Episode #160: “My entire paycheck goes to daycare. Should I stay home?”

Live in NYC, Carlos and Amanda, 36 and 28, join the show to talk through a recurring issue in their relationship—her earning ability vs. the possibility of staying home with their kids. They recently moved out on their own and Carlos is in school to put himself in position for a higher income.

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Show Transcript

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[00:00:00] Carlos: I’ve had the conversation with her multiple times that she’s much more valuable than what the education system is paying her right now. I want you to be my partner not just in marriage, not just in parenthood, but in finances as well.

[00:00:14] Amanda: But it’s definitely a bittersweet pill to swallow. And we see how much we’re paying for daycare. What was the point of going back to work when my whole salary is basically gone at the end of the month?

[00:00:28] Carlos: It kills me as a husband and as a man to not be able to satisfy that for her, not be able to give that to her.

[00:00:37] Amanda: If we continue on the same path that we’ve been on of never coming to a decision, continuing the arguments and the tears, there’s going to come a day where one of us says, I can’t anymore, and just walks away.


[00:00:52] Ramit: Meet Amanda and Carlos. Amanda’s 28. Carlos is 36, and they have two young children, and they live in the tri-state area. Now, he wants them to be a power couple. She says she’s comfortable with how things are, and she doesn’t really want to change. But when I start asking questions today, suddenly their story gets a lot deeper.

[00:01:12] There are tears. They tell me stories about cars being repoed. I hear about gender roles and separate accounts. Let’s meet Amanda and Carlos. And as we get started, I noticed an interesting comment they made in their application.


[00:01:27] Ramit: You did say that there are a lot of tears when you talk about money.

[00:01:31] Amanda: That’s my fault.

[00:01:32] Ramit: Oh, what do you mean?

[00:01:35] Amanda: Emotions for me are very difficult. Conversations in general like finances have always been difficult for me. It’s not something my parents ever talked about to me. Being that vulnerable about it with him and sharing the way that I feel about our finances or what we’re going to do next is very difficult for me to share, and I just get caught up in the emotions sometimes.

[00:02:00] Ramit: It’s interesting when I asked about the tears. You said, “It’s my fault.” You said, “I get caught up.” All words as if having emotions is a bad thing. Do you think that having emotions of money is a bad thing?

[00:02:15] Amanda: No, I don’t. But I think that’s where we balance each other out as well, because he’s a little bit more logical. I am a little bit more emotional.

[00:02:24] Ramit: And which one is good?

[00:02:25] Amanda: They’re both good, I think. We even each other out. I pull him up from the logic. He brings me down from the emotions, and we have learned to meet at a middle ground. It’s been years of growth through these discussions because at first I was very closed off. I’ve become a lot more open minded to these things. But emotion, it comes with my nature.


[00:02:50] Ramit: I just have to cut in here really quickly. In America, we think emotions are weakness. We consider logic to be laudable, even pure. But emotions? Well, you heard Amanda. She has a problem with being emotional. Her words. She says it’s her fault. She gets caught up. I don’t really agree with this view, and it’s actually one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves.

[00:03:15] Basically, every one of us is deeply emotional. Emotions are not weakness, and it takes a lot of work, which I’m trying to do myself, to get in touch with our emotions. Notice as we continue in this conversation, Carlos immediately goes back to where he feels most comfortable, questions about logistics.


[00:03:33] Carlos: I can’t say in the beginning of our conversations I really understood her emotions and why she cried when we had more serious conversations. And I used to think of it as bad and impulsive, but again, with more conversation and just the wanting to understand my wife more, I understand the place that her emotions has in our financial decisions in our life. It’s more what to do with the extra money. Like what’s next? What is our next step? And we have opposing views on what direction we should take.

[00:04:08] Ramit: Is that your primary question today? What should we do with the extra money?

[00:04:11] Carlos: What should we do next?

[00:04:12] Ramit: Okay. All right.

[00:04:13] Carlos: I also think that we don’t have a major age gap, but it’s seven years apart, just about.

[00:04:18] Ramit: How old are you each?

[00:04:19] Carlos: So I’m 36. Amanda’s turning 29 this year. So for me and being in a government position where I’m looking at a 20-year retirement plan, pension, etc., I’m at the stage where I’m thinking about retirement. So a lot of my financial moves now are all geared towards that.

[00:04:39] Amanda: Retirement for me has never seemed– I don’t know, it seems so far away.

[00:04:45] Ramit: Yeah.

[00:04:46] Amanda: So it’s not something I’ve necessarily thought about at depth or at length. And I’m a teacher, so for me, I’m just living the day to day, especially being a new mom. I don’t really spend energy thinking on retirement.

[00:05:01] Ramit: Yeah, that’s fine. Most people don’t.

[00:05:03] Carlos: I guess the best way to explain that is through a scenario, an example. We’ve been looking at properties, and we’re considering either moving into a property or buying an investment property. For me, it’s just purely numbers. It’s a numbers game. I could care less. We can move into a fixer upper, spend the next two years, redoing little pieces here and there.

[00:05:25] For her, she puts the emotion into it, where it’s like, well, we got to move our daughters into it. What is the neighborhood like? We want to be comfortable here. And I think that that’s vital because if it wasn’t for that, I would have us literally starting from scratch.

[00:05:38] Amanda: In a box.

[00:05:39] Carlos: In a box. The most financially advantageous situation possible. Because we can fix it over time. But if I were by myself, then maybe that would work, but I have a family, so I need to put emotion into it.

[00:05:52] Ramit: Okay. I like that. It’s a healthy perspective. It’s like I can understand where she’s coming from, probably makes me a little bit more balanced. And you can understand where he’s coming from looking at some of these numbers.

[00:06:02] Carlos: All these conversations take place at home.

[00:06:04] Amanda: It’s usually at night time after our kids have gone down that we–

[00:06:07] Ramit: What a surprise. Where? Around 9.30?

[00:06:10] Amanda: Yes.

[00:06:10] Carlos: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Just about.

[00:06:12] Ramit: Let’s talk money.

[00:06:13] Carlos: Both tired and exhausted from the work day.

[00:06:15] Ramit: So who brought it up first?

[00:06:17] Carlos: Me. I always bring it up first.

[00:06:20] Amanda: We actually just had one on our way in.

[00:06:22] Ramit: Oh, fantastic. So you were driving in.

[00:06:25] Amanda: We were driving into the city this morning, and he asked me if there’s anything we want to bring up. I think the biggest area where we butt heads on our finances is that he has all these little business ideas. It’s the biggest risk versus reward to go into one of these businesses. Because I feel a real estate investment has less of a risk in comparison to a startup business.

[00:06:53] Ramit: Okay.

[00:06:54] Amanda: And he disagrees. He believes that it’s similar, if not better, to do the business because it’s less costs upfront.

[00:07:08] Carlos: There’s multiple parts to it. The upfront cost is where we begin with buying a property. You have your closing costs. And then as I’ve learned from all of your podcasts, you have all the phantom costs. We’ve never owned a property, so we can’t even list out all the possible expenses. If it’s an investment property and we’re getting a tenant, then we have to factor in, all right, how long until we get a tenant?

[00:07:29] And we have to cover the mortgage until that point, including all of our regular expenses. Then when we get a tenant, because I think New Jersey’s a squatters state, what if we end up in that situation where the person is just not paying the rent? These expenses start to stack up, not to include the fact that we’re taking on a major loan, 180, 200, $300,000, whatever it is, and you can’t just get out of that.

[00:07:56] I’ve started a couple of other businesses. I ran my own business for a bit. I put my personal business down to take this full-time government position, and then I had another business that just failed and went under, unfortunately.

[00:08:08] Ramit: I understand completely. How does this conversation usually go?

[00:08:13] Amanda: We go back and forth, and the pros and the cons and the pros and the cons.

[00:08:17] Ramit: And how long has it been since you made a decision on this?

