Episode #122: “I shouldn’t have to ask for $20 to get McDonalds for the kids”

Doni and Cacey are 30 and 40 years old with three very young kids. Doni’s struggled with credit card debt in the past, putting pressure on Cacey to control their finances—in addition to being the family’s sole earner. Don’t miss the shocking twist to their money story at the end of the episode.

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Show Transcript

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[00:00:00] Cacey: Sounds weird saying it because I trust my wife, but when we first got into our relationship, she explained to me the problems and issues she’s had with credit cards and her spending.

[00:00:11] Ramit: Do you trust her?

[00:00:12] Cacey: I feel like I can trust her, I’m going to be honest, but it’s to a limit.

[00:00:16] Doni: I ran up too much credit card debt, so I had bad credit. Wasn’t able to use any credit for years.

[00:00:26] Cacey: I’ve never really had credit card debt. I’ve never had it before. I’ve never had credit for that matter. And so, when I see my balance up by hundreds of dollars, that she’s just been buying things– And I’m like, have you been using the card? What are you using it on? You should ask me for the money to pay for this. I need her to be on the same page as me, to trust me the same way I want to trust her, and stop the arguments over the little things as small as McDonald’s or whatever.

[00:00:57] Narration: 

[00:00:57] [Narration]

[00:00:58] Ramit: Meet Doni and Cacey. Doni’s 30, Cacey’s 40, and they have three young children. Now, Doni used to be in credit card debt. So early on in their relationship, Cacey took on the role of helping, and he became the money person in their relationship. But now that’s causing problems as Doni stays at home with their children, and she has to text Cacey if she wants to take the kids to McDonald’s. Today, you’re going to hear lots of surprises, including surprises about money psychology. So let’s begin my conversation with Doni and Cacey.

[00:01:32] Interview: [Interview]

[00:01:32] Doni: About two weeks ago, I went to the grocery store and bought the groceries. I spent $60, and he wanted to actually pay for it instead of it coming out of my account.

[00:01:45] Ramit: He wanted to pay for it out of his account instead of your account?

[00:01:50] Doni: Yes. So I stay at home, and sometimes, for me, going to the store is a break just from three children. So I take my youngest with me, and that particular day, we both needed to go to the store. It became a disagreement. I was like, I’m still going to go to the store. So I went and paid for it without him sending me the money or using his card. I just paid.

[00:02:18] Ramit: What do you mean sending?

[00:02:19] Doni: I’m on his account, but I don’t use the card. I use a different checking account, and so he’ll send me money to my account.

[00:02:27] Ramit: How often does he send you money?

[00:02:30] Doni: Um, whenever. If I’m going to do something for the kids, he’ll send it.

[00:02:35] Ramit: You’ll say, hey, I’m taking them to McDonald’s or whatever. Send me 15 bucks.

[00:02:44] Doni: Yes. And he can say yes or no. Sometimes he’ll say no.

[00:02:49] Ramit: What would be the last example of when you had this conversation? Where’d you take the kids that you talked to your husband about it?

[00:02:57] Doni: It probably was McDonald’s. It gives me a break from not having to cook, and I get to take the kids somewhere, and they really enjoy it. They have a playground.

[00:03:06] Ramit: How much did you ask him to transfer?

[00:03:08] Doni: No, I just say, um, can I take the kids to McDonald’s? And he’ll just send $20 or something. I like the coupon, so I use the app, and I have points. So normally, I know about how much it’s going to be.

[00:03:24] Ramit: Got it. Okay. All right. Cacey, I want to hear your perspective. I like this McDonald’s example. Walk me through it from your perspective. You get, what, a text message, or does Doni come up to you and say, hey, I want to take the kids to McDonald’s? How does it go?

[00:03:39] Cacey: Well, it usually goes, I get a text message that they want to go to McDonald’s for the day or she needs to get some things from the grocery store. So once she gives me the rundown of what it is and the price for it, I will either just, like she says, give her the money for that to take care of that. So that’s pretty much been our arrangement, just because I feel like I need to, like I said, I want to be able to know where everything’s going.

[00:04:09] Ramit: How do you decide if you’re going to say yes or no?

[00:04:13] Cacey: I honestly try to decide for the best of our family in my mind. I want to make sure we’re monitoring how much we’re spending on each thing because eating out has been an issue that we’ve–

[00:04:30] Ramit: Hold on. Let me pause you right there. I can hear those kids in the background. You have three kids? How old are they?

[00:04:35] Doni: Yes. Four, two, and four months.

[00:04:38] Ramit: Wow, you got a handful. Okay. 

[00:04:40] Doni: Yeah. The cricket sounds went off.

[00:04:44] Ramit: Okay. All right. Good. If we need to take a break, no problem at all. Just let me know.

[00:04:49] Doni: Okay. Thank you.

[00:04:50] Ramit: All right. You got it. Three young kids. We’ll make it work. We can be flexible. All right. Cacey, you said you’re looking out for the best of the family. You said that sometimes eating out has been an issue. Okay. How do you decide if it’s worth it? If it’s 20 bucks, 50 bucks, how are you making those decisions about that number?

[00:05:14] Cacey: And that’s the thing. Having this responsibility of a family is fairly new to me, to both of us. I Feel that. I want my kids to have fun. I want them to have memories of exciting times, and I feel like I already spoil them so much. I just want to make sure that we’re making the right choices at the right time so that we’re still ahead of all these payments or bills that come regularly.

[00:05:43] Ramit: Uh, just out of curiosity, I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess, you’re not tracking your spending and investments, etc, very carefully, right?

[00:05:56] Cacey: Not as much as I should. 

[00:05:58] Ramit: Okay. Do you know how I knew that? It’s because I asked you about the numbers, and your answer was, I want to do right by my family. I don’t want to spoil– it was a very qualitative answer when I’m just trying to talk about the numbers. So I don’t mind it. We can work with that. Doni, you’re staying at home, is that right?

[00:06:21] Doni: Correct.

[00:06:22] Ramit: All right. And Cacey, are you the sole income earner for the family? 

[00:06:27] Doni: Yes.

[00:06:28] Ramit: Okay. And was that the plan when the two of you met, that that was how it was going to shake out?

[00:06:33] Doni: I would say once we had our first son, then yes.

[00:06:39] Ramit: Got it. 

[00:06:39] Cacey: It sounds weird saying it because I trust my wife, but when we first got into our relationship before marriage and everything, she explained to me the problems and issues she’s had with credit cards, and her spending, and just the situation it’s put her in. And once we got married, I wanted to clear all that up because I’ve never really had credit card debt.

[00:07:05] I’ve never had it before. I’ve never had credit for that matter. And so she would go to the store, shop. I would be at work. I’d be making our bill payments, and when I see my balance up by hundreds of dollars, that she’s just been buying things, and I’m like, have you been using the card? What are you using it on? 

[00:07:25] And it’s just, oh, we needed this. And that’s when I’m explaining to her, you should ask me for the money to pay for this. Don’t just use especially the credit cards for these purchases and then not talking to me about it. I have the credit cards now. I had to get them back when she gave them to me because of that situation.

[00:07:44] Taking on these new responsibilities, I just felt that I needed to be in control of everything to make sure we’re secure and safe. And I just want to be able to trust her. I want us to have an account together. I need her to be on the same page as me, to trust me the same way I want to trust her, and stop the arguments over the little things as small as McDonald’s or whatever.

