Episode #129: “We spend 154% of what we make, but I refuse to get a salary job” (Part 2)

Following up with Trin and Lucas, both 35, we chip away at an unmanageable fixed-costs percentage and broach Lucas’s unwillingness to seek salaried employment while navigating severe trust issues and a checkered past with respect to financial risk taking. 

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Show Transcript

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Transcript_IWT_129_Trin + Lucas

[00:00:00] Lucas: Sometimes it don’t feel like it’s a together thing. It’s like she wants me to do certain things with both hands tied behind my back and hopping on one leg. 

[00:00:09] Trin: And I know you’ve been trying, and you’re doing the best that you can, but the way that we are doing things does not work. It does not work. We’ve been in the deficit for months. I feel really stupid because I did not know. I feel like I should have known.

[00:00:37] Lucas: I wanted to be financially free when I was 35. I’m 35 now. I’ve moved that goal to 40. The goals that I had when I was 25 to take care of my family, I haven’t even accomplished that, and it’s been 10 years. How much more time is it going to take for me to be able to do that? 


[00:00:54] Ramit: Welcome to part 2 of my conversation with Trin and Lucas. They’re both 35 years old, married. Lucas has a history of risky investments. For example, he lost over 20 properties in the past. And Trin was recently caught off guard when she learned that their family was running low on cash. When I left them in the last episode, I had just learned that they are spending 150% of their take home pay on fixed costs alone. That number is startling. Fixed cost percentage is supposed to be roughly 50 to 60%, which means that they are broke, and they are running out of money fast.

[00:01:32] In today’s episode, listen for how they individually approach money, and especially listen for how they talk about money together. And as you think about creating a rich life together, you might have heard of the idea of having a monthly money date to help get on the same financial page as your partner. 

[00:01:50] What is a money date? What are you supposed to talk about? How do you make sure it’s productive and not just two people spinning their wheels and getting mad at each other? This Saturday, I’m going to be sharing how to have a money date with your partner, including a sample agenda that you can use word for word. You can only get this at iwt.com/podcastnewsletter this Saturday, November 11th. And it is free. Now, let’s get to the episode.


[00:02:16] Lucas: I looked at some of the transactions before too. Over the last six months, six months, we have been spending at least over 2,000, 2,500 on eating out. And I’m like, man, something’s got to happen with this thing.

[00:02:31] Ramit: How often do you both eat out? Oh, wow. Look at that uncomfortable. Wow. She’s covering her right eye with her hand, and he’s now putting his hand on the face. When the hand goes to the face, you know you got them. What did you eat out last? What is it? DoorDash? 

[00:02:47] Trin: Chick-fil-A yesterday.

[00:02:50] Lucas: You promote DoorDash. 

[00:02:50] Ramit: I promote it, but not for you. Everybody else who wants a home delivery, DoorDash, fantastic. They deliver all kinds of stuff. One hour. It’s awesome. Not for you.

[00:03:02] Trin: Ouch.

[00:03:03] Lucas: All right. So only meant for me. Got it.

[00:03:05] Ramit: What’d you get on DoorDash? Tell me.

[00:03:07] Trin: Chick-fil-A.

[00:03:09] Ramit: Uh-huh. What else?

[00:03:10] Trin: Cheesecake Factory.

[00:03:12] Lucas: Normally, we usually buy from Longhorns or some place like that. 

[00:03:17] Ramit: How much does that cost?

[00:03:19] Lucas: Anywhere from 45 to a 100 bucks.

[00:03:23] Ramit: How often would you say you get delivery or takeout per week?

[00:03:26] Lucas: About two to three times per week.


[00:03:30] Ramit: Hold on. I just have to cut in here. Do you notice this little verbal tick that Lucas has? I asked him, “How much does takeout cost?” He said, “45 to a 100 bucks.” I said, “How often?” He says.” Two to three times per week.” That means they could be spending anywhere from $360 to $1,200 per month. 

[00:03:52] One thing that you’ll notice is that people who are not savvy with money consistently use ranges. But how are you supposed to calculate anything based on two to three times per week versus 45 to a $100? You can’t do math on ranges. And what’s really going on here is that deep down people are uncomfortable with their spending, so they make up ranges right in the moment.

[00:04:17] Two to three times per week is probably four. 45 to a $100, add in tax and tip, and it’s probably more like $120 on average. To live a rich life, you’ve heard me say you have to be honest with yourself and the people around you. And that means not using ranges. In fact, be conservative. Look at your ranges, look at your numbers, then add 15% to account for all the stuff you’re forgetting. That is how you start to get more accurate with your spending. Okay, back to the conversation.


[00:04:47] Ramit: You know we didn’t even count that on the CSP, right?

[00:04:50] Lucas: Yeah, we got into a little discussion about that. 

[00:04:54] Trin: I thought we put it in there. It said–

[00:04:56] Ramit: Let’s focus on the big picture here. You’re spending over $1,000 a month eating out.

[00:05:03] Lucas: Easily, yeah. 

[00:05:04] Ramit: Every month. How are you going to change that? 

[00:05:11] Trin: I will be doing it. So I will be more strategic with the groceries that I am going to purchase, and then also planning out our meals ahead of time. I actually started this two weeks ago. A lot has come out of it. I realized how much refined foods we were eating, how we need to incorporate more whole foods for ourselves. And that even goes back down to our culture of eating better. Because culturally, neither one of us were raised to eat like that. At first, I saw it as a daunting task, but now I see it as a privilege to be able to provide that for my family.

[00:05:59] Ramit: So cool. Oh my God. Okay. So Trin, that is amazing. What you just said is, to me, the culmination of how you change. All this conscious spending plan, it can be seen as daunting. It’s hard to start thinking and talking about money differently, and behaving differently. But once you start to get a few wins under your belt, and you realize, just like you realized, oh my gosh, we need to eat more whole foods, and we started to feel better, it becomes a privilege. And that’s the same thing with money.

[00:06:31] Your car payments, does that include gas when you put your–

[00:06:35] Lucas: Yes.

[00:06:35] Ramit: All right. What kind of cars you have?

[00:06:38] Lucas: Just have one car that we’re paying a loan on.

[00:06:41] Ramit: What kind of car? 

[00:06:44] Trin: Mazda CX5. 

[00:06:46] Ramit: Mazda Okay. What’s the other car?

[00:06:49] Lucas: 2013 Hyundai Elantra, 2014 Nissan Versa.

[00:06:55] Ramit: You have three cars. 

[00:06:58] Lucas: Yeah.

[00:06:58] Ramit: Why? Why is everybody smiling all of a sudden?

[00:07:01] Lucas: Because Trinity said that he’s going to ask us about this. The Mazda is a new addition to our family. 

[00:07:07] Ramit: As of when? 

[00:07:08] Trin: April. 

[00:07:09] Lucas: April.

