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15 Little Life Hacks

A sample IWillTeachYouToBeRich newsletter

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In addition to, I also have a free newsletter where I send out stuff I never post on here. To subscribe, click here.

Here’s a newsletter I sent out a while ago:

The I Will Teach You To Be Rich newsletter
By Ramit Sethi
Dec. 6, 2005

– Observations from a cruise
– Series on personal entrepreneurship
– Interesting articles from around the Web
– Speaking at MIT this week
– Special thanks
– What’s coming next

Observations from a cruise
I went on a cruise with my family a few months ago. It was cool and we had a great vacation! Never have I eaten so much. But as soon as we arrived, I realized something curious. Within ten minutes of boarding, we were presented the Coke Deal by 5 separate cruise employees. The “deal” was that you would get unlimited Coke for $27 (per person) for the 7-day cruise. Without it, though, you’d have to pay about $2.50/drink for the cruise. I thought it was interesting.

First of all, if you ever go on a cruise and start noticing things like this, something is probably very wrong with you.

Anyway, I found it interesting because it showed how the total cost of
something is often WAY higher than the sticker price. I read a number
somewhere that cruises make over 50% of their revenues once you come
on-board (drinks, entertainment, off-ship excursions, etc). I can’t find that number again, but other cruise sites agree that it’s high.

For me, the big takeaway was that a lot of things are like this (just not as blatantly obvious). Buy a new house and you have to shop at a more expensive grocery store. Buy nice pants and you’ll have to get them hemmed. And on and on.

The total cost of ownership (TCO) is my new way of looking at something, and it changes a lot of what I’d thought before.

For example, you hear all the personal-finance experts saying “buy a used car!” It’s become a mantra of the personal-finance world. “New cars lose $10,000 as soon as you drive them off the lot! And lower insurance! And blah blah blah.” Too bad I disagree, though: Used cars are great for some people, but new cars are a fantastic purchase for many others. Why? All because of total cost of ownership.

More about that next time. For now, when you’re thinking of buying
something, think about TCO.

Series on personal entrepreneurship
Last time I wrote, I mentioned that I’d be starting a series on personal entrepreneurship. Well, I did, and here are some of the most popular articles…

The Myth of The Great Idea

We Love to Debate Minutiae

Your Idea Isn’t Good Enough to Keep Secret

Your College is Not a Technical School

Success and The Shrug Effect

Guilt and Our Choices

There are even more. To see all the personal-entrepreneurship articles:

Interesting articles from around the Web
A good list of common categories to include in your budget

What I’ve Learned: Jeff Bezos (CEO, Amazon). Some nice thoughts about debt, but even more useful stuff for general life. (For more profiles, use the pulldown box at the end of the article.)

Nice 1st-person story about a woman buying a car. Note how some jackass car salesmen behave differently towards women than men; this is also true of some financial advisors.

Great financial calculators.

One of the best posts on rejection/failure I’ve ever seen.

Speaking at MIT this week
I’ll be speaking at MIT this Thursday (12/8/05) on personal finance and personal entrepreneurship. If you’re interested…

5:00pm – 6:30pm in 32-144 or
8:00pm – 9:30pm in 4-163

Special thanks
Special thanks to Mark Hurst of Good Experience (top experience-design firm at for the idea of this newsletter format.

What’s coming next
– I have an ebook coming out in a week or two called “The Top 11 Things Every College Graduate Should Know.” Newsletter subscribers get first crack at it, so stay tuned.
– A lot of new articles on personal entrepreneurship
– A lot of people have been writing to ask about Roth IRAs, so I’ll do a guide to your Roth IRA soon
– If you have requests, please email me at

I only ask one favor: If you find this useful, please let friends know about
I Will Teach You To Be Rich. You can do that by plugging my site or
forwarding this email to your friends..

I Will Teach You To Be Rich is a free blog about personal finance and
personal entrepreneurship. Subscribe to this newsletter at or unsubscribe at
[long URL].


Ramit Sethi

Subscribe to the newsletter here.

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  1. Do your e-mail newsletters contain information you don’t want a RSS subscriber to read? I want to read your articles but do not want additional email messages, now I am confused.

  2. Yes, my newsletters have stuff only released through email. The newsletter is only sent out about once a month. Sign up here.

  3. Re: TCO (total cost of ownership) in the aerospace industry this is called Life Cycle Cost, during a training course we get poeple to do this on their cars. It is quite interesting to note that it also gives you a break even point, i.e. when is it cheaper to sell your car and buy a new one, with sometimes surprising results, 1 to 2 years with some cars/motorbikes.

    Most motoring associations here in australia do all the figures for you and make it freely availabe to the public, check it out at

  4. My email is getting filled without me signing up for every newsletter I find. I liked your site, and will probobly visit it regulary, but I really would like you to include all info in a RSS feed. That makes life so much easier for me (I’m browsing trough a h.. of a lot info every day, and then rss is the only way to go.

    Anyhow – keep up the good work.

  5. I was wondering what type of people should buy a new car over a used one. I am planning to buy a car this year and I was thinking of a used car unitl I read this newsletter.

  6. Keep up the good work Ramit.

  7. Did you buy the unlimited coke? What kind of cruise doesn’t even give you food-inclusive?

  8. How can I read one of your previous newsletters?