investors to use low-cost indexed funds. These provide market returns at a lower cost.

  • When choosing investments, the most important factors are your investment horizon and risk tolerance. If you need the money soon, choose less risky funds. If you have a long time horizon, you can handle more risk for potentially higher returns.

  • Once you determine your investment style, you can research funds and pick investments to match your goals. This could be done in 401(k)s, IRAs, and taxable investment accounts.

  • The most straightforward way to invest for most people is through automatic investing in low-cost index funds. This minimizes the time needed to manage your money and gives you the best chance at solid returns.

  • Many people make excuses not to invest, but investing is essential for building wealth and not just for the wealthy. With some basic knowledge, anyone can set up a simple investment plan.

The author created a system to apply for three scholarships per day while in college and won over $200,000 to pay for school. The author manages over 1,500 emails daily for the blog and book. The author researches investments that only require a little time or maintenance but provide good returns.

Automatic investing involves: Choosing how to allocate your portfolio. Picking low-cost investments. Setting up automatic contributions so you can focus on living your life. It works for two reasons:

  1. Lower expenses: Low-cost funds cut fees and save tens of thousands of dollars. This allows you to outperform most investors.

  2. It's automatic: It frees you from constantly monitoring the market. You pick a simple plan and automate contributions so you can invest with little work.

Automatic investing may seem tedious, but it works better than trading in riskier investments. The real test is continuing to invest during market downturns. The author's investment account dropped by over $100,000 in October 2018, but the author kept automatically investing.

The "crossover point" is when your investments generate enough to fund your expenses automatically. This is also known as being "financially independent" (F.I.). At this point, you have the freedom to work or not work. "FIRE" refers to achieving F.I. and retiring early, often in your 30s or 40s. "Lean FIRE" means living on a small amount, like $30-50K annually. "Fat FIRE" means an extravagant lifestyle with high spending.

Achieving FIRE is challenging, and most people dismiss it, saying they are too young or it's too late to start, or they would rather spend now than save for years.

The key message is that you can choose how to achieve financial independence and what lifestyle you want to lead. You can cut your expenses, increase your income, or do both. The options are:

  1. Cut your monthly expenses in half. This can allow you to achieve financial independence in 12 years but with a lower standard of living ($36K/year).

  2. Increase your income by 30%. This can allow you to achieve financial independence in 22 years with a higher standard of living ($72K/year).

  3. Combine both by increasing income by 30% and cutting expenses by 30%. This allows you to achieve financial independence in 9 years with a relatively high standard of living.

The main takeaway is that you have options and control over your financial situation. You can choose an aggressive goal but remember that life is about more than just numbers in a spreadsheet. Many people in the FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement become obsessed with retiring as quickly as possible but end up unhappy.

The keys to investing are:

  1. Focus on asset allocation, not picking stocks. Over 90% of your portfolio's performance depends on how you allocate between stocks, bonds, and cash rather than on which stocks you like.

  2. The main options for investing are:

  • Stocks: Buying shares of companies. Risky but with higher return potential.

  • Bonds: Lending money to governments or companies. Lower risk but lower return.

  • Cash: Holding money in a savings account. Lowest risk but lowest return.

  • Index funds and mutual funds: Baskets of stocks and bonds. More diversified, so lower risk.

  • Target date funds: A fund that automatically adjusts to more conservative allocations as you near retirement. Simple "one-stop shop."

  1. Based on your risk tolerance, you can build your portfolio using these options. Or you can use a target date fund for a simple hands-free approach.

The key is to start investing as early as possible, focus on the long game, and not react emotionally to market ups and downs. If you take control of your financial situation, you can achieve financial independence and fund the kind of life you want.

Here's a summary:

  • Stocks, bonds, and cash are the three major asset classes for investors.

  • Stocks provide the highest returns over time but also the highest risk. Bonds provide stable but lower returns. Cash offers meager returns but high liquidity.

  • Asset allocation refers to distributing your money across these asset classes. It's one of the most important investment decisions you can make.

  • Your age and risk tolerance should determine your asset allocation. Younger investors can handle more risk, so they often have a higher percentage in stocks. Older investors need more stability and usually have a higher bond rate.

  • Diversifying within an asset class, like buying different types of stocks, is good. But diversifying across asset classes by investing in stocks, bonds, and cash is even more critical for managing risk.

  • Asset allocation, not individual investment choices, is the most significant factor determining your returns. Proper asset allocation can mean a difference of hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime.