[00:08:19] Amanda: We haven’t.

[00:08:20] Carlos: We haven’t. It’s been a couple of months.

[00:08:23] Ramit: Months or longer?

[00:08:24] Amanda: Longer.

[00:08:24] Ramit: How long?

[00:08:25] Amanda: I would say longer because since we had our first daughter, he’s been trying to do this. We were living at my mom’s for a little while and he decided to take on the spa business that he opened.

[00:08:40] That went under. Realistically, this is about the first year of our relationship that we’ve had to live on our own, completely independent of our parents and family because since we’ve lived together, six years ago, we’ve been in and out of our family’s home.

[00:09:01] Ramit: Oh, okay. Living with them.

[00:09:03] Amanda: Yes.

[00:09:03] Ramit: Okay. Why is that?

[00:09:04] Amanda: Because he was deployed, or I had a baby, or he was deployed again.

[00:09:11] Ramit: Got you.

[00:09:12] Amanda: Or I had another baby. So since last April actually, it’s been us solely on our own.

[00:09:20] Ramit: Wow.

[00:09:21] Amanda: No parents involved whatsoever.

[00:09:23] Ramit: First time in six years with two kids where you’re both functioning independently.

[00:09:28] Amanda: Yes. And we’ve been having that conversation again and again on other business ideas ever since. So it’s been maybe about two, three years that this is an ongoing conversation.

[00:09:41] Ramit: You’re coming with an idea, saying like, hey, you can do this. And then you’re saying, well, what about this? What about the risks?

[00:09:47] Amanda: I play devil’s advocate, not because I want to shoot him down, but because I’m afraid.

[00:09:53] Ramit: Ah, afraid of?

[00:09:55] Amanda: Afraid of the failure that comes with it. With the spa business that he opened, I saw, one, how much time and energy it took out of him on top of his regular job. The toll that that puts on my plate because he’s more absent from home.

[00:10:10] Ramit: Carlos, how would you describe Amanda’s relationship with money?

[00:10:16] Carlos: Complacent, nonchalant, would probably be the two words.

[00:10:22] Amanda: Those are big words.

[00:10:23] Carlos: I’d used to describe her relationship with money.

[00:10:25] Ramit: What do you mean by those?

[00:10:27] Carlos: For as long as I’ve known her, we’ve been together, she doesn’t necessarily or ever had a reason to stress money. Where is it coming from? Where is it going to? She’s never had debt, so she’s never had to climb out of that hurdle or work her way back up. Because of that, I think that she’s just comfortable.

[00:10:46] Ramit: Comfortable means?

[00:10:48] Carlos: She doesn’t have a sense of urgency to increase her income or a sense of urgency to plan for the future. These just aren’t things on her radar. She’s happy where she is. Things are comfortable. Things are paid for. Food is available at any time, from any place. So there’s a level of comfort that comes with that.

[00:11:12] Ramit: Is that good or not good?

[00:11:15] Carlos: For me, it’s not good.

[00:11:17] Ramit: Why?

[00:11:17] Carlos: Personally. I’ve never had comfort with money. I’ve had to dig myself out multiple times. I’ve made enough bad decisions, and now that I’m getting older and older and older, retirement, it’s creeping on me. And I have uncles who are still working into their 60s and 70s blue collar jobs. It’s just not a lifestyle that I want for myself in the future. That pressure weighs on me, being a dad, being a husband. These are all new things for me too.

[00:11:49] Ramit: When do you give yourself permission to feel good about money?

[00:11:55] Carlos: I don’t know, to be honest with you. I don’t know what or when that is or what that’s supposed to feel like, so I have no idea.

[00:12:04] Ramit: Have you ever felt like that?

[00:12:06] Carlos: No.

[00:12:07] Ramit: But it’s funny because your wife feels like that right now.

[00:12:10] Carlos: I don’t know why. I think I want security.

[00:12:15] Ramit: Okay.

[00:12:17] Carlos: Yeah, of course, I want more.

[00:12:19] Ramit: That’s not obvious. Wait. Hold on a second. Of course, I want more, but I’m going to venture a big guess. Amanda, do you want more?

[00:12:29] Amanda: I don’t need more, no.

[00:12:32] Ramit: Of course, you want more, but that’s you. And you want security. What does that mean?

[00:12:39] Carlos: Security means I don’t want to have to work for the rest of my life. Security means I don’t want to ever again find myself in a situation where I’m worried about money.

[00:12:51] Ramit: Mm-hmm. Are you worried about money right now?

[00:12:54] Carlos: Yes.

[00:12:55] Ramit: Okay. You’re going to be worried about money a year from now?

[00:12:59] Carlos: I think so, yeah.

[00:13:00] Ramit: You’re going to be worried about money when you have double the current money you have?

[00:13:04] Carlos: I don’t know.

[00:13:05] Ramit: You will. I’ll just tell you. That was a trick question. I already know the answer. Yes.

[00:13:11] Amanda: As long as I’ve known him, he has always wanted more for himself, for us, financially. Physically, he works out like an animal, like you said. That’s just his nature.

[00:13:25] Ramit: It’s interesting because he is on one end of the spectrum where it’s like really pushing himself in lots of ways, financial, physical, all those things. And the way you described yourself is like, I don’t need more. He described your feeling towards money as complacent. Would you agree with that word?

[00:13:44] Amanda: I would.

[00:13:44] Ramit: Okay. Complacent.

[00:13:45] Amanda: Yeah.

[00:13:46] Ramit: Nonchalant.

[00:13:47] Amanda: Yeah. I’ve always said, like, I’m very happy where I am.

[00:13:51] Carlos: And the dynamic of our relationship, we fall into our gender roles pretty well.

[00:13:56] Ramit: How so?

[00:13:57] Carlos: I handle the finances, the numbers. I worry about where we’re going to live, what the cost of it is, can we buy a new car, etc., and she focuses on the home. She’s a wizard with our daughters and their calendar and where they’re supposed to be, what time they need to eat, what have they eaten today, just everything.

[00:14:16] Ramit: Did you both proactively agree on that?

[00:14:19] Carlos: We did.

[00:14:20] Amanda: But I also think we naturally fell into it.

[00:14:22] Ramit: Okay. And are you both okay with those roles, or would you like some of them to change? 

[00:14:26] Carlos: We have been until now.

[00:14:28] Amanda: We’ve been meaning to open up a joint account.

[00:14:31] Ramit: Oh, you don’t have a joint account?

[00:14:32] Amanda: We do not.

[00:14:32] Ramit: Okay, so they’re separate.

[00:14:33] Amanda: Yes. And I don’t know what he spends on. He doesn’t know what I spend on. Only what we see come home basically.

[00:14:40] Ramit: Hold on, hold on, hold on. Wait. How did I not know this? Let me guess. Amanda, you pay for certain expenses. He pays for certain expenses, right?

[00:14:50] Carlos: Yeah.

[00:14:50] Ramit: Okay. You pay for kids clothes.

[00:14:54] Amanda: Groceries, day care.

[00:14:55] Ramit: Okay. And then you pay the rent and the car stuff.

[00:14:59] Carlos: Utilities.

[00:15:00] Amanda: Yeah.

[00:15:01] Ramit: All right.

[00:15:02] Carlos: He’s going to flip the table.


[00:15:08] Ramit: It never fails. When couples haven’t combined their incomes, they break out their spending almost identically. Women tend to pay for anything child related, plus groceries, plus things around the house. Men pay for housing, and they almost always pay when the couple eats out.

[00:15:25] Can you please stop this? Just stop it. It’s not doing you any favors for two reasons. First, when you pick individual categories, it’s not fair, because those categories are going to change. For example, if you get a bigger house, or you have two kids in daycare instead of one, those expenses are going to go way up.

