Episode #148: “We have 2 kids and $0 invested, but refuse to get 9-5 jobs”

Callie and Travis, 36 and 39, have two kids and live in southern Texas near the ocean. They’ve made a conscious decision to run their own small businesses without the pressure of climbing a corporate ladder. But how relaxed is too relaxed? Callie is ready to get serious; is Travis?

This episode is brought to you by:

Pique Tea | Get up to 15% off and 12 tea samples at https://piquelife.com/ramit.

Eight Sleep | For a better, smarter sleep, go to https://eightsleep.com/ramit for $200 and free shipping. 

Thinkific | The same platform I use to build online courses online https://thinkific.com.

DeleteMe | If you want to get your personal information removed from the web, go to https://joindeleteme.com/ramit for 20% off.

Babbel | Right now, when you purchase a 3-month Babbel subscription, you’ll get an additional 3 months for FREE. Just go to https://Babbel.com and use promo code RAMIT.

Tools mentioned in this episode

Show Transcript

Download the full transcript PDF.

[00:00:00] Callie: I’m going to open up a Roth. I’m going to open up a high yield savings account. I’m going to do these things. And I don’t want it to be my money. I want it to be our money. His eyes just glaze over, and he looks at me in this stonewall. He is gone to another dimension.

[00:00:14] Ramit: Mm-hmm.

[00:00:15] Travis: I value my time over my money. I’ll put it that way.

[00:00:19] Ramit: I’m just pointing out that you’re both basically making minimum wage.

[00:00:22] Callie: Right.

[00:00:23] Ramit: Is this the decision you both consciously are choosing?

[00:00:28] Callie: Good question.

[00:00:31] Travis: Yes. I only think about making enough to live and to take care of what we need in the short term. I do not think about long

[00:00:42] Callie: The good is so good, but we’re losing sight of the future. And that’s what scares me until I think I woke up from a dream realized that we’re missing out if we don’t think bigger.


[00:00:58] Ramit: Meet Callie and Travis. Callie’s 36. Travis is 39. They live in Texas with an 11-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter. What’s important to know is that they have both intentionally chosen a different lifestyle than most people. They’re both entrepreneurs, and they both intentionally stepped off the 9-5 make more money path.

[00:01:20] This has made their finances very complicated. They’re not sure how much they earn. A lot of their finances are a mystery, and as we talk, they realize that they are playing small. Now, I really enjoyed my conversation with them because a lot unfolded, a lot of things I did not realize when I first started talking to them, especially when I heard about their parents. Listen closely as we meet Callie and Travis.


[00:01:47] Callie: Travis made a lot of changes in his business, and I realized December of last year, based on certain key things he was telling me he was struggling a little bit. And I realized we needed to really dig into our budget and we had never done that.

[00:02:00] I went to his office. I’m like, let’s make a budget. So we sat down, we looked at our budget, and the one place I saw we could cut cost and maybe take stress off of Travis was his truck. It was like a $700 $800-dollar payment. And he does use it for work and those kinds of things, but he had turned in another truck that he was a little upside down in and it was just this obscene payment with a big interest rate. So we were like, let’s get rid of it.

[00:02:24] Ramit: What was the interest rate? I have to ask.

[00:02:26] Travis: It was closer to nine.

[00:02:29] Callie: But the truck before was 15.

[00:02:31] Travis: Oh.

[00:02:31] Callie: So he got better with this truck.

[00:02:33] Ramit: 15%? I want to be in that business that gets 15% returns. I just want to be on the other side of the table.

[00:02:39] Callie: Right, it’s predatory.

[00:02:40] Travis: No, we definitely traded the truck in because 800-dollar payments were crazy.

[00:02:46] Ramit: You knew that, right, when you bought the truck, though?

[00:02:48] Travis: I did. I did.

[00:02:50] Ramit: So how did you make that decision?

[00:02:51] Travis: I tried to justify it because I didn’t have an office for my business.

[00:02:56] Ramit: So what is that? I’m saving money on an office, so therefore I can put–

[00:02:59] Travis: Correct, and I spent most of my time in the truck.

[00:03:02] Ramit: All right.

[00:03:02] Travis: Things were getting tight. Decided an office was a good idea, no longer needed an 800-dollar payment.

[00:03:10] Callie: We just made that decision. We were going to get rid of the truck. We were excited about it. I had a Ford Transit van. So he took my car, and we got rid of the truck, but I put 4,000 down of my savings to lower the payment. So we were going to save about $300 a month. And Travis and I pay our car payments separate.

[00:03:27] So this wasn’t helping the family budget. I was trying to– I felt his stress, and I wanted to help take some of that off and also help us out as a family. So I got a Nissan Rogue. Well, then within a month or two, Travis came home really excited to tell me that he had bought a rack and an awning for the van.

[00:03:49] Ramit: What is that?

[00:03:51] Callie: So it’s like a rack for the top so you can climb on the top of the van and sit on it. Travis surfs. So you could sit and watch the surf from the top of the van.

[00:04:02] Ramit: And the awning is it protects you from the sun.

[00:04:05] Callie: Shade. Yes. So he was really excited to come home and tell me he bought this, and he did it on payments. And the payment was almost $300 a month.

[00:04:13] Ramit: Oh, wow.

[00:04:14] Callie: So I took that as a personal hit because at the time when I spent that $4,000, I viewed it as our money, and I felt bad. I took the wind out of his sails. But it actually took me about 24 hours to approach him about it. That was our first moment in our relationship marriage where we had to come to head about a money decision because before that point, he runs his business. I run my business. We put equal amounts of money into one account, and that’s where our bills are paid from. Everything outside of that, him, me.

[00:04:48] Ramit: What did you feel when he told you that he had got the rack and the awning for $300 a month?

[00:04:54] Callie: I was disappointed in that moment. I felt that this sacrifice I had made, and I view my savings as my own personal security blanket was taken away. But I was also excited for him because I knew that was something fun and exciting, and he probably felt excited to share that with me.

[00:05:18] It just made me realize in that moment that we had to have bigger conversations or we were going to always view money so differently, and I would keep saving and have this little honeypot for emergencies. And if we weren’t in on it together, I would be alone in that saving journey.

[00:05:38] Ramit: What’d you say to him?

[00:05:40] Callie: I said exactly that, that I was disappointed because we had made that decision to help relieve some pressure off of him because I was absorbing that stress he was feeling in his business. He said I took the wind out of his sails.

[00:05:58] Ramit: Uh-huh. And I see from your face that that made you sad.

[00:06:03] Callie: Yeah. So we’re a really great team and we are really great at communicating. Our marriage is really based on a lot of love, and we don’t have a lot of turmoil. So it’s actually taking me a lot of courage. Not courage, because I’m worried about us fighting. When I talk about money or something that makes him uncomfortable, his eyes just glaze over and he looks at me in this stonewall. He is gone to another dimension.

[00:06:31] Ramit: Mm-hmm.

[00:06:32] Callie: He’s very open to these conversations. It’s just they’re hard conversations.

[00:06:36] Ramit: And how did this conversation resolve itself?

[00:06:40] Callie: I think we just resolved it by saying that we understood where each other were coming from, and then we moved on until the next thing.

[00:06:48] Ramit: And so you still got the rack and the awning? Okay. How much did that thing cost in total, Travis?

[00:06:56] Travis: Roughly 4,500.

[00:06:57] Ramit: Okay, so that’s $300 a month payments over how long?

[00:07:02] Travis: Five months.

[00:07:03] Ramit: All right.

[00:07:04] Travis: I’ll be done in April.

[00:07:06] Ramit: Okay. All right. Travis, I want to hear your perspective.

[00:07:09] Travis: I really wanted these accessories for the van, and I saw a little bit of extra cash in the monthly budget, so I went for it, and I didn’t talk to her first. After I paid all the bills for the business and then put all of our income that we agree upon into our account, I felt like I had a few hundred extra bucks that could have gone to savings, but instead went to an accessory.

[00:07:39] Ramit: How long did you go seeing a couple hundred extra bucks in the account?

[00:07:46] Travis: Oh, three months.

[00:07:48] Ramit: For three months, you saw 200 bucks extra in there.

[00:07:52] Travis: Roughly, yes.

[00:07:54] Ramit: Okay.

[00:07:54] Travis: It was through Affirm. Are you familiar with that?

[00:07:57] Ramit: Oh yeah, I’m familiar with that.

[00:07:58] Travis: Okay.

[00:07:59] Ramit: Buy now, pay later.

[00:08:01] Travis: Right. And it was a 12-month, 0% interest. I picked the 12-month. It was like 333 a month, so maybe it could have been 15 months.

[00:08:15] Ramit: Okay. That would make more sense. So when she came in and she said, I’m disappointed, what do you remember about that conversation?

[00:08:23] Travis: Oh, heartbroken.

[00:08:25] Ramit: Why?

