Episode #86: “I make $450,000/year from YouTube. My husband is ashamed he can’t match my success”
Darby and Kirsty, 27 and 25, are professional YouTubers. While Kirsty’s art tutorial channel explodes in profitability, Darby’s efforts lag behind in viewership and earnings, creating a stark contrast in their money dynamic. He feels he doesn’t deserve comfort. She waits for her success to vanish.
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[00:00:00] Kirsty: I started my channel eight years ago, but really the money started coming in the last two, three years. It’s been a big jump. I remember my first year, it was 20,000 for the year, and then it jumped to a 100, and it jumped to 250, and then to 450, which it’s at now. And I’m imagining it might double this year.
[00:00:20] Darby: At the moment, I haven’t achieved anything. So to–
[00:00:24] Ramit: You haven’t achieved anything– can you finish the end of that sentence for me?
[00:00:28] Darby: Success-wise, career-wise.
[00:00:31] Ramit: Career-wise.
[00:00:33] Darby: Yeah.
[00:00:35] Ramit: There’s other things in life besides career. You have achieved other things.
[00:00:39] Darby: There is– I am a very proud person. I’m very ambitious. That’s not my life. I’m to be a househusband all my life. I’m not just going to be that person. to live a successful life.
[00:00:54] Ramit: And successful means what?
[00:00:58] Darby: Um, I’m not sure.
[00:01:06] Ramit: Meet Darby and Kirsty. Darby’s 27. Kirsty’s 25, and they’re YouTubers with one of the most drastic differences in income of any couple we’ve seen here on this podcast. Now what’s fascinating is that they did not really grow up with a lot of money, but now that she is making it, there seems to be a lot of disagreements about how to handle it.
Darby feels like he’s not contributing. Kirsty is paralyzed into over saving and worrying that it all might end soon. As you listen to this podcast, I want you to think about how the numbers can change in your financial life but your money psychology does not automatically change as well. And of course, I’d like to invite you to go to YouTube, search for Ramit Sethi so that you can watch this full episode. Make sure you hit follow or subscribe there because I’d love to keep sending you more and more of our future episodes. I’m Ramit Sethi and this is I Will Teach You to Be Rich.
[00:02:06] Kirsty: A couple weeks ago I was just looking it up, we were thinking about having a weekend away, our first weekend away from the kids. Um, and I was just looking for a nice spa break. I thought it would be nice for us to have a bit of time just to relax because the kids have been stressful. We’ve got a one and two-year old, and it’s been chaos.
And so I found a nice place just for a couple of nights and yeah, I got my phone, I went to show it and it’s like he wasn’t really interested in looking at the phone and it was–
[00:02:33] Ramit: What did you say? What was your first few words that you said to him?
[00:02:37] Kirsty: I think it was like, “Oh, I found somewhere really nice for us to go for a weekend,” or something like that. Or, “I’m really excited. I found this place that I think looks great.”
[00:02:47] Ramit: And when was the moment where you realized he was not reacting the way you thought he would?
[00:02:52] Kirsty: Um, probably just after I said that.
[00:02:54] Ramit: Okay. Immediately.
[00:02:55] Kirsty: It was like–
[00:02:55] Darby: Immediately, yeah.
[00:02:57] Kirsty: Yeah.
[00:02:57] Ramit: Uh, how much does this spa cost?
[00:03:00] Kirsty: Um, it was for two or three nights. It was about, uh, two, 3,000 altogether.
[00:03:05] Ramit: So what did you do? Did you just keep going with the pitch?
[00:03:10] Kirsty: I read the room and I suppose I got a bit sad and we stopped talking about it right then and brought it up later in the evening and I was like, I was really excited about it and you made me feel like– I thought you would be excited about it. And I was bummed out that you weren’t. And I felt like it was just a no-go area.
[00:03:34] Ramit: Wow. Are you two in therapy together?
[00:03:39] Kirsty: No.
[00:03:39] Ramit: That’s very sophisticated. I mean, it’s very impressive. You read the room, you paused, then you came back later, you expressed how you had felt and you asked a question. I mean, this is A plus. It’s amazing. Okay, so what happened then?
[00:03:57] Kirsty: Um, do you want me to carry on or Darby?
[00:03:59] Ramit: Yeah, keep going.
[00:04:01] Kirsty: Um, Darby explained to me why he felt that way and explained that it was because where he’s at with his business, not making any money and not seeing any growth on YouTube, he feels like going to a spa and just sitting and doing nothing for a weekend, he feels like, what has he done to earn that or deserve that?
And I think for Darby it’s more, it seems to be around taking holidays. I think it’s more, I can’t take the time off or I don’t deserve to relax or have a break because what have I done to deserve that?
[00:04:34] Ramit: Okay. So what did you do once he explained that?