[00:15:44] But couples who split expenses almost never recalibrate their spending, leaving one person totally out of money and feeling resentment. Second, your account setup reinforces your roles, including your gender roles. Now, if you and your partner are okay with that, great! That’s why I asked them, “Are you okay with that?”

[00:16:03] But there are so many people, particularly women, who are rightfully fed up with taking on more emotional labor, but they pay for all the groceries and all the childcare expenses. It’s not simply about one person being a bad person or being selfish. It’s about the way that you have structured your accounts, and it’s about the way that you have calibrated your relationship dynamic.

[00:16:26] For the purposes of my discussion, your account structure determines your Rich Life. Finally, I just want to say, there’s good research showing that couples who combine finances experience greater satisfaction, and they are less likely to break up. That’s research from Emily Garbinski and her co authors at the Cornell School of Management.

[00:16:47] We’ll be right back after this short break.

[00:16:50] Now, back to the show.


[00:16:51] Ramit: What about the feelings of money? How does it feel when you have your account, you have yours?

[00:16:57] Amanda: Either he feels he pays for too much, or I feel I pay for too much, and we’re not on the same page. It’s not a 50-50. But we’ve also realized in doing the CSP that his income is almost at least double mine. So when mine is all gone at the end of the month, it makes sense that his is not completely gone at the end of the month. But we realize if we put all our money in the same account, then we can control and see where the money’s going a little bit better.

[00:17:32] Ramit: The question was, how does it feel?

[00:17:35] Amanda: Unfair.

[00:17:36] Ramit: Unfair. Okay. I would say that the way you have your account set up, especially for a married couple, parents of two young kids, the word that comes to me is disconnect.

[00:17:49] Carlos: Amanda has never been one to bring up the topic of finances, or money, or what’s next. So I took note of that maybe about two years ago, and I’d say within the last I’ve made a more intentional effort to bring it up to her often. So whenever I come up with an idea, I do my little tiny research, sit on the toilet, watch a couple of YouTube videos, whatever it is.

[00:18:13] I’ll come up with these little ideas, and I’ll crunch numbers in my head. I’ll write a couple ideas down, and I’ll shoot it by her just to get her more proactive and interested in what we’re going to do with our finances.

[00:18:26] Ramit: Does it work?

[00:18:27] Carlos: Not necessarily, no.

[00:18:28] Amanda: Not until the real estate.

[00:18:31] Carlos: Real estate, she definitely grasped onto that. And I think because she has outside influencers on that as well, she was more keen to it.

[00:18:39] Ramit: Who? Your parents?

[00:18:40] Amanda: Yeah.

[00:18:40] Carlos: We’ve been looking.

[00:18:41] Ramit: Okay.

[00:18:42] Amanda: Actively looking until last week.

[00:18:45] Carlos: Last week, I put it on hold.

[00:18:46] Ramit: Oh, why?

[00:18:47] Carlos: The numbers just don’t make sense.

[00:18:48] Ramit: What do you mean? Hold on. What do you mean? If you buy real estate, it always goes up. That’s what the internet told me.

[00:18:55] Carlos: Allegedly.

[00:18:55] Ramit: It always works. How can the numbers not work? Real estate always makes money. Isn’t that true?

[00:19:00] Amanda: Because we live in the tri-state area, and the interest rates are ridiculously high, even with a veteran’s loan. The houses that we are looking at are ridiculously high in the neighborhood that we want.

[00:19:15] Ramit: But do you just want to pay your landlord’s rent? I can’t even do this. Okay. Yeah. Of course, I know. I know where you live. It makes no financial sense to buy, zero. Would it be fair to say that’s the first time you have truly run the numbers when it comes to family finances?

[00:19:31] Amanda: Yes.

[00:19:31] Carlos: Yeah.

[00:19:32] Ramit: Wow. What did that feel like?

[00:19:34] Amanda: I’ve actually become a little bit more addicted to it.

[00:19:38] Ramit: What do you like about it?

[00:19:40] Amanda: Oh, I’m a numbers person. Math has always been fascinating to me. So for me, it’s the simplicity of being able to see everything on a piece of paper and knowing exactly what’s what. So we would run the numbers on a potential property and the mortgage calculator. I threw in the taxes myself. I could do it. And I’d be like, hey, this works. Let’s look at this place, or let’s look at that place.

[00:20:08] Carlos: Until John Doe throws 50k on top of his offer.

[00:20:11] Ramit: Yeah. And then I bet when you saw other people buying those properties, were you like, wait, how are they doing that? The numbers don’t work.

[00:20:20] Amanda: Absolutely. I even said that to him. I was like, people like us, the similar bracket, how are they affording these places? Because if we can’t, they definitely can’t.

[00:20:31] Ramit: What do you think the answer is?

[00:20:32] Amanda: They can’t.

[00:20:33] Ramit: So what are they doing?

[00:20:33] Amanda: They’re just in debt. We live comfortably, and we rent right now. So to think that we would be paying at least $1,000 more for mortgage, and other people are doing this, ridiculous to me. Absolutely.

[00:20:46] Ramit: Where do you think that comes from? Why would they do that?

[00:20:50] Amanda: From that mindset of, I need to buy a house. Because that was my mindset until we started talking about our finances. Generationally, we’ve been taught, especially with immigrant parents, my dad came to this country. His first goal was to buy a house. He did it. And then he bought another one and another one. And now he has three, four properties, which pays for all his bills.

[00:21:16] He makes a very good living, and he lives very comfortably. So when I see that, I think I can do that also, but realistically, the numbers back then don’t match the numbers now, and we’re making the same amount of money. The interest rates have only gone up, but our salaries haven’t changed. So I guess the influence from my parents. My mom was a single mom. She bought a house on her own during the pandemic, actually.

[00:21:48] Ramit: Wow.

[00:21:49] Amanda: I was like, okay, she could do it. We can do it too. We have two incomes. But realistically, now it’s not possible.

[00:21:57] Ramit: Okay. I appreciate you being humble enough to accept that things might be different. Okay, you ran the numbers, good job. Did you both run them?

[00:22:07] Amanda: Yes.

[00:22:07] Carlos: Yes, together.

[00:22:07] Amanda: We’ve been doing this actively together for the past couple of weeks.

[00:22:10] Carlos: You’ve inspired a lot of growth and development.

[00:22:13] Amanda: After watching your podcasts and your videos, we’ve also realized we live very comfortably in our apartment living. So sacrifice the comfort and minimize our lifestyle would be very difficult, especially with two kids now. So we’ve come to a standstill on the real estate.


[00:22:34] Ramit: Honestly, great work, not because they decided against buying real estate. Please remember, I’m not against buying real estate. I’m against making the biggest purchase of your lives without running a single analysis. Amanda and Carlos did it. They ran an analysis, and they did it together. Great work. But now, they are stuck.


[00:22:54] Amanda: If we continue on the same path that we’ve been on, of never coming to a decision, continuing the arguments and the tears, there’s going to come a day where one of us says, I can’t anymore, and just walks away. Because like anything else, it can just build up, and it’ll be too much.

[00:23:16] But I also agree that we do need to make a decision. I just don’t think my timeline is as rushed as his or as urgent as his is. I understand that his job is temporary and our finances at this moment may not be the same as three years from now. So I understand his sense of urgency, but I don’t necessarily agree with the sense of urgency that he has.

[00:23:46] Ramit: Yeah, so do you want it to change?

[00:23:49] Amanda: I do appreciate the fact that he includes me in all these decisions. It makes us partners versus he’s the head of the house. So I see the value in it, and with big decisions like a house and a business, yes, I do want to have a say, I think, because I can see where if it fails, like he says, I may blame him or I may resent him for that because it does affect all of us.

[00:24:21] Ramit: I have to say I appreciate that you both are talking about the roles that you’ve taken in your relationship. I think it’s very important to interrogate those decisions. In my own personal relationship, it would have been really easy for me to be the money guy, very easy. But I always thought to myself, what if one day I’m not here? What if one day I get hit by a bus? What if we have to make big decisions together as partners? It can’t just be me. It’s also not as fun. I see a lot of nods from you, Carlos.