[00:08:09] Narration: [Narration]

[00:08:09] Ramit: She texts him for money for random purchases like McDonald’s. Notice that he has no real way of making these decisions except vague feelings like, I want to do right for my family. Neither of them think there’s anything wrong with this. And yet, he openly says that he has a limit for how much he trusts her with money. That’s a problem.

[00:08:33] Interview: [Interview]

[00:08:33] Doni: He has so much on his plate. He provides financially for the household. I try to take whatever I can do to try to help. So something like grocery shopping, to me, would make sense that while you’re at work, I would do that. But he tries to take on all those roles. So for him trusting me, that would allow me to help him in that way as well.

[00:08:55] Ramit: Hey, can you explain that? You said that you are at home with the kids. Therefore, you’d be happy to go to the grocery store. Would you take the kids with you?

[00:09:05] Doni: Yeah.

[00:09:06] Ramit: Okay. What’s the problem with that? 

[00:09:07] Doni: Well, I think that sometimes he doesn’t think I get the best items. I don’t know. Or sometimes he’s saying that I spend too much at the grocery store.

[00:09:18] Ramit: How much is too much, Cacey?

[00:09:22] Cacey: 350.

[00:09:24] Ramit: 350. And what is a reasonable number for on you?

[00:09:32] Cacey: She doesn’t believe it to be realistic, but I want it to be around $75 weekly. Um, I don’t know.

[00:09:39] Ramit: 75? What the hell?

[00:09:40] Cacey: That was a while ago.

[00:09:41] Ramit: Where did that number come from? 1912?

[00:09:44] Cacey: I know. I changed it to a $100.

[00:09:46] Ramit: You just picked that number out of thin air, and you have three kids. I’m not even the big grocery connoisseur. Even I know that’s crazy. 

[00:09:55] Cacey: That honestly was the last time we did a budget, was when we were able to make that work, which has been over a year. And we’ve been breaking that budget for sure every week. 

[00:10:06] Ramit: If you pick a number on a budget and you’re breaking it every single week, you probably picked the wrong number.

[00:10:12] Cacey: I did.

[00:10:13] Ramit: Is this part of the reason that this dynamic exists where Doni, you say, I want to take the kids to McDonald’s, or I want to go grocery shopping? Cacey says yes or no, or I’ll go to the store and get this stuff. Is that why this dynamic emerged?

[00:10:34] Cacey: Yes.

[00:10:35] Doni: Yes. He believes that he can shop better than me, but I’ve proven over and over again through my coupon [Inaudible], and just because I cook the food that we eat, that I know how to pick better options.

[00:10:50] Ramit: Listen, this sounds like it could be a great TV show. It’s like, he shops. She shops. There’s this big debate. The only problem is it’s not going to be me doing this show because that’s the last place you’re going to find me, at a grocery store with coupons. It’s not going to be Ramit Sethi. 

[00:11:07] Cacey: Oh, man.

[00:11:09] Ramit: So Cacey, are you a better shopper than Doni?

[00:11:12] Cacey: I am, most definite.

[00:11:13] Ramit: Okay. And, uh, Doni, are you a better shopper than Cacey? This show’s getting better and better. Damn. She said yes. This is a good show. All right. Hold on. Let me text my EP right now. I’m about to send some network executives a little text.

[00:11:26] Narration: [Narration]

[00:11:27] Ramit:  Okay, this is a fascinating look into Doni and Cacey’s life. What did you pick up about the psychological and relational clues? The money stuff stands out like a sore thumb, yes, but they’re leaving lots of other subtle clues as well. Let me know what you’ve noticed so far in the comments.

[00:11:54] AD MARKER

[00:11:54] Interview: [Interview]

[00:11:55] Ramit: Cacey, you mentioned that you did not have credit card debt. You didn’t even have credit. How’d you grow up with money? 

[00:12:02] Cacey: My father was very successful in a sense. So I just worked hard, and I just paid cash for everything. Yeah, I just never used credit card debt. So my credit score was terrible because I never used it.

[00:12:18] Ramit: What do you remember about your parents, um, talking about money growing up? 

[00:12:24] Cacey: My mom– it’s funny you say that– she taught me to not owe anyone. She always wanted us to pay everything off and not owe anything.

[00:12:32] Ramit: Is that good advice? What do you think?

[00:12:34] Cacey: I think it is.

[00:12:35] Ramit: Uh, what else do you remember being said around the house? What other lessons do you remember?

[00:12:40] Cacey: The biggest lesson, I think, that’s impacted me is that my dad took care of everything financially. My mom, she was a stay-at-home mom as well. My father covered all the bases. We had more than what we needed at times. 

[00:12:56] Ramit: Are your parents both alive? 

[00:12:59] Cacey: Yes, they are.

[00:13:00] Ramit: Okay. And how are they doing financially now?

[00:13:02] Cacey: Not so well, actually. Um, my mom and dad actually aren’t agreeing right now on finances. My dad is wanting to finance a lot of things, and my mom wants to pay things off, and they just haven’t been on the same page.

[00:13:16] Ramit: Hmm.

[00:13:17] Cacey: My father’s still doing things the way he does things, though, and I can hear it in her voice. I think it’s scaring her a little bit.

[00:13:26] Ramit: What does she sound like? What do you hear when she talks to you about this?

[00:13:30] Cacey: Just sounds scared, honestly. She sounds really scared about her finances, and she’s retiring soon. And, um, I don’t like that. So I want to do whatever I can to assist.

[00:13:43] Ramit: Yeah. All right. Thank you for sharing that. Let’s see. Doni, what do you remember about growing up? When you were young. Any memories you have about what parent or parents said about money?

[00:13:55] Doni: I had a different upbringing. My mom always put everything on a credit card. So that’s what was taught to me. You need this new tire. Just put it on your card.

[00:14:08] Ramit: She said that?

[00:14:09] Doni: Yeah. 

[00:14:10] Ramit: She’s not too savvy with money, is that what you’re saying?

[00:14:13] Doni: Oh, not at all.

[00:14:13] Ramit: The opposite. Okay. That look of fright tells me everything I need to know. I’m curious. She’s been doing this for a long time since you were young, paying on credit. Has she suffered any consequences?

[00:14:29] Doni: Recently, yes. She’s figured out how to pay a credit card with a credit card. She’s done that for a long time, but now that she’s changed career paths and is not making the same income, it’s caught up with her.

[00:14:44] Ramit: What’s she going to do?

[00:14:46] Doni: I hope get another job until the one that she has picks up or however that works.

[00:14:53] Ramit: All right. What do you think you took away from the way you were raised with money? 

[00:14:59] Doni: I don’t know the lessons that I– you think that you can beat the system, but you can’t. That’s just the bottom line.

[00:15:12] Ramit: Yeah, that’s a good lesson. Painful though.

[00:15:16] Doni: I had really great credit because she put me on her credit card. So when I turned 18, I got approved for all these credit cards. So that’s how I found out about credit card debt.

[00:15:29] Ramit: How long did it take you after turning 18 to discover you were in a little bit of financial trouble?

[00:15:35] Doni: 21, 22. 

[00:15:39] Ramit: Just a couple of years.

[00:15:40] Doni: Mm-hmm.

[00:15:42] Ramit: Okay. Between the ages of 20 and 30, what happened with your money?