[00:07:10] Ramit: Why did you get that? How come it’s so quiet in here?

[00:07:17] Trin: I’ll share that part. In 2019, before we got married, I went to him and told him that I wanted to purchase an SUV. We wanted to grow our family. I had two dogs already. Had a conversation with him and my dad. They suggested my car was only a year and a half away from being fully paid off, that I waited. 

[00:07:36] I decided to wait. The urgency of me purchasing the vehicle was I felt that Lucas would not allow me to purchase that vehicle after we got married. I was correct. And so over the years, we have grown our family, and those two cars that he named are small, compact cars. So in traveling, even locally, it is a challenge for our family to all get into the vehicle with car seats and everything.

[00:08:04] So I had been expressing, and not in a nagging way, but I had dropped a gem here or there. It’s like, I wish we could purchase a vehicle. He got approved for a loan back in 2021. Presented it to me at Christmas, and I was like, hey, this is not a smart move right now. I appreciate the gesture, but it’s not wise for us to purchase a vehicle right now, where we are. We ended up getting it because we were at a point where he was like, I really want to go ahead and purchase the SUV. In his eyes, it’s more of a gift for me, which I appreciate. 

[00:08:41] Ramit: With what money?

[00:08:43] Trin: At that time, we were bringing in $12,000 a month. 

[00:08:47] Lucas: Sorry. All right, babe.

[00:08:51] Trin: And so I still, at the time, didn’t 100% agree, but I went on with it because we did need a larger vehicle.

[00:08:58] Ramit: So wait, you dropped multiple gems, and then suddenly, you were like, oh no, no, no, no, not me. Is that true?

[00:09:05] Trin: Yeah, sure. Yeah, it was.

[00:09:07] Ramit: Lucas, do you agree with that? 

[00:09:09] Lucas: So you asked with what– multiple gems. So I had always felt bad about saying, hey, I don’t think it’s the right time to get a car right now. I felt bad about it because it was like I was preventing her from having a car and doing what she wants to do with the money. But for me, at the time, I’m like, we don’t make that much money. It’s going to be an extra 300 or $400 out of our pocket, blah, blah. We argued about that. I think we put down either five or 10,000 on it.

[00:09:41] Ramit: And how much does the car cost?

[00:09:43] Lucas: 31. 

[00:09:44] Ramit: How did you decide if you could afford it?

[00:09:47] Lucas: Can we afford the monthly payment? Not can we afford this?

[00:09:50] Ramit: Yeah. And what have I said on this show before about monthly payments?

[00:09:56] Lucas: Pop quiz?

[00:09:57] Trin: I don’t remember but you did say it.

[00:10:00] Ramit: I said never make major purchase decisions based on monthly payment. 

[00:10:04] Lucas: The other thing I went into it too with our conversation was, can we pay this off in a year or two?

[00:10:11] Ramit: Can you? 

[00:10:13] Lucas: At the time, I thought we could. 

[00:10:15] Ramit: Okay. All right. How about a savings account? How many months of savings did you have?

[00:10:23] Lucas: At that time, how much do we have? Oh, how many months of savings? I don’t know. We had Was it 15,000, 17,000 in the account?

[00:10:38] Ramit: That’s one month.

[00:10:39] Trin: April. Yeah, probably one month.

[00:10:41] Lucas: Yeah.

[00:10:42] Ramit: When we’re talking about risk, you’re now seeing what happens when you don’t manage risk. You’re not taking away the key lessons to learn. You’re not changing your behavior. I’m confused by it.


[00:10:56] Ramit: Let’s zoom out so I can tell you what I’m seeing here. It is really easy to make a series of transactional decisions and miss the big picture, which is what has happened here. They bought a car based on the monthly payment. That’s mistake number one. At the time, they had a high income, which is great, but only one month in savings. That’s mistake number two. 

[00:11:18] And, of course, there’s all the considerable risk they’re taking that we discussed in last week’s episode, which, when combined with this decision for a car, made their finances much more risky. That’s mistake number three. In money, you can seem fine for a long time, and then suddenly, one day, everything blows up. You want to avoid that. 

[00:11:42] It’s better to live slightly more modestly or take slightly less risk in order to avoid ever getting into a super risky situation. It’s like driving 70 miles an hour instead of 80. Yeah, it seems slower than some cars in the fast lane. It seems like they’re going to get there faster. But by increasing your speed, even 10 miles an hour, your risk goes way, way up. And most of the time, it actually doesn’t save you any meaningful time at all.

[00:12:10] We’ll be right back.

[00:12:12] Now back to the show. 

[00:12:14] I asked Lucas and Trin how their finances started crumbling all at once. Listen in. 


[00:12:20] Lucas: We had a trip. We ended up taking a nice little vacation for our family.

[00:12:25] Ramit: Where’d you go? 

[00:12:27] Lucas: We went to New Orleans. She was having a bachelorette party, so we went there to support her. Nice move. Stayed at a very nice hotel. Never stayed at a five-star hotel before.

[00:12:39] Ramit: Which hotel?

[00:12:40] Lucas: Four Seasons. So I’m excited. I’m like, Four Seasons. We’ve never been there. We’ve been saving all this money. Let’s treat ourselves. Let’s have this vacation. Boom. Go to the Four Seasons. Come back. I look at the bill. I’m like, oh man. It was 50% more than what I had budgeted on.

[00:12:58] Ramit: Is there anyone that we’ve heard in the industry, the only person who tells people a magic number to add to your expense budget when you’re traveling? And isn’t there somebody who says, take the room rate and add 50%? And then everybody goes, 50%? Ramit, that’s crazy. Why are you talking about that? 38% room rate tax, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. And then nobody listens. And then what’s that magic number that you said again, Lucas? What was that?

[00:13:23] Lucas: If you want to do it that way, then I guess it’s a 100% because we did 30% more, and we spent more than that.

[00:13:30] Ramit: Oh, you had a good time on that trip. That sounds amazing. 

[00:13:34] Lucas: It was great. It was great. We were able to bring my mom on the trip as well. So we went back after the trip. Two months later, we ended up moving, again, long distance. And my wife is like, hey, we haven’t had a vacation in a while.

[00:13:52] Ramit: Wait, this is after New Orleans? 

[00:13:54] Lucas: Two months after, yes. And I’m like, what do you mean we haven’t had a vacation? She said, that was a bachelorette party. I didn’t really get to have like fun with the family. We haven’t had a family vacation.

[00:14:05] Ramit:  Just so every body knows, Trin is laughing hysterically in the corner over here. Trin, I’m coming back to you. Don’t worry, I want to hear your side of the story. You’re really laughing. All right, I’m coming to you in a second. Carry on, Lucas.