[00:24:54] Carlos: Because you’re saying what I want to say or what I’ve been trying to say, I guess.

[00:24:59] Ramit: Say it to her. Say it in your own words.

[00:25:04] Carlos: I’m not quite as elegant. I want you to be my partner, not just in marriage, not just in parenthood, but in finances as well. I have, to my scale, grand visions for our future and the way we could live life. And I want us to live it together and get there together. So, pretty please?

[00:25:27] Amanda: But I feel like I’ve always been good at managing money.

[00:25:33] Carlos: Maybe. She might be better at saving than I am.

[00:25:36] Ramit: What does managing money mean to you?

[00:25:39] Amanda: Being able to distribute. Distributing my money, more or less. I make sure I cover the groceries. I cover the stuff for the girls, daycare, what goes into my savings, and then the money I have to spend.

[00:25:57] Ramit: Mm-hmm.

[00:25:59] Amanda: I’m still very meticulous about everything, even though he does pay for the bills. I’ve always been taught to save my money. The stipulation with us moving in together when we first met was, we both need to have $15, 000 in our bank account before we can rent an apartment together.

[00:26:18] Ramit: Who stipulated that?

[00:26:19] Amanda: He did.

[00:26:20] Ramit: Oh, that’s interesting. Really?

[00:26:22] Amanda: Yeah.

[00:26:23] Ramit: Why did you come up with that stipulation?

[00:26:27] Carlos: You want the truth?

[00:26:28] Amanda: You didn’t want to do it?

[00:26:30] Carlos: I didn’t think she was going to do it. And then it was also a symbol of commitment. She was serious about it. And if she could do this, then yeah, by all means. I’ll get serious about it too, and we’ll make that move.

[00:26:47] Ramit: How did you take that when he said it?

[00:26:50] Amanda: He didn’t say that to me until later on.

[00:26:52] Ramit: What did he say?

[00:26:53] Amanda: At the time, he was thinking of moving into New York City. And we were both living in New Jersey, and I was like, well, if you move into the city, it’s not going to work. That was too far for him to be away from me because my whole life was over there. I wouldn’t see him, I thought. So I was like, okay, I could do it. And I was still living at home.

[00:27:16] Ramit: So he said, fine, I won’t move to the city.

[00:27:19] Amanda: We’ll move together if you save $15, 000.

[00:27:23] Ramit: And how did you take that?

[00:27:24] Amanda: Challenge. Got it. Done. Did it.

[00:27:28] Ramit: Wow.

[00:27:29] Amanda: Here we are.

[00:27:30] Ramit: That’s interesting. Okay. So you did it. There’s no problem for you.

[00:27:34] Amanda: No problem.

[00:27:35] Ramit: It’s funny how big life decisions can be made so arbitrarily. Just like 15 plus 15, and you did a little bit of math, but really, if that hadn’t worked, you might not be together. You might not have two kids. Isn’t it crazy?

[00:27:51] Amanda: Absolutely.

[00:27:51] Ramit: The way we make the most impactful decisions of our life sometimes are just so random.

[00:27:56] Amanda: I definitely think we could be a power couple. We have the potential for that because we do communicate very well, or at least we’ve learned to communicate very well. I appreciate it, and I see where he’s coming from, I really do. And I want to be more involved, which is where my effort comes from.

[00:28:15] Ramit: What do you hear him say?

[00:28:17] Amanda: I love you.

[00:28:18] Ramit: Mm-hmm.

[00:28:19] Amanda: And I know that’s how he expresses his love to me, especially asking me for my opinion. I know from him, that’s a big deal, because like he said, he’s always been used to making these decisions on his own.

[00:28:29] Ramit: Right. Wow. That’s powerful. He didn’t say the words, I love you, but you heard that.

[00:28:35] Amanda: Yes.

[00:28:37] Ramit: And Carlos, that fair to say, right?

[00:28:38] Carlos: Absolutely.


[00:28:39] Ramit: What I notice is a lot of tactical thinking. He says, “I want you to save $15,000 in order for us to be together.” She says, “Fine.” Then she does it. And that’s that. He asks for her opinion on some random business idea. She gives it. That’s it. Now, I do like that when he asks for her opinion, she sees and feels love. I love that.

[00:29:04] But what I don’t hear is an elevation of thinking. They don’t have a philosophy on money. For example, they save $15,000, but do they zoom up one level to reflect on that $15,000? What does it actually mean in our relationship? Now, this is hard. It’s a hard skill. It doesn’t come naturally. One good way to start zooming up with your money is to start using my journal.

[00:29:29] You can get it on Amazon or any independent bookstore. It’ll help you cut through the thousands of tactical decisions you make with your money and actually have a vision. And that vision makes it easy to decide what to do, when it’s worth it, and when it’s not. We’ll open up their conscious spending plan after this.

[00:29:48] Now, for Amanda and Carlos, let’s take a look at their numbers. Remember, they’ve been living on their own for just a short time after having lived with parents for years. Carlos got a pay increase, and Amanda is recently back in the workforce. Assets, $47,638; investments, 25,000 bucks; savings, 48,000; debt, 25,000; for a total net worth of $96,076.


[00:30:12] Ramit: All right, what do you think about that?

[00:30:14] Amanda: I don’t know because I don’t know “where we should fall.” If I’m comparing myself to the couples at the event the other night, I would say it’s low.

[00:30:30] Carlos: I think the same thing. I feel like they’re low. Again, I spend more time reading articles and listening to other financial advisors. And being in my mid-30s, everyone was like, you should have $250,000 saved. And it makes me panic. So I go back into that worry mode when I see this number.

[00:30:48] Ramit: Yeah. I don’t love when people say just a blanket arbitrary number because it never takes into account difference in age, where you live, what your goals are, if you want to retire at 55 versus 65, your income, and on and on. But it is nice to have some basic back of the napkin numbers to know, like, how’re we doing in general. All right, income. What’s your gross monthly income, Carlos?

[00:31:14] Carlos: Current monthly is $17,117.

[00:31:19] Ramit: $205,000 a year. Now, who knew that you make $205,000 a year out of the two of you?

[00:31:27] Carlos: I definitely miscalculated somewhere.

[00:31:29] Amanda: I saw that, and I was like, where did that number come from? But I’m also a 10-month employee. I’m not a 12-month employee.

[00:31:36] Ramit: Oh, okay. So it’s a bit less.

[00:31:37] Amanda: A little bit less, yeah.

[00:31:38] Ramit: All right, fine. Let’s just take a look. Yeah. All right, so it’s maybe 180, 190, something like that?

[00:31:46] Carlos: That’s what I calculated.

[00:31:47] Amanda: Yeah.

[00:31:47] Ramit: Did you know that?

[00:31:48] Amanda: Yeah.

[00:31:49] Ramit: Oh, okay. So you knew that number, not this number.

[00:31:52] Amanda: Yes.

[00:31:52] Ramit: Fine, fine, fine.

[00:31:52] Amanda: Yeah, we had said 180.

[00:31:54] Carlos: 186, I think.

[00:31:55] Ramit: Fair enough. Great. Wow. You both know your numbers. Good job. That’s rare. Honestly, good job. That’s great.

[00:32:01] Amanda: You get a gold star.

[00:32:02] Ramit: All right. Very good. So let’s now go down to fixed costs. Your fixed costs are at exactly 60%. What do you think of that?

[00:32:11] Amanda: Well, from what we’ve listened to you, we were like, that’s cutting it close.

[00:32:15] Ramit: And let’s just jump down to the rest, and then we’ll dive in here. Investments are at 4%. Do you have a pension?

[00:32:22] Carlos: I do. Yes.

[00:32:22] Ramit: Okay. Have you ever logged into your account seeing how it’s grown?