[00:15:46] Doni: I ran up too much credit card debt, so I had bad credit, wasn’t able to use any credit for years. And that’s how I realized I need to work with what I have. To me, that was a blessing in disguise because–

[00:16:02] Ramit: Okay. Better to happen in your 20s than to happen in your 60s. All right. So you learned that lesson. What age did you meet Cacey?

[00:16:14] Doni: At 24.

[00:16:15] Ramit: 24. All right. And how long you two been married?

[00:16:19] Doni: Almost five years.

[00:16:20] Ramit: Okay. Congratulations. When was the first time you two had a serious conversation about money?

[00:16:30] Doni: Yesterday.

[00:16:31] Narration: [Narration]

[00:16:32] Ramit: Notice the effect of their childhoods on how they spend money. Cacey’s dad handled the money, which Cacey’s now trying to do. I guarantee that if we spent more time and trace back to where this McDonald’s text messaging thing came from, part of it is seeing the role that his dad played as the money approver.

[00:16:51] And when I ask how his parents finances are now, did you catch it? He admits they’re not going well, which is a crystal ball into their potential future about 25 years from now. Then there’s Doni, whose mom spent a lot on credit cards, which is exactly what Doni learned, and then she did the same thing.

[00:17:13] But in addition to what they learned from their individual parents, one interesting thing to me is the dynamic between the two of them. Imagine you met your partner in their 20s and they were irresponsible with money. So you helpfully stepped in to give some advice, maybe even take control of the money, and it worked.

[00:17:32] You might consider that a success. But after a while, your partner might say, hey, I understand you helped me when I was in trouble, but I’m ready to move past that identity now. I want to recalibrate the rules of our relationship, and recalibrating relationship dynamics is one of the hardest things you can do, whether it’s with your parents, your friends, or definitely your spouse. Let’s keep listening.

[00:17:58] Interview: [Interview]

[00:17:59] Ramit: So your role when it comes to money in your relationship, you’re not paying the bills. What would you say your role is? 

[00:18:07] Doni: I would say to help whichever way I can to save money. I think that my way of helping is to get the deal, use the coupons, try to limit where and what we’re doing. Because pretty much, like you said, it’s for the kids. So most of the time the enjoyment goes from taking them places.

[00:18:32] Ramit: Okay. All right. Cacey, what do you think your role is in this financial relationship of yours?

[00:18:39] Cacey: Right now, I feel like it’s just to make sure we’re okay for emergency purposes if anything comes up.

[00:18:45] Ramit: How about groceries? Does that count as emergencies?

[00:18:48] Cacey: It seems to be because it sometimes leads to heated discussions as if it’s, yeah–

[00:18:56] Ramit: I’m curious. Talking about groceries as an emergency is not usually common among the people that I speak to. Groceries are something you need every week, especially with kids. 

[00:19:08] Cacey: When I say emergency, is because when we disagree on it– I’m a true believer of happy wife, happy life, and when she’s upset about me saying no sometimes, we all sometimes suffer. And I don’t like that. And I don’t like the fact that I feel almost obligated to say yes sometimes to avoid, um, her being upset with me. And then it just shows out. It just changes the whole dynamic of our home sometimes. That’s just what it is. And then we reflect on what it’s about.

[00:19:45] And it’s about, like you said, groceries. Is my role to keep us afloat and keep us able for emergencies and to be able– because right now, we’re just, to me, in a very uncomfortable situation, and you got– I can feel the tint in my neck just thinking about it because my life up to this point, the past five years, has been just a new lifestyle, a new change for me.

[00:20:14] I come from making great money. Um, I’m used to not thinking about what I spend money on. So I’m used to just treating myself and whoever’s around me as much as possible. But it’s different when you have a family of five now, and a home, and all these responsibilities. So now I’m having to change my way of thinking from just carefree to– I was never really great with money.

[00:20:39] I must say that. Even though I had money and worked hard, I spent it as quickly as I earned it. I never really saved for the future. I just spent it. And now I’m getting better just because I feel this responsibility on my plate and I don’t want to slip up.

[00:20:57] Doni: I’m trying to meet him where we’re both in agreeance and happy with– because, yeah, I don’t want it to be so caught up in just food all the time. But it’s a big part of it because you have to eat. I’m making lunch for him. I’m cooking for the kids, but I don’t want to get caught up on the food situation.

[00:21:23] Cacey: I don’t want to keep saying the same thing, but it’s just been tough for me to want to give her that freedom to do the things that she wants to do just because I feel that responsibility, that pressure. That pressure just sits, and it just doesn’t go anywhere. And it’s like–

[00:21:43] Ramit: You feel the pressure. So therefore, what is your natural reaction to that pressure?

[00:21:50] Cacey: Sometimes I get a little– she says I’m being mean, but I’m just trying to– yeah.

[00:21:58] Ramit: Do you notice that you take on more? The more pressure you feel, the more control you try to exert. Have you noticed that?

[00:22:06] Cacey: Yes.

[00:22:07] Ramit: How many hours a day do you go to work?

[00:22:10] Cacey: Unfortunately, about 9 to 10 hours a day.

[00:22:13] Ramit: Nine to 10 hours a day. That’s a long work day. And then she’s like, hey, I want to go to the grocery store and get groceries. I’m here all day. I have time. But you go, no, I’m going to stop by on my way home. You see the pattern there? What is that?

[00:22:32] Cacey: Yeah. Uh, I can’t really explain it to be honest.

[00:22:39] Ramit: You ever play sports?

[00:22:41] Cacey: Yes.

[00:22:41] Ramit: All right. What did you play?

[00:22:43] Cacey: Baseball, bowling.

[00:22:46] Ramit: Bowling? 

[00:22:47] Cacey: Yeah, I was a bowler.

[00:22:48] Ramit: What the hell? Are you serious? What was your score?

[00:22:51] Cacey: Uh, 210.

[00:22:52] Ramit: Okay. So, uh, first of all, when you said baseball, I was like, shit, I don’t know anything about any sports. But when you said bowling, I got very interested I’m a kid of suburbia. I know bowling. Soyou’re on some baseball team, whatever, and you’re good at something. You have the skills for something. Your teammates got the skills for another thing, but your team is down by three points. Do you go over to your teammate and you go, hey, give me the bat. I’m going to swing.

[00:23:21] I’m going to do it again. I’m going to do it, even though my arms tired and my shoulders are shot. Or do you say, you know what? You’re awesome. You know what we got to do to win? We’re down by three. We both need to get there. Can you pull it off? They go, yes. You go, I trust you. Go for it. Which one is more effective as part of a team?

[00:23:40] Cacey: Obviously, the second one is more effective.

[00:23:43] Ramit: Yeah. But you haven’t been doing that at home. Now let’s talk about why. Why do you think?

[00:23:56] Cacey: I think it’s really from how I was raised, I guess, when I think about it.

[00:24:00] Ramit: Tell me.

[00:24:01] Cacey: I just felt like my father just always was the money handler. He did just outline his things. He would go buy multiple cars at once. He would buy a big house. He would just do all these things, um, as I was a kid. Yeah, it was just a cool time just to witness that. 10, 11, 12. 

[00:24:28] Ramit: What does that mean to you to be able to see your dad, at the age of 10, go out and buy cars and all kinds of stuff? What did that mean to you back then?