[00:14:17] Lucas: It made sense because, at the time, we were having a Nigerian convention in the area, so we said, okay, since we’re moving, let’s just go stay at the Marriott Hotel. We stayed there for about a week and a half or two weeks. Then my mom was there too. So we had a family vacation this time. I don’t know what the other vacation was, or the other trip was. And we moved. 

[00:14:41] So many things went wrong on the move, so many things. So I thought the move was going to cost, let’s say, eight or 10,000. It ended up costing 15, as well as that other extra vacation. We get to this place, and there’s a whole bunch of stuff wrong with this place. So we can’t even stay in this house. So we have to go stay in another hotel. We stayed there for about three to five days or something. So that’s more money out the pocket.

[00:15:05] Again, I’m trying to handle all the stuff. I think it was two weeks after that point, I’m looking at the expenses. Before all this stuff happened, on that vacation, I did something that I never ever do. I turned my brain off in terms of finances. Because normally, on trips, I’m in the numbers, like, hey, we budgeted for food.

[00:15:24] We did this, we did that. On this trip, I just turned it off, and it stayed off for another three to four weeks after we got back. So when we got back, I’m like, all right, it’s time to look at the numbers. And I’m like, wait, wait, wait. What is going on here? I see about, I think, 800 or $1,000 in the account. I start feeling anxious or nervous.


[00:15:47] Ramit:  I appreciate the honesty when Lucas says he turned off his brain. I think a lot of us do that with our money. What’s really hard is that we tend to turn our brains off and stop using our systems when the stakes are really high. In their case, traveling with family for a long time because their house wasn’t ready, that’s stressful. 

[00:16:07] I remember I used to do these huge launches every January, and my body would be a wreck afterwards. The first time I did it, it took me about six months to physically get back to a 100% physically and mentally. I’d be up late. I’d drink way too much caffeine. I would skip my workouts. 

[00:16:24] And I learned later that in times of high stress, those are exactly the times to lean on your system. And I think that’s why it’s so important to build your financial system right now. While you’re listening to this, you have peace and calm. You can think ahead. Because at one point or another, we’re all going to get in a stressful situation.

[00:16:42] It might be something with your home. It might be something with your family. Somebody might get laid off. If you don’t have a system to lean on, it is easy to become overwhelmed with stress, close your eyes, and start spending money on whatever’s in front of you. 

[00:16:58]  Now, if you want help setting up that type of system, you can join my money coaching program at iwt.com/moneycoaching. I do live Q&A every month. I’d love to answer your questions right there on the spot. And there’s a community of other people just like you. iwt.com/moneycoaching.


[00:17:17] Ramit: What about the credit card debt? How much are you paying on that every month?

[00:17:21] Lucas: That varies because I thought that was minimum payments to cards. Every month, we’re probably paying maybe 5,000 on the card.

[00:17:31] Ramit: 5,000 a month? No way.

[00:17:35] Lucas: Okay. So this is the complicated thing, whatever. If we start the month out with, let’s say, $6,000 on a credit card, I want to end the month with less than that, probably 0. 

[00:17:47] Ramit: How much are you paying per month on the credit card debt? 

[00:17:51] Lucas: I don’t know how to answer that question. I’ll give you an example. Let’s say we paid rent with the credit card. If I paid rent with the credit card and I took the cash and paid the credit card off, how do I answer your question?

[00:18:04] Ramit: Why are you paying your rent with a credit card? To get some points?

[00:18:07] Lucas: One part was for the points. Two was because we didn’t have the cash at the time.

[00:18:13] Ramit: Do you now?

[00:18:15] Lucas: Yeah. 

[00:18:15] Ramit: All right. Can I just say something? Your overcomplicated system is actually doing you no favors. You can’t get your head around it. And Lucas, even if you don’t know the answers to this, then how can your wife know the answers? And you told me coming on this call, I want to have better communication. I want to have a team. We work together. No teammate can understand a system that only works in your head. That surprised you to hear?

[00:18:44] Lucas: A little bit. For me, there’s no system behind it. The right answer is manage it better.

[00:18:51] Ramit: Correct.

[00:18:52] Lucas: Okay. My thing is, how do you manage this? This is what I’m trying to figure out.

[00:18:57] Ramit: What is the number you have at the top for fixed costs?

[00:19:00] Lucas: We’re at 154%.

[00:19:02] Ramit: You’re broke.


[00:19:02] Ramit: Sometimes in my conversations, I have to spend a lot of time getting these facts out on the page so that the couple I’m speaking to realizes the severity of their situation. I don’t blame Lucas and Trinh for not knowing how bad things are because our minds are very creative in finding ways to rationalize and obfuscate painful truths.

[00:19:28] We want to believe that we are conscientious and smart, and we care about our money, but we never want to admit that, actually, we’ve been ignoring it and possibly even just mismanaging it. And sometimes we have to confront the uncomfortable truths that we are broke. That’s what I am doing here, spending a lot of time to get those facts on the table so that we can all start working with reality. 


[00:19:57] Trin: What are you feeling, Lucas? 

[00:20:01] Lucas: One, seeing you cry and hearing your perspective on this is hard because it’s not what I wanted for our family. That’s one. But also, I’m feeling overwhelmed and a little bit frustrated as well because I deal with these numbers on a daily basis, on a weekly basis, on a monthly basis, looking into the future as well of what needs to get set up for our family, looking at the things that we also need, and the conversations that we have is– 

[00:20:47] Ramit: Let me pause you right there. First of all, you’re both in counseling, right? 

[00:20:53] Lucas: Mm-hmm.

[00:20:53] Ramit: Okay. I can tell. And I mean that in a positive way. It’s very beautiful. Very good work. I also noticed that each of you feels this resentment about how the other is treating money. each of you has this need right now to make sure the other person knows that you’re right. But what I didn’t hear was the two of you talking about this problem that the two of you are facing together.

[00:21:32] Lucas: Sometimes it don’t feel like it’s a together thing. Sometimes it’s like she wants me to do certain things with both hands tied behind my back and hopping on one leg. How she wants me to do things is like that. And I’m like, what you want me to do is fine, but the how, I can’t do it that way.

[00:21:57] We are going to go down a different path, and she takes that as me saying, I’m better than you in finances. My way is the best, and this and that. I’m not going to lie. I do have control aspects of things because you can see the numbers. Even if we made $5,000 more, we are still in a position where we are broke.

[00:22:22] And that scares me to the point where I’m like, okay, in order for me to accomplish the goals for our family, I need to make $35,000 a month. But that scares me even more because if I made more, guess what? We’re probably going to spend more if we continue down this path, and it’ll–

[00:22:41] Ramit: Lucas, do you think that maybe, for the first time ever, Trin seeing these numbers, actually understands the severity of the situation?

[00:22:50] Lucas: Yeah. I think so.

[00:22:52] Ramit: Haven’t you been wishing that she would actually get it for a long time?

[00:22:59] Lucas: Yeah.