[00:08:26] Travis: Because you don’t want to disappoint anyone in your life, and I definitely don’t want to disappoint her. So I knew that right away I made the wrong move.

[00:08:36] Ramit: Okay. And so what did you do?

[00:08:38] Travis: At that point, I could only apologize, and I knew I would never make that mistake again.

[00:08:43] Ramit: Did you tell her that?

[00:08:45] Travis: Yes, we’ve talked about it many times.

[00:08:48] Ramit: All right. What was the mistake that you made just so I can understand that?

[00:08:54] Travis: Not speaking to her first.

[00:08:56] Ramit: Okay.

[00:08:57] Travis: I think she could have changed my mind.

[00:08:59] Ramit: Okay. And do you see why that might not be the best way to think about it?

[00:09:05] Travis: Absolutely.

[00:09:06] Ramit: What is a better way to think about it?

[00:09:11] Travis: We should have replenished our savings account before I did anything.


[00:09:15] Ramit: I’ve recently become obsessed with this question, can you afford it? On Twitter, I posted about a couple who had a $2,000 mattress, and a ton of angry commenters just started lashing out at me. Of course, a mattress is a good investment, Ramit. It’s all about your health.

[00:09:33] That’s not an answer to know if you can afford something. An answer to know if you can afford something involves numbers. It’s not just a feeling.  I feel like I want a private jet so I can– that’s not how it works.

[00:09:45]  You can go on Twitter and search for Ramit Mattress, and you’ll see tons of comments. I realized that almost nobody knows how to decide if they can afford something. They literally see something they want, they decide to buy it, and then they make up a bunch of reasons later.

[00:10:00] Anyway, I noticed the same thing here with Travis. He saved a bunch of money on his truck, and because he saw some extra money in his account, he basically said, oh, okay. I want that awning. I can afford it. This is very common, and most people genuinely have no idea how to decide if they can afford something. I’m going to be talking more about this topic in the future, but I just wanted to flag it for you.

[00:10:25] We’ll be back after these messages.

[00:10:28] Now back to Travis and Callie.


[00:10:30] So both of you are entrepreneurs, so you both have your own businesses. You make your own money. Then from that business, each of you contributes an amount to your joint house account, which is used to pay your bills, subscriptions, car, all that stuff.

[00:10:45] Callie: Our vehicles are separate, but everything else.

[00:10:47] Ramit: How do you decide how much money comes from your business to the house account every month?

[00:10:53] Travis: We went through and did all of our bills, got our fixed costs, and then split it down the middle to give ourselves a little wiggle room and said, all right, we both need to put it in 2,500 bucks a month.

[00:11:05] Ramit: If you go to a restaurant, where does that come from?

[00:11:08] Callie: That account.

[00:11:09] Ramit: Ah. Vacation, same thing?

[00:11:12] Callie: Yeah, vacation, we still split down the middle, but we have to figure it out separately, but we still 50-50 that in most cases. We do love to travel. That’s a big part of where this conversation started. Last year we put a trip to Barbados on a credit card.

[00:11:26] Ramit: What? You went to Barbados. How long did you go for?

[00:11:29] Callie: A week.

[00:11:29] Ramit: Tell me about this trip. I have to know the details.

[00:11:32] Callie: We went with friends. Our stay was actually paid for if we could just get ourselves there, which sounds great, but the tickets are $1,200 a piece, and the rental car, and eating at the resort, and all of that stuff. So we maxed out a $5,000 credit card pretty easily.

[00:11:50] Ramit: Do both of your businesses make the same amount of money?

[00:11:53] Callie: That’s the mystery.

[00:11:55] Ramit: Huh? Why don’t we just figure it out right now? Here, I’ll start. Callie, how much does your business make?

[00:12:02] Callie: Like last year, I made about 80,000 gross. So some months I’m billing 13,000, some months I’m billing three. So on the conscious spending plan, I put 6,000 gross because–

[00:12:13] Ramit: Fine. That’s the way you should do it. That’s great. Perfect. Six. And then you have a number you pick that you are certain you hit.

[00:12:21] Callie: Right. 100%.

[00:12:22] Ramit: And then anything above that you can distribute accordingly. Okay, great. And then Travis, how much did your business do last year?

[00:12:29] Travis: Yeah.

[00:12:34] Ramit: What was that?

[00:12:36] Callie: Mystery.

[00:12:38] Travis: There’s a lot of variable numbers in there that make it confusing.

[00:12:42] Ramit: What? Hold on. What is your business, first of all?

[00:12:45] Travis: It’s mostly a housekeeping business, maid service, Okay. property management. And so January is my slowest month, and then June can be my busiest month.

[00:12:59] Callie: It’s a vacation rental.

[00:13:00] Ramit: Okay. But just how much did it make revenue?

[00:13:03] Travis: Maybe 80, including what I pay myself. Yeah. But revenue, no. Revenue, I would say five to 10.

[00:13:15] Ramit: 5 to 10 what?

[00:13:17] Travis: Thousand.

[00:13:18] Ramit: You mean per month?

[00:13:20] Travis: No. I ride a very thin line when it comes to the end of the year. I don’t profit much at all.

[00:13:29] Ramit: How much salary do you take?

[00:13:30] Travis: 1,200 bucks a month.

[00:13:33] Ramit: Where’d the rest of the money go?

[00:13:34] Travis: I pay myself $2,500 a month. It goes straight into our house account. But then to keep myself on payroll and pay payroll taxes on, I have an extra $1,200 in payroll.

[00:13:48] Ramit: You both pay yourselves 2,500 a month.

[00:13:54] Callie: We talk about this a lot because I always say the pros outweigh the cons because it’s a trade off. But there has to be a breaking point, I guess.

[00:14:05] Ramit: What are we talking?

[00:14:06] Callie: So we’ve both chose to not climb the corporate ladder. When I quit my job four years ago, I was at about 80,000, and it’s taken me about four years to get back there. And that’s not having write-offs. So it’s like I don’t really make 80,000. I’m paying for a lot of things.

[00:14:25] So if I had stayed on that trajectory, right now I’d be making way more. The choice to work for myself was a conscious decision to have a flexible schedule, grow the life we want, but now we’re at this point where you have that tug of war inside if that’s the right choice.

[00:14:41] But with us working for ourselves, we have this flexibility together, but we both work really hard. So the point I’ve gotten to is we’re in this hustle loop. It’s exciting that we have this freedom, but we’re never going to stop hustling and working nonstop.

[00:14:58] Ramit: All right, so you two are hustlers. Would you describe yourselves as that?

[00:15:02] Travis: I think that I could hustle more.

[00:15:05] Ramit: That’s what a hustler would say.

[00:15:07] Travis: I value my time over my money. I’ll put it that way.

[00:15:11] Ramit: I’m just pointing out that you’re both basically making minimum wage.

[00:15:14] Callie: Right.

[00:15:15] Ramit: You could get a job at any minimum wage place, and you’d have health insurance. And there’s nothing wrong with working at a minimum wage job. I’m asking, is this the decision you both consciously are choosing?

[00:15:30] Callie: Good question.

[00:15:31] Travis: Yes.

[00:15:33]  Callie: What I keep saying to Travis when we have these money conversations is, it’s not that I want more necessarily, it’s that I want to work smarter, not harder. Whatever money we are making, whether it’s 2,500 a month or 10,000 a month, I want it to be so intentional that our lives are better because of it.


[00:15:52] Ramit: I have to jump in here because I like what they said. They intentionally decided to jump off the hamster wheel and design their own Rich Lives that didn’t involve working for somebody else. I totally approve. Remember, a Rich Life is not simply about making more money. A Rich Life certainly is not only about buying expensive trinkets and traveling to the fanciest hotels and vehicles like so many people automatically assume. A Rich Life is something that you intentionally design around the life that you want.

[00:16:26] Please remember, your Rich Life is yours and nobody else’s. In my case, I knew that in order to live the kind of Rich Life I want, I would need to make a certain amount of money. I want you to do the same no matter what your vision is. Be clear about what your Rich Life is, and then make decisions that will support that Rich Life. Now, we can’t have everything we want, but we can start to make very clear decisions that line up with our vision of a Rich Life.

[00:16:54] And that’s the catch. In order to design your Rich Life, you have to know your numbers. In fact, the more alternative your Rich Life is, the more dialed in you have to be on your numbers and on your communication. Otherwise, you might find yourself making minimum wage, working tons of hours, hustling, but never getting ahead.


[00:17:16] The good is so good, but we’re losing sight of the future. And that’s what scares me, where it’s really easy to be like, we’ve got everything we need. We live this life, and it’s free, and it’s awesome until you stop for one second and you’re like, holy shit, we don’t have retirement.