[00:24:36] Cacey: Well, it just meant I wanted to be like that. I wanted to always be able to provide for my family, do all the things he did.

[00:24:45] Ramit: And so translate that for me today. We’re not talking about buying multiple cars. That’s not really on the table, but we are talking about what?

[00:24:56] Cacey: That control.

[00:24:57] Ramit: Yeah.

[00:24:58] Cacey: Yeah.

[00:24:59] Ramit: Talk me through it.

[00:25:00] Cacey: It’s really something I don’t even realize until I’m called out on it, actually. Yeah, it’s wild. It’s something I don’t even really realize. I like to think of myself as a leader and, um, a trendsetter, not a follower. Even some of my conflicts with certain situations in my past, I can see how that can be an issue for me just sitting here thinking about some things.

[00:25:29] Ramit: I bet there’s a lot to unpack. I bet you’re going to have a lot of thinking to do. I love watching you make that connection between you and your dad. I think for every man, especially a man who’s recently had three kids in a short amount of time, you start to process things differently. Most days, you wake up, you know how to brush your teeth. You know how to do this stuff.

[00:25:53] You’re a master at it, but it’s the big uncertain things in life, like traveling to a different country for the first time, eating at a fancy restaurant for the first time, or the really big ones, having three kids in four, five years. We don’t know how we’re going to react. And so what do we do? We look around, and we look around at the only examples we know. And who does that example happen to be in your life?

[00:26:22] Cacey: My father, my parents. Yeah.

[00:26:24] Ramit: And so that’s what we tend to lean on. Doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. That’s what all of us do. Now you can choose what parts of that you want to follow and maybe what parts you want to chart a different path on. What do you think?

[00:26:40] Cacey: No, I totally agree. This is wild. And we’re trying so hard to set up our kids to be so further ahead of everyone else. And so it’s been a reality that me and her have realized that we were– we wish we had a different set up from the beginning as far as money and how to handle it and do things. 

[00:27:05] Narration: [Narration]

[00:27:05] Ramit: Watching Cacey make these connections is why I truly love my job, and why I’m so appreciative of every couple that comes on this podcast. Every single one. Including Cacey and Doni today. I recently had a guy named Will Reynolds post something about this podcast on Twitter. He said he overthinks 90% of small money decisions. He’ll go six months thinking about earbuds, and then he’ll end up buying a used pair. He called it crippling. 

[00:27:36] And then he said, “I realized this listening to Ramit’s podcast. It took me listening to 60 episodes for it to click.” Now, I really appreciate that message, first of all. So if you have anything to say about this podcast, please post it, leave a review on Apple, post it on Twitter, send me a DM. I love hearing your feedback. 

[00:27:58] But I also want to point out that some of you are listening to this podcast for the first time. Some of you have listened to over a 100 episodes. Yeah, you might immediately recognize some of the lessons from these couples, like when I have a million dollars, I’m not going to magically feel good about money, or, wow, 50% of the people Ramit talks to don’t even know how much money they make. But there are also subtle lessons.

[00:28:20] It may take you months or years for some of these insights to sink in. That’s fine. You have the rest of your life to live a rich life. I think, from that comment, and from my guests, that the real stars of this show are the couples who come on here. I help them, I nudge them, I may point out a ratio that they haven’t heard of before, but what you just heard from Cacey, as he suddenly realized that he wants control over his money just like his dad had, that is magic.

[00:28:52] AD MARKER 

[00:28:53] Interview: [Interview]

[00:28:53] Cacey: I’m talking about setting up for the future if I’m not available, if something happens. I need her to be able to manage everything. I need to be able to trust her with funds, not just in case something happens to me down the line, but just in general. 

[00:29:08] Ramit: Can I reframe that, what you just said? 

[00:29:10] Cacey: Yes.

[00:29:10] Ramit: Look what you just said. I need to be able to trust her. Reframe that. I need to trust her. One is about some ephemeral force in the universe that needs to force you to trust her. That force does not exist. The second is I need to change myself to trust her. And right now, the reason that she’s carefree and actually only asking these 20-dollar questions is that you haven’t trusted her with the real stuff, and you’re actually doing a disservice to her. 

[00:29:50] Doni’s over here. She’s shrinking herself thinking that with money, it’s about asking her husband for $20. We’re not talking about 20-dollar questions here. We’re talking about setting yourself and your family up to be secure, to be able to think bigger than what’s on the grocery store shopping list this week. It’s got to be bigger than that. So step one is not to be able to trust her. It is to trust her starting right now. Separately, Doni will have to improve her skills and rise up to meet that challenge. I feel very confident she can. Doni, you think you can do it?

[00:30:35] Doni: Yes.

[00:30:36] Ramit: Okay. I agree. Will there be a few mistakes along the way? Of course. Is Doni probably going to overspend in a couple of areas? Probably. I don’t mind it because that’s how the two of you hash it out.

[00:30:49] Doni: Cacey, what would it take for you to trust me to go grocery shopping for the household?

[00:30:57] Cacey: Just sticking to our budget. That’s it. I’ll keep it simple. If we can stick to a budget without any surprises.

[00:31:08] Doni: Okay, so not $75 a week, but what would the budget be?

[00:31:13] Cacey: That’s what we need to work in a new budget. 

[00:31:17] Ramit: Can we just do it right now? Because you guys have been married five years.

[00:31:21] Cacey: Yes.

[00:31:21] Ramit: Let’s literally do it in the next 30 seconds. What’s the number?

[00:31:27] Cacey: So we’ve been spending about 700 now. If we can get it to five, I think, is a win from seven. And I think that’s fair. 125, I guess. 

[00:31:47] Narration: [Narration]

[00:31:48] Ramit: I just want to cut in here to point out that Cacey automatically started to answer, which is another subtle sign of him wanting financial control. A true teammate would have said, Doni, what do you think the number should be? Now, personally, this is just something small. It isn’t something to get hung up on, but it shows you how deep these identities can go. If you want to play a fun game with your partner, next time you’re talking about money, reverse the roles. Reverse the roles of who talks first, who asks questions, and who answers, and watch what happens. I guarantee you, you will be surprised by what you uncover.

[00:32:24] Interview: [Interview]

[00:32:24] Doni: I agree. 

[00:32:25] Ramit: You both feel confident? 125 a week?

[00:32:28] Cacey: I think that’s fair.

[00:32:30] Doni: Yes.

[00:32:31] Ramit: All right. Great. Cacey looks like he just played 15 innings of– I don’t even know how many innings are in a baseball game. Why do you look so tired?

[00:32:44] Cacey: That’s a more so I hope we can do it look. I’m just like, we’ve tried it before, and I just know when it gets to that point, it can last for two weeks, maybe three.

[00:32:55] Doni: I would say, plan a day that we know we’re going to grocery shop, have our list ready. Doing pickup orders lets me know that I will stay at the budget.

[00:33:15] Cacey: That’s a fair answer.

[00:33:19] Ramit: Sounds great. I trust you. I love you.

[00:33:21] Cacey: Itrustyou. I love you.

[00:33:22] Ramit: High five. That’s great. It’s fun. There we go. High five. Take the win. Okay. Cool. I like it. Doni, you feel good at 125? It sounds like Cacey’s trusting you a little bit more. And I like that you own it. You’re the owner. So you’re going to find a way, one way or another. I love your confidence earlier. I’m like, are you a better shopper? You’re like, yeah, I’m a better shopper. So I like that, that confidence. It means I totally trust you to find a way to hit 125 a week. Do you feel good about that?