  • Your ideal asset allocation depends on your financial goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon. There's no "right" answer, but a balanced approach is often a good start.

That covers how asset allocation works and why it's crucial for your long-term investment success. Let me know if you have any other questions!

Here's a summary:

  • Adding bonds to a stock portfolio helps lower risk while limiting return only slightly. Bonds do well when stocks struggle, so they provide balance.

  • Young investors in their 20s and 30s can focus on stocks since they have time to ride out risk. Older investors should add more bonds to reduce risk.

  • Many stocks (large-cap, mid-cap, small-cap, international) and bonds (government, corporate, short-term, long-term, municipal, inflation-protected) exist. Diversifying across these categories helps reduce risk.

  • Typical asset allocations change with age. Younger investors might do 90% stocks/10% bonds. Older investors might do 50%/50% or 60%/40%. The key is balancing risk and return.

  • Mutual funds offer instant diversification and convenience but often have high fees that reduce returns. They're suitable for novice investors, but index funds are usually better.

Advantages of mutual funds:

  • Hands-off and convenient: You can invest in a single fund rather than picking individual stocks. The fund manager handles it.

  • Diversified: Most mutual funds contain many different stocks or bonds, reducing risk.

  • Popular and profitable: Mutual funds have succeeded over the past 85 years.

Disadvantages of mutual funds:

  • High fees: Mutual funds charge expense ratios for the fund manager and marketing. These fees reduce your returns over time.

  • Unreliable: There need to be evidence fund managers can consistently beat the market or index funds. You're paying high fees for a coin flip.

  • Too many choices: The options can be overwhelming for new investors. It takes time to pick good funds.

In summary, mutual funds are suitable for new investors, but index funds are usually a better choice in the long run due to lower fees and reliable performance. The keys to a good portfolio are diversification, balancing risk and return for your age, and keeping costs down.

Here's a summary:

Advantages of mutual funds: • Convenience - An expert money manager makes investment decisions for you. • Diversification - Mutual funds hold many varied stocks, so your investment is less affected if one company struggles.

Disadvantages of mutual funds: • High fees - Annual fees of 1-2% or more can reduce your returns significantly over time. These include expense ratios, front-end loads, and back-end loads. • Overlap - If you invest in multiple mutual funds, they may hold similar stocks, reducing your diversification. • Underperformance - On average, 75% of mutual fund managers do not beat the market.

Index funds are a better alternative: • Low cost - Index funds aim to match the market, not beat it, so they have much lower fees, often under 0.2% annually. • Tax efficiency - Less trading means fewer capital gains taxes. • Easy to manage - Index funds require little maintenance. They aim to match an index, not pick stocks.

Experts agree index funds are significant for most investors: • Warren Buffett recommends index funds for 99% of investors.
• Mark Hulbert says few advisers beat the market long-term, so index funds may be better. • W. Scott Simon says the media focuses on hot mutual funds, not long-term winners like index funds.

High mutual fund fees significantly reduce your returns over time. A 1% expense ratio can cost $10,000/year on a $1 million portfolio.

Target date funds: • Easy to use - They pick a blend of stock and bond investments based on your age and desired retirement year. • Diversified - They invest in stock and bond funds to match your needs. • Low maintenance - They automatically rebalance and adjust investments as you age. You contribute money. • Not perfect - They may not match your needs, but they get you 85% of the way there with little work. For many, that's good enough.

In summary, while mutual funds offer convenience, their high fees and underperformance make index and target date funds better for most investors. They keep costs low, require little maintenance, and get you mostly where you need to be.

Here's a summary:

Target date funds are convenient, low-cost investment options for people who want to invest for retirement without actively managing their money. They automatically allocate your investments across stocks, bonds, and cash based on your target retirement date. They automatically adjust to a more conservative allocation as you get closer to retirement.

To choose a target date fund, pick the year closest to when you plan to retire, like 2040 or 2050. These funds require a minimum investment, usually around $1,000 to $3,000, to get started, though some waive the minimum if you set up automatic contributions.

If your employer offers a 401(k) match, invest enough to get any game before funding other accounts. Choose an aggressive investment option in your 401(k), like a fund primarily of stocks. While the fees may be higher than ideal, the tax and match benefits are often worth it.