[00:17:33] We don’t have savings. If our roof right now is raining, our roof goes out tomorrow, there’s 6, 7, 8, 10 grand we don’t have. For me, I’m a photographer. I break my leg, I’m out. I can have one train of thought where I’m on. Travis is really chill and go with the flow, and I’ve been on that train, and I love him for that.

[00:17:50] That’s why I am in love with him. But sometimes, and this has been my year of trying to snap him out of that a little, to get on my page. And we’re getting there, but sometimes I feel bad because I’ll come at him with so much energy because I’m trying to fix these problems. But they’re not problems where I’m like, you need to make more. You need to be different, or I need to be different. It’s just let’s go ahead and see what we have and figure out our baseline and be smarter with what we have.

[00:18:15] Travis: I only think about making enough to live and to take care of what we need in the short term. So correct, I do not think about long term.

[00:18:28] Ramit: Okay. Tell me what you mean by that. When you say just to cover what we need, what do you mean by that?

[00:18:34] Travis: I want to make sure our family is taken care of and our monthly expenses are done. We live within our means.

[00:18:42] Ramit: Family taken care of? Can you explain that for me?

[00:18:45] Travis: uh, We have two kids, daycare, health insurance, all those bills are paid for.

[00:18:50] Ramit: Okay.

[00:18:51] Travis: I never want to let those go unpaid.

[00:18:54] Ramit: Okay.

[00:18:55] Travis: But I’m also not picking up extra clients so that we can increase our retirement savings.

[00:19:05] Ramit: Tell me about that. Why? Tell me more.

[00:19:09] Travis: That’s great. Great question. I just don’t think that far down the road. I like a small business. I like to keep it that way. And I have a lot of time off in certain parts of the year, and that’s also really nice.

[00:19:24] Ramit: What do you do with the time off?

[00:19:27] Travis: Take our kids to school, go surfing.

[00:19:30] Ramit: Cool.

[00:19:31] Travis: Have lunch.

[00:19:32] Ramit: All right. Did you grow up nearby?

[00:19:35] Travis: Uh, South Texas.

[00:19:37] Ramit: South Texas. All right. How would you describe your family socioeconomically when you grew up?

[00:19:43] Travis: Yeah, middle class.

[00:19:45] Ramit: Oh, okay.

[00:19:46] Travis: Lower middle.

[00:19:47] Ramit: What’s the difference?

[00:19:48] Travis: I think maybe we were just in a very poor neighborhood, but we were middle class until you go to a middle class neighborhood in another city and then you realize, ooh, you’re not that middle class. I came from a poor town, so I knew that we weren’t poor.

[00:20:06] Ramit: What was the family structure like?

[00:20:08] Travis: Two parents, three little sisters.

[00:20:10] Ramit: All right, so four kids. And what do you remember your parents saying about money?

[00:20:17] Travis: Nothing. 

[00:20:19] Ramit: Nothing?

[00:20:20] Travis: Not a lot. They kept their conversations to themselves and made sure all the kids were taken care of. It’s not like we ever had to worry about getting new shoes for school, or any school clothes. I got a brand new truck when I graduated high school. I think they went into debt for their kids, just never talked to us about it.

[00:20:39] Ramit: What’d your parents do for work?

[00:20:42] Travis: Dad was a restaurant manager. Mom worked for her brother’s family business.

[00:20:49] Ramit: Okay. You remember seeing them ever paying the bills?

[00:20:51] Travis: Sitting at the dining room table, paying bills on a Sunday morning or something?

[00:20:58] Ramit: Yeah.

[00:20:59] Travis: Yeah.

[00:21:00] Ramit: Who was it?

[00:21:00] Travis: I think my mom kept the books.

[00:21:02]  Ramit: Uh-huh.

[00:21:03] Travis: I feel like that was pretty common.

[00:21:04]  Ramit: Mm-hmm. What about your dad? What’d he do?

[00:21:08] Travis: I don’t recall.

[00:21:09]  Ramit: Okay. But you didn’t see your dad at those Sunday table things. It was your mom going over the books.

[00:21:15] Travis: That’s what I remember.

[00:21:16] Ramit: Was it clear who was going to pay for college?

[00:21:20] Travis: I believe my parents didn’t have a lot of college savings for us.

[00:21:24] Ramit: Uh-huh.

[00:21:26] Travis: Yeah, if you wanted to go, you are either going to have to take out a lot of loans or get as many scholarships as possible.

[00:21:33] Callie: Travis was valedictorian.

[00:21:36] Ramit: Oh, wow.

[00:21:37] Travis: Oops.

[00:21:38] Ramit: That’s cool. Congratulations.

[00:21:39] Callie: I think it’s cool. He doesn’t ever brag about it. He’s a very [Inaudible] guy.

[00:21:42]  Ramit: I love that you brag for him. That’s cool. All right. I like it. Oh, hold on. Round of applause. We have had a couple of other valedictorians on this show, but I love it and I love a partner bragging for their own partner about them being a valedictorian. Great job. What was your GPA?

[00:21:54] Travis: 4.1, I guess

[00:21:58] Ramit: Fuck?

[00:21:58] Travis: I didn’t extra credit.

[00:21:59] Ramit: No need to explain to me. I understand. Trust me. Every valedictorian knows their GPA to the second decimal place. I love it. So you were going to go on scholarship to whichever school. Where’d you end up deciding? What area?

[00:22:16] Travis: Galveston.

[00:22:18] Ramit: Oh, okay. So you stayed in South Texas.

[00:22:22] Travis: So it’s still about a six-hour drive from where I grew up. Far enough.

[00:22:28] Ramit: Far enough. You can come back when you need to.

[00:22:30] Travis: Still on the water.

[00:22:32] Ramit: Great.

[00:22:32] Travis: And it was free.

[00:22:34] Ramit: And was that important to you at the time?

[00:22:36] Travis: Being on the water was important.

[00:22:38] Ramit: How about the free part?

[00:22:41] Travis: That was a huge bonus.

[00:22:43] Ramit: They gave you a truck, but they didn’t pay for your college.

[00:22:47] Travis: They didn’t decide on the truck until the new college was paid for. I don’t think that would’ve happened if I wasn’t going to college. But I don’t think that there was a bulk sum of money towards the truck.

[00:23:04] Ramit: Great. Our son chose a place he’s going to get a scholarship for. We don’t have money to buy a truck, but we’re going to go put it on payment plans for the next five years. Did I get that right?

[00:23:17] Travis: Sounds right.

[00:23:18] Ramit: Does this sound familiar to anybody on this call right now? I don’t have the money for it, so I’m going to go put it on payments. Anybody? What would the example be from modern day?

[00:23:30] Callie: The rack.

[00:23:31] Travis: Yeah.

[00:23:32] Ramit: The rack, the accessories, and on and on and on. Travis, what do you say? What do you make of this?

[00:23:40] Travis: I know where it’s coming from.

[00:23:41] Ramit: Where?

[00:23:43] Travis: Back home, growing up with our parents. When I can see my parents get vehicles and make payments, I think we can do that too. It’s only a few hundred bucks a month.

[00:23:54] Ramit: Mm-hmm.

[00:23:55] Travis: That fits right in the budget.

[00:23:56] Ramit: All right. Is your parents saved for retirement?

[00:23:59] Travis: No.

[00:24:02] Ramit: So what are they doing now?

[00:24:04] Travis: My dad has inheritance from his dad. They’re divorced. My mom is living on Social Security.

[00:24:13] Ramit: Hmm. Barely. That’s tough.

[00:24:17] Travis: I would love to see an opportunity to find income to take care of our parents.

[00:24:23] Ramit: Oh, I love that. Okay. Thank you for adding that. And Callie, I see you nodding as well.

[00:24:27] Callie: Yeah, that’s a goal– when we have many conversations, whenever Travis gets discouraged, I try to put that positive spin that if we can get a hold of this, we can do more, and we can help our parents. We can be more generous. Money doesn’t have to be so taboo.

[00:24:45] Ramit: Travis, tell me more about this concept. I find it very compelling that you would love to find a way to be able to help your parents. Probably sounds like specifically your mom.

[00:24:57] Travis: Part-time employment at my company. She loves being here because all the grandkids are in this town. And so we don’t want to see her go work 40 hours a week for minimum wage somewhere and not fulfill her dreams as a grandparent.

[00:25:16] Ramit: Hmm. You send her money right now?

[00:25:19] Travis: No, not unless she helped me with some budgeting. And she helps us with the kids every now and then. So when we specifically ask for something that is out of her way, then yes, we do give her some money. She barely makes rent and bills and a little bit of grocery.

[00:25:42] Ramit: Okay. Did she ever talk to you about money now as an adult?

[00:25:46] Travis: A little bit more now.

[00:25:47] Ramit: What did she say?

[00:25:47] Travis: It’s not about the actual numbers, but about the lack thereof.

[00:25:53] Ramit: How does she say it?

[00:25:54] Travis: I’m going to have some spaghetti tonight because that’s the cheapest meal.

