Maybe I’m reaching here, but I highly doubt anyone on the planet would turn down the opportunity to make more money. After all, we all get jobs and build our savings and investment portfolios just to have a little taste of the finer things in life. So it’s unsurprising that as I was scrolling through Netflix one night a show aptly titled How to Get Rich—a docuseries hosted by New York Times bestselling author and self-proclaimed financial advisor Ramit Sethi—piqued my interest.
How to Get Rich is based on Sethi’s 2009 book I Will Teach You to Be Rich, which teaches readers how to design their rich life by optimizing their credit cards, beating the banks, strategically investing, consciously spending, and more. In the docuseries, we see these principles in action as Sethi meets with people across the U.S. who each have different financial statuses, challenges, and opportunities and teaches them how to take control of their finances and achieve their richest lives.
But even still, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was all too good to be true. After all, could simply watching a Netflix show make me more financially savvy? And if so, how? Read on to learn my unfiltered thoughts on How to Get Rich and my key takeaways from the self-help financial series.
My Thoughts on How to Get Rich
The show lures you in with the promise of becoming rich without sacrifice, but beneath the flashy camera angles and catchy blurbs is really solid financial advice. Better yet, it’s simple, too. Sethi takes the fear and gibberish out of finances by offering thought-provoking questions such as “what is your rich life?” and starting honest conversations with the viewers and people he works with. I loved how relatable all 8 episodes were and the way Sethi was able to dissect notoriously difficult and emotional topics like money psychology, debt, building a savings, and retirement in a way that I found both candid and informative for financial beginners and novices alike.
The Key Takeaways I Learned From Watching How to Get Rich
1. Embrace conscious spending
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being told where I can and can’t spend my money—which is where the beauty of a conscious spending plan comes in. “A conscious spending plan looks forwards, a budget looks backward,” Sethi explained simply. With conscious spending, you give yourself permission to spend extravagantly on the things you love and cut costs mercilessly on the things you don’t; this naturally helps you save more and better allocate your money to fit your lifestyle and needs.
2. A rich life looks different to everyone
This is one of my absolute favorite takeaways from How to Get Rich. Sethi repeatedly reminds us that a rich life looks different to everyone, and a rich life can also go beyond monetary value. Someone’s idea of a rich life could be having the freedom to drop off and pick their kids up from school every day, while someone else’s could be lavish vacations and romantic dinners. It’s all subjective! All that matters is that you get clear on what a rich life looks like to you. Once you know that, you’ll be able to consciously spend and turn your dreams into reality.
3. Having a financial plan is everything
One thing I learned about myself after watching How to Get Rich is that I have money sitting in the bank but don’t know exactly what I’m saving for. Is it my wedding? A new house? Am I saving for a designer bag, and if so, which one? Sethi stresses that without a plan, your money will be sucked up by daily spending. Now, I’m taking the time to get clear on what my rich life looks like to me so I can create a plan on how to get there.
4. Get aggressive with your finances
In one episode Sethi says: “You can’t put your head in the sand and magically turn into a millionaire.” While the wording made me LOL, I love the sentiment underneath it. Knowing where your money comes and goes and the total amount of your expenses is the first step towards building your rich life. Likewise, Sethi suggests calling up lenders for any late fees you’ve incurred and asking to have them waived, and if one of your recent credit card purchases is defective or has been broken, he recommends calling up the credit card company and asking for a reimbursement.
5. Never ignore debt
Another thing Sethi says you should never do? Ignore debt. Ignoring debt is like carrying around a heavy backpack and pretending it’s not there, and the longer you ignore it, the more interest you’ll accrue and the longer it’ll take to pay off. If you don’t want to still be paying off credit card debt or student loans 20 or 30 years from now, Sethi recommends adding just an extra $100 to your monthly payments or calling up your lender and asking them to refinance or bring the payments down.
6. Your income doesn’t predict your money habits
One thing that surprised me the most was the fact that some of the wealthiest people on the show had the worst money habits. These people were making well over six figures and were still fighting overdraft fees, racking up credit card debt, and more. Sethi explained that one of the biggest money myths is that making more automatically means you know how to manage your money. Poor money habits stay with you, regardless of how much you make; you could be making $250K and still feel like you don’t have enough money. This is why breaking unhealthy money patterns and following your unique financial plan are so essential.
7. You are not a failure if you don’t own a home
Sethi’s self-lauded “most controversial” money opinion is that renting can make you wealthier than owning a home. Although we’re taught that renting is bad and home ownership is the way to go, Sethi says this isn’t always the case. With renting, you’re paying a flat fee, but you’re responsible for the mortgage, maintenance costs, potential HOA fees, and more when you own a home. So, instead of blindly falling into the myth that you’re a failure if you don’t own a home, Sethi recommends running the numbers in order to ensure you’re making a sound and comfortable financial investment.
Ramit Sethi’s Questions To Ask Yourself if You Want To Buy a House:
- Is the total housing cost less than 28% of my gross income?
- Have I saved 20% for the down payment?
- Am I planning to live there for at least 10 years?
8. The #1 investment you can make is in yourself
At the end of the day, the best investment you can make is in yourself. Whether it’s going back to school or making a career change, putting away money for retirement, becoming debt-free, and so on, putting your money into the things that align with your deepest core values and your rich life. Of course, there is no one secret to success, and everyone’s journey is different, but if you can commit to yourself by creating better financial habits, consciously spending, and getting aggressive with your finances, you will be living your rich life in no time.