Next, fund a Roth IRA. Choose a target date fund by finding the fund closest to your retirement year for easy investing. Some good low-cost providers are Vanguard, Fidelity, and T. Rowe Price. To buy into the fund, log into your Roth IRA account, search for the fund by name or ticker symbol, click "buy," and enter how much you want to invest. Then set up automatic contributions so you continue funding it each month without having to log in.

The most significant mistake people must correct is funding accounts like Roth IRAs but never actually buying investments with the money. This results in the capital sitting uninvested, missing years of growth, and compound interest. Always make sure the money you contribute to investment accounts gets invested. Even small amounts over time can add up to a lot due to compounding returns.

The key takeaways are: Choose low-cost, hands-free target date funds or index funds. Make sure money deposited into investment accounts gets invested. Start with any matches from your employer. Keep contributing each month automatically to benefit from the long-term power of compounding. These simple steps can make a huge difference in your ultimate retirement balance.

  • The woman contributed $9,000 to a Roth IRA but did not invest the money, so she missed out on $9,000 of tax-free earnings over the years.

  • While she is partly responsible for not understanding how the account works, the financial system should be easier to navigate.

  • To grow your money in an IRA, you must invest in funds, not just contribute money to the account.

  • If you want a simple option, use a target date fund. If you want more control, choose your index funds.

  • David Swensen, who runs Yale's endowment, suggests allocating money as follows:

30% U.S. stocks 15% developed market international stocks
5% emerging market stocks 20% real estate investment trusts 15% government bonds
15% Treasury inflation-protected securities

  • Keep your portfolio simple with 3 to 7 funds. Focus on low-cost index funds that match your asset allocation.

  • Consider funds from Vanguard, Schwab, and Fidelity. Look at expense ratios (lower is better) and 10-15 year returns (past performance doesn't guarantee future results).

  • A sample portfolio could include:

30% Total Stock Market Index Fund 20% Total International Stock Index Fund 20% REIT Index Fund
5% Short-Term Treasury Index Fund
5% Intermediate-Term Treasury Index Fund 5% Short-Term Inflation-Protected Securities Index Fund 15% Short-Term Treasury Index Fund

  • You can adjust the allocations to match your risk tolerance. Start with a few funds and build up gradually. The most important thing is just to get started.

Here's a summary:

•Investing in a diversified portfolio of low-cost index funds over time through dollar-cost averaging is a good approach for most investors.

•While lump-sum investing often produces higher returns, dollar-cost averaging helps reduce risk and the impact of emotions on your investing decisions.

•Once you determine which index funds you want to own, buy them one by one as you can afford to, setting a goal to save enough for each fund's minimum investment. Then continue contributing to them.

•Although real estate and art can be part of a balanced portfolio, they are difficult to select and often overestimated as investments. Your primary home is not an investment.

• It's okay to set aside a small part of your portfolio for high-risk, high-potential-reward investments for fun, but only invest money you can afford to lose.

•Starting a Roth IRA at a young age allowed the author to make a $297,754 investment over time through the power of compounding returns. Starting early and consistently investing over time is critical.

The key lessons are that investing regularly over time, keeping costs low, staying diversified, and avoiding the temptation to time the market or pick individual winners are the behaviors that lead to the best long-term results for most investors. Although real estate, art, and high-risk investments have a place for some, index funds should form the core of a balanced portfolio for most people. And the power of starting early and giving your money time to compound is enormous. Consistently investing over time using the principles of dollar-cost averaging and diversification is the path to long-term success.

Here are the main lessons:

  1. Investing early pays off. The author was lucky to have his dad encourage him to start investing at a young age. Time in the market is one of the most significant advantages of building wealth.

  2. Picking individual stocks is mostly luck. The author's success with Amazon was pure luck. On average, even experts cannot beat the market. It's better to invest in low-cost, diversified funds.

  3. Make sure to distinguish speculating from investing. Most crypto "investors" are speculators. They lack diversity in their portfolios and follow cult-like behavior. Crypto is very volatile and risky.

  4. Have realistic expectations. Abnormally high returns often mean higher risk. It's better to focus on the long game and a balanced portfolio rather than chasing the latest hot stock or "get rich quick" scheme.

  5. Do your research. Whether choosing target date funds or creating your portfolio, do thorough research to understand your options and make the best choice. Buying funds should be a deliberate, informed decision.

  6. Getting started is the most crucial step. Once you've done your planning, pull the trigger and start investing. Time in the market is critical. You can always make changes and rebalance your portfolio over time. The most important thing is just to get started.