[00:25:59] Ramit: Wow. That’s tough to hear. How do you reconcile this beautiful dream you have of wanting to help your parents, specifically your mom because she’s just barely getting by, and then making purchases like the rack and the awning?

[00:26:18] Travis:  I don’t. It’s hard to put them together. A lot of compartmentalization going on there.

[00:26:23] Ramit: Yeah.


[00:26:25] Ramit: That last exchange was shocking, but in a different way than you might expect. Travis said that his mom sometimes calls and quietly mentions that she’s eating spaghetti because, “That’s the cheapest meal.” She’s basically out of money, and he claims that he wants to help his mom financially, but meanwhile he’s spending $300 a month on random truck accessories.

[00:26:47] But that’s not the shocking part to me. What’s really shocking is how common this compartmentalization is. You do this. I do this. Every single person claims they want to do something, but their actual spending reflects something totally different. If you’re listening to this or you’re watching this right now, ask yourself, what do I claim is important, but my spending does not reflect it?

[00:27:16] We’ll be right back.

[00:27:18] Let’s get back to the show.


[00:27:20] You said, “I don’t really think far ahead. I want to make sure that the kids are taken care of. Aside from that, I’m good.”

[00:27:29] Travis: Rights.

[00:27:29] Ramit: We can often see what happens as time goes on. We see the predictable path of where you will end up.

[00:27:35] Travis: At this point, I could just be 65, and our kids will be happy, but they won’t realize that I have nothing in savings, and they’re going to look over one day and not going to tell them how poor I am.

[00:27:50] Ramit: You might not say I’m broke, but you might say something else instead. Right?

[00:27:55] Travis: Right. Like, that’s what we’re having for dinner tonight.

[00:28:00] Ramit: Yeah. That would be a tragedy. It would be a tragedy because you have the chance to change the trajectory of your family. You have the ability to live a richer life than you ever thought possible. And you have something on your side that your parents cannot buy, which is time.

[00:28:21] Callie: Our parents all live in the same town, which neither of us grew up here. So we have our futures staring at us in a unique way at the age we are and the age they are. They’ve all just hit their early to mid -60s. This year especially, we’ve really been trying to figure out these generational things that are holding us back.

[00:28:43] Ramit: I’m curious about your family. What do you remember about money when you were a little kid?

[00:28:50] Callie: It was a rollercoaster. We moved around a lot. My parents are both also entrepreneurs.

[00:28:56] Ramit: Oh, wow. Okay.

[00:28:57] Callie: So there’s a little bit of a mirror happening. So they reinvented themselves even within my childhood a few times. When I was 17, their business took a turn for the worst, and I witnessed them lose cars, lose our house, which was also their business. We lived within the business. It was a warehouse.

[00:29:18] So I watched everything crumble. At 17, I saw was them lose everything. So the way I always explained it to myself was that they went bankrupt. I’m not sure if they did, but in a matter of a few months, where we lived, the car was all gone. My stepdad left at that time to live at a town over.

[00:29:39] Me and my mom moved into a little rent house in the poor part of town. The car that I had saved up for– I had been working since I was like 15– became the family car. And I don’t blame my mom for it now, but I held a lot of resentment at the time.

[00:29:52] I got upset because the car that I had worked so hard to buy was now being used by me, her, my brother, everybody. I remember complaining about it, and she said, you’re either with this family or against it.

[00:30:03] Ramit: Wow.

[00:30:04] Callie: Well, at the time, I was really pissed off, and I was mad. I was a 17-year-old, and I didn’t have any perspective. But now being a mom and a business owner, I empathize. Now I can only imagine what they were going through. I took that as it’s me against the world from that point on.

[00:30:23] I was brought up a little bit differently where my parents almost, I think to a fault, put this hustle culture in my head. I had to buy my own car. I’ve had a job since I was 15. My stepdad loves Rich dad, Poor Dad, that kind of stuff.

[00:30:38] Ramit: Uh-oh.

[00:30:39] Callie: I know.

[00:30:39] Ramit: Uh-oh. You never want to have to work a 9-5. The worst thing in America, the worst is to have to trade your time for money. Sound familiar?

[00:30:53] Callie: Exactly. Oh, he called people in monkey suits if they had a– yeah. It was demonized. My parents were more proud of me when I quit my job.

[00:31:04] Ramit: Yeah.

[00:31:05] Callie: And I had a good job too.

[00:31:07] Ramit: I appreciate this. I know exactly the dynamics in which you raised. You seem to be very perceptive about how you were raised. You are an entrepreneur. What if on this call we decided that you should actually get a full-time job? Would you be able to do that?

[00:31:26] Callie: I don’t think so.

[00:31:27] Ramit: I’m glad I asked. All right. So it really got into you, this idea like, I must be an entrepreneur. I am an entrepreneur. If I’m not an entrepreneur, I’m not successful.

[00:31:38] Callie: Right.

[00:31:39] Ramit: How’d you pay for college?

[00:31:41] Callie: I had some Pell Grants and student loans.

[00:31:44] Ramit: Amazing. All right.

[00:31:44] Callie: And a job.

[00:31:45] Ramit: And how do you feel now, looking back, that 17-year-old Callie, how do you feel about what she did over the next few years of her life?

[00:31:54] Callie: Good. But I also think I have a chip on my shoulder. That’s what I think I’m trying to shed this year. Because I went to college, and then I was only out of college for about a year or so. I had this degree, and I moved to Austin, and I was going to be all these things. And within a year of being there, I accidentally got pregnant.

[00:32:11] So then I was a single mom with a chip on her shoulder paying for everything by myself. I never got child support or anything. So I think I’ve always had this shell of, I can do it. And I think I’m ready to get rid of that shell. It’s almost like it’s taken me till 36 to be like, that’s actually holding me back.

[00:32:32] Ramit: Tell me about that.

[00:32:35] Callie: I think I just put so much pride in that being my personality. I paid for my own car, and I paid for college, and I paid for not only child support. It was so empowering, but then I have nothing to show for it.

[00:32:49] Ramit: Wow.

[00:32:49] Callie: Just a lot of work.

[00:32:50] Ramit: Extremely perceptive.

[00:32:56] Callie: Getting ready for this call, I typed out some thoughts, came out of my head, and one of them was my worth is really tied up in my ability to produce.

[00:33:04] Ramit: Oh, yeah.

[00:33:05] Callie: That’s I think what’s made me successful in some ways. In other ways, it’s really what cripples me because my personal self worth is really tied up in those achievements and those goals being met.

[00:33:18] Ramit: When you had your daughter, I assume you had to take some time off work.

[00:33:22] Callie: Mm-hmm.

[00:33:23] Ramit: What’d that feel like for you to not be producing?

[00:33:26] Callie: I worked really hard, and I saved about $30,000 in order to take a break, but I started working again at about five weeks.

[00:33:35] Ramit: Did you need the money?

[00:33:37] Callie: No.

[00:33:38] Ramit: Why’d you do it?

[00:33:38] Callie: It was a good opportunity.

[00:33:40] Ramit: Mm-hmm. Can I ask again? Why’d you do it?

[00:33:42] Callie: I don’t know.

[00:33:44] Ramit: You know.

[00:33:45] Callie: I do.

[00:33:46] Ramit: Why’d you do it?

[00:33:48] Callie: I think it’s my way of like proving to myself that I’m worthy. And I know that. It’s a struggle. Even I’ve had a slow month this month, which isn’t like me, and I’ve been spiraling.

[00:34:03] Ramit: What you just said is so revealing.

[00:34:07] Callie: Right.

[00:34:08] Ramit: Now, I assume, you live in Texas, you drive pretty far at times, right?

[00:34:12] Callie: Yeah. I drive into Houston probably once a week.

[00:34:15] Ramit: How long does it take you to get there?

[00:34:16] Callie: An hour.

[00:34:17] Ramit: That’s funny. When you drive an hour, do you think only one mile at a time? Where am I going to go with the next mile? What’s going to happen? What if the car stops? What if I run out of gas?

[00:34:26] Callie: No.

[00:34:27] Ramit: What do you think like?

[00:34:29] Callie: I put on a podcast, and I just cruise.

[00:34:31] Ramit: That’s right. I crank up that I Will Teach You to Be Rich podcast. I crank up the, I Will Teach You to Be Rich audio book, and we’re a cruising. You set an ambitious goal where you want to end up, and you make your plan, whether it’s you use your map or whatever, and you go. And you know that if the car breaks down or something happens, you’ll navigate your way. But you’re thinking on a much bigger basis. Right? What would that look like if you did that with your money?

[00:34:59] Callie: I think it would be freeing. I’m envious of the bigger-picture people. One of the things I’ve pulled a lot from your podcast is I’m worried that I am playing small when I could be playing big. I think I get paralyzed in figuring out how to play bigger because I’m so in the weeds of hustling.