[00:22:59] Do you think she gets it? Trin, do you get where we are right now on a financial position?

[00:23:08] Trin: I definitely do, and I also empathize with you that you’ve been carrying that for a long time.

[00:23:17] Lucas: Thank you. So through this conversation, was there anything that I said or anything I talked about that I could have talked about in a different way or we can communicate in a different way so that we can be on the same page?

[00:23:34] Trin: I really appreciate you opening up and sharing your true feelings, your point of view. And I know that you have tried, and maybe my ears just weren’t open. Listening is a skill, and sometimes I hear you and it goes in one ear and out the other, but I’m listening. I’m your partner, and I’m here to help. And I may be a little emotional now, but in the morning, I’ll wake up, strap up my boots, and we’ll figure this out.

[00:24:12] Lucas: And I do want to share something with you, though. I think it was last week or the week before you had said, hey, we don’t have a college or a savings plan for charity. And I think I hit you with a one liner like, oh, okay– something like that. But that actually made me, that actually made me cry because that’s on my big board of things to accomplish, and that is not the first step for me. 

[00:24:39] The first step for me is to have savings and an emergency fund, and then have us set up with life insurance. So I have a step system, or a plan, but I’m like, I can’t even put away money for something that we both think is important for our daughter. Mama’s sick. I don’t even have enough money to take care of mama. 

[00:25:07] So the goals that I had when I was 25 to take care of my family, I haven’t even accomplished that, and it’s been 10 years. How much more time is it going to take for me to be able to do that and for us to be able to accomplish the things that we want to accomplish? 

[00:25:24] Ramit: It’s beautiful hearing the two of you talk like a team. It’s really the first time, when it comes to money, that I’m hearing that today. It seems to me that if the two of you were totally aligned, you could actually make some big changes.

[00:25:45] Lucas: Yeah.

[00:25:46] Ramit: Are you two aligned as parents?

[00:25:50] Lucas: Yeah. I’ll tell say yeah.

[00:25:52] Ramit: All right. That’s cool. And what’s another part of life where the two of you are aligned?

[00:26:01] Lucas: Our faith.

[00:26:03] Ramit: Great. You can read each other. You know what they’re thinking. You can close your eyes. You know where they are. You know they have your back. You know if there’s something you’re struggling with, they’re going to be there, and sometimes they’re going to be down, and you’re going to be there. That’s a partner. But not with money. What do you think it would feel like if the two of you were true partners with money?

[00:26:36] Lucas: I don’t know.

[00:26:38] Ramit: First time you ever really thought about it, right?

[00:26:41] Trin: Yeah.

[00:26:44] Ramit: Give it a shot. Lean on your faith. Lean on your parenting. Think about what it feels like to know that you have a partner.

[00:26:59] Lucas: I don’t want to just talk about crises because, in crises, we already got each other’s backs. Money, faith, parenting– when that stuff happens. It’s outside of crisis. But you said, how would it look like? When things are going well, it gets even better.

[00:27:17] Trin: We wouldn’t have to bring in the four horsemen. And so one of my horsemen is criticism, and his, typically, is defensiveness. And so we wouldn’t have to bring those in because we would know, as you’ve already stated, that I know you have my best interest. You have our family’s best interest. I don’t see you as an enemy. You are truly my partner.

[00:27:40] Ramit: I love that. 

[00:27:41] Trin: I think, for me, it would be pure bliss. And we’ve already spoken to the financial piece, and you know that communication plays a part in that, and so it would literally be bliss and our ideal vision of our kingdom marriage, as we like to call it.

[00:28:00] Ramit: Allow me to add one as well. When you’re a partner and when you have a partner, things are simple. Even with all the complexity of raising kids, it’s pretty simple if you boil it down. Feed them, love them, protect them, A partnership with money, yeah, there’s a complexity, especially in the early days. 

[00:28:27] But you make a few key decisions, roles. Who does what? What happens if we’re over our spending limit? And then there’s trust, but it’s simple. Right now, this is too complicated. You can tell it’s complicated when there’s all kinds of stuff happening off the page.

[00:28:51] Really, it should be happening on this page, one page, the conscious spending plan. And when there’s all kinds of weird variability, and there’s this, that’s when, man, we’ve taken a wrong turn way back, way back in the rear view mirror. So with your permission, I’d like to try to make some tough decisions right now. How do you feel about that?

[00:29:17] Lucas: I’m a little scared.

[00:29:19] Ramit: I would be scared if I were you too. Tough decisions are tough. And the fact is, as we heard, the house is actually on fire. You’re spending more. You’re down to, I don’t know, a couple of months of money. And even that is putting you in even further severe debt.

[00:29:41] Trin: Yeah.

[00:29:42] Lucas: Yeah. 

[00:29:43] Ramit: So what we have to agree on is that we can’t make small changes. If we find ourselves 15 minutes from now arguing over, can we cut $15 on our cell phone bill? We know that we have taken a wrong turn because $15 is not going to solve your problems. Do we agree on that?

[00:30:02] Trin: We do. 

[00:30:02] Ramit: All right. So put on your big, bold move hats because that’s what we’re about to do right now.

[00:30:08] Lucas: All right, let’s go.


[00:30:10] Ramit: What I just did there was shift them from being problem-oriented to solution-oriented. Most people with problems love to talk about their problems. It’s comfortable there. People can even become addicted to talking about their problems. But it is a small percentage of people who can go from problem-oriented to actively looking for solutions.

[00:30:33] And it’s a funny peculiarity of human nature that we’ll complain about something for 15 years, like sweating too much, or not being able to parallel park, or not having enough money, but very few of us will actually look for a solution that could change everything. 

[00:30:49] We’ll be right back.

[00:30:51] Now back to Trin and Lucas.

[00:30:53] So I’ve gotten them ready to look for solutions. Let’s see what happens. Remember, their fixed costs are 154% of take-home pay. And ideally, that number should be at 50 to 60%.


[00:31:08] Trin: I control groceries in household, and so I say we can go down to 1,000 a month. 

[00:31:17] Ramit: You want to cut that from 1,800 to a 1,000. How are you going to do that?

[00:31:22] Trin: Finding deals. So Publix does buy one, get one. Only purchasing those items for that week. I can do that. I can be a little more conservative with things that we do purchase.

[00:31:37] Ramit: So from 1,800, I’m going to move it to a 1,000. I feel confident. Nice. And that number went from 154 to 144 percent of fixed costs. All right, good. What’s next?

[00:31:50] Trin: I think for me, we could definitely take a look at the subscriptions. I guess we could cut that in half. Probably 300.

[00:31:59] Ramit: That’s 140%. What’s next?

[00:32:01] Trin: Yeah, other fixed expenses are really big. Lucas, do you want to add anything for fixed expenses?

[00:32:10] Lucas: We could drop counselling.

[00:32:13] Ramit: No, don’t do that.