[00:32:26] Amanda: So, you know that period of time where Dogecoin was up and down and up and down and very up?

[00:32:32] Ramit: Yes.

[00:32:32] Amanda: I was checking it every single day.

[00:32:34] Ramit: Oh, you love crypto.

[00:32:35] Amanda: I pulled out my money. No, I pulled it out. When I was up, I pulled it out because I realized this is ridiculous, and so I invested it elsewhere.

[00:32:43] Ramit: Like where?

[00:32:45] Amanda: Other accounts. There’s one called Equinix. There’s Microsoft, Apple. I invest into all those. I have the Vanguard.

[00:32:53] Ramit: All right, so how often do you log in and check it?

[00:32:56] Amanda: I’d say at least once a week.

[00:32:57] Ramit: Okay. All right.

[00:32:58] Amanda: I like to know how much my money has fluctuated.

[00:33:01] Ramit: And do each of you know how much the other has in their investment accounts?

[00:33:06] Amanda: Investment accounts? Yeah, I think we have a good idea.

[00:33:10] Ramit: Okay. All right. Do you have a prenup?

[00:33:13] Amanda: No.

[00:33:13] Ramit: All right. That’s fine.

[00:33:16] Amanda: Should we?

[00:33:17] Ramit: I don’t know. But you’re married, so it’s–

[00:33:23] Amanda: I hear a post nup is a thing too.

[00:33:27] Ramit: Just from the way you’re talking, I don’t probably think it’s necessary. I was just curious because sometimes if you have a prenup, you have to keep certain premarital money separate or not co-mingled. You don’t have a prenup, so that’s not the case. I’m just trying to understand how you both treat your accounts?

[00:33:45] Amanda: Well, so I don’t have an automated monthly.

[00:33:48] Ramit: Oh.

[00:33:49] Amanda: Just because as far as my finances go, I’m at about 90 something percent every month.

[00:33:57] Ramit: Well, look at this. Here it is. Fixed costs, 94%.

[00:34:01] Amanda: Yeah.

[00:34:01] Ramit: And he’s at 43%.

[00:34:02] Amanda: Yeah.

[00:34:04] Ramit: What do y’all think about that?

[00:34:06] Amanda: The unfair–

[00:34:08] Ramit: It’s not fair.

[00:34:09] Amanda: I don’t even know. We just didn’t even know how to split it up even more without–

[00:34:19] Ramit: Well, here’s one. One person’s paying $1,881 to daycare. The next person’s paying zero. How about that?

[00:34:26] Amanda: I know.

[00:34:27] Ramit: That could be split.

[00:34:30] Amanda: I’d say so. I was a stay-at-home mom. The question was, do I go back to work so we could make a little bit more but still have to pay for daycare? Was it worth it if daycare was so expensive and my salary is basically paying daycare? I’m going to cry. That was a very difficult conversation for us.

[00:34:58] Ramit: Who brought it up first?

[00:35:01] Amanda: He did. He’s always thought I could do more. Even now as a teacher, he tells me, like, there’s so much more I can do, not just in my field, but beyond my field. And as a mom, a new mom and a stay-home mom, I was losing my mind. But I wanted to be home. We chose to make that sacrifice and only have one income so that I could enjoy that time home with my kids.

[00:35:28] But when it came time to have that conversation of, am I going back to work? It was a difficult pill to swallow. As a new mom, I felt like I was losing out on time with my kids. But I also knew I didn’t want to put all the financial pressure on him because he was working 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM. We were fine, but it was still a lot for him alone to cover the finances.

[00:35:57] Ramit: Do you feel pulled in two different directions?

[00:35:59] Amanda: I did. And I don’t regret going back to work, and I don’t regret the time that I stayed home with the kids, but it’s definitely a bittersweet pill to swallow because I still feel like some days my job is so taxing that what was the point of going back? When we ran the CSP numbers and we see how much we’re paying for daycare, what was the point of going back to work when my whole salary is basically gone at the end of the month?

[00:36:35] Ramit: Let’s pause for a second. Heather, can we get some tissues?

[00:36:38] Amanda: I’m sorry.


[00:36:47] Ramit: This is such a difficult topic for parents across America. Childcare is one of a handful of times where couples really sit down and look at the numbers. And too often, they conclude that financially speaking, one partner would be giving their entire paycheck to daycare. So the conclusion is, it’s better for that parent to stay home, and in two parent households, that’s almost always mom.

[00:37:11] Parents rarely talk about what this means for her career down the road, or how expenses will be split up, or how discretionary expenses should be handled. It’s so reactive. Ah, how are we going to pay for childcare? Oh, that’s really expensive. I guess it makes sense for you to stay home. And that’s that. There’s so much more to talk about with this decision. It’s one of the biggest ones you will ever make.


[00:37:34] Ramit: Let’s keep looking down here. So your investments say 4%, but really, it’s a lot higher than that. I like that. Your savings are at 18%. Let’s take a look what you have here. You have vacations, gifts, long-term emergency fund, and then everything else is at 10%, your guilt-free spending. Is this true? Do you spend 1,400 bucks a month eating out?

[00:37:58] Carlos: I tested it officially this month.

[00:38:00] Ramit: Tell me.

[00:38:01] Carlos: We went to the casino. We made some earnings.

[00:38:04] Ramit: Wait a minute. What?

[00:38:04] Carlos: We went to the casino. We made some earnings.

[00:38:07] Ramit: I was with you when you said, I tested it. And then they go, I went to the casino. Okay, carry on.

[00:38:13] Carlos: I took $700, cash, of that earnings, and I said, I’m only going to touch this cash for the next month and not spend an extra dollar.

[00:38:22] Ramit: Hold on, hold on. These are $700 in casino winnings?

[00:38:25] Carlos: Yeah. So not even my own money. So the casino [Inaudible]. Thank you, Borgata. And I still have a hundred bucks left over of that original $700.

[00:38:36] Amanda: In one month.

[00:38:36] Ramit: After one month?

[00:38:37] Carlos: One month, yeah.

[00:38:38] Ramit: Okay. Wow. Okay. Great. So that’s your spending on guilt-free spending.

[00:38:42] Carlos: And I gave her 200 bucks out of that.

[00:38:44] Ramit: Okay. Can you go an entire month spending $700 on guilt-free spending?

[00:38:51] Amanda: Can I spend it? Absolutely.

[00:38:53] Ramit: Do you?

[00:38:55] Amanda: I would say just about. Yeah. But we calculated in there our date nights, so date nights include what we spend when we go out, and the babysitter. Babysitter is huge expense.

[00:39:08] Ramit: How much is a babysitter?

[00:39:09] Amanda: $30 an hour.

[00:39:11] Ramit: So how long? How many hours?

[00:39:12] Amanda: About 5 hours, or 6 hours. So that’s at least 180 if we go out.

[00:39:17] Ramit: I should say 200. And how often?

[00:39:18] Amanda: Yeah. We try to do once a week, but realistically we only do once a month. That’s when we go out.

[00:39:23] Ramit: Let’s say you go out twice a month. That’s 400 bucks in babysitter plus eating, taxi or whatever.

[00:39:30] Carlos: Another 200 bucks every time we go, so another 400. That’s 800 bucks.

[00:39:34] Amanda: Yeah

[00:39:35] Ramit: So how can it be that you’d only spend 1, 400 bucks a month if you’re spending 800 bucks just from date nights?

[00:39:42] Carlos: I personally don’t, not anymore. Maybe I’d say about three months ago I really nixed all of the random little spending that I would do here and there. And we do a meal prep service for our food, so I package my foods.

[00:39:56] Amanda: The only groceries we pay are really for our daughters because as far as the two of us, we use the meal prep service sporadically. Sporadically we’ll buy lunch, a salad, or a dinner if we’re low on meal prep.