[00:33:53] Doni: Yes, I do.

[00:33:54] Ramit: All right. Done. So that means no more weird text messages about grocery store transfers and all that stuff, right? All right. Any other comments or questions about the groceries? Because I’m seriously ready to not talk about groceries anymore.

[00:34:11] Doni: Me too. I’m right there with you.

[00:34:13] Ramit: Thank the Lord. No more groceries. Our rich life has got to be bigger than the grocery store. All right. We’re done. We did that. We did that. We did it. We’re moving on. Can we take a look at your numbers?

[00:34:30] Doni: Yes.

[00:34:30] Ramit: Let’s start with Doni going over the net worth section. Doni, read off assets, and then the number next to it. 

[00:34:39] Doni: 404,000.

[00:34:41] Ramit: Okay, cool. Uh, your investments?

[00:34:45] Doni: Oh, 21,000.

[00:34:47] Ramit: Okay. Your savings?

[00:34:49] Doni: $2,000.

[00:34:51] Ramit: All right. And your debt?

[00:34:53] Doni: $310,500.

[00:34:57] Ramit: Okay. What is that your mortgage? What else?

[00:35:00] Doni: Yes. Um, student loans and consumer debt.

[00:35:04] Ramit: So your total net worth is how much? Just read that number for us.

[00:35:08] Doni: 116,500.

[00:35:11] Ramit: Okay, great. All right. That’s your total net worth. What do you think about that number?

[00:35:14] Doni: I guess higher than what I thought.

[00:35:17] Ramit: What’d you think?

[00:35:20] Doni: We were in the hole.

[00:35:21] Ramit: All right. Uh, let’s go to the income. Uh, let’s talk to Cacey here. Cacey, uh, your income here, gross monthly income is what?

[00:35:32] Cacey: 4,960 bucks.

[00:35:35] Ramit: Okay. So on an annual basis, that’s about $60,000. Okay. All right. Let’s look at your fixed costs. Uh, what’s this number here of your total fixed costs as a percentage of take-home?

[00:35:48] Cacey: 94%.

[00:35:50] Ramit: What do you think about that number?

[00:35:54] Cacey: Not good.

[00:35:56] Ramit: It’s pretty high. Extremely high. Do you know what number it’s supposed to be?

[00:36:01] Cacey: No.

[00:36:03] Ramit: Doni, do you know?

[00:36:06] Doni: I think it was 30%. 

[00:36:08] Ramit: 50 to 60%. Cacey sitting over here, looking shocked right now. Cacey, what’s going through your head?

[00:36:13] Cacey: We’re spending too much on stuff.

[00:36:16] Ramit: Mm-hmm. We’re going to talk about that. Let’s just establish that your fixed costs are really high. Fine. Your investments are? What’s that number, Doni?

[00:36:30] Doni: Zero.

[00:36:31] Ramit: Yeah. Your savings? Anybody want to feel free to chime in here? 

[00:36:37] Cacey: Zero.

[00:36:38] Ramit: And everything else, which I don’t believe is $250. So what’s going on here? If you were to evaluate this conscious spending plan, take yourselves out, if you were just looking at someone else’s, what would you say?

[00:36:54] Cacey: Spending too much, or not making enough. Both.

[00:37:00] Ramit: What else, Doni?

[00:37:05] Doni: Yeah, then not planning for the future.

[00:37:07] Ramit: Yeah. Where do you see that part, the not planning?

[00:37:10] Doni: The investments and savings.

[00:37:13] Ramit: Yeah, I agree. Sometimes you can feel the energy of a room. If you go to a restaurant or a museum, or any type place, you can feel the energy. Even at a club, there’s certain parts of the club that are hot. At a museum, there’s certain parts where everyone’s crowd around. That’s where the energy is. Where’s the energy in this conscious spending plan? Where is it?

[00:37:39] Cacey: Fixed costs.

[00:37:40] Ramit: Yeah. Look at all these numbers. They’re dialed in, filled out, but where’s the complete lack of energy. It’s this.

[00:37:50] Cacey: Investments and savings.

[00:37:51] Ramit: Yeah. And also, this one’s just offhandedly– you just basically gave up by this point. Can I tell you, for me, in terms of wealth creation, all my energy’s here, investments. That is where I get fired up, because that is my future rich life and my guilt-free spending. That’s where I’m fired up today. That’s my eating out. My travel is a big thing for me and for my wife. So I just want to point out the energy that we see here. It’s what the two of you talk about all the time, isn’t it?

[00:38:28] Cacey: Yes, it is. 

[00:38:30] Ramit: And it’s actually the thing that’s sinking you.

[00:38:32] Cacey: Yes.

[00:38:34] Ramit: Doni, if I were to leave right now, what would you do?

[00:38:39] Doni: Um, I don’t really know because it’s hard to tell him that we need more money because he can see that, but I don’t feel like I want to say that we need more income to be able to cover everything.

[00:38:58] Ramit: You don’t want to say what’s the obvious truth to your financial partner? It feels like there’s a lot of dancing around the truth in this relationship. Am I reading that right?

[00:39:14] Doni: Yeah. When he says he’s stressed, that does hurt. I feel that as well. And so I feel like I’m causing more stress by pointing that out?

[00:39:33] Ramit: Can you ask each other what you would like the other person to do and how they could best support you? Have you ever asked each other that question?

[00:39:45] Cacey: No.

[00:39:46] Doni: Probably in anger, like, okay, should I go get a job type of thing.

[00:39:53] Ramit: Oh. Nice idea. Totally violating the spirit of that question. Let’s do it now when we’re not in a fight. 

[00:40:04] Cacey: Okay.

[00:40:05] Narration: [Narration]

[00:40:06] Ramit: I want to talk about that conversation on energy, and I don’t use the word energy just because I live in LA. The day you see me wearing a wide brimmed hat with an inexplicable feather in it, talking about cold plunges and how I’m micro dosing, you could just stop listening to this podcast. I’ve lost it. 

[00:40:23] But my comment about energy is real. I hear couples arguing about groceries for 20 years, and I understand groceries are a heated topic for a lot of people. It’s vivid. It’s something you can see and touch every single week. But my perspective on it, as the perspective of a rich life, is that they’re a minor detail.

[00:40:41] It’s like arguing about what socks your son or daughter is wearing to their graduation and forgetting the fact that they just graduated from college. You can see this in every single person and every single CSP. There’s an obvious energy around certain areas. Sometimes it’s credit card debt. It’s where they have a lot of numbers, a lot of explanation.

[00:41:02] Sometimes it’s car payments. Sometimes it’s investments. Ask yourself, in your relationship, where is your energy around money? What do you talk about a lot? What do you worry about a lot? What do you write down notes about a lot? Now, ask yourself if you want to change that. My energy is around investments and guilt-free spending. This means that for investing, I learned how it worked in detail, and I set up automatic investing for a diversified portfolio, the same way you can learn about in Chapter 7 of my book. 

[00:41:40] For guilt free spending, I love spending time and energy looking up our next travel destination, talking to my travel friends, shopping for clothes and convenience. You’ve got to decide where you want the energy to go. You might need to put more energy right now around student loans, or you might need to put more energy around income. You want to make more money, join my earnable program. But be intentional about where you put your energy. By the way, speaking of income, let me ask Cacey about his earnings.