[00:32:15] Lucas: No, not drop it completely. We meet four times a week.

[00:32:20] Ramit: Oh, that’s a lot.

[00:32:21] Lucas: Not four times a week, sorry. Four times a month. Couples is twice a month.

[00:32:27] Ramit: Listen, I’d rather have you cut your grooming, your lawn care, and everything else besides counseling. I’m not joking around.

[00:32:32] Lucas: Got it. Got it. Okay. Rosa could come just once a month. Let’s see. Childcare, lawn care.

[00:32:44] Trin: I think you could bring that down probably to right around 2,000 if we’re cutting the lawn, the house cleaning, and then grooming. 

[00:32:53] Trin: Let’s go with–

[00:32:54] Ramit: We’re down to 126%, by the way.

[00:32:56] Trin: Okay.

[00:32:57] Ramit: Tithing and giving, this is $1,242 a month. 

[00:33:05] Trin: It’s based of 8,000, right?

[00:33:09] Lucas: It should be 800.

[00:33:10] Trin: Yeah, it should be 800. 

[00:33:12] Lucas: Yeah.

[00:33:15] Ramit: And are you required to give 10%?

[00:33:19] Lucas: Not required, but that’s what we do.

[00:33:21] Trin: We prefer to give 10%.

[00:33:22] Lucas: I’d rather cut something else, if we’re being honest. 

[00:33:25] Ramit: Okay. All right. I appreciate it. It’s your money, so you tell me what’s next. I’m the executor right now. You tell me.

[00:33:33] Lucas: Okay. What’s next? Maybe the phone?

[00:33:37] Ramit: All right.

[00:33:38] Lucas: That’s 30 bucks, though. I think we could get that down to 180.

[00:33:42] Ramit: 180. All right. You know I have a sponsor on this show who does $15 a month.

[00:33:47] Lucas: Let me guess. Mint?

[00:33:48] Ramit: Yes. 

[00:33:49] Lucas: Is it reliable?

[00:33:51] Ramit: Dude, how are we debating this right now? We literally are doing what I said we are not allowed to do. We’re doing it five minutes– 

[00:33:58] Trin: I am looking into Mint– 

[00:34:00] Ramit: I’m putting50 bucks. 

[00:34:01] Trin: As we get off the call. 

[00:34:02] Lucas: How much is Mint? 

[00:34:03] Ramit: Promo for Mint ever.


[00:34:05] Ramit: So far, here are the changes we made to drop their fixed costs from 154 percent to 115. Their groceries went from $1,800 a month to 1,000. Subscriptions went from 600 to 300. Counseling is staying on the books. Tithing is staying on the books at a pretty substantial 10%. They removed lawn care, grooming, and housekeeping. They chopped down their mobile bill with Mint, where you can get great cell phone service starting at $15 a month via mintmobile.com/ramit. So they’re making changes. Let’s keep going.


[00:34:42] Lucas: Do any of the kids need clothes?

[00:34:43] Trin: No.

[00:34:44] Ramit: Damn, Trin, that is partnership right there.

[00:34:47] Lucas: Yes. 

[00:34:47] Ramit: All right. Clothes. 

[00:34:48] Lucas: You can put that to zero. 

[00:34:49] Ramit: Zero. All right. 112. What’s next?

[00:34:52] Lucas: Car, transportation, that might be more like maybe 500, maybe 515.

[00:35:00] Ramit: If anything, it’s going to be higher because you’re going to get a repair at some point, or parking tickets, or whatever.

[00:35:07] Lucas: Oh, I didn’t know that that– yeah, the simple stuff. Okay. 

[00:35:11] Ramit: Hey, I have a question. Why do you have car payment at all?

[00:35:13] Lucas: Because we have a car. 

[00:35:16] Trin: You think we should get rid of them. 

[00:35:20] Lucas: We just bought it.

[00:35:22] Ramit: Yeah, you shouldn’t have bought it.

[00:35:24] Lucas: I know, but aren’t we going to lose money?

[00:35:26] Trin: You know what? We will have that hard conversation of selling the car. Let’s do it.

[00:35:33] Ramit: You want to have a hard conversation, or you want to just make a decision? Which one do you want to do?

[00:35:38] Trin: Yeah. I say it needs to go. I agree with you. I say it needs to go.

[00:35:46] Lucas: I’m okay selling it. The part that I’m not okay on is losing the money that we put into it.

[00:35:53] Ramit: Lucas, you made a bad decision. Now you have to eat it.

[00:35:56] Lucas: I don’t want to eat it. Okay.

[00:35:59] Ramit: And notice, by the way, all jokes aside, this is the second time because you made a comment about the collections thing when the credit card guys were like, hey, you need to pay this. And you were like, no. Remember that phrase, cut your nose off to spite your face or whatever? 

[00:36:15] Lucas: Don’t cut your– yeah. 

[00:36:16] Ramit: That’s this. Yeah, you’re going to lose money. Yes, it was a horrible decision, and yes, you should probably do it anyway because. The worst case is paying 600 bucks a month for however many years when you just don’t have the money.

[00:36:33] Trin: Yeah.

[00:36:33] Lucas: All right.

[00:36:35] Ramit: All right.

[00:36:35] Lucas: Make it 120.

[00:36:36] Ramit: 120 would be what? Gas?

[00:36:40] Lucas: Gas. Yeah.

[00:36:41] Ramit: In the CSP, I’m going to assume that you sell the car, and then somewhere, you’ll have to add the debt.

[00:36:48] Lucas: Okay. And I don’t think we’ll have that much debt either because we did pay money upfront for it.

[00:36:53] Ramit: Great. Sell that thing and never look back. All right. What’s next? Feel stuck?

[00:37:05] Lucas: Yeah, I feel stuck. 

[00:37:06] Trin: The only thing that I can think of that would actually put a huge dent in this is the rent.

[00:37:15] Ramit: All right, let’s play that out. We got a spreadsheet. Let’s play with it for a second. 2,450. How much could you feasibly pay maybe a further out location, smaller place, less bedrooms, whatever? What could you feasibly pay for it?

[00:37:34] Trin: Maybe 18, 1,900. 1,800’s maybe something I’ve seen.

[00:37:42] Ramit: Let’s say 1,900. Lucas, how do you feel about that? 

[00:37:46] Lucas: Not particularly well about it.

[00:37:48] Ramit: Yeah, I wouldn’t either, but we got to put it in here and see. All the decisions we’re going to make from now on are going to be hard. Everything until this point was easy.

[00:37:58] Lucas: You could put 19, but for me, how plausible is that? Moving, that’s more expenses as well.

[00:38:06] Ramit: Let me tell you what’s not plausible, is spending 106% of what you make every month on just your fixed expenses.

[00:38:14] Trin: Yeah

[00:38:16] Ramit: All right. 1,900. Watch what happens. It drops to 99%. 