[00:40:11] Carlos: And then I have a work vehicle as well. So I don’t have toll expenses or gas expenses, so there’s really nowhere for me to spend money.

[00:40:20] Amanda: And I quit coffee, so I don’t buy Starbucks.

[00:40:23] Ramit: You quit totally?

[00:40:24] Amanda: No, no, no.

[00:40:24] Ramit: Oh, you make it at home?

[00:40:25] Carlos: She walked in here with the Gregory’s.

[00:40:26] Amanda: Well, occasionally. We came into the city, so I’ll buy it, but I just make it at home, or I buy the tubs of coffee instead to spread it out throughout the week.

[00:40:38] Ramit: Okay. Honestly, awesome. It sounds like you’re telling me 1,400. Maybe $1,600 a month is actually pretty reasonable, and I believe you. Clothes are 400 bucks a month.

[00:40:53] Amanda: My lovely husband loves to buy sneakers.

[00:40:56] Ramit: Oh, okay.

[00:40:57] Amanda: So at least you know a pair of Nikes is at least the $200.

[00:41:01] Ramit: That’s per month

[00:41:01] Amanda: We averaged he buys maybe one a month. So yeah. And then for me, it’s the girls or my own. That’s the $200.

[00:41:11] Ramit: All right. You’re hitting 60%, so I can’t say anything. It’s your Rich Life. Great. And then, the subscription of 305, what’s that?

[00:41:23] Amanda: I am part of a Pilates gym.

[00:41:26] Ramit: Okay, fine. You like it?

[00:41:28] Amanda: I love it.

[00:41:28] Ramit: Can you afford it?

[00:41:30] Amanda: As of now.

[00:41:31] Ramit: Great. Then, fantastic. All right, good. 60%. That’s cool. It mentions here that you have a debt of $25,881. What is that debt?

[00:41:43] Carlos: That’s the car. It’s about 8%.

[00:41:47] Amanda: I believe so.

[00:41:47] Ramit: 8%.

[00:41:48] Carlos: Eight and a quarter, I’d say.

[00:41:51] Ramit: Does this car payment include everything?

[00:41:54] Amanda: No. The car payment is 450 a month.

[00:41:57] Ramit: Okay. Plus the gas, and tolls, and all that. You factored all that.

[00:42:01] Amanda: Correct.

[00:42:02] Ramit: All right, fine. Yeah, that’s interesting. It actually mirrors what I had. I used to have a 350-dollar a month car payment, and my total was over $1,000 a month. I paid for parking in San Francisco, gas, etc. And it really just adds up.

[00:42:20] Amanda: Yeah. Gas is what kills it.

[00:42:22] Ramit: Yeah. So you have 450, but your actual out of pocket is basically double that. That’s about right. 2 to 3X is really what people should mark up their car payment for what the true cost when you factor in all phantom costs is. And imagine you do that for a house. It’s like, whoa.

[00:42:41] Amanda: That’s why when we were talking real estate, we said, we nixed it, because we said only if the mortgage was basically exactly what we’re paying for rent.

[00:42:50] Ramit: Which you can’t find in your area.

[00:42:51] Carlos: We calculated up to 36, our calculations. We said about 3,600 a month, and it’s just not possible.

[00:42:59] Ramit: Yeah.

[00:43:00] Carlos: It’s not. And we’re about to trade in your Chevy for a Tesla.

[00:43:03] Ramit: What? Is that true?

[00:43:04] Carlos: No, no, no. It’s a joke that I’ve been throwing at her.

[00:43:09] Amanda: And the car is just to drive around our two little bosses, the three and the one-year-old.

[00:43:14] Ramit: So the car, most people look at the car, and unfortunately they buy it by just the monthly payment. What they don’t realize is that the car you buy today can directly affect your retirement 25 years from now.

[00:43:26] Amanda: That’s why he’s talking about the Tesla.

[00:43:28] Carlos: I have a confession. So a little backstory. Coming into the relationship, I came into it with a lot of debt. I had two vehicle repossessions. I had student loans. My credit was horrible. My debt was really bad.

[00:43:43] Amanda: I should have signed a prenup.

[00:43:46] Carlos: Hence why our numbers are as low as they are because I’ve spent a lot of time and money in just getting myself to where I am today.

[00:43:54] Ramit: Okay. All right. What happened in the past where you got all these cars repoed? What happened?

[00:44:00] Carlos: Silly purchases for status. I was buying based on the brand and how the car looked.

[00:44:06] Ramit: What’d you buy?

[00:44:08] Carlos: I had an Audi, and then I co-signed a BMW for a previous relationship. And the relationship went under, and the vehicle also had gone under.

[00:44:23] Ramit: Okay, so those cars, you didn’t just sell them. They got repossessed.

[00:44:27] Carlos: Yeah. Both vehicles ended up getting repossessed. I owned a personal training business. I’d been doing it for many, many years. And the income fluctuates. You have seasons. So unfortunately, during the down season, I just had a lot of negatives in my life at the time.

[00:44:44] I just wasn’t making enough money, so I went upside down on my loan. And before I knew it, they came and repossessed the vehicle. As for the other one, the vehicle stayed with my partner at the time. She stopped paying the vehicle as well, and then I got a notice in the mail one day saying, hey, the vehicle was repossessed. You owe X amount of dollars.

[00:45:05] Amanda: Because it was under his name, so his credit went under too.

[00:45:08] Ramit: Did you have to pay that?

[00:45:09] Carlos: So I paid portions of it, and eventually it was a charge off, because even that, I couldn’t sustain it. I took out student loans to go to school for massage therapy 2008. And I remember vividly at that time like, yeah, sure, I’ll sign, whatever. You guys are going to pay for my school? Sure.

[00:45:27] And then our years later, I’m getting bills in the mail. I’m like, I’m not going to pay. You guys paid it already. Why would I have to pay for it? I just didn’t know. I had no concept of like, this is a loan. You’re borrowing this money. You got to pay it back. So a lot of hard lessons I had to learn on my own and pay for them. I hope I learnt from it, even though we’re paying a thousand dollars a month for a new vehicle. But I would say I’m definitely more savvy and wise from those experiences.

[00:45:55] Ramit: How do you connect what decisions you made in the past about your finances to how you look at money today?

[00:46:01] Carlos: I was tired of always being in debt. I was tired of feeling like I wasn’t financially where I “should be.” I knew that if I continued making those impulse purchases or poor financial decisions, that I would really have to pay for it down the road when it was time for retirement, when you don’t want to get up early in the morning to clock in to work. Yeah, so a light bulb went off, and I made the decision to be more conservative and try to educate myself more on investments.

[00:46:35] Ramit: Was it hard?

[00:46:35] Carlos: It was. It was definitely very challenging, and it still is today. I still have those impulses. I do like nice things as well. I like nice clothes, I like nice vacations, I like nice cars. I look at Maseratis every now and then, even though they’re horrible cars, but I think they’re attractive looking vehicles.

[00:46:51] Amanda: And motorcycles.

[00:46:52] Carlos: Yeah. I’m always looking at things, at toys. Watches are my thing, Rolex, Omega. And controlling those impulses takes a lot of willpower, a lot. I’m just tired of being in debt. I’m tired of making poor financial decisions and then later on kicking myself in the rear for it. And now I got a family too, so it’s not just me anymore.

[00:47:18] Now it’s, if I make these impulse purchases, how do I afford to continue putting my girls in daycare? How do I afford to buy my wife a nice birthday gift? I had no restraint from– I’ve been working since I was 14. So I always made my own money. I always paid for my own things. It was just no restraint, no management, no vision for the future. It was just, what can I spend on now?

[00:47:43] What do I want right now? Instant enjoyment, instant gratification. And it bled into my 20s, and I didn’t get a control of it until I decided to get more serious about life. Something clicked. Something registered.

[00:47:59] Ramit: Do you remember what it was? Do you remember where you were?

[00:48:02] Amanda: It was me. No.