That covers the main lessons around investing that the author wanted to convey based on his early experiences. The key is taking a balanced, long-term, low-cost approach to investing rather than speculating or chasing abnormally high returns. With discipline and patience, investing in the market is one of the best ways to build wealth over time.

• You have set up your financial infrastructure and automated much of it. Congratulations, you have done the hard work. • Now it's time for maintenance and optimizing. Ask yourself why you want to earn or save more money. Get specific - think of concrete, day-to-day motivations, not vague notions of "freedom" or "security." • To accumulate more money, feed your system by increasing your contributions whenever possible. Compounding interest means the more you put in now, the more you'll have later. Increasing by $100-200 a month can make a big difference. • Review and optimize your Conscious Spending Plan to find ways to contribute more, e.g., cut expenses, negotiate salaries, or make significant purchases. The sooner you maximize contributions, the sooner you'll reach your goals. • If managing your investments, you'll need to rebalance to maintain your target allocation occasionally. Target date funds handle this for you. • Don't get obsessed with optimizing and saving more - enjoy the Rich Life you've built! But contributing more now will pay off later.

The key is increasing contributions to your automated system as much as possible while enjoying life. Compounding returns mean more money in new snowballs over time. Review your plan and make optimizations to achieve the maximum, but stay energized. Maintain the right balance for your Rich Life.

Here's a summary:

  • Rebalancing your investment portfolio means ensuring your asset allocation stays aligned with your original targets. If one investment category outperforms and becomes too large a part of your portfolio, you must rebalance it by shifting money into other types. The best way to rebalance is to stop making new contributions to the overweighted category and instead put that money into different categories until your allocation is back on target.

  • Six truths about taxes:

  1. Getting a tax refund is good, not bad. People spend small, gradual repayments but save or use big refunds to pay the debt.

  2. The U.S. does not have the highest taxes in the world.

  3. Moving into a higher tax bracket does not mean you'll earn less by making more money. Only the portion of your income in the higher frame gets taxed at a higher rate.

  4. People complain about how taxes are spent but need to learn where the money goes. Only about 1% of taxes go to foreign aid, not the much higher amount most people think.

  5. While some loopholes exist, they are limited and mainly help the wealthy, not most high earners.

  6. Tax views are often more shaped by psychology and information sources than rational judgment. Asking someone complaining about taxes what they think their taxes provide can reveal whether they'll have a reasonable discussion.

  • The author accepts paying taxes as contributing to stability and infrastructure. While taking any legal tax breaks, taxes themselves only partially drive his decisions. Roads and infrastructure in other countries show the value of taxes. So people should pay their fair share.

Here's a summary:

  • Focus on the 85% tax solution by taking advantage of tax-advantaged accounts like 401(k)s and IRAs. Don't get caught up in complex tax avoidance schemes.

  • Review your financial system annually in December. Revisit your spending plan, negotiate any fees, check on your investments and debt payoff plan, use credit card points, and look for ways to earn more money.

  • Think twice before selling investments since you'll owe taxes and miss out on the power of compounding. Only trade if you have an emergency, made a wrong investment choice, or achieved a specific goal.

  • In emergencies, use your savings, earn extra money, borrow from family, withdraw Roth IRA contributions or 401(k) hardship withdrawals, or use credit cards only as a last resort.

  • For high achievers, create an emergency fund, get insurance like homeowners and life insurance (if you have dependents), invest in the stock market, save for your kids' college, pay off your mortgage faster, and work on estate planning.

  • An emergency fund contains 6-12 months of expenses. Get life insurance only if you have dependents. Paying off your mortgage and saving for college provides financial security and flexibility. Work with an estate planner on a will, insurance, a healthcare proxy, power of attorney, etc.

  • The keys to building wealth are living below your means, maximizing income, investing regularly, using tax-advantaged accounts, and having the right mindset. Stay focused on the long game.

Here's a summary:

  • Focus on learning about personal finance and developing good habits in your late teens and early twenties. Start budgeting, reducing expenses, and saving money.

  • Once you have a steady income in your mid-twenties, set financial goals like paying off debt, saving for retirement, and saving for significant life events like home buying. Start contributing enough to get any employer match in your retirement accounts.

  • In your late twenties and early thirties, accelerate paying off debt and increase retirement contributions. Buy a home if you're ready. Save for kids' college education if you have children. Review insurance needs.

