- I Will Teach You To Get Rich helped me get out of debt, fix my credit, and save money.
- I learned to stop making excuses, automate my finances, and prioritize debt first.
- You’ve also learned the effect of fees over time, and that being a boring investor is a good thing.
A little over a year ago, I was tied into a massive amount of debt, and my credit score was under 400s. I haven’t been able to get approved for any kind of loan, and when retail stores ask me if I’d like to apply for a store credit card, I joke, “If you run my credit, it will break your device.”
Finally, after an entire life of being financially irresponsible, I decided to turn it around. I’ve read dozens of books, but Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You To Get Rich is the book that changed my life.
Before reading this book, I thought all hope for my financial future was lost. I thought I’d be just one of those people who didn’t have good credit, a savings account, a retirement account, or any kind of investment. Not only did I have no money in savings, but I had five or six bills in collections and owed about $8,000 in taxes.
Fortunately, Ramit’s book gave me the boost and motivation I needed to get out of this situation. The book has provided me with an incredible amount of value, but these are the five lessons that really stuck with me and got me on the right track.
1. Take responsibility
All my life, I’ve been full of excuses for why my financial situation was messy. I blamed my parents for not being good at money and used it as a crutch for never educating myself. I also justified not paying the bills because these companies didn’t need my money.
Ramit’s book gave me some of the hardest love I so badly needed and made me realize I was only hurting myself. I wasn’t doing any kind of activism to change the world by “sticking to the man”. Basically, I needed to grow up and become a responsible adult.
2. Prioritize religion above all else
I wanted to skip a lot of steps and dive straight into saving and investing, but the book showed me how debt is actually costing me money. My debt was the reason for my lower credit score, which meant I was paying higher deposits, higher down payments, and higher interest rates. Not only that, but even trying to rent an apartment with my girlfriend or run the utilities was a pain.
I had no evidence that you can settle debts for less than the total amount before reading this book. She taught me the techniques of negotiating with creditors by explaining how financial institutions and collection agencies make their money. Some of my sets were old, so they were happy to take whatever I offered.
Plus, the book taught me the importance of getting pay-to-delete letters to make sure collections were removed from my credit report, which ended up needing to pay off one of the debts I did.
3. Automate your system
I’m a psychology geek, so this made sense to me. Humans are not adept at willpower and self-discipline by design, which is why automation is so useful. Ramit taught me how to set up my accounts and automate my system so I don’t miss any payments, save responsibly, and invest.
For example, my checking account is made through my stock brokerage site, and I am paid by direct deposit twice a month. I also have a separate high yield savings account through a different bank (another thing I learned from the book), and my credit card is through that bank as well. About two or three days after the payday, some of my money is paid off my credit card balance, some goes to my savings account, and some buys shares.
Above all, this is perhaps the most important lesson, and I always help friends create a similar system.
4. Fees and interest rates matter
Like many people, I think of the monthly payments rather than the total cost. This book explained to me why this is the wrong thing to do. Interest accrues, and this is how banks and other creditors make their money.
To put it in perspective, a 72-month car loan of $20,000 at 10% will cost you an additional $6677.21 in interest. Improve your credit score or haggle the interest rate to 6%, interest only $3,864. That’s nearly $3,000 saved!
Now, I’m obsessed with interest calculators, which is the main thing I look at when taking out loans or getting a new credit card.
Your balance after 5 years
5. Be a boring investor
Finally, when it comes to investing, Ramit taught me that the best thing you can do is be a boring investor. This really drilled into my head, and I’m grateful. I started investing during the 2021 bull market when everyone was trying to find the next big stock or cryptocurrency.
Ramit convinced me to invest in low-risk index funds, and if you are truly I wanted to gamble, do it only with a small percentage of my business. With persistent inflation problems and a possible recession, it probably saved me thousands of dollars.
Until about a month ago, I didn’t realize how much this book helped me until I gave the book another read. Today, I don’t have outstanding collections, I don’t owe anything to the IRS and got my money back, and I have money in savings. As a result, in just over a year, my credit score is now over 660. I have such great interest rates on my credit cards that I even bargained for a great deal when refinancing my car.
Ramit Sethi’s “I Will Teach You To Get Rich” lessons have changed my life, and I cannot recommend them enough. Not only do I teach strategies to my friends, but I can also help my son avoid the financial mistakes I’ve made in the past.