[00:38:22] Trin: Okay.


[00:38:23] Ramit: Rent is currently $2,450, which is 25% of their gross. Now, in the absence of everything else, that number is okay, but because they have high fixed costs, that number doesn’t give them a lot of margin to play with it. Even after everything we’ve done so far, we’re still at 99%. Something drastic needs to happen.


[00:38:46] Lucas: Can you do something else as well? On the income part, for my income, if you put 11,500 net.

[00:38:56] Ramit: You’re saying you’re going to make an extra 1,150 per month, right?

[00:39:01] Lucas: Yeah.

[00:39:02] Ramit: Is it 1,500 or 1,150? Which one?

[00:39:07] Lucas: 1,150. But the math isn’t adding up. Why is that 8,000?

[00:39:12] Ramit: Because I arbitrarily put it in there. Look, look, let me show you what I mean. Lucas, if your gross income is 11, 692, you can’t be making more on the net side. You have to pay taxes.

[00:39:28] Lucas: Okay.

[00:39:29] Ramit: You basically have to take like a 30% haircut. Okay?

[00:39:35] Lucas: Okay, so for the gross income, it’s 15,000.

[00:39:39] Ramit: Okay.

[00:39:39] Lucas: It’s 15, 000 for partner 2 specifically. So in cell C11, 15,000.

[00:39:50] Ramit: All right. Watch. So 18,000. So now this has to be adjusted to, let’s say, 13,000. Yeah, if that happens, everything’s great.

[00:40:09] Lucas: Yeah. 

[00:40:09] Trin: But I’m really glad that Lucas did that because this is the false reality that we have been living in.

[00:40:20] Ramit: I know. Exactly. Hold on. You cannot build a model off of hope. Hope is not a strategy. 

[00:40:27] Lucas: So what if I told you that I already have the income coming in for this month? 

[00:40:32] Trin: But the issue, is that’s just for this month.

[00:40:35] Ramit: Yeah, that’s not sustainable. We need to build a plan that is sustainable, or you will constantly be playing this yoyo game for the rest of your life. Forget about financial freedom. You’ll be in debt for the rest of your life.


[00:40:47] Ramit: I can hear myself getting heated here. One of the things I mentioned last week is that Lucas is a believer, someone who believes the next big deal is right around the corner. It’s going to solve all their problems. And he just made a mention of next month’s income, which is great, but it’s just one month. It’s really hard to show believers that a rich life is not about one good month or one good deal. A rich life is about radically reconceptualizing your finances so you’re winning every month. But that often means making hard decisions right now. 


[00:41:25] Trin: Do you understand that, Lucas?

[00:41:28] Lucas: When does it actually become a reality for you? What does consistency look like?

[00:41:35] Trin: Three to six months of the same consistent income or a baseline of that income. The past three months, that baseline, as you input that number, was 8,000. 

[00:41:50] Ramit: How do you feel about that, Lucas?

[00:41:52] Lucas: I think just in the past, we’ve tried to have this conversation before, and to be honest, I felt like when I told her the projections or, hey, this is what we’re going to make, it got pooped on. And I felt I was getting pooped on. Like, oh, I don’t believe in you. You can’t do this. 

[00:42:14] And then when I’ll come back and say, hey, look at what happened over the last three months, or the last two months, or the last four months, she would hit me with, still not consistent. Your income is variable, this and that. And I felt like the goalposts got moved, and then we’ll get into arguing. And then I just go into my own little world of, okay, let me just go do my thing.

[00:42:35] Ramit: Lucas, do you understand why that happened, that dynamic? Can you zoom up and observe the dynamic of your communication? Do you know why that happened?

[00:42:45] Lucas: I’m not a 100% sure, but it probably has to do with specificity. And the way that I communicate may be a little complicated when I’m giving numbers or–

[00:42:57] Ramit: I think those two things. And I think one more thing, which is going to be tough to hear, which is you actually haven’t delivered on what you’ve committed to. Your partner has every right to be skeptical of the numbers you are projecting because there’s a ton of debt here. And I’m not saying it’s only your fault. I’m not even trying to assign fault or anything. I’m just saying that you haven’t earned the trust of consistent delivery. So of course, your partner’s skeptical.

[00:43:27] Lucas: I would have to push back on that because over the last three months, yes, the business did take a hit. But if you looked at before those three months and did a three-month average, a six-month average, you’ll see the numbers that I’ve seen. So from one snapshot is, oh, you haven’t delivered. Yeah, right now. But before these last three months, you couldn’t say that.

[00:43:50] Ramit: Okay, I love your pushback. I welcome it. I love that you’re engaged, and I hope you know that. I don’t mind that you disagree with me on certain things. In business, any entrepreneur knows sometimes it goes up. Sometimes it goes down. No one, certainly not another entrepreneur like me is going to come down on you because business has been tough for three months. That’s life. 

[00:44:13] But when I came here and we looked at your numbers originally, you were spending roughly 150% of your income on fixed costs alone. That shows a gross mismanagement of personal finances. And that’s not three months. That has nothing to do with the last three months. Sure, things are down, but if you were making that much money before, technically, if it were managed, you would have had way more in savings, way more investments. Debt would have been managed, and certainly not all this credit card debt. So it’s not about the last three months. Put that aside.

[00:44:52] Lucas: I see that. I see that, and I’m not saying that there wasn’t mismanagement of funds or anything like that, but our savings went to paying bills because of these last three months.

[00:45:05] Ramit: Can I ask you something? Did you cut your expenses when the business slowed down?

[00:45:12] Lucas: Our personal expenses? No, it probably went up.

[00:45:13] Ramit: Exactly. Did you cut your expenses when you had to take care of the surprise medical expenses for your family?

[00:45:21] Lucas: Hmm. I see where you’re going with this. That’s where the mismanagement comes from.

[00:45:25] Ramit: Exactly. It’s like a football player who used to be super ripped, and then they stopped playing football, and they’re not ripped anymore. Why? Because they used to burn 5,000 calories a day, 10,000 calories a day. They haven’t adjusted to reality. It looks like it’s hitting you now.

[00:45:43] Lucas: Yeah, it is. 

[00:45:44] Ramit: What’s going through your mind right now? 

[00:45:47] Lucas: Just a little bit of frustration because there is a little bit of wishful thinking there. Good way, bad way. I’m not putting morality on it. There’s a bit of wishful thinking where, oh, the business went down. Instead of looking at the household expenses and having a conversation with my wife of, hey, our three-month average just went down.

[00:46:08] What are we going to do about it? It was, oh, things are getting better. Then the second month happened, and the third month. Now things are going super up, but we have to dig out of this hole that we just created for [Inaudible]. I’m not going to say we. That I created for ourselves.

[00:46:24] Ramit: No, no, no, both of you created it. 

[00:46:26] Trin: Right. 