[00:04:38] Kirsty: Um, I listened more. I mean, I said it doesn’t have to be this place. We can go somewhere you feel a bit more comfortable with, do something else, and yeah, I suppose I tried to see because he then said, I don’t think you really understand how I feel and the shame he feels about not earning. And I just tried to listen to how he was feeling and, um, I saw it in a new way.
I hadn’t really thought about how he felt in that way until then, and I got it a bit more. And so I didn’t push it because I knew he was feeling uncomfortable about going to these really fancy places. He didn’t feel like he’d fit in and that’s right to be in those places yet.
[00:05:24] Ramit: Okay. And are you going to go to the spa?
[00:05:30] Darby: No.
[00:05:31] Ramit: Okay. Darby, I want to hear your perspective. So she came to you, she’s got her phone in her hand. What do you remember about that conversation?
[00:05:38] Darby: Yeah. So yeah, she came into the room, she was super excited. Um, I think Kirsty knew that I was going to say no. She was trying to say it in a way, it was like, please don’t say no. Because she deserves that trip. Um, but it’s just like, well, I don’t, and I think the difference is if it was a spa that’s down the road, then I’d be cool with that.
But the fact that she’s found one of the best European spas possible, it’s one of the best ones around the world and it’s in Switzerland, and it’s going to be lovely and perfect, and it’s just like, well, I’m earning no money. Does someone who earns no money go to the best spa in Europe? No, they don’t.
[00:06:28] Ramit: Hold on, hold on. Is that true?
[00:06:31] Darby: Which part?
[00:06:32] Ramit: The part that, does someone who earns no money go to the best spa in Europe?
[00:06:38] Darby: Well, I don’t know, but in my case, I don’t deserve to go on that trip. I haven’t earned that trip. I wouldn’t feel as lovely as it would be. And obviously I would enjoy it because I enjoy going to spas with Kirsty. I couldn’t sit there and fully relax and enjoy it because it’s like, what am I relaxing about?
If I’m there in a lovely sauna in the Swiss Alps, it’s like, why am I sweating out in the Swiss Alps? Why am I here? I’ve got better things to do. I’m not comfortable with my current situation. I don’t wake up. I’m not fulfilled. So why am I– how can I sit and relax and– as far as to, it is like a reward. It’s like you are calling down your, um– it’s like a– yeah, it’s a re reward after you’ve done something, and I haven’t done anything, so I shouldn’t be there.
[00:07:39] Kirsty: I disagree a bit because even though you may feel like you don’t deserve it in terms of work, for the last two and a bit years, we’ve had a very stressful full-on life with two kids and you’ve done a great job at being an amazing dad and there’s been a lot of workload associated with looking after the two children. So I feel like you deserve those few days of rest from a stressful life of looking after the kids.
[00:08:08] Darby: Yeah. But everyone does that. People always do that. That’s–
[00:08:13] Ramit: So let me try to understand the rules here because it seems like there’s a lot of invisible rules here. I like to just get them on paper. So in order to go to a spa, it’s okay if it’s down the road, it’s not okay if it’s in Switzerland. In order to go to a nice spa, you have to be able to have earned the money to go there. In order to go to a nice spa, parenting doesn’t really matter because every parent does that. Any other rules that are implicit?
[00:08:46] Kirsty: Oh, can I bring up another thing implicit?
[00:08:47] Ramit: Oh, hold on. Oh, yes you can, but just let’s get the rules out on the table. Darby, you seem to be the rule keeper. What else?
[00:08:56] Darby: I just want to feel like I’ve deserved it.
[00:09:00] Ramit: What about your partner? What does she deserve?
[00:09:03] Darby: Yeah, Kirsty deserves it.
[00:09:04] Ramit: So should she go alone?
[00:09:07] Darby: Well, if she wanted to go alone, she could go alone, but she doesn’t, obviously. Why would she want– it is spas for partners and, um, I know she’d want to take me. Um, but I guess that’s one of the reasons why we’re here because we’re in two very different places and, yeah, we don’t know how to navigate situations like that.
[00:09:32] Ramit: This spa scenario gives us a very rich example of their money dynamic. I love Darby’s examples because most of us have money beliefs that fall apart upon the simplest of inspection. He believes you have to earn lots of money to go to a nice spa, but I bet you half of the people at that nice spa don’t even have a job.
So think about what deep, invisible script you have about money, and give yourself the chance to interrogate them. Hey, I believe all rich people are evil. Why? Why do I believe that? Where did I learn that? Who told me? These are of course exercises that I cover in my journal if you need a little help. Let’s keep listening in, and I should note, again, that they are in their 20s, which is very helpful to remember as we go on.
[00:10:20] Kirsty: I was going down another path but decided to quit uni and pursue YouTube and it grew so fast. And since launching courses and building my email list, it’s just doubled each year and it’s got to a point where I don’t how to manage it and I’ve got no one around me that’s in this situation. So I feel a bit lost.