[00:48:05] Carlos: I would definitely credit the majority of it to Amanda, so my marriage and my kids. It introduced a level of seriousness, and maturity, and eternity into my life that I had to really check myself.

[00:48:20] Ramit: I like that.

[00:48:21] Carlos: Because I don’t want to fail my family. I don’t want to make the wrong decision, and we’ve had that. I brought that to her attention where it’s all new territory for me as well. So I’m extremely fearful of, if I make this financial move without consulting her, and then it fails, the only problem is me. I’m responsible entirely.

[00:48:45] So I respect my wife’s intelligence, insight, and wisdom, so I try to have those business idea conversations with her to get her input, and I feel like, collectively, together, we can do better. I realize I’m at my limit when it comes to financial wisdom and decision making.

[00:49:05] Ramit: I think, Amanda, what I’m hearing is that he wants you on that journey as well, so that you can be intentional together.

[00:49:11] Amanda: Correct.

[00:49:12] Carlos: I see how much time I’ve wasted in my 20s, and I will always be older than my wife. I will always be a little bit ahead of her in years. So I see the value of her taking it seriously now. And when she reaches 36 to my age, how much further than I am right now she can be, and I want to secure that.


[00:49:35] Ramit: Hearing about Carlos’s journey with money really helps me understand his insistence on taking control of their money. He admits he spent irresponsibly for years and that he finally had a moment where it clicked that he wanted to change. And he credits a lot of that to Amanda. Now I can see why he’s in such a big hurry to change their relationship with money.

[00:49:58] Hold that thought. We’ll be right back.

[00:50:00] Now back to Amanda and Carlos.

[00:50:02] So what I want to do is try to bring them back to a vision of a Rich Life so we can move beyond these tactical decisions.


[00:50:11] Ramit: Have you ever talked about what your vision for your Rich Life is?

[00:50:15] Amanda: Yes.

[00:50:15] Carlos: Extremely briefly.

[00:50:16] Amanda: We started the workbook, but it was very brief.

[00:50:21] Ramit: All right, why don’t we talk about it now? The reason that I want to talk about it is that all the decisions that you’re talking about, whether it’s a rental property, whether it’s what to do with this income, or even how you disperse the money across accounts, it all flows from that.

[00:50:40] Amanda: You start. What’s your Rich Life look like?

[00:50:43] Carlos: My Rich Life. My Rich Life now or my Rich Life in 20 years?

[00:50:46] Amanda: Your Rich Life now, including me and your daughters.

[00:50:50] Carlos: Rich Life now, exactly what it is right now with more mini trips throughout the year together as a family.

[00:51:05] Amanda: Anything else?

[00:51:07] Carlos: No, honestly. Aside from that, I think life is comfortable. Life is good right now. I think being able to do small getaways more often would be a great way for us to recharge as a family. So that for me is my right now Rich Life. Everything else keep the same. I enjoy work. I think you enjoy work as well, our routine. We like consistency in our routine, so I wouldn’t want to shake that up too much. That’s pretty much it.

[00:51:42] Amanda: What about the toys you like to buy? Motorcycle.

[00:51:51] Carlos: I’m happy with my motorcycle as is right now. I don’t necessarily see a need to change it. I’d say maybe in five years from now, I’d probably want a different one.

[00:52:02] Amanda: Can I get this recording so we have that?

[00:52:06] Carlos: And then as far as cars go, I guess, yeah, I would love to have a toy, a nice car as a toy that I can enjoy on the weekends, on our date nights, whatever the case may be. But it’s definitely not at the top of my list. It’s not even in my top 10.

[00:52:23] Amanda: I think I have a better Rich Life.

[00:52:24] Ramit: Okay. Well, it’s not a competition, but we definitely want to hear yours. But what did you hear him say?

[00:52:31] Amanda: It raises the question mark because to me it sounds like he’s content.

[00:52:37] Ramit: Mmm. Content? 

[00:52:39] Carlos: Comfortable? Isn’t that a bad word?

[00:52:41] Amanda: Comfortable, yeah. But every time we have this discussion, it’s, I need more. I need more. I need more.


[00:52:47] Ramit: You remember when Carlos said this? 


[00:53:03] Ramit: How would you describe Amanda’s relationship with money?

[00:53:09] Carlos: She’s never had debt, so she’s never had to climb out of that hurdle or work her way back up. Because of that, I think that she’s just comfortable.

[00:53:19] Ramit: Is that good or not good?

[00:53:22] Carlos: For me, it’s not good.

[00:53:24] Ramit: Is there something about a longer term vision that you have, your Rich Life vision for later?

[00:53:28] Carlos: Yeah, absolutely. 55 is the arbitrary number I have in my head as to the age I’ll be when I want to kick back and relax. I would like to have secured multiple investments that could generate some residual income on top of my pension, on top of our Roth IRAs, etc., where we could live comfortable enough that we could live anywhere we want to live. And we could always support our daughters if they ever need, any kind of financial support, take trips, drive the nice car, visit our daughters’ graduations, performances.

[00:54:11] Amanda: I love that. I really do.

[00:54:14] Ramit: Beautiful. All right.

[00:54:16] Carlos: What is your Rich Life?

[00:54:19] Amanda: So he actually asks me this question often.

[00:54:21] Ramit: Talk to him. Talk to him.

[00:54:23] Amanda: If I think about the right now in my Rich Life– I have tears again. I would love to be a stay-at-home mom and do everything for my family. I would cook every day if I could, instead of buying meal plans, and take care of our kids, instead of putting them in daycare.

[00:54:50] And physically, if I would want anything else, no. I would pay for Pilates, go to the gym every day, buy my coffee. My future Rich Life, I would travel six weeks out of the year if I could, but more so European getaways. I’m okay with not seeing Tennessee. We’ve always talked about opening a coffee shop, so I would like to do that in the long term if possible, and just watch our kids grow up.

[00:55:31] Ramit: Thank you.

[00:55:32] Carlos: It’s an amazing Rich Life. I think it’s very much aligned with what I want as well. I love the fact that you love our family so much that you want to be home and you want to do everything for us, and I do appreciate that. And it makes me want to be able to give that to you.

[00:55:55] Ramit: Getting emotional talking about the vision. I’m curious why.

[00:56:01] Amanda: Because I know that he does want me to have that, and that’s why I was a stay-at-home mom at first. But I know for the long-term, it’s a sacrifice I have to make. And it’s always been very difficult for me to come to terms with that, and it still is. I do love teaching. I love my job.

[00:56:24] But I’ve always envisioned the stay-at-home mom life. Because I didn’t have that, and I always wanted that. I want my kids to have that. I feel like with how much I work, and then I come home and I’m tired, I don’t give my family everything that I can or everything that they deserve.

[00:56:49] I don’t cook anymore, and I feel like that little task is so big sometimes for me to just have the energy to cook my husband a meal. We share that vision for our family, and I hope it happens one day. I just know it’s a sacrifice we have to make right now.

[00:57:12] Carlos: I hear in her mind, or in the way that she’s expressing it, that she’s almost regretful that she’s going to miss time with the kids right now, at least at this stage in their life. It kills me as a husband and as a man to not be able to satisfy that for her, not be able to give that to her.

[00:57:37] Because the reality is we can’t do all of it at the same time, unfortunately. We can’t. We weren’t born into wealthy families. I wasn’t proactive in my 20s to save and make a financially advantageous situation for myself, so it’s a tough pill to swallow that that’s what she wants and that’s not what I can give her.

[00:58:01] Ramit: One thing that I noticed about you Carlos, you take a lot of responsibility for the decisions you made in your teens and 20s. Sometimes when we don’t take a real honest, critical look at what we did, sure, there may have been folks who influenced us or convinced us, but ultimately we signed the paper, etc.