[00:46:27] Lucas: Because of the lack of communication and the lack of adjustment. So I will say that I do see that aspect now. It’s like if the income goes down, the expenses have to go down as well. If the income goes up, the expenses need to stay the same. And I didn’t look at things like that before. 

[00:46:46] Ramit: Yeah. 

[00:46:46] Lucas: I didn’t. 

[00:46:49] Ramit: The amount that you’re spending right now is for a couple that earns $250,000 plus consistently.

[00:47:01] Lucas: Hmm. 

[00:47:02] Ramit: More like 300,000. 300,000 would allow you to have–

[00:47:06] Lucas: It’d be nice.

[00:47:07] Ramit: Yeah, it would be nice. It’ll allow you to actually have investments, and savings, and all the things that you talk about, generational wealth, and all this stuff. You can’t live this lifestyle on the income you’re making. And please listen, the takeaway is not that I want you to go out and try to find a way to make $300,000 tomorrow because that’s actually not going to happen. The first lesson is to manage your expenses much more carefully.


[00:47:33] Ramit: This conversation reminds me a lot of Kara and Drake, a couple that I recently spoke to, where Drake had similarly inflated optimism around his earning potential. I love optimism, but I want to balance that with the facts. If somebody tells me that they should be making $350,000 a year and they’re currently making 320, I say, yeah, that sounds great. You could probably get there. No problem. If someone tells me they should be making 350k and they’re currently making 85, that may not be realistic. 


[00:48:05] Ramit: Trin, do you work full-time? 

[00:48:07] Trin: I do.

[00:48:08] Ramit: Okay. What do you do?

[00:48:10] Trin: I’m a training coordinator.

[00:48:12] Ramit: Okay. So you make about 44,000 a year, right?

[00:48:16] Trin: Mm-hmm.

[00:48:18] Ramit: How much can you make?

[00:48:23] Trin: In this role?

[00:48:24] Ramit: In any role.

[00:48:27] Trin: Probably upwards of 60,000.

[00:48:32] Ramit: Trin, why are you in this low-paid job?

[00:48:34] Trin: I am almost done with school.

[00:48:38] Ramit: Mm-hmm.

[00:48:39] Trin: Lucas and I agreed that I would take this lower-paying job so that, mentally, I’m not super strained so that I can focus on my dissertation because I’m almost done.

[00:48:48] Ramit: Oh, you’re in grad school right now?

[00:48:51] Trin: I am.

[00:48:52] Ramit: Okay, cool. What is this? PhD?

[00:48:54] Trin: Yes.

[00:48:55] Ramit: Oh, okay. That’s cool. What are you going to do after the PhD?

[00:48:58] Trin: I want to teach.

[00:48:59] Ramit: All right. How much will you make there?

[00:49:01] Trin: Minimum, probably about 75. That’s just, if I choose to do one job. If I’m an adjunct, more than that.

[00:49:15] Ramit: When does that start?

[00:49:19] Trin: Probably I will graduate no later than the spring, so a few months.

[00:49:26] Ramit: What? How did this not come up anywhere? I’m going back to this CSP. What? It’s like someone just pulls out thousands of dollars a month out of their pocket. What the hell? So your gross is going to be, what should we say? How much? 6,000 a month? 

[00:49:43] Trin: Yeah.

[00:49:47] Ramit: All right. Things get a little bit better. Is that a sure thing? 

[00:49:53] Trin: Yeah.

[00:49:55] Ramit: 6,000 a month. From currently 3,600 to 6,000 a month. How did this never come up after hours of our conversation?

[00:50:06] Trin: Because it’s in progress. I’m just not there yet.


[00:50:09] Ramit:  I have to make a comment about this hilarious moment. Trin, Lucas, and I have been talking for literally hours, and suddenly, out of nowhere, I discover this massive income increase that’s coming. And this happens all the time. People will go, oh, nothing’s really wrong. And then three hours in, they’ll go, oh, wait, we actually have $400,000 in debt. Or in this case, I’m about to double my income. 

[00:50:30] What’s even more interesting is Trin’s offhand comment. Did you catch it? She said, it’s in progress. I’m not there yet. People find it really hard to accept and bake in future changes into their assumptions. Even the idea of fiddling with a conscious spending plan, which you can literally type in and then erase, just Ctrl Z, makes people uncomfortable. Why?

[00:50:56] Because the psychology here is that people believe once they write something down, they have to do it. And if they don’t achieve that, they consider themselves a failure. this is basically what happens when kids become adults. They lose the ability to play. 

[00:51:13] And in your CSP, one of the things that I encourage you, I’m begging you to do with your partner, is you have to be able to play, to tweak, to come up with scenarios, to ask what if we got rid of this car? What if we downsized to a place that’s half the size? What if we increased our income by 70%? Play with it, and see how the numbers flow. 


[00:51:35] Ramit: All right. That’s amazing. Congratulations on your upcoming dissertation. That’s a ton of hard work. No joke. It’s awesome. That’s going to take a lot of financial pressure off of the family finances. That’s amazing. That’s the number one thing that I would suggest to you, was to get a higher-paying job. Okay. You check the box on that. Fantastic. 

[00:51:57] Lucas: I got a question for you. You’re an entrepreneur as well. When you said, hey, you’re not going to go out tomorrow and make that, to me, I don’t hear things like that. Not to say that I need to manage my household like that, but as an entrepreneur, you know the drive that’s in us. Once you see a problem, you’re like, okay, how can I fix this?

[00:52:17] I want to make more money. And if you have a plan for that, you’re going to put it into place. So how do I manage the– I’m not going to call it wishful thinking– the opportunity side of the business and the income you can make versus the reality side of, okay, this is what it is? 

[00:52:36] Ramit: Okay, I’m looking at my business. Of all the activities I’m doing, what are the two or three that are going to get me to 15,000 a month? That’s what I’m doing. And what am I eliminating? Because magical thinking entrepreneurs are the ones that constantly are, I can do this, and I can do that, and I can do this. You’re just wasting your time. 

[00:52:54] You pick the two or three high leverage areas. You execute them flawlessly. You monitor them every day, and then you get to your number. And if you don’t, you let people go, or you change your strategy, whatever it is. And if that doesn’t work, Lucas, after a month or two, what do you do then?

[00:53:12] Lucas: Regroup.

[00:53:13] Ramit: What does that mean? Tell me specifically what do you do?

[00:53:16] Lucas: Again, figure out what needs to get cut.

[00:53:19] Ramit: You’re already going to be doing that. That’s a daily thing. What else? It’s not working after two months.

[00:53:24] Lucas: Wait, what’s not working?

[00:53:25] Ramit: Your business. You’re not getting the numbers you need.

[00:53:30] Lucas: I’m not getting the numbers I need because of a specific reason, though.