  • Your children's education, health insurance, and retirement savings become more significant priorities in your mid to late thirties and beyond. Make sure retirement accounts are maxed out each year. Life insurance also becomes more critical, especially if you have dependents.

  • Meet with a financial advisor to review investments, insurance, estate planning, and other issues as you get into your forties and fifties. Make sure you're on track to achieve meaningful life and financial goals. Retirement planning also intensifies during this period.

  • Once in retirement, ensure you have sufficient income from Social Security, retirement accounts, pensions, and other sources. Review investments and withdrawal strategies with your financial advisor. Consider downsizing your home or relocating to a lower-cost area. Take advantage of senior discounts and benefits. Focus on enjoying this phase of life!

In summary, establish good financial habits early, set and work towards meaningful goals, take advantage of time and compounding by investing for significant life events and always continue learning and optimizing your financial situation. With disciplined planning and the help of financial professionals when needed, you can achieve financial security at any stage of life. But the sooner you start, the better!

  • You have three options for paying off student loans:
  1. Pay the minimum and invest the rest

  2. Pay off the loans as fast as possible, then invest

  3. Make a hybrid approach, paying half the minimum and investing the other half

  • The decision comes down to interest rates. Pay slowly and invest if your loan rate is low, like 2%. If the speed is high, it pays off fast. But also consider your risk tolerance. Some prefer to pay off debt fast for peace of mind.

  • A hybrid 50/50 approach is a good compromise. You pay off debt but also invest to benefit from compounding returns and tax-advantaged accounts. The split depends on your risk tolerance. You are being more aggressive means investing more.

  • Ignore unsolicited financial advice from others. People will judge your newfound financial responsibility and offer dubious "tips." Stay the course. Check accounts monthly and stick to your plan.

  • To help parents in debt, have compassionate conversations. Ask how they learned about money and their ideal situation. If they want help, provide it. If not, respect their decision, though the condition may worsen. Approaching carefully and listening without judgment will make them more open to sharing.

The keys are: choose a student loan payoff approach, tune out unhelpful advice, focus on your long-term plan, and have caring discussions with parents in financial trouble (if that applies). Build the Rich Life by managing your money and relationships well.

In five years, most parents will likely still have pragmatic financial dreams and goals. Some questions you could ask them include:

•How much do they earn and spend each month? Ask in a reassuring, non-judgmental way. •What percentage of their income are they saving? Again, be gentle. Many people don't know this number. •Do they pay any bank fees? Are their credit cards costing them money each month? •What is their average credit card balance? Ask why it's not zero and how they could pay it off. •Do they have any investments? How did they choose them? Do they own mutual funds, and how much are the fees? •Are they maximizing tax-advantaged accounts like 401(k)s and IRAs? If not, suggest they contribute enough to get any company match. •Do they read personal finance websites or books? If not, gently suggest some resources.

Rather than trying to overhaul their entire financial lives simultaneously, suggest one or two impactful changes, like setting up automatic savings or paying off one credit card. Remember how overwhelming money was before you gained knowledge and experience. Use your learning to help them compassionately.

Should you tell your parents how much you earn or how much you have saved and invested? There are pros and cons. On the one hand, it can reassure them you're doing well financially. But it may change your relationship dynamic, especially if there is a significant disparity in your financial situation.

Ultimately, your parents care more about your happiness and security than the actual numbers. There are other ways to communicate this without sharing details, like telling them your business is doing well, thanking them for their financial lessons, and spending quality time together.

Discussing your financial attitudes and goals is essential when getting serious with a partner. Have an open, honest conversation where you ask questions, share your perspectives without judgment, and look for areas of agreement and compromise. Lay out the details of your income, spending, accounts, debts, financial goals, etc. But focus first on the bigger picture before tackling specifics. The key is to keep things light and non-confrontational. Set small shared goals and actions to build momentum. Over time, you can explore more deeply, but combining everything immediately is unnecessary. Go slowly and keep the lines of communication open.

  • To get on the same page financially with your partner, discuss your money attitudes, and set shared financial goals. Decide how to split expenses fairly, such as proportionally, based on your incomes.

  • If your partner spends money irresponsibly, discuss your joint financial goals and savings plan rather than judge their spending. Focus on the project, not the person. Check-in regularly to make sure you're both still on track.