[00:35:23] I just take the next job, next job. This last year when I felt Travis’s stress, not that he ever asked me to cover him. He never did. I did my yearly review. I increased my revenue by 54%, and I didn’t even realize I did it because I just kept saying yes until I burnt myself out.


[00:35:43] Ramit: The clue is that Callie said I’ve had a slow month. That single phrase tells me so much about someone, especially entrepreneurs. It tells me that you’re focused on your money on a month to month basis. It tells me that you’re playing small. It tells me that you don’t necessarily have the healthiest relationship with money because you’re focused so much on the short term, and it tells me that this pattern probably exists in other parts of your life.

[00:36:09] The real magic here is if they can connect the thing they’re good at with money. You have the skills to be really good at money. It’s not this mystical thing that only some priests know how to do. And honestly, to live a Rich Life, that’s really all you need to get.

[00:36:28] You need to get good. You don’t even need to be excellent. You’re learning it here. Get my book. Use the material, automate, low-cost long-term investing, all that stuff, and you will be good, even very good.

[00:36:39] Now, in Callie’s case, this toxic culture of hustling, all this Robert Kiyosaki scam shit, the messages that you need to be hustling and grinding, working endless hours in order to be successful. It’s all about passive income. Don’t trade your time for money, that will make it very hard for Callie to change. But I will say she’s very receptive, and I do have a lot of confidence in her.


[00:37:01] Callie: That’s why I wanted to pull Travis in on this journey, because until this year, I’ve viewed my money journey as separate from his.

[00:37:11] Ramit: Why?

[00:37:12] Callie: One of the things when we first started dating, he would compliment my strength and ability to do it. And I think that was his way of complimenting me. But it gave me my gold star and my ability to provide for myself. So he saw me as a strong single mom. We’ve now been together eight years. I realized that I can lean on him, but in order for me to lean on him, I need him to drink a little bit of my crazy juice and start being excited about money.

[00:37:52] Ramit: Okay. Well, number one, it’s not crazy juice to want to be excited about money. What is that?

[00:37:59] Callie: I don’t know, whenever I bring it up– and we’ve gotten better, but he’s like, whoa, whoa, whoa, chill.

[00:38:05] Ramit: Let me ask. I assume you’ve tried to engage him, ask him like, what are your dreams? What’s your Rich Life? All that stuff. Right?

[00:38:14] Callie: Right. Mm-hmm.

[00:38:15] Ramit: You don’t get much back?

[00:38:17] Callie: We came back from a date night, and I had brought up this conversation, and he’s like, I just want to have a good time. I don’t want to talk about money. I don’t really care about money. And I said, bullshit. You want to go on a sailing trip in Indonesia? You want to go to Barbados? You want to do all these things? You do care about money.

[00:38:32] Ramit: Hmm. Okay, that’s aggressive, but I like it. And Travis, what’d you say back to that?

[00:38:40] Travis: I agreed. She’s right. I do want all those things, and they do require money.

[00:38:46] Ramit: But why do you say, I don’t care about money? What is that?

[00:38:48] Travis: I didn’t care about the long-term conversation about money or the fact that I didn’t have a lot of money to contribute to any savings or any new topics that might be coming up. I would only save money for short term goals.

[00:39:09] Ramit: Callie, what if Travis never cares about the long term when it comes to finances?

[00:39:17] Callie: I was worried about that. Another thing I said to him, which maybe turned a corner was, I’m going to do this with or without you. And I want to do it with you.

[00:39:26] Ramit: Wow.

[00:39:27]  Callie: And I don’t mean that we’d ever be apart, but I’m going to save. I’m going to open up a Roth. I’m going to open up a high yield savings account. I’m going to do these things. And I don’t want it to be my money. I want it to be our money. I don’t want to hoard my money. I want to share our money and dream big

[00:39:44] I don’t want to do it alone because I also– Travis is really a very intelligent guy. He likes to undersell himself, which is why I constantly try to brag for him. I want his opinion, and I want his insight. I trust him. I’m a creative. I have to fight harder to understand some of these more complex things. And I will, I’m not putting it out to pasture that I’m not capable. I definitely am, but I’d love to do it with him.

[00:40:11] Travis: Yeah, financially, it was only about the monthly expectations.

[00:40:16] Ramit: Do you all know why you did that? Why did you focus so much on the month?

[00:40:22] Travis: Easier to break down. Variable incomes.

[00:40:26] Ramit: Sort of. What was this thing about me driving to Houston and only looking a mile ahead?

[00:40:30] Callie: Yeah. At the month that is– yeah.

[00:40:32] Ramit: What kind of conversation do you think I like to have?

[00:40:34] Callie: What are our goals for the year?

[00:40:36] Ramit: Yeah. The way I would term is like, what is our Rich Life? What gets us excited this year? What do we want to do more of? What do we want to do less of?

[00:40:45] Callie: Right.

[00:40:46] Ramit: What do we want to change in our lifestyle?

[00:40:48] Travis: Where do you want to go, babe?

[00:40:49] Ramit: Love it. Next week, next month, this year. Because some things, you can’t just get up and go next week. You got to book it and plan it.

[00:40:58] Callie: Yeah.

[00:40:58] Travis: Yes.

[00:40:59] Callie: I think I said in my application Travis and I are like the blind leading the blind.

[00:41:05] Ramit: Yeah. Why do you think that?

[00:41:06] Callie: Up until we hit this point in our relationship where we decided to start talking about money, it’s been– which is actually a great thing, where it’s like rainbows and sunshine in the best way. We live life very positively and loving what we have until I think I woke up from a dream realized, that we’re missing out if we don’t think bigger.


[00:41:30] Ramit: We’ll get into their numbers after this quick break.

[00:41:33] Okay, let’s get into their numbers. I’m going to give you a quick summary of what I see. Remember, you can download this Conscious Spending Plan template for free at iwt.com/csp. Their assets, $300,000. Investments, zero. Savings, $4,500. Debt, $175,000. Their net worth is $120,500. And their combined income, $132,480.


[00:42:01] Did you both know that that’s what you make per year?

[00:42:04] Travis: It sounds larger when you say it like that. And no, I, don’t think we did.

[00:42:10] Callie: I’ve never really known what Travis makes. If it wasn’t 2024 and inflation and all these things, I’d be like, it’s okay. But in the world we’re living in today, blah.

[00:42:27] Travis: I am not sure actually what that should represent for us.

[00:42:32] Ramit: Right. It’s just a number. You’re like, I don’t know what that means. Callie, how do you not know what Travis makes?

[00:42:39] Callie: It’s a mystery. He’s very vague. He pays a lot of people, so I know there’s a lot of money in and a lot of money out.

[00:42:48] Ramit: Travis, you have a bookkeeper?

[00:42:49] Travis: No.

[00:42:50] Ramit: Uh-huh. I can tell.

[00:42:52] Travis: Working on that. Trying to make sure I have the money to pay them.

[00:42:55] Ramit: I’m confused how much you made in revenue last year.

[00:43:00] Travis: Let’s say 331, so probably close to 180.

[00:43:07] Ramit: All right. You made 180,000 top line. You had to pay yourself 30,000, so that’s 150. You had to pay your people, probably your biggest expense.

[00:43:20] Travis: Yeah, there’s a lot of supplies, and write offs, and expenses.

[00:43:24] Ramit: Yeah. Okay. You run your vehicle through there as well. Correct?

[00:43:28] Travis: Yes.

[00:43:29] Ramit: All right. And then in the end you end up with a very, very small amount of profit.

[00:43:35] Travis: Correct.

[00:43:36] Ramit: All right. How many hours a day are you working?

[00:43:39] Travis: That varies. On average, 20 to 30 hours a week.

[00:43:45] Ramit: Why are you working 30 hours a week to make $30,000 a year?

[00:43:49] Travis: Well, the 30 hours a week is when it’s really busy. Today I worked one hour.

[00:43:55] Ramit: Okay.

[00:43:55] Travis: I increased prices. So the year 2024 will look much different on my financial statement than the last.

[00:44:04] Ramit: What’s it going to look like?

[00:44:06] Travis: I would say 30% more.

[00:44:08] Ramit: All right, so you make $132,000 living in small town in Texas. I would say like low cost of living. Would that be fair to say?

[00:44:18] Callie: We have a low cost of living because we bought before the spike.

[00:44:21] Ramit: And I was amazed. I had to double check my math. I said, is this really their– you have a mortgage?

[00:44:28] Callie: So we got really lucky. We bought it. It was a fixer upper. We bought it 2017 or 2018 for $116,000. It’s on a half acre.

[00:44:38] Ramit: Wow. Okay. All right. Do you each send 2,500 net to your house account?

[00:44:44] Callie: Yes, net.

[00:44:44] Ramit: So what is the gross amount based on your taxes that you make in order to have 2,500 net? Do you know?

