If you think personal finance is boring, and therefore don’t know much about it, Ramit Sethi is your guy. He’s hilarious, though totally not PC, and he knows his stuff. I Will Teach You to be Rich is the kind of book that is still constantly being recommended and mentioned by, like, everyone in the Universe, even though it was published in 2009. If I meet him, I’m definitely going to ask him to put on a Speedo and feed me peeled grapes while we talk about finance. He’d probably do it, too, because that’s his type of humor. Maybe we could get other luminaries of personal finance to join us in a hot tub, like Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey. When audience members would tell us about their poor spending choices, we could pelt them with the grapes.
Anyway. I have no claims to fame, but if I did, one of them would be that I broke even in the crash of 2008. I would say that everything in I Will Teach You to be Rich is consistent with what I did to achieve that. I had to read every single personal finance book in the public library, though, and you can skip all that simply by reading this one volume.
I presumed that Sethi’s book would be about marketing and business development, and that made me skeptical. Instead, it’s about managing the money you have once you get it. There are a lot of counterintuitive, contrarian elements about this book that I really like. For instance, the advice that home ownership isn’t for everyone tends to make people start going “But but but” like a little outboard motor.
What I liked best about the book, besides the fact that it made me laugh until I snorted, was that it’s loaded with insights I had never seen in a personal finance book before. Most importantly, Sethi opens by talking about how people prefer to debate minutiae rather than take action. We get caught up in analysis paralysis. He goes on to suggest ways to open discussions about debt with your parents and with anyone you’re thinking about dating. That is SUCH a good idea. If I had had the conversation I had with my second husband, with my first husband, then my second husband would have been my first husband, if you get what I’m saying.
The gist of I Will Teach You to be Rich is to spend several hours apiece doing a bit of research, making some major decisions, and then setting up a simple system. It works. It works in the same way that physical fitness, housework, and interpersonal boundaries do. You figure out what you want, talk it out with anyone who needs to be involved, execute, and then get on with things. This book is so approachable and funny that you barely notice how much you’re learning. If you want to empower yourself and you’re not sure where to start, start with the money.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.