  • Weddings often cost much more than expected. The average U.S. wedding costs $35,000, over half the median household income. There are three options:

  1. Cut costs and have a more straightforward wedding. This is difficult for most people.

  2. Do nothing and figure it out later. This often leads to debt.

  3. Acknowledge reality and plan. Save money regularly, whether engaged or not, to avoid going into debt.

  • To save $35,000 by age 29 (average U.S. wedding age), save $583/month if you're a 22-year-old woman or $417/month if you're a 22-year-old man. The numbers increase the closer you get to 29. Start saving as early as possible.

  • Most people need to save more for their weddings and make excuses like parents will help pay; my wedding will be small, I'll think about it when engaged; it's weird to save before getting involved; I'll marry someone rich.

  • Reducing the number of wedding guests does not save as much money as you think. The most significant savings come from the attire, liquor, meal, transportation, and venues. Focus your cost-cutting on those areas.

In summary, the keys are: make a joint financial plan with your partner; start saving early for high expected costs like weddings; focus on what matters to reduce costs. Have open conversations to get on the same page financially.

Here is a summary of the passage:

  1. Reducing the number of wedding guests by 50% can lower the total cost by only 25%. This is because many wedding costs are fixed, not directly proportional to the number of guests.

  2. Some ways to cut down on wedding costs include:

  • Negotiating lower prices for the venue, food, etc.

  • Cut down variable costs like fewer guests, more straightforward menus, etc.

  • Tackling fixed costs like flying in vendors from other cheaper locations, having invitations designed and printed elsewhere, etc.

  1. The author and his wife signed a prenup (prenuptial agreement) though he was initially against the idea. He learned:
  • Most people only need a prenup if there is a significant financial imbalance between partners or other complications like owning a business.

  • Prenups are often portrayed negatively in media but are meant to determine how assets accumulated before and during the marriage will be divided in case of divorce.

  • Information on prenups is usually kept private since they are customized legal documents. Much of what is online needs to be more accurate.

  • After researching, the author decided a prenup made sense in his situation due to bringing significantly more assets into the marriage.

  1. Some tips for discussing a prenup:
  • Express your love and desire to spend life together, but also explain why a prenup is important

  • Take responsibility for bringing it up instead of blaming others

  • Focus on why you want a prenup, not the specifics of the agreement

  • Explain how marriage is a team where you'll support each other

  • Be transparent about your finances and lifestyle

  • Discuss various scenarios to ensure you're on the same page about risk tolerance, business ups, and downs, etc.

  • Ideally, start discussing money issues and sharing finances well before proposing marriage

The key takeaway is that open communication and financial planning are critical to a healthy marriage. A prenup, when done right, can be a valuable part of that process.

Here's a summary:

  • The author discusses the importance of discussing finances openly with your partner. He and his wife went through couples counseling to learn how to discuss money issues.

  • The author recommends managing your lawyers during the prenup process. Keep them from dictating the terms; you need to lead the process.

  • Prenups establish the terms of what happens in case of divorce regarding assets, property, child custody, etc. There are many options like prenups, postnups, amendments, etc. It's a complex topic that requires legal help.

  • The author was surprised by how taboo discussing prenups is, yet many people have them. He wants to encourage open discussion of this topic. Going through the prenup process taught the author and his wife much about how they view money.

  • There are two ways to earn more: increase your income or decrease your spending. Since most revenue comes from work, negotiating your salary is a crucial way to make more. Your starting salary sets the baseline for future raises. Negotiating can earn you $5K-$10K more.

  • 90% of negotiating is a mindset; 10% is tactics. Don't assume you can't negotiate. See your worth, and don't settle for average. Frame requests around company benefits. Have another offer. Do research. Come prepared with a plan. Have examples of your strengths and accomplishments ready. Negotiate for more than just salary, like bonuses, flexibility, title, etc. Be cooperative, not adversarial. Smile.

Here's a summary:

The key points from this section are:

  1. Smile during negotiations. Smiling makes you seem likable and approachable, which can help you get better deals.

  2. Practice negotiating with friends. Even if it feels awkward, role-playing negotiations helps prepare you for actual negotiations. Not practicing can cost you thousands of dollars.

  3. If negotiation doesn't work, have a fallback plan. Either be willing to walk away or ask to renegotiate and get that agreement in writing.

  4. Never reveal your current salary. Only provide a range or say you want to find a "fair" number. Showing your recent pay only helps the other party lowball you.

  5. Never make the first offer. Make the other party provide the first offer so you have a number to negotiate from.

  6. Be vague about other offers if they're from undesirable companies. Don't reveal details that the other party can use against you.