[00:44:52] Callie: I haven’t done my taxes for this year with my write-offs, but I’m guessing probably in the 60s.

[00:44:57] Ramit: Yeah, that sounds about right. All right, so we’re going to be a little bit approximate here. I’m going to assume that you’re all making 3,200 a month in order to have 2,500 net. Okay. Now we need to take your cars out, because that’s throwing everything off. As you can see, your fixed costs are currently 99%, which is insane. That’s not right. Whose car needs to get dropped out of here? Both?

[00:45:20] Callie: Yeah, both. And then also the $150 debt payment on my side because I pay for separately.

[00:45:26] Ramit: Okay.

[00:45:26] Callie: Also the clothes. That’s me.

[00:45:28] Ramit: Clothes, fine. You don’t have any clothes for kids?

[00:45:31] Callie: I pay for that out of my own money.

[00:45:33] Ramit: Why?

[00:45:34] Callie: I don’t know. I just always have.

[00:45:36] Ramit: No. That’s coming back into the house. What the hell? No. Groceries. So, hey, something changed in a big way. You all see this number up here? What is it? Read it to me. Fixed costs.

[00:45:49] Travis: 81%.

[00:45:49] Ramit: 81%. Now we got to start working through some stuff.

[00:45:51] Callie: That’s where we’re stuck. How do we decide what’s my business, what’s his business, what’s ours? We decided what fills the family’s cup, and then we don’t know where to go beyond that.

[00:46:03] Ramit: You decided what fills the family’s cup. However, you’re actually not filling the family’s cup right now.

[00:46:09] Callie: Right. Which we talked about changing this. My son has been going to a counselor, and I pay for that.

[00:46:15] Ramit: Shouldn’t we just put that in here? Don’t you like to play conservative? Let’s put it all in here.

[00:46:21] Callie: Yeah, yeah, let’s put it in. So that would be $220

[00:46:25] Ramit: All right, so you’re currently at 85% fixed costs. Let’s not get alarmed. The good news is that you both have money in your business. The bad news is that the amount you’re sending it’s not enough to keep the household running.

[00:46:43] Callie: Right.

[00:46:43] Ramit: Let’s continue working down the CSP. Your investments are? What’s this number, Travis?

[00:46:49] Travis: Zero.

[00:46:50] Ramit: Zero. What’s up with this guys?

[00:46:54] Callie: Why we’re here. We have a joint past boss who’s a friend, and I had a realization a year or two ago. We were having drinks with him, and he mentioned he’s a very successful business owner, that he had his kids money in stocks.

[00:47:11] And one of his kids who was 16 had made 40 grand. And it was an offhanded over drinks. And I was like, what? Teach me. I can be your daughter. I didn’t realize parents were teaching their kids these things or that there was a game to be played. I literally had never had conversations about that with anybody.

[00:47:32] I did try to– asked three women, they’re friends of ours, wives, whatever, to have coffee with me. I brought up these conversations, like, how do you guys invest your money? And I left very overwhelmed because we live in the energy corridor, oil and gas shipping. They all have husbands in that world, and they all just rattled off these accounts and all this money. And I left being like– I don’t even–

[00:48:00] Ramit: Wait, so I have to say, I’m very impressed that you asked your girlfriends to share this. That’s amazing. What did you think that they would tell you?

[00:48:11] Callie: I don’t know. I just wanted insight on the names of accounts to open. I know that sounds silly, but I just wanted to open the door.

[00:48:20] Ramit: Okay, let’s talk investments. So your investments are currently zero. If you continue for the rest of your life with zero investments, what will happen?

[00:48:29] Callie: Travis and I will be working at Home Depot.

[00:48:32] Ramit: That’s the running joke?

[00:48:33] Callie: That’s the running joke.

[00:48:35] Ramit: Okay. Truthfully, you’re not going to die if you don’t have investments. Right?

[00:48:40] Travis: Right.

[00:48:42] Ramit: Play it out for me because right now you are on track to have zero invested forever. So I’m not asking facetiously, really. You would have a house. You have a car, two cars. Those will be paid off at some point. What would happen if you did not ever invest?

[00:48:56] Travis: Yeah, we would end our lives with $0.

[00:49:01] Callie: We wouldn’t have a fun retirement. Only because we are watching our parents hit that age like all at once, it’s become more motivating for me. I love them, and they work hard, but they’re still flipping houses. They’re still getting in sticky deals. I feel their stress, and I’ve told Travis we can’t be in our 60s still doing that.

[00:49:23] Ramit: Mm-hmm. And Travis, I know it’s not a motivator to you because you’re like, I’ll work forever. I don’t mind. Right?

[00:49:31] Travis: In a way that was my thought process. But I also have a lot of dreams about doing things that don’t involve work.

[00:49:39] Ramit: Like?

[00:49:39] Travis: Sail in the Caribbean for three months out of the year.

[00:49:43] Ramit: Wait, sail? Hold on.

[00:49:44] Travis: I think we touched on it, didn’t we?

[00:49:46] Ramit: Did I hear that you have a boat?

[00:49:49] Travis: Yes.

[00:49:50] Ramit: Where’s that on the CSP?

[00:49:52] Travis: Oh, it’s not in there.

[00:49:53] Ramit: Oh, that’s weird. Where is it though?

[00:49:56] Travis: It’s in the yard.

[00:49:57] Ramit: So let me just get to the end of the story here. If you don’t invest, you’ll have a house. You’ll have your cars. You’ll have social security at some point, which will make a very small amount. You know that better than anybody, Travis.

[00:50:11] Kids will be off, and they’ll be adults, and the two of you will perhaps be in the same house or somewhere nearby, and that will be life. You can see the crystal ball. Now some people are like, I’m cool with that, and if so, I’m not going to convince them change. Callie, I know you’re not okay with that. Correct?

[00:50:35] Callie: Correct.

[00:50:36] Ramit: Travis?

[00:50:38] Travis: I’m not okay with that.

[00:50:39] Ramit: All right, fine. Then you need to invest because the only way to build true wealth is through investments.


[00:50:45] This entire episode shows how fascinating and paradoxical our relationship with money is. Callie and Travis both have parents whose lives did not turn out very well financially speaking. Those parents live nearby, and yet they still have not invested.

[00:51:04]  You would think that people would see their parents going through hardship and invest their money. Wrong. You would think that people who are worried about money, scared about running out of money would read a single book on personal finance. Wrong. You would think that people would, of course, want to learn how money works because after all, they spend 50 years working for it. Wrong.

[00:51:27] Most people treat money like an annoying nuisance. They pay off bills. They pay their taxes. Occasionally, they go out and order some pizza. They certainly do not come up with an agenda and talk about it every two weeks and put their numbers into a conscious spending plan.

[00:51:44] But the thing that drives me crazy, and the reason that I have been talking about money for 20 years is that with just a little bit of work, you can be so far ahead that you don’t have to worry about money.

[00:51:57] You don’t have to play small. I’m going to go through the next part of my conversation, and we’re going to get into a bunch of numbers. I would highly recommend that you watch the next part on YouTube so you can see what I’m doing. Listen closely. This is one of my favorite things that I’ve done on this podcast.


[00:52:11] How would you handle the Barbados trip if it happened again?

[00:52:15] Callie: Map it out.

[00:52:17] Ramit: Let’s map it out right now. Tell me.

[00:52:20] Callie: Sit down with a piece of paper. We’re going through it again actually, Ramit, because we have now been invited to Travis’s Cousin’s wedding in Alaska

[00:52:26] Ramit: Oh, let’s do it right now. Hold on. I’ll pop this up on screen. All right. I love it. All right. Tell me.

[00:52:32] Callie: So the tickets are about, let’s say, $1,000 a person.

[00:52:36] Ramit: All right, $2,000.

[00:52:39] Callie: We’re going to be there, what, say like five days. So lodging is going to be, I would say minimum 600.

[00:52:46] Ramit: I never do minimum anything on a trip. Why are you doing that? Why are you setting yourself up to fail? Hold on. Look at this. Look at their faces on screen. They’re embarrassed. They’re like going like– don’t set yourself up. Don’t lie to yourself before you ever set foot on a plane. And what happens when the freaking hotel has 38% tax and then the only place to eat because you’re in Alaska, is at the hotel, which is going to be expensive.

[00:53:18] Callie: Well, it happened in Barbados, so we put it on the credit card.

[00:53:20] Ramit: Bingo. So let’s not do the same freaking thing again. Let’s get better each time. All right. How much is lodging really going to be?

[00:53:27] Callie: Let’s say 1,500.

[00:53:29] Ramit: What’s next?

[00:53:29] Callie: The car, which we’re going to try to share with some family members, but if we don’t, I don’t know.

[00:53:37] Travis: I think 500.

[00:53:38] Ramit: What else?

[00:53:40] Travis: Meals.