[00:58:17] If you don’t accept that, it’s very difficult to make a plan forward. It’s like, I did that. What steps led me to making those decisions, and how can I change it? Because you’re still very young. Both of you are. You have a chance to go forward and change the trajectory of your relationship.

[00:58:34] Honestly, you’re already making very good money. You’ve already established yourself well. When I look at these numbers on the page, they’re interesting, but they did not give me nearly what I just got from the two of you describing your Rich Life. You notice that? Nobody cried when we were looking at your savings rate.

[00:58:52] Carlos: Inside.

[00:58:53] Amanda: Inside.


[00:58:56] Ramit: Amanda mentions that her bringing in an income is a sacrifice that they have to make right now. But is it? Have they ever crunched the numbers to see how her income affects their household?


[00:59:09] Ramit: When I hear you talking about the business, real estate, generational wealth, I hear things that are way in the future. And when I look at your life today, it looks pretty good. You go on date night. You have a nice place in a luxury building that’s affordable. You’re saving and investing quite a bit. So honestly, if we changed nothing, life would be good. Fair to say?

[00:59:39] Amanda: Yeah.

[00:59:40] Ramit: Good. You mentioned you’d love to one day be able to stay at home. Should we just try to play it out? Let’s just see what happens.

[00:59:47] Amanda: Yes, sure.

[00:59:49] Ramit: You seem nervous about it.

[00:59:50] Amanda: Yes. So we did play it out when we made the decision for me to go back to work, and we saw it was an extra $2,000 that was coming in.

[01:00:01] Ramit: Let’s just take your income away for just a second. I’m zeroing out your income. The whole model is breaking in front of our eyes.

[01:00:12] Amanda: Even the computer was like, don’t do it.

[01:00:13] Ramit: Yeah, everything’s breaking. Daycare would go to zero.

[01:00:18] Amanda: Yeah.

[01:00:19] Carlos: Yes.

[01:00:20] Ramit: Groceries would–

[01:00:22] Carlos: Probably go up an extra 250, 300.

[01:00:24] Amanda: No, I don’t think so. I think it would stay the same.

[01:00:27] Carlos: Really?

[01:00:27] Amanda: If not, go down a little bit.

[01:00:29] Ramit: I think it would go down.

[01:00:30] Amanda: I think so too.

[01:00:30] Ramit: Meal prep is expensive.

[01:00:31] Amanda: Meal prep is very expensive. When I was cooking, it was about 500 to 700 on groceries.

[01:00:38] Ramit: A month?

[01:00:39] Amanda: Yeah. 500.

[01:00:42] Ramit: Did you have two kids back then?

[01:00:44] Amanda: Two kids. He eats a lot.

[01:00:46] Ramit: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

[01:00:47] Amanda: He eats a lot.

[01:00:47] Ramit: 800 bucks a month. All right. Clothes? No. Fuck. Zero. Subscriptions?

[01:00:55] Amanda: So I pay for Amazon, Netflix, etc., but 230 of that is Pilates.

[01:01:02] Ramit: You want to keep it?

[01:01:03] Amanda: Yeah.

[01:01:04] Ramit: Fine. Look at the fixed costs. What number do you see right there?

[01:01:08] Amanda: 65.

[01:01:09] Ramit: So it went from 60 to 65.

[01:01:12] Amanda: But the car would also go down.

[01:01:13] Ramit: Oh, right. How much?

[01:01:15] Amanda: It would be the car payment, 450, plus maybe one full tank a month, 550.

[01:01:22] Ramit: What’s that number in fixed costs?

[01:01:24] Amanda: 63.

[01:01:26] Ramit: Damn. Let’s keep going. This is crazy. Groceries. Wait, why is there another 200 bucks of clothes?

[01:01:32] Amanda: His shoes.

[01:01:32] Ramit: No, fuck that. Zero. Phone is fine.

[01:01:36] Amanda: The phone went down to 90.

[01:01:39] Ramit: Why?

[01:01:39] Amanda: We just changed providers.

[01:01:41] Ramit: Great. Oh my God. Is this cosmic or what? Oh, wow. What is the number on fixed cost right now? 

[01:01:47] Carlos: 60%. 

[01:01:49] Ramit: It literally went from 60 to 60. Now, it’s not done, but just, well, look at the looks on your faces. What’s going through your heads right now?

[01:02:00] Amanda: I knew it. I had this argument many times that it wasn’t going to make a difference me going back to work.

[01:02:06] Carlos: It answers a lot of questions, and it definitely gives me a lot more clarity and direction of where I would like us to go in. 

[01:02:16] Ramit: Ask her what she thinks. 

[01:02:17] Carlos: What do you think about that?

[01:02:19] Amanda: I don’t want to cry anymore. When we had kids, he knew I didn’t want to work until they went to school. So for me, I already went back to work. There’s no point in going back to being a stay-at-home mom because my kids will go back to regular school in two years, and I’m a teacher. I purposely chose teaching so that when I had kids, I would be on the same schedule as them. So I’m at the point now where it’s like too late to go back unless it’s now.

[01:02:58] Ramit: Tell him what you would want in your ideal world.

[01:03:02] Amanda: If it were up to me, I would be home now. When Leia, our youngest starts school, that’s when I would go back to work. The mental toll it was taking on me was only because we were living at my mom’s. I think now that we’ve been living on our own, and you know, we’ve got a rhythm of parenting, of being married, I would handle it a lot better.

[01:03:33] I went through a lot of postpartum depression, so that was part of it, but I think we finally got our groove. So if you were to tell me, what do I want to do now, it’d be to stay home now. I also see it as, we don’t necessarily need to start a business to be okay until when we retire.

[01:03:57] Ramit: Tell me about that.

[01:03:59] Amanda: Well, I mean, if we aggressively invest into our Roth IRA and our 401k, 403b, et cetera, then we can continue to live comfortably without ever opening a business or trying out a new venture. It wouldn’t hurt, but we would be okay.

[01:04:22] Ramit: Wow. What do you think about that? 

[01:04:24] Carlos: I think she’s right. It’s a constant tug of war between logic and emotion. I think that we’re at a time and in a position to really capitalize on our finances and logically I still believe that it makes the most sense to continue working and then really tighten up our CSP, tighten up our plan and our investments. But I’m willing to compromise on my vision and my plan, if that is really, really, really what you want.

[01:05:03] Amanda: I appreciate that.


[01:05:04] Ramit: This is the magic of really listening and letting people share their stories with me, of giving people hours and hours to open up and to let them know that I’m not here to judge them. I’m here to listen. Amanda and Carlos started our conversation by disagreeing about random tactics. He wanted them to be a power couple.

[01:05:23] She said, life is great. I’m happy. I don’t need more. But as we got deeper into it, I asked them to describe their Rich Life. And suddenly Carlos admitted he’s happy now. And Amanda started crying because she wants to stay home with the kids. And then I started playing with the numbers. If she stayed home, a lot of their expenses would drop, leaving them in a relatively similar financial situation.

[01:05:49] The work versus stay-at-home decision is much more complex than this. But what’s really important for them is zooming up a level to really ask each other, what do we want for this life? Let’s get honest with each other and let’s look at the numbers too. Can we make it happen in some form? Now here’s a few things I would highly encourage them to do.

[01:06:10] First, they need to combine accounts. The way they are spending money and structuring their money is holding them back, and it’s not fair to either of them. They need to discuss the power dynamic of one income, including how expenses are going to be handled, how discretionary income will be handled if Amanda stays at home, what will happen if Carlos income goes down, the career ramifications of Amanda staying at home.

[01:06:35] I would suggest having these conversations now, when things are good, before they make an irreversible decision. And for both of them, they need to zoom up a level. That means to develop a philosophy around money. What do they really want? What is their Rich Life? And then making these decisions will be much easier.

[01:06:54] Amanda and Carlos, I would love to hear back from you a few months from now. Let me know how things are going. Thank you for coming on. Thank you for sharing so much. And thanks to everyone for watching and listening.