  7. Ask open-ended questions, not yes/no questions. For example, ask, "How can we get to $55,000?" rather than "Can you do $55,000?"

  8. Never lie during negotiations. Lying erodes your credibility and integrity.

  9. Do your homework when buying big-ticket items. Researching the details of large purchases like cars or houses can save you thousands of dollars. The most crucial factor is how long you keep the thing.

  10. Call experts for advice on significant purchases. Getting input from knowledgeable sources helps ensure you make the best deal.

The case study shows how thoroughly researching a job and company, getting expert advice, and following up aggressively led to a 28% raise, even without much negotiation. Preparation and persistence paid off.

Here's a summary:

  • Buy a reliable car that fits your budget, and you can keep for 10+ years

  • Calculate the total cost of ownership, including maintenance, gas, insurance, etc.

  • Don't lease a car or sell it within seven years. The savings come after paying it off.

  • Don't stretch your budget for a car, or you'll struggle with payments

  • Negotiate mercilessly to get the best deal. Use services to determine dealer costs.

  • Maintain your car well to maximize resale value. Enter maintenance into your calendar.

The keys are: Buy within your means. Keep the car long. Reduce total costs. Properly maintain the vehicle. If you do this, you'll save a lot of money in the long run.

• Buy a house only if it makes financial sense for you. Make sure you can afford a 20% down payment, the monthly costs and that you plan to stay for at least 10 years.

• Houses are not suitable investments for most people. They typically only appreciate 0.6% per year and come with high property taxes, maintenance, and opportunity costs. It's better to consider a house purchase, not an investment.

• Renting is often brighter financially, especially in expensive areas. Renters can avoid high housing costs and invest the difference for better returns. They also have more flexibility to move for jobs or opportunities.

• Do extensive research before buying a house. Learn the common mistakes, familiarize yourself with real estate terms, and analyze the numbers to get the best deal. Buying a home is the biggest purchase most people make, so spend at least 3-12 months researching and preparing.

• Keep detailed records of all maintenance and repairs for your vehicle and home. This helps ensure they are adequately cared for and allows you to charge a premium when reselling to show your meticulousness. People often lose money when selling simply due to a lack of records and documentation.

• Set up reminders in your calendar for important deadlines and to-do's related to your home and vehicle. This could include oil changes, tire rotations, insurance renewals, mortgage payments, property tax deadlines, and regular maintenance checks. Staying on top of these responsibilities will save you money and headaches.

• Think through big purchases thoroughly before proceeding. Too many people rush into buying a house, car, or other expensive item without creating a plan or running the numbers. Then they end up over their heads or unable to truly afford the costs. Always do your due diligence to avoid financial struggles or regrets.

The total cost of homeownership over 30 years is much higher than the purchase price of a house. Additional fees like down payment, closing costs, insurance, taxes, maintenance, and repairs add up significantly—for example, a $220,000 house costs over $778,000 over 30 years. Renting may be cheaper depending on your situation.

Tips for buying a house:

  1. Check your credit score. A higher score means a lower interest rate and lower total cost. Wait to buy if your score is low.

  2. Save as much as possible for a down payment. At least 10-20% is ideal. Less means paying for private mortgage insurance.

  3. Calculate the total cost of buying. Include closing costs, insurance, taxes, maintenance, and repairs. Make sure the total is less than three times your income.

  4. Get a fixed-rate mortgage, like 30 years. It's more flexible and stable. Wait to prepay it. Invest extra money instead.

  5. Check for perks like government programs for first-time home buyers. Also, check with memberships and associations you belong to.

  6. Use online tools to compare home prices, insurance, and mortgage rates.

Common myths about homeownership:

  1. Home prices always go up. Net of inflation and fees, they have remained flat.

  2. You can leverage a small down payment into significant gains. Leverage works both ways, and you can lose a lot if home values drop.

  3. You get significant tax deductions. You only save a fraction of what you pay out in total costs. Recent laws have reduced these benefits too.

For any big purchase:

  1. Acknowledge you're underestimating the total cost, then get realistic estimates.

  2. Make a savings plan to accumulate money for the down payment and other fees.

  3. Do plenty of research to understand all the expenses involved.

  4. Explore ways to reduce costs, like choosing a more straightforward option or looking for discounts and perks.

  5. If needed, push the purchase back until you have enough saved and feel fully prepared. It's worth the wait.

Here's a summary of the key points:

  1. Make a realistic financial plan for significant expenses over the next ten years. Do it on a napkin—it doesn't have to be perfect. Just spend 20 minutes to get a rough estimate of costs. This will help you avoid sticker shock and make better financial decisions.