[00:53:42] Callie: $100 a day.

[00:53:44] Travis: 300 a day.

[00:53:45] Callie: Yeah.

[00:53:45] Ramit: 1,000, right?

[00:53:46] Callie: Mm-hmm. We’re going on a whale tour.

[00:53:50] Ramit: Yeah, let’s call it excursions.

[00:53:52] Callie: Yeah.

[00:53:53] Travis: That’s 30 bucks a person.

[00:53:54] Callie: Okay. So $60.

[00:53:55] Travis: Yeah, 60 bucks.

[00:53:56]  Ramit: Uh-uh,it’s not 60.

[00:53:58] Travis: It’s already been rented, so we already know the cost per person.

[00:54:01] Ramit: Let me just tell you how I would think. So if I see something where you’re like, oh, the tickets have already been booked, they’re 30 bucks a person, we already know that. I’m putting down a 100 to 150. You’re going to tip the guy. That alone is going to be 20 bucks.

[00:54:15] Callie: Right.

[00:54:16] Ramit: All right. What else? How about just miscellaneous? Stuff comes up, right?

[00:54:20] Callie: I will say we’re pretty– and I know a lot of people say this, but we’re pretty conservative on spending.

[00:54:29] Ramit: Okay. Is that because you don’t count the spending that you actually spend?

[00:54:32] Callie: No, no, maybe.

[00:54:35] Ramit: So what I want to do is I want to appreciate that you don’t spend a huge amount on certain things, but what I also want to do is I want to help you develop the skills of being accurate at projecting on a small thing like this because what I really want you to do is to become more accurate at projecting on the big things that you want.

[00:55:01] Callie: Right, yeah. I agree. And I think that’s the realization I came to, is like, I don’t want to play small, and I feel like we’ve pigeonholed ourselves into that place.

[00:55:12] Ramit: Exactly. What’s the miscellaneous number you wanted to put?

[00:55:15] Callie: Let’s put 200.

[00:55:17] Ramit: Good. That’s a good number. All right, so all of this costs $5,375. When is this trip?

[00:55:27] Callie: June.

[00;55:27] Travis: End of May.

[00:55:28] Ramit: All right, we got our work cut out for us. So how many months away is that?

[00:55:31] Travis: Five months.

[00:55:31] Callie: Five.

[00:55:34] Ramit: All right, so where’s the money coming from?

[00:55:36] Callie: We talked about saving for it, but we have not.

[00:55:39] Travis: Yeah. And I have an extra job next month that’ll pay for about half of that.

[00:55:45] Ramit: You see the problem with that?

[00:55:46] Travis: Right.

[00:55:47] Ramit: We planned out how much it’s going to cost. We even left a little buffer. I love it. We have a pretty nice number here, $5,375. We know exactly how many months. So what I want to see is we are systematically saving every single month to get to the total amount we need.

[00:56:05] What I heard was, Travis is going like, this episodic, arbitrary thing over totally out of left field. I got this job, which is going to pay for half. I don’t mind that you’re going to do an extra job. I like that. What I want to know is where does it show up in your financial system? You need a simple, clean plan that we all work from. Callie, you get it?

[00:56:25] Callie: Yes, I wrote down things to bring up, and I put big fear, we’ll always spend what we make, and money will literally disappear.

[00:56:31] Ramit: Well, that’s exactly what’s happening. Whatever you make, it gets absorbed, and it disappears. And then you all come up with this arbitrary stuff. Callie’s like I’ll grind it out and make 30k. And then that money does get used, but it also just gets spent. Travis is like, I’ll grind it out over here.

[00:56:48] I got an extra job. And part of it will come here, and then some of it will just disappear. And you’ll be playing this game for the rest of your life. It sucks. If you don’t decide where the money will go from your business, it will get sucked up immediately. Do you agree, two entrepreneurs?

[00:57:08] Travis: Absolutely.

[00:57:09] Ramit: Okay.

[00:57:10] Callie: The most disappointing thing is if I increase my revenue so much, but I don’t feel it.

[00:57:14] Ramit: You guys can’t live this way.

[00:57:16] Travis: We can guarantee 2,500 is going to come from a job that I have in February, and it’s not a surprise. It’s a job that I’ve done every year for the past 13 years.

[00:57:31] Ramit: All right.

[00:57:32] Travis: So now we’re left at 2,800.

[00:57:36] Ramit: 2,875. Let’s say 2,900.

[00:57:38] Travis: In four months.

[00:57:39] Ramit: Mm-hmm. Let me tell everyone listening what I’m doing with the math. The total trip is $5,375. I subtracted $2,500 that Travis is going to be getting from a job. Travis is going to contribute all of that towards this trip. Right, Travis?

[00:57:54] Travis: Correct.

[00:57:54] Ramit: That leaves $2,875 they need to save for Alaska. They’ve got four months left, so I did 2,875 divided by four. That gives us about $720 per month, let’s say February, March, April, May. How do you want to do it?

[00:58:14] Callie: We both contribute to our savings account $350.

[00:58:19] Ramit: Okay.

[00:58:21] Travis: Yeah, we just have to commit to adding that into our family budget.

[00:58:28] Ramit: All right. So 360 bucks a month. Each of you are going to send that in addition to what you already send, which is 2,500 a month, and that’s going to go flow into a savings account. And by the time May comes around, you’re going to have your entire trip there. When you travel, you’re going to have no credit card debt, so you can put it on a credit card and pay that credit card off that month. That’s the way you do it. That’s exactly what I do, exactly like that. Beautiful job. Okay. How do you both feel about that?

[00:59:01] Callie: That feels good.

[00:59:03] Callie: Pretty good.

[00:59:03] Ramit: Feels amazing. Well, first of all, it’s just cool to do this together. You sit down and talk about it. You really get vivid. You’re living the trip before you even go on the trip. So you’re already pumped. Then you get there, you’re living it for the second time, which is amazing, taking your photos. Then you come back, you’ve got your photos, you relive it for a third time, and paying it off is triviality. And that is very connective. You created a plan together, you stick by the plan together. That’s how you live a more intentional life.

[00:59:36] Callie: Yeah. That sounds really good.


[00:59:38] Ramit:  Until now, they would go on trips, charge up a bunch of stuff, and then get surprised at how much it all costed. And what I did here was I showed Callie and Travis how to plan ahead of time. They started by getting the basic numbers down, airfare, hotel, excursions, food.

[00:59:54] I taught them how to be conservative by adding a lot of extra buffer. Don’t just think about the ticket prices. Think about tipping the guide, and think about the lunch that everyone’s going to stop to get on the way there. I would rather you add more money to the budget and come back with a little bit of extra that you didn’t spend rather than get surprised with an extra $1,800 you didn’t plan for.

[01:00:14] Finally, I taught them how to break that number down, $5,375, into a specific number of months. Set that money into a separate named savings account, and by the time they get there, they’ve already done the hard work. They can enjoy the whale watching trip, and the wine, and all of it.

[01:00:34] If you do this for a vacation, you will feel amazing. If you do it for a car, even better. Do it for a house down payment? Incredible. Retirement? Absolutely sublime. This is how you live a Rich Life because one of the key distinctions among the rich is that they plan ahead before they need to.


[01:00:57] Y’all want to fix your CSP numbers? Because right now you have 85% fixed costs, zero investments, and you’re temporarily saving some money. Oh, and you have $0 left every month to spend on anything.

[01:01:11] Callie: Yes. That’s based on our combined pot that we haven’t figured out what that number. Our combined pot should be bigger

[01:01:18] Ramit: Okay, well, let’s do it. Tell me the number.

[01:01:21] Travis: So if we start doing 3,000 a month each.

[01:01:24] Ramit: 3,000 net. I’m taking it up from 2,500 net to 3000 net. And just for easy math, your gross is going to be 3,600. I don’t know if I’m getting this right, but it’s in there approximately. All right. So let’s see what happened. Your fixed costs are at 71%. You do have 17% for guilt-free spending or $1,000. I think that’s okay.

[01:01:52] Callie: Our goal for 2024 is to both open up Roths and start contributing to those every month.

[01:01:58] Ramit: How much do you want to put in? You want to max it out?

[01:02:02] Callie: Which is what, 7,000 a person?

[01:02:04] Ramit: Yeah.

[01:02:06] Callie: That would be ideal. I don’t know if that’s possible. Even if we could start off 150 a month per person.

[01:02:13] Ramit: Excuse me. You can’t all be investing only $150 a month. It’s not enough. I could show you. You want me to show you what it adds up to?

[01:02:22] Callie: Yeah.

[01:02:22] Ramit: All right, let’s take a look. So right now it’s going to make the math easy because you got zero, is your current principle. Annual addition?

[01:02:29] Callie: 300 a month?

[01:02:30] Ramit: 363,000.

[01:02:32] Callie: Yeah, that would last us two years, three years.