[00:42:16] Interview: [Interview]

[00:42:16] Ramit: Why are you only earning $60,000 a year?

[00:42:22] Cacey: I’ve been going through some things. Um, I was making around a 100,000 right before COVID. 

[00:42:30] Ramit: The fact of the matter is that at $60,000 a year, it’s very difficult to afford a family of five anywhere. And I’m not even talking about having debt.

[00:42:45] Doni: Yeah. 

[00:42:47] Ramit: So that’s the fact. The fact is you have to increase your income. And the whole time the two of you have been sending these messages back and forth and playing small by arguing about 10, 20, and 50-dollar expenses, your house is actually on fire. And if there’s one thing I really don’t like, it’s people playing small in life. I actually consider it a tragedy to live a smaller life than you have to. So that is the single place that I would recommend.

[00:43:25] Doni: Okay. So Cacey, what do you feel would be the best way for me to help with our finances?

[00:43:34] Cacey: The best way to help us with our finances, I think, is sticking to our budget and helping me as well, I must say. And you’ve been doing that. You call me out sometimes when I spend on things that you feel isn’t fair. Yeah, just continue to do your part on that end and sticking to the budget.

[00:43:58] Ramit: If we keep sticking within the budget, the budget or the conscious spending plan we created shows us losing money every single month. So what are you really saying, Cacey?

[00:44:15] Cacey: Yeah, that wouldn’t work. Still controlling. 

[00:44:18] Ramit: Still going back to what you think is going to help, but actually, we’re looking at the numbers that objectively do not work.

[00:44:25] Cacey: Yeah, you’re right. Yeah, you’re right.

[00:44:33] Ramit: Sometimes I think that because money is so overwhelming, and it’s so complicated for us, and it’s so interwoven with family, and gender, and all kinds of dynamics that we just have these phrases we just automatically repeat. Some people will say, I want to do what I want when I want. Some people will say the dream is to buy a house and send the kids to college. 

[00:44:55] And we just repeat these phrases, and we don’t really think about, is that what I want? Is that what we are capable of doing? And you may end up actually wanting to send the kids to college and road trip around the country, whatever it is you want. But I’m begging you and everyone watching and listening to really stop automatically answering these questions and really dive deep. It is so important. So can we try that again?

[00:45:27] Cacey: Yes.

[00:45:28] Doni: Yes. So we’ve been working on a lot of things about getting your business back and running and our nonprofit going. How can I help more with that to actually increase our revenue? 

[00:45:49] Cacey: We’ve talked about that, but you’re right. I think now is the time for us to make that transition. Everything happens for a reason. The timing is everything. I just believe that now is our time to really work towards getting my business back going. I understand the sacrifice that I might have to be gone a little bit to do that to get it going. You know how I feel about being gone.

[00:46:20] Ramit: Are you suddenly taking on all this work yourself? It sounds like you are. I thought she was offering to help.

[00:46:25] Doni: So he would travel a lot, but he’s had people that work under him. And I was like, if you can increase the amount of people that you have working under you, you won’t have to travel as much. Yes, you will make less money, but you could still have some type of extra income.

[00:46:45] Ramit: Okay. Sounds amazing. Any issue?

[00:46:50] Cacey: No, actually, there’s no issue. Actually, she’s right. She did suggest that, and I acted on it. I actually reached out to an old business partner of mine, and I put that in motion. 

[00:47:02] Ramit: Got things in motion. I love that. I wonder if I posed a challenge to you, Cacey, which is, I want your new business to generate X thousand dollars, whatever it is, it could take time to grow up, but you spend less than two hours a week on it. How would you make that happen?

[00:47:34] Cacey: I can make that happen. I would use those two hours to set up any work, um, instead of–

[00:47:42] Ramit: Schedule it. 

[00:47:43] Cacey: Scheduling.

[00:47:44] Ramit: I’m just wondering, is there anyone in this room who’s got some time available that they might be really good at doing that? Anyone?

[00:47:53] Doni: Me.

[00:47:54] Ramit: Cacey, you understand the point of my question? It’s not for you to do it. Your wife, the one who came up with this idea, is sitting here saying, put me in coach.

[00:48:05] Cacey: Wow.

[00:48:06] Ramit: I need you to advocate for yourself and for this new path that the two of you want to create. If you don’t speak up, the two of you are going to recreate the same things you learned from your parents. Cacey’s going to be here trying to get more and more control, becoming increasingly unhappy, and you, Doni, are going to feel like a caged animal, and any time you finally get access to a little bit of credit or cash, you’re going to go wild because who knows when the next time will come about? That’s not a healthy relationship with each other or with money. So the answer is sitting here in front of you. 

[00:48:46] Doni: Yes. Um, honey, I would love to help you. I can call and schedule the people to go out, whatever else you need.

[00:49:00] Cacey: That’s actually great. I don’t even know what to say. I know you have so much on your plate, and I’m just so grateful for what you do, but yes, that is something that you called out before, just letting us know that we need more money coming in. That idea is the best idea. Actually, I’m really excited just talking and thinking about the reality of everything coming in motion. I’m really excited.

[00:49:25] Ramit: You two are at your best like this, when you’re going back and forth as a team, when you’re complimenting each other. I can see there’s a lot of love. It’s very obvious. And where, most importantly, you’re trusting each other. And the money part happens to be a very nice byproduct. And I want to actually show you what that money could do for you. 

[00:49:51] Let’s take a look. So right now you have 94% of your money going to fixed costs. Let’s just assume, at some point in the future, this business can generate 2,500 of take-home pay for you per month. Seems fairly modest. Let’s just say. Watch the number, the 94% fixed costs. Watch. It drops to 61%. Look at that relief on Cacey’s face. He just took a big old breath. Did you see that, Doni?

[00:50:20] Doni: I did.

[00:50:21] Ramit: He was like, ah. I never saw that guy get as much oxygen as he just did right now. Unbelievable. Doni, how would that feel to hear? 

[00:50:31] Doni: Sounds really good. It’ll feel good.

[00:50:35] Ramit: Yeah. That’s a lot of expectation. That’s a lot of responsibility he would be handing over. You think you’d be able to meet that?

[00:50:42] Doni: Yes, I already do a lot of work within our nonprofit and helping him with whatever he asked me for.

[00:50:50] Ramit: Love that answer. I love that confidence. Cacey, you’ve got a great partner here.

[00:50:57] Cacey: I do. I really do. I agree. 100%.

[00:51:00] Narration: [Narration]

[00:51:00] Ramit: That was an example of how sometimes I have to shake couples out of their patterns. These patterns are so deep, they don’t even recognize it. Like Cacey starting to give this long-winded answer and not even realizing that he can ask Doni for help. Now, I will say, the cool thing is, once I pointed it out, they instantly got it. That is very promising. And now, you’ve got to hear this wild card that came out of left field.

[00:51:28] Interview: [Interview]

[00:51:28] Ramit: Now, I understand that there’s one big additional wrinkle in your finances, something that’s coming up pretty soon. I need to understand what this is. I saw it in my notes, and I was like, what? All right. Tell me about this.

[00:51:44] Doni: Honey, you want to tell him?