[00:53:33] Ramit: I don’t know. You can’t fix it. Sometimes you can’t fix things in business. What are you going to do?

[00:53:40] Lucas: I don’t know. That’s a weird question.

[00:53:45] Ramit: That’s not a weird question at all. What’s the plan B if this business doesn’t suddenly start making way more than it’s making right now?

[00:53:51] Lucas: Oh, I’d have to figure out how to get more income. 

[00:53:57] Ramit: How?

[00:54:01] Lucas: Another opportunity.

[00:54:02] Ramit: Like? Can you be specific? I feel like I’m dragging this out of you.

[00:54:07] Lucas: If you’re talking about a job– is what you’re saying?

[00:54:10] Ramit: I’m asking. I want every option on the table.

[00:54:18] Lucas: Yeah, I guess. I just don’t want to say things just to say it. If there was something else out in the market that could pay me for my family needs, that 15k gross, is what we’re looking at, or something less– basically, you put it like this. If there’s a job out there that can pay me more than I’m making from the business consistently, then I would consider taking it.

[00:54:45] Ramit: Then Lucas, don’t you think it’s your job to find out?

[00:54:51] Lucas: Okay. I already put my energy into making sure that this business not only just a stable can work, but can grow. And I have a plan for that. Not even a plan that’s out here. It’s working.

[00:55:08] Ramit: No, I hope it does. But what if it doesn’t? You have essentially no savings. So if things are not basically working perfect every single month for you, you are in really big trouble. I’m not trying to force you to say anything, but let me tell you what you wrote on the application to me.

[00:55:28] Lucas: Yeah.

[00:55:28] Ramit: You both, by the way, sent separate applications, which was unusual, but I like it. Did you two read each other’s applications?

[00:55:36] Trin: No.

[00:55:36] Lucas: I don’t think we got a email transcript of it. No.

[00:55:40] Ramit: Can I read off some of the comments that each of you made in the application?

[00:55:45] Lucas: Yeah.

[00:55:45] Trin: Sure.

[00:55:46] Ramit: All right. One of them said, “It’s really taking a toll on our marriage and is the only thing we argue about consistently. I’m so frustrated that I am ready to give up trying. We’ve been in counseling for over three years at this point for various reasons, the most recent being finances.” Another, “If you’re asking how long until we split, I think less than two years if we continue down this path. Sometimes I think of divorcing my partner so that I can focus on building wealth and supporting them from a distance.” That’s pretty serious stuff.

[00:56:17] Lucas: Yeah.

[00:56:20] Ramit: Your job is to get your finances to be simpler than mine. That’s what it should be. And so if there’s something you don’t understand, then either it exists in my book or probably you should not be doing it. Can I just say that? Probably you should not be leveraging anything. You don’t need leverage. What you need to do is pay off your debt. No more leverage. No more tricks. That’s the truth. Your finances should be quite simple, honestly. 

[00:56:52] Trin: I like that. I love that, actually.

[00:56:54] Ramit: All right. How’s it feel to see a mile down the road after you’re normally used to only seeing 50 feet in front of you?

[00:57:00] Trin: Really good.

[00:57:01] Lucas: It’s more like the word she used, a privilege. I get to talk to my wife about finances because one day, I won’t or she won’t because we’re not going to be here anymore. We get to go through the pains because on the other side of pain is pleasure, because now we’ll be able to give our kids what we didn’t have.

[00:57:22] Trin: It does get me excited. If I’m being completely honest, when we went through the conscious spending plan and made the adjusted numbers, I was really emotional because I was like, there are things that my heart desires. And at this moment, it doesn’t seem like it’s achievable if we continue to do the same thing the same way. 

[00:57:50] What is insanity? Doing the same thing the same way, expecting different results. But now, like you said, you’re forcing me to see this structure is going to help you get to that rich life. And you’re not going to get there tomorrow. You’re not going to get there in a year. You’re not going to get there in five years, and that is okay.


[00:58:11] Ramit: Trin and Lucas have been pursuing a very interesting strategy. Trin, delegating a lot of control to Lucas. Lucas, pursuing what I would characterize as get-rich-quick aspirations and things like overfunding a whole life insurance policy, which I strongly disagree with. It is going to take them a lot of joint effort to dig themselves out of the situation that they find themselves in, but I believe they can do it if the two of them get truly aligned. Let’s check out their follow-ups. First, Trin.

[00:58:47] Trin:  So one of the surprises that came out of the meeting was that my partner felt very similar to what I felt. So we both completed the application separately, but ultimately, we wrote the same, that if this issue was not resolved, and resolved soon, it could lead to the detriment of our marriage. The other surprise was that, as Ramit said, our finances were more complex than his. 

[00:59:16] A takeaway. My partner shouldn’t have to carry that load on his own. And yes, we do have certain roles established. That doesn’t mean that he should have to carry the entire financial load by himself. The other thing was that we’ve been living beyond our means. Because it is hidden in our fixed expenses, we see it more as necessities when in actuality they’re not. 

[00:59:41] We did decide to sell our car. The other thing that we are going to do– excuse me– that I’m going to do is increase my knowledge in finances. I’m going to start by reading Ramit’s book. And the last thing that we plan to do is establish roles that work for our family, me supporting my partner on that financial side, carrying my load for this family. And I consider it a privilege to be able to do so.

[01:00:10] Ramit:  And now, Lucas.

[01:00:12] Lucas: One of the biggest surprises I got from the conversation with you was the way that I talked about my business income and my personal income confuses people. And my biggest takeaway, or biggest lesson that I got from the conversation was to keep things simple. So from now, moving forward, I’ll be talking to my wife about the gross revenue of the business, the net profit of the business, and what the business paid us, what our family received.

[01:00:38] The other big lesson that I got from the conversation was about the financial freedom aspect of things. I wanted to be financially free by 40, and my definition was where we have rental property or assets taking care of our lifestyle. I don’t have to rush for that. It doesn’t have to happen at 40. The journey is more important. 

[01:01:00] And the specific changes that we are going to make, I’m going to personally work on not complicating things, so keeping things simple. We’re going to be looking for a buyer for our SUV, and we’re going to be going through this wonderful book. We’re going to be spending the next couple of years just getting a solid foundation, getting stability, and building up a huge savings, a robust savings account, so that when we do invest in rental properties, it will be way less risky than we are in this position now.

[01:01:30] Ramit:  I want to thank Trin and Lucas for being so open with their story. Over the last two episodes, they have shared a lot of personal background, the cultural differences that they brought, the way that they look at money differently. And I have to especially thank Lucas for hearing some of my feedback to him, which cannot have been easy for him to take. I appreciate you, Trin and Lucas. I appreciate you coming on, engaging with me, and I wish you both the best.  If you enjoyed this podcast, I’m going to be talking about how to have a money date with your partner, including the exact words to say this Saturday.  Get it at iwt.com/podcastnewsletter.