  2. Set up an automatic savings plan for big future expenses like a wedding, a house down payment, or a new car. For example, if you need $45,000 in 3 years, save $1,250/month. Start with whatever you can, like $300/month.

  3. Prioritize what's most essential and make trade-offs to save money in other areas. You can't have the best of everything, so choose what matters to you. Negotiate and look for ways to save on less essential items.

  4. Think beyond just handling daily financial issues. You can focus on bigger goals like philanthropy with sound money habits and an automatic system. Even small donations or volunteering your time can make a big difference.

  5. Share what you've learned with others to help them gain control of their money and work toward their goals too. A Rich Life is about managing your own money so you can then help others.

  6. Being rich isn't just about money. It's about living life on your terms and using money as a tool to do meaningful things. Now that you understand how money really works, you can design your Rich Life.

That covers the main highlights and fundamental principles from the summary on elevating your financial goals, giving back to others, and living a Rich Life. Please let me know if you would like me to explain anything in the summary in more detail.

Here is a summary of the key terms and concepts:

Bank accounts: Provide a place to store and access your money. Look for free or low-cost options like online banks, credit unions, and no-fee accounts.

Children's education: Start saving for college using 529 plans or other accounts early. Consider less expensive options like community colleges, in-state schools, scholarships, and student loans.

Closing accounts: When closing a bank account, credit card, or another financial performance, do it carefully by ensuring no outstanding balances, pending transactions, or lost rewards points. Get records of the closure in writing.

Commission-based financial advisors: Make money by earning commissions on the products they sell you. It can incentivize them to give self-serving advice. Fee-only fiduciaries are better options.

Compounding: Small amounts of money can grow to large sums over long periods of time through compounding returns. The key is to start saving and investing as early as possible.

Concierge services: Offer wealthy clients assistance with various lifestyle tasks like travel planning, personal shopping, household staffing, and event organizing. Charge annual retainer fees, sometimes a percentage of assets under management.

Conscious spending: Spend money deliberately and meaningfully by understanding your values and priorities. Have a plan for your money and debt payoff, and look for ways to optimize and automate where possible. Requires an ongoing mindset of managing your money proactively.

Credit and credit cards: Use credit cards responsibly by not overspending, paying balances in full and on time, keeping low utilization ratios, and reaping the rewards and benefits. Monitor credit reports and scores regularly and dispute errors. Have a mix of good-standing credit accounts to build your credit over time.

Financial advisors: They can guide managing money and investing but often charge high fees. Do your research to gain financial literacy and consider low-cost robo-advisors and fee-only fiduciaries. The more complex your needs, the more an advisor may help. But many people can DIY and save money.

Financial independence: Gain freedom from dependence on earned income by spending less than you make and investing the difference over time. Requires conscious spending, high savings rates, and long-term, well-diversified investing. It can take many years to achieve, so start early and stick to the plan.

Insurance: Protect against unforeseen losses. Buy only what you need and look for affordable providers. Types include health, homeowner's/renter's, life, long-term disability, car, and umbrella policies.

Investing: Put money to work, earning returns over time through the stock market and other avenues. Requires saving consistently, diversifying capital across various asset classes based on your timeline and risk tolerance, keeping fees low, and rebalancing periodically. Options range from DIY index funds and ETFs to robo-advisors and human advisors.

Student loans: Borrow money to pay for college or higher education. Loans provide funds upfront but require repayment with interest over time. Keep balances as low as possible relative to your expected earnings after school. Payments can span 10 to 25 years or longer.

Taxes: Pay the government a percentage of your income and investment gains. Minimize taxes where legally possible by contributing to tax-advantaged accounts like 401(k)s, HSAs, and IRAs and harvesting losses in taxable investment accounts. Review tax rates and credits you may qualify for. Wealth managers and financial advisors consider tax efficiency in their recommendations.

Wealth managers: Provide financial guidance and services specifically geared toward high-net-worth individuals and families. Help with investments, taxes, estate planning, inter-generational wealth transfers, and lifestyle needs. Typically charge higher fees and account minimums than standard financial advisors. Require significant investable assets, e.g., $1 million or more.


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