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Why do you want to be rich?

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Sometimes, teaching people how to get rich gets me a bad rap. “You just want to make money,” I’ve been told. Or “money isn’t everything.” These gems, while not particularly eloquent, do have a point. Actually, I’d prefer that these people ask me why I teach people to be rich. It’s important to ask yourself, too: Why do you want to be rich?

Take a second and think about it.

A really dorky picture of a clock

Do you want to have a luxurious lifestyle? Do you want to travel? To eat at nice restaurants? Maybe you want to start your own business.

I believe it’s really important to consciously think about why you want to be rich. If you don’t, it’s easy to get caught up in a race to get more and more money without ever knowing why.

“But Ramit,” you might say, “I’m really smart. I got a 4.0 at Stanford and I don’t really want to take the time to think about this. I just want some cash, playa!!”

After I point and laugh at you, I’ll actually get serious. Trust me–take an hour to write it down and compare your long-term goals to what you’re actually doing on a day-to-day basis. It’s easy to say and harder to do, so I’ve taken my own advice below. And hopefully, I can use these things to explain why I teach people to be rich. It’s not just money–far from it.

Why I teach/learn how to be rich

In one sentence: I never want to have to make a bad decision because of money (e.g., staying at a job I don’t love because of car payments).

Long-term goals of earning wealth (in order):

  • Give my parents a retirement where they don’t have to work if they don’t want to
  • Comfortable, sometimes gaudy lifestyle (I love pens)
  • Make career decisions because I want to, not because of money
  • Stay in touch with my friends by seeing them in person often
  • Start a scholarship fund for high school/college entrepreneurs [done]

There it is: an online, accountable list of goals for why I teach and learn how to be rich. What if you made a list like this and checked it every 6 months to see if you were moving towards your goals?

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  1. “Make career decisions because I want to, not because of money”

    this is the stronger one to me..

  2. I dont think I want to be filthy rich, but I want to be comfortably well off to do the foln..

    1. Make career decisions because I want to, not because of money

    2. Start a scholarship fund/Open a school that teaches lifeskills, for underprivileged

    Your post made me think more than my usual comfort level about richness associated with money. Thanks!

  3. i want to live comfortably in life, take care of family and start my own bussiness. But the main reason I would like to be rich so I could give more to help people in need. That more important that having high quailty things when you can be happy with just he basic.

    It nothing wrong with having nice things in life, but difference would it make if you ate your food on a $10 plate than a $400 plate.
    Its good to save. Live to give, not to receive

    • I agree with you, I would rather eat on a cheaper plate as well. (even a paper plate will work). I just want to live without worries of,, say going to the store and if I have enough money to buy the things I need.. I am single parent, I have raised my two daughters on My Own. I would just like to meet a nice down to earth person, without living check to check, I would like to walk in a store and buy what I want without wondering if I can afford it
      Louis B

    • Am a Muslim I want to the simple life like I even help poor people OK just a good life but it looks simple av suffered alot

  4. I’ve lived being truly poor for 7 years now. After loosing everything we had, we were never able to get back on our feet. Now i have seen how poverty is, I want to be able to experiance what it is like to raise my kids without haveing to worry if my electricity or water will get turned off. I want to send them to college and be able to pay for it myself. (college is important– i use the Pell Grant)

  5. You love pens! How fantastic. This made my day.

  6. Dear Ramit, good point with asking this question, however… don’t you think that there’s a more important one really close, that is: “why do you want to live?”. You know, long-term goals, things like that… sound pretty big.

  7. I was just surfing tonight and stumbled across your blog. I haven’t read all of your articles, but I have yet to find a definition of what rich is. If it is here somewhere, I apologize. I think it would be useful if everyone knew what rich is.

    Rich or Real Wealth is not a specific number. It differs for everyone. Rich is being able to maintain a lifestyle from your investments only.

    And the real secret to obtaining this elusive goal, is to not change your lifestyle until you rich this point. At once it is obtained, it is easier to improve the lifestyle you are currently living.

    So if you can maintain your current lifestyle for a month, you are already rich. If only rich for a month. What you want is to be life long rich.

    But other than that, most of the information here is dead on. Getting rich is not easy, but its not hard either.

    It only takes time, patience, a plan and execution.

    I will check back in on you from time to time and see what nuggets you have uncovered.

    Maybe give a little advice on how to actually trade/invest.

    And one more point. Never listen to anyone who is not better off than yourself.

    Just the opinion of a someone who is rich.

    • I am a single parent, Raised my two daughters On My Own,, We lived check to check. I still do, I just want to walk into a store and stop wondering if I have enough money to buy the things I Need. I would love a Vacation (I have not been out of my town in ten years or so) I try and help people when I can, But it seems I never get nothing in return (its not like I expect it, but it would be nice to have just a nice car, and some spending money to do as I please with,, I am 50yrs old now, and I don’t see any help or someone that will give me a job to make extra money
      Thanks, Louis B.

  8. Why do I want to be rich?

    1. Having the money means not having to worry over things that won’t matter in 50 years.
    2. We want four children. Forget raising costs, think about college!
    3. We don’t want a terribly extravagant lifestyle, but we do want to raise horses. This requires serious $$$.
    4. I want to homeschool my children… this means that either myself or my husband would almost HAVE to be a stay at home parent.
    5. I want to start my own theatre/voice school (just graduated Voice Performance), preferably as a not-for-profit “teaching theatre”… not high-rent professionals, but kids & 20somethings getting their feet wet & learning the ropes.
    5. Once we start having kids, we don’t EVER want to move again. And for four kids, a fair-sized house will be a good thing.

    Oh, and this last guy? He’s dead on… never listen to anyone who is poorer than you. They obviously don’t know what they’re talking about.

    What am I doing towards these goals? Right now? Working a 9-5 that uses NONE of my professional skills, but is reasonably enjoyable. It’s not a NEEDED job… my husband brings home plenty to pay the bills, but we can save almost 80% of my pay every month towards the future. (Next three big things: a full size freezer – John hunts- a 4WD vehicle – Wyoming winters are vicious – and either land to build a house, or a house w/ decent land attached.)

    Beyond that, I don’t really know WHAT to do… we’re very frugal, but as for investing… we’re clueless.

  9. Yes before undertaking a plan its nice to pursue reason, if only for a very brief time. I would like to be rich so that I could have greater controll over my life and others around me. Like right now I am moderately poor. So I don’t choose what food to eat and when. I eat whatever I can get whenever I can. Sometimes I eat multiple meals in a couple hours of food I don’t like because its free. So I would like to controll and plan my life more. But mostly the biggest reason I want to be rich is because everyone else likes rich people and wants to be rich themselves. So in order to make those around me more happy and comfortable I would like to be richer. It may sound shallow but its the truth.

  10. I am working on begining my own buisness as well, do not know what buisness yet though. Im 19, working in real estate, and hopefully I too want to retire my parents so they would no longer have to work , and i cold keep them by my side forever.