Summary: Sethi's target audience (and thus context and voice target) is single twenty-somethings. So this might feel wrong for you. But a lot of his content is still appropriate for parents.
Intro: Sexy or Rich
- comparison to poor DietAndExercise habits, focus on weak/mis-info
- focus on prioritized action
- 6wks of action (7 chapters) plus 2 other final meta-chapters
- minimizing rates and avoiding fees will save you many thousands of dollars over time. Improving your CreditScore and CreditReport will be important, too.
- avoid cards with high rates and huge penalties
- 6 commandments
- pay bills on time - automate. Pay down all, don't carry debt!
- negotiate to pay no fees
- negotiate lower rate
- stick with your cards, don't cancel them
- have some extra cards, but only use them a little (e.g. put some recurring/automated fee on a card so it stays active even if you never carry). Also call every year to have your limit increased. Good for building CreditScore. Don't do this if you have discipline problems.
- if you have credit-card debt, automate extra payments to pay it down fast (snowball method)
- accelerate paying down your student-loan debt
- be realistic about where cash-flow to pay down debt will come from.
- http://dinkytown.net has financial calculators for debts and other things
- he tends to use separate online bank for SavingsAccount since it pays more interest, but this adds a few days to get access to funds
- he automates pulling from checking into savings with every pay period
- avoid fees, negotiate dropping fees, or know requirements to avoid fees
Chapter3: start Investing (401k, RothIra - IRA)
- (lots of stuff on how no young people invest, magic of compounding, etc.)
- 5 rungs of ladder do in this order
- if employer has 401k matching, invest maximum amount that gets matched
- pay off credit-card and other debt
- open RothIra
- put max allowable in 401k
- invest more in non-401k account. Pay down mortgage faster. Invest in yourself (career - conferences, courses, etc.).
- where to invest is in Chapter7
- it's not about being cheap, it's about being frugal - picking what matters to you, cutting other things, automating the savings.
- cut subscriptions (cable, gym) (if you're spendiing a lot here - his friend was spending 30% of after-tax!), buy a-la-carte
- creating ConsciousSpending plan
- 4 major buckets -
- fixed expenses: rent/mortgage, debt payments, groceries, min clothes, subscriptions - figure out your average/actual for each subcategory; add 15% slush; total should be ~50-60% of take-home pay
- investments: 401k, RothIra, etc. - aim for 10%
- savings: emergency fund, wedding, house downpayment, vacations, gifts - should total 5-10% - make a separate subaccount for each!
- if you have lumpy income (e.g. your main income is FreeLance), prioritize that emergency fund over investments - have 3mo of minimum expenses
- guilt-free spending: prioritize your fun with what's left.
- By automating the previous categories, and not going in to debt, you don't have to worry about the details here for discipline, only to trade off what you don't love for what you do
- most people are spending more than they make, so need to pick 1-3 big wins to reduce spending (might all be in last bucket, but could also be in fixed - should not be in investments or (needed) savings)
- to do that trade-off analysis, you'll still have to track your expenses for at least some period of time - Ramit uses MintCom (plus others p109) to track forever! ("envelope system") (use CreditCard or DebitCard as much as possible so you get your transactions downloaded)
- I don't think any married people will accurately track everything, so focus on analysis and periodic re-tracking.
- also, 3 ways to MakeMoreMoney
- negotiate a raise (see also last chapter)
- 3mo before asking
- check competitive salary data
- start to track what you do and the results you get
- have advance meeting with your boss to define excellence - you can hint that you would hope that such excellence would result in a raise or promotion
- 2mo before: have another meeting with boss reviewing your results, to confirm your targeting/results
- 1mo before: tell your boss you'd like to have meeting about compensation, ask him what you should prepare to make it a useful conversation
- 2wks in advance: role-play request with a friend a couple times
- get a higher-paying job - often easier to negotiate at start
- add FreeLance work on the side
- when you get more money (raise, big gift, etc.) - plan how to use before you do (don't save all of it, it's ok to spend some, but esp beware increasing your fixed expenses)
Chapter5: Save while sleeping (automate your accounts)
- pay as many bills as possible via CreditCard, rest through automated checking transfer (have to go to vendor site)
- adjust billing dates to come on payday, email notification to you of online bill, then auto-pay on 7th
- if you get paid 2/mo, split up the bills (starting from those you probably can't control like your mortgage)
- what is the point?
- avoid fees and CreditScore ding for paying late
- get money out of a single slush fund so you're less tempted to spend it
- reduce manual handling time
- get tracking/monitoring possible/easier (note how Mint knows your open CreditCard balance and due-date, so you can forecast)
Chapter6: Myth of Financial Expertise
- you don't need an investment advisor - they lose money
Chapter7: Investing isn't Only for Rich People
- don't worry about short-term returns
- probably shouldn't "invest" money that you're sure you'll need in 2yrs - that a Savings account job. Nobody can guarantee short-term performance.
- but most people don't really have a big short-term need like that, they just want to feel like their money is available. They need to change their attitude and invest to get compounding working.
- focus on low-fee MutualFund-s. He thinks Bonds are good for old people (uses Vanguard's lifecycle-funds as guide - 10% for youngers, 22% for 45yo, 37% for 55yo), but not his younger audience. He likes major diversification. Which is why he likes lifecycle funds, because he thinks that with index funds you need to buy a bunch (3-7) of them and rebalance every year, which he knows most people don't want to bother with.
- note this is trickier when you have multiple investment accounts. You can treat it like "one pot" and have each account just have a couple index funds, so that the overall balance works.
Chapter8: Easy Maintenance
- rebalance portfolio of index funds: he prefers just changing the allocation of new money, vs selling existing funds.
- if you have emergency money need beyond your savings, sell some stuff then ask your family for money before taking it out of your investment accounts (and definitely avoid credit-card debt if at all possible)
Chapter9: Rich life/miscellany
- donate (this is really in previous chapter)
- student loans? He suggests paying more than the minimum, but also put some in retirement accounts even though that's reducing loan-paydown-rate.
- don't have your parents manage your money
- if you have to help your parents with money...
- talking to your girlfriend about money...
- saving for your wedding
- negotiate salary for a new job (see earlier chapter on getting a raise at current job, too)
- don't bother focusing on what you want
- have another offer in hand (if it's from a mediocre company, don't tell them the name)
- know the market rate, try to get inside info on what they're already paying
- don't tell them your current salary
- negotiate on non-cash dimensions: stock options, vacation, tuition, flextime, etc
- practice with friends
- if you can't win on this negotiation, ask for written agreement for a 6mo review
- save money buying car
- most important: drive it for 10yrs, not 4yrs
- budget realistically (non-purchase expenses) - ConsciousSpending
- don't lease
- buy for reliability and resale value (and also what you like)