[01:02:38] Ramit: So if we use something called the 4% rule, that 363,000 would give you about $14,000 per year. Y’all want to live on $14,000 a year?

[01:02:54] Callie: No.

[01:02:54] Travis: No.

[01:02:54] Ramit: Do you see how you are essentially ending up where your parents did?

[01:03:02] Travis: Yes.

[01:03:05] Callie: I was always afraid to have that conversation because I want to commit to more, but can we commit to more? I guess that’s a bigger conversation. So maybe we just put the number down. We see what it looks like.

[01:03:16] Ramit: Well, we should do that. And if it doesn’t work, we’ll change it. I love that. I rarely hear that from people. So I say yes. Let’s try that right now.

[01:03:25] Travis: We need to increase our investment for the retirement savings.

[01:03:30] Ramit: Okay. Tell me a number.

[01:03:31] Travis: Could we double that?

[01:03:34] Ramit: All right, from 150 each of you per month to 300 each of you per month. We’re at 727,000.

[01:03:42] Callie: That’s a little better.

[01:03:44] Ramit: Little better. If we just do the same math, you’re going to have about 28,000 or so a year. That’s not enough. Let’s think bigger, a lot bigger.

[01:03:54] Callie: For me, since I do work for myself, like last year I got a random production job, and I made an extra seven grand that I wasn’t expecting.

[01:04:06] Ramit: Wow. Okay.

[01:04:07] Callie: I can’t predict when they’re going to come, but the types of jobs I take, those jobs will continue to come, so there will be months were that 6,000 triples.

[01:04:16] Ramit: Can I also give you one more thing to think about? Both of you are still thinking in terms of jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. Guys, you’re not going to get where you want to go if you keep thinking in terms of random one-off jobs. Do you understand why?

[01:04:34] Callie: There’s no strategy.

[01:04:37] Ramit: Yeah, there’s no strategy. And what was your comment, Travis?

[01:04:41] Travis: uh, Consistency.

[01:04:43] Ramit: Yeah, it’s like basically you are both setting yourselves up to have to grind for the rest of your life. The thing is, guys, you’re not going to want to grind. It might be fun right now, but sometimes you are going to get sick, or sometimes you’re going to get tired, or sometimes your kids are going to need your attention.

[01:05:00] It’s really hard to get out of that trap and to say, no, we’re going to talk about annual income. But you are going to need to develop the skills, the business skills to say, okay, I need to get 15k more this year.

[01:05:16] Here’s how many jobs I currently get per month. In order to get 15k more, divided by 12, this is how many jobs I need to get approximately 1.2 per month. That’s the way to start elevating yourself beyond gigs and jobs.

[01:05:31] Callie: Right.

[01:05:31] Travis: I think it sounds great, and I think that I’ve already set this year up to do that. We just have to wait until it actually happens.

[01:05:40] Ramit: What’s the revenue target?

[01:05:43] Travis: 30% more than this year. So what I am hoping for after everyone’s paid out is to profit 50,000 this year.

[01:05:58] Ramit: That’d be pretty good.

[01:05:59] Travis: It would be great.

[01:06:00] Ramit: How do you go from zero profit to 50,000 profit?

[01:06:03] Travis: I think I’m going to have a lot less expenses. I’ve increased a lot of prices in different ways.

[01:06:11] Ramit: How soon can you get a bookkeeper?

[01:06:15] Travis: I guess I could call around tomorrow.

[01:06:18] Ramit: Okay, do that. Best money you’re going to spend in your business. All right. I’m going to come back to the CSP real quick. I’m going to get a little bit more directive here. Y’all are not saving nearly enough for your investments. So we’re going to just supercharge this a little bit and see if you can actually do it. 500 a month each

[01:06:37] if you truly want to prioritize building a Rich Life, creating some wealth, escaping from this gig life, you’ve got to start putting more of a financial priority and focus towards your investments. What that means is your income definitely needs to go up. What this shows me is that the two of you need to be contributing at least $3,500 per month, at least, to your joint account. Can you do that?

[01:07:09] Callie: I think I can. Yeah.

[01:07:09] Travis: We’re going to have to.

[01:07:10] Ramit: I like that answer. Can you?

[01:07:18] Travis: I will find a way.

[01:07:19] Ramit: What got you here won’t get you there. And so if you both decide to live a richer life, whatever that means to you, and you need more income for it, it’s going to take a different way of thinking about how you run your businesses.

[01:07:35] Travis: Right.

[01:07:36] Callie: We actually do have those conversations. It’s intimidating.

[01:07:40] Ramit: Well, maybe you don’t need to have more conversations about it. What do you think you need to do?

[01:07:45] Travis: Take more action.

[01:07:47] Ramit: Like what?

[01:07:47] Travis: Invest in a bookkeeper.

[01:07:49] Ramit: That’s a great way of thinking. Otherwise, you’ll just be coasting.

[01:07:53] Callie: Yeah.

[01:07:55] Ramit: And coasting at 20, 30 hours a week, having no retirement, no savings. Doesn’t work for me. You’re coasting in all the wrong ways.

[01:08:08] Callie: I agree.

[01:08:09] Ramit: I would like for you to have those type of discussions where you can actually model it and be like, hey, if we add $200 a month more each of us, that’s going to turn into hundreds of thousands of dollars over time. I want you to talk like that, but not yet.

[01:08:24] Travis: I want that. Yeah.

[01:08:25] Ramit: Love it.

[01:08:25] Travis: It is exciting.

[01:08:27] Ramit: In your business, you both make enough to contribute the amounts you’ve agreed to. Any additional amounts that you both make, you both take a beautiful trip. You have a great time, and you look at those pictures and you remember, not only did we have a great time, but we did it together. No debt. We planned for it. We strategized. Well, now that we’re not thinking on a monthly basis, now that we’re thinking on an annual basis, and I feel really good about that, I think it’s possible for us to think on a five-year basis, and both of you’re like, what? But you go, let’s try it.

[01:09:02] Callie: It feels reachable. I’m excited to hear him talk about these things. He holds a lot of it close to the vest. Being vulnerable and having these conversations with a third party, I think it’s a breath of fresh air, even though I can pull this stuff out of him, but I also don’t always want to push too hard. So hearing him like come to these conclusions is exciting so that we can be on this road together.


[01:09:31] Ramit: I really enjoyed speaking to Callie and Travis today. What I wanted to do in my conversation with them was, number one, build some connection, because I noticed that Callie likes to talk about money, but Travis was closed off. Second, I wanted to help them both think bigger.

[01:09:50] It’s this very common thing, particularly among people who were raised in small towns to think small. Now, if you choose that intentionally. I’m all for it, but the vast majority of the time when I encounter people thinking small, they don’t even realize they’re thinking small.

[01:10:06] And frankly, thinking small is at odds with taking a sabbatical and going on a boating trip around the world. Those two do not add up at all. So I knew when I heard, oh, I want to take this trip, that’s not thinking small. Therefore, they need to amend the way that they handle their money. Let’s check in now on Travis’s follow-up video.

[01:10:26] Travis: Hey, Ramit, it’s Travis. Thanks again for having us and talking with us. I believe we learned a lot about how short-sighted our savings were. Pretty surprised at how much we could contribute to long term investments that we had available already. One of the takeaways and changes that we’ve made would be our savings and the Roth IRAs that we now have set up, and everything is automated. Thanks again for all the advice. I recommend everybody read your book. Appreciate it.

[01:10:59] Callie: Hmm. Okay. And now Callie’s follow up.

[01:11:04] I want to start with my biggest takeaway, which was when we got to the point in the call, when Ramit, you pointed out that Travis and I are still viewing life, even though we’re business owners as gig to gig, you’re right. And I think I needed a third party to really point that out.

[01:11:22] I have allowed myself to give myself pats on the back for just these achievements along the way, but they aren’t based in strategy. Busy does not equal a strategic plan. So my goal for this year and coming away from the call where I felt like the most excited and motivated was making a bigger plan, like you would advise us to that year out, and then eventually that five years out and really set some like big goals and markers.

[01:11:49] All right. What surprised me was how vulnerable Travis was willing to get. This has been a pain point for us, is trying to talk about these things. So hearing him open up and being willing to go a little deeper with you, Ramit, and obviously me too on the call was really exciting for me.

[01:12:07] And I think we’ve really made some headway there that we are going to continue with. And what we have changed, we have both opened up Vanguard accounts, and our goal is to both contribute that 500 a month per person and start getting excited to see those numbers grow when we are saving for our future.

[01:12:25] Ramit: I want to thank Callie and Travis again, and I want to ask for a favor. If you have enjoyed this podcast, please go to Apple Podcasts and leave a written review. Tell everybody what you enjoy about the podcast. Be specific. Make sure that everybody else knows what this podcast is really about. That helps me, and it helps my team a lot. Thank you very much. I’ll see you next week.