[00:51:46] Cacey: And we have an NDA, so we can only say so much. But, um, prior to me and Doni getting together, I invested with a company. Once we got together, she also started investing. We’re at the point now where the company is being sold, um, and we’re going to get our payout for this company. It’s a very great thing for us right now, and I’m really, really– this will actually relieve a lot of pressure, just to be honest.

[00:52:17] Ramit: What are we talking about? Fifty bucks? How much are you guys make it from this?

[00:52:20] Cacey: It’s wild. We’re going to be in the seven figures.

[00:52:24] Ramit: You’re going to make seven figures from this investment?

[00:52:26] Cacey: Yes.

[00:52:27] Ramit: What is seven figures? How much is that?

[00:52:30] Cacey: It’s 1.5. 

[00:52:32] Ramit: Damn. Okay. All right. Congratulations. How do you feel about that?

[00:52:39] Cacey: That’s a whole new stress level.

[00:52:43] Ramit: So what are you going to do with this money?

[00:52:46] Cacey: Um, a lot of things, a few things. Um, we will be paying off, obviously, our debts. 

[00:52:51] Ramit: Can we just clarify that? Because I’m really curious. Your mortgage is how much? 

[00:52:56] Cacey: Our mortgage right now is about 250.

[00:53:00] Ramit: Okay. And what else do you have?

[00:53:01] Cacey: We have 80,000 in consumer debt.

[00:53:05] Ramit: Can you break it down for me? How much is the car?

[00:53:08] Cacey: So the car is, uh, 16,000. What else was it? We have 10–

[00:53:14] Ramit: Student loans?

[00:53:15] Cacey: Student loans of about 19,000, uh, in total.

[00:53:20] Ramit: Credit card?

[00:53:21] Cacey: We have 16,000 in credit card.

[00:53:27] Ramit: Okay.

[00:53:29] Cacey: I have a business loan that I need to pay. 20k.

[00:53:38] Ramit: Okay. I’m getting a little worried.

[00:53:41] Cacey: Yeah.

[00:53:42] Ramit: Do you know why?

[00:53:43] Doni: No. Why?

[00:53:44] Ramit: Because if you got into all this debt, I’m worried you’re about to make 1.5 million and end up right back where you were. Are you worried about that, or no?

[00:54:02] Doni: Yes, that’s why we need your help.

[00:54:05] Ramit: All right. Are you worried Cacey?

[00:54:10] Cacey: I want to be more optimistic than worried. 

[00:54:12] Doni: The plan was, or is, to pay off the debt and not get back in debt.

[00:54:19] Ramit: That’s it? That’s the whole dream? Making a life-changing amount of money and just pay off debt? That’s it?

[00:54:24] Doni: What are you going to do to fix the spending problem and lack of investments and savings?

[00:54:30] Cacey: We have a list of everything that we’re going to do in an order.

[00:54:33] Ramit: Tell me What’s the order? Tell me.

[00:54:35] Cacey: So we’re going to first take care of the consumer debt. 80,000. The mortgage as well, we’re going to take care of that.

[00:54:43] Ramit: Hold on. You’re going to pay your mortgage off completely. What’s your interest rate, by the way?

[00:54:47] Cacey: It’s at a 2.62. 

[00:54:49] Ramit: Okay. Go on.

[00:54:51] Cacey: We’re going to actually reinvest some of the funds. About a 100k is what we were thinking for investments.

[00:54:58] Ramit: Where are you going to reinvest that? Any idea, or not yet?

[00:55:00] Cacey: Yes, we have a slight idea. Um, I can’t speak on that right now.

[00:55:07] Ramit: Okay. Fine. What else?

[00:55:09] Cacey: And then I have a nonprofit, so I wanted to actually donate to my nonprofit.

[00:55:15] Ramit: How much? 

[00:55:16] Cacey: About 200. 

[00:55:18] Ramit: 200. Okay, fine. What else?

[00:55:20] Cacey: Um, I’m going to get a vehicle for my company, a tesla, about 90. And then we’re going to upgrade the vehicle, just get a newer model of the vehicle we have now, which will be about, 50. But I don’t think so. I think it’ll be about 30. The value of our van now is at 20,000, so we’ll add another 30 to it.

[00:55:43] Ramit: Okay.

[00:55:44] Cacey: We were going to also invest in solar panels, um, for the home.

[00:55:50] Ramit: How much?

[00:55:51] Cacey: Uh, it’s about 48,000.

[00:55:53] Ramit: Okay. What else?

[00:55:55] Cacey: Uh, she needs LASIK eye surgery.

[00:55:58] Ramit: Okay. How much?

[00:55:59] Cacey: About 5,000. Um, she also needs braces, Doni. That’s 8,000.

[00:56:06] Ramit: Uh-huh.

[00:56:07] Cacey: And that’s where we’re at right now.

[00:56:10] Ramit: All right. If you add all that up, have you ever calculated how much all that costs?

[00:56:15] Cacey: It’s a little under a million.

[00:56:18] Narration: [Narration]

[00:56:19] Ramit: Uh, what do you think of this plan? Leave a comment below. I will tell you that I am extremely alarmed by this plan. Okay. That’s my feedback right now.

[00:56:32] Interview: [Interview]

[00:56:32] Ramit: Well, you’re only taking home, ballpark, 800k.

[00:56:37] Cacey: Yes.

[00:56:37] Ramit: Are you guys going into more debt after getting $1.5 million? Because if so, I have really failed at my job.

[00:56:43] Cacey: No, definitely not. We don’t have to do that.

[00:56:46] Ramit: All right. So let’s talk about it. Uh, Doni, what do you think about all those, uh, the list of items you want to put the money towards?

[00:56:55] Doni: Um, I agree with it. I made the list.

[00:56:57] Ramit: First of all, I think it’s amazing that you made the list. That’s the way to do it. You get to have the best conversation in your life. Hey, we have all this money coming in. What do we want to do with it? That’s a fantastic conversation. I love that. I like, conceptually, that you started off by saying we want to pay the consumer debt. I’m just rolling all that in. You want to reinvest a 100k? Okay. Nonprofit vehicle, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I can tell, it goes down to the more discretionary fun stuff. Can I ask you a question? What do you think I would do if I were in this situation?

[00:57:35] Doni: I would say you would probably invest your money and then spend off that return.

[00:57:42] Ramit: Okay. That’s interesting. All right. Uh, what do you think? Cacey’s looking shocked right now. Shell-shocked. What do you think?

[00:57:50] Cacey: I thought that was a good answer, actually.

[00:57:53] Ramit: Yeah, I would do that. Let tell what I would do. If I were in this situation, first of all, I would give each other a big fat kiss, and I would say, well done. This is awesome. I love you. That’s great. Let’s assume that, just for easy math, I took home 800k. Personally, I’m speaking now as me, not somebody with three kids, but just me. I would invest 600 to $650,000 of that money. Let me tell you why. 

[00:58:31] Because at a young age, a one-time investment of that magnitude turns into millions and millions of dollars. These things, windfalls, do not come around that often. If you can take a windfall like that and basically invest it for the future, you have given yourself the greatest gift of all. The gift of future, security, and wealth. 

[00:58:57] Let me talk about you because, ultimately, that’s what’s the most important. Maybe you don’t take 650k and invest it. Maybe it’s 400k, just to make up an easy number. You definitely pay off your credit cards, your business loan, your car, and your student loans. Pay all that off. I’m going to suggest that if I were in your situation, I would not pay that mortgage off. I would not prepay a cent. Doyou know why?

[00:59:31] Cacey: Why?

[00:59:31] Ramit: The interest rate. It’s so low. It is historically low that if you’re paying 2.6%, that’s essentially free. I know that if I took the money and invested it in an index fund, I could make around 7% per year. So why would I want to pay extra for something that is free when I could make more by putting that money into the market?

[01:00:01] Some people hate debt. They just hate it. And no matter how many charts I show them, they don’t care. They’re like, get this debt away– it’s like a spider. They just hate it. And so for them, I go, look, it’s going to cost you a lot of money, but if you truly hate debt, okay. You want to pay it off early? Fine. It might cost you $400,000 in interest or whatever. Fine. If you hate it, that’s your call. 

[01:00:28] Personally, I’m very comfortable having a mortgage payment. Your mortgage is 1,560 a month. And instead of paying it off, you decided to take that money and intentionally put it in investments. All right. Um, can I also just point out a couple of things that make me a little nervous? I don’t love all this vehicle stuff. I really don’t. It just seems to me like another way for you to get into a bunch of debt. And I know it seems like 800,000 take-home or more is a lot of money, but it goes fast when you’re talking about 90,000 purchases here. It’s fast.

[01:01:05] If it were me, I would hold off on all that stuff as long as possible. Trust me, when you’re making so much money, you don’t know what to do with, you can go out and get the ball or Tesla, but you’re setting yourself up for the rest of your family’s future. And this is a lot of change happening at once. I would, as much as possible, hold off on the vehicle. I would hold off on that nonprofit donation. Maybe there’s some tax implications, but 200k out of 800k is a huge amount of money. Huge. Just consider it.

[01:01:39] You can always do 25 now, and you can do more later when the two of you are making 20 grand a month. But you can’t go the other way. Um, the LASIK and the braces seem like a no brainer to me. I would do that. You’re taking home 800k. You should get the LASIK. That’s what I would do. But that’s, again, just my personal opinion. It’s your money. It’s your rich life. What do you think about that?

[01:02:09] Cacey: I think you make a very good point. The opportunity to be on this podcast with you, we feel like, was just such an honor, and the timing was impeccable because we needed this to help us survive what’s coming. We don’t want to just be, uh, oh, it happened, and now it’s over. We want to make sure that this type of windfall can not only, of course, change our lifestyle now but to change my kids’ future as well.

[01:02:40] Ramit: So let me show you something on screen. I need your help to fill this out. So right now you have a $21,000 invested. How old are you and Doni?

[01:02:49] Cacey: Um, I am 41. She is 30.

[01:02:54] Ramit: Okay. Let’s just split the difference. Let’s say you’re both 35, just for easy math. So that means you got another 30 years for that money to grow. And what interest rate should we assume? Let’s say 7%. If you’re watching or listening and you don’t know why, go read Chapter 6 of my book.

[01:03:11] All right. So that 21,000 you have turns into about $160,000, just from doing nothing. All right. Nice. Not really enough for you to do anything with, but okay. Let’s say we take, uh, $100,000 and invest it. That’s 100 of the roughly 800,000 you’re going to have. That turns into $921,000. That’s by the time you retire, by the way. That’s age 65. What do you say we take $400,000? That turns into $3 million. And just out of curiosity, Cacey, what do you think this number is going to be?

[01:04:01] Cacey: Oh, man. Good.

[01:04:03] Ramit: It’shardtopredict.

[01:04:04] Cacey: It’sbig.

[01:04:04] Ramit: Yeah. It’s going to be big. That’s $4.7 million. Now, keep this in mind. I want to point out what this means. You have this one-time windfall coming in. If all you do is make one decision in your life, which is to invest 200, or 400, or 600,000 once and you never touch it again, you will be a multi, multi, multi, multimillionaire. Has nothing to do with arguing over the price of Bounty paper towels.

[01:04:40] Cacey: I really appreciate what you’re saying, because, um, that helps me with what I wanted to do initially, to just sit on it, just take a breath, take a breather, instead of just moving too hasty. So I agree a 100%. I think that will work best for us. I think Doni will be on board. I’m sure she is.

[01:05:02] Doni: Mm-hmm. Yes.

[01:05:04] Ramit: That money is amazing, and you two, you invested well. Great job. But I don’t want you to treat it like a crutch that solves your day-to-day problems because those problems will come right back if you don’t fix them.


[01:05:16] Doni: Yeah, that’s very true.

[01:05:19] Cacey: It actually gives me a little bit more relief to just see those numbers so that we don’t get back in this situation with this windfall because, as you see, it could happen very easily.

[01:05:31] Ramit: Extremely easily.

[01:05:33] Cacey: Extremely easy.

[01:05:34] Narration: [Narration]

[01:05:34] Ramit:  For me, the key lessons here are, number one, decide where the energy of your conversations around money are today and where you want them to be tomorrow. For Doni and Cacey, their energy is around groceries, but I believe their real energy should be around communication, investing, and their children.

[01:05:53] Number two, connect your behavior with how you grew up. It takes a lot of work to introspect. And you can do it with a podcast, a therapist. You can start my book, and journal, and money coaching program, but understand why you behave the way you do with money. And number three, if you have a one-time windfall, making the right decision can affect the rest of your life. So get that decision right. Now, I really enjoyed speaking with both Doni and Cacey today. Thank you both for sharing your story. Now let’s hear their follow-ups, starting with Doni. 

[01:06:31] Doni: What surprised me about the call was how professional Ramit was, how he was able to ask the tough questions. It wasn’t just about finances. It was about our relationship in general. My biggest takeaways from the call was we need to continue improving our communication about finances. Um, I want to be more involved and more vocal about how I can help, and see whatever my husband needs so that I can help him more, and just have a overall understanding of what our finances are.

[01:07:13] We have decided to hold off, um, paying off our house, and we will be, um, investing and saving a lot more than originally planned. And also, just adding in what actually brings us joy and what is more realistic in what we want and for our children in the future as well. Thank you so much for the call, and we really appreciated that. Thank you.

[01:07:46] Ramit: And now, let’s hear from Cacey.

[01:07:47] Cacey: Hey. Um, yeah, so I was super surprised by, um, I guess the influence of our parents and the effect it had on our spending habits and not knowing about investing for the future. Um, hear that, as a kid, that you should do this so that when you’re older, you’re set up. I think life just happens, and it just becomes just trying to survive instead of just putting something aside for the future. 

[01:08:21] So a big takeaway was I’m going to have to just make sure I trust my wife with spending at the grocery store. So what we’re doing is going to create a great budget, um, a realistic budget for groceries, that we’re just going to stick to, no matter how many times we go out the week. We are going to hold off on paying our home off.

[01:08:40] We have a great interest rate. Um, we’re just going to put that money in a high-yield savings account. Um, and then we’re going to also put more money towards investments in the future, um, just to change the path of our generation going forward. So thanks again.

[01:08:57] Narration: Thank you, Doni and Cacey. And for everybody listening, if you enjoy hearing about money psychology, then you should get on my free podcast newsletter at iwt.com/podcastnewsletter. Every Saturday, I send out a new insight about money psychology that you will not find on any other newsletter. iwt.com/podcastnewsletter. Thanks for listening.