Your YouTube has grown. Are you the primary earner in the relationship?
[00:10:47] Kirsty: Yeah. Sole earner.
[00:10:48] Ramit: Sole earner. Okay. And, um, is that all coming from YouTube?
[00:10:54] Kirsty: Um, it’s mainly coming from course sales.
[00:10:56] Ramit: Course sales. Okay. Got it. All right. Oh, congratulations. Uh, how fast did that happen?
[00:11:03] Kirsty: I was tutoring for a little bit at my old school, so that’s the only real job that I had. And that was just at my old school, so it didn’t really count.
[00:11:13] Ramit: Counts to me. How much were you making?
[00:11:16] Kirsty: Um, after tax, about– well, before tax, about a 1,000 a month.
[00:11:22] Ramit: Whoa. How did you survive?
[00:11:25] Kirsty: I was living at home.
[00:11:26] Ramit: Ah.
[00:11:27] Kirsty: I was only 18 at that point.
I started my channel eight years ago, but really the money started coming in the last two, three years. It’s been a big jump.
[00:11:35] Ramit: Got it, got it, got it. Okay. And then you’re doing this YouTube thing and then it started to blow up and you started to just– you went from a 1,000 a month to 35,000 a month.
[00:11:47] Kirsty: Yeah.
[00:11:48] Ramit: That’s a big difference.
[00:11:49] Kirsty: Yeah. That’s average. It’s weird because some months are like 20, one month was 170. That was a launch month. But yeah. I remember my first year, it was 20,000 for the year, and then it jumped to a 100, and it jumped to 250, and then to 450, which it’s at now. And I’m imagining it might double this year based on– and I’ve been doing double engine growth, so I’ve got a new strategy.
[00:12:17] Ramit: Oh, good. Yeah, that’s one of our advanced programs. That’s awesome. So congratulations. You’ve done amazingly well.
[00:12:25] Ramit: Kirsty’s a member of my double engine growth program, which helps you grow your existing business. I’ll throw a link in the show notes for any business owners who want to take their business to the next level.
[00:12:36] Ramit: So you’re making all this money, Kirsty, you’re the sole earner in the relationship. Darby, you have a YouTube channel as well. How big is the channel? How much is it making?
[00:12:47] Darby: At the moment it’s earning nothing. Um, and it may be an excuse, but a lot of that has just been because we’ve moved house two or three times and we’ve had two kids in between them, between those years. Because we’ve decided, because Kirsty’s doing so well and, um, because she’s the sole earner, with any, um, situation where I can help her, support her in the pregnancy, support her with the kids, uh, if she’s got a busy few months coming up, getting courses out, I’ll take the extra load with the kids and get everything sorted to allow her to, um, continue with the business. Um, I’ve done that.
[00:13:27] Ramit: Got it. Okay. That helps me understand. How do you feel about supporting Kirsty in her business?
[00:13:36] Darby: Yeah. That gives me fulfillment. Um, I love being able to support her, um, with the kids because not only is it the right thing to do, but yeah, it’s what I want to do. But I am a very proud person. I’m very ambitious. As much as I’m happy to do that, that’s not my life. I’m not going to be a househusband all my life. I’m not just going to be that person.
I want to have my own business. I want what Kirsty has. Um, and she’s a big inspiration to me and we support each other. We work with each other all of the time, every single day, because we work at home. Um, she wants that for me. I want that for myself. And yeah, I’m very committed to that. I want to be proud of myself. I want to be proud of myself. I want to live a successful life.
[00:14:37] Ramit: And successful means what?
[00:14:40] Darby: Um, I’m not sure. Um, I guess I want to exceed expectations of me.
[00:14:56] Ramit: Whose expectations?
[00:14:59] Darby: Maybe family’s. Probably what I would imagine– I guess what I imagine old school friends would think or things like that.
[00:15:10] Ramit: Should I just get the truth? Kirsty’s over here with the most evocative facial expressions I’ve ever seen. Look at that. She’s taken in a sip of water. She’s gearing up to just spill it. Go ahead. Tell us, Kirsty, whose approval is he looking for?
[00:15:25] Kirsty: Family’s, parents’.
I think it’s more because he feels like as a child everything was either done for him or he didn’t have to try very hard for anything. So now he wants to show that he can do it on his own and that, um, yeah, and that he doesn’t need anyone else to help him. He can do it because I think he feels like he lived quite an entitled life even though his family wasn’t rich on anything. He was very comfortable, and now he wants to prove that he can do it himself. That he doesn’t need that.
[00:16:02] Kirsty: And also I think he feels that because he’s been doing it for three years and his family will ask, how’s the channel go in? And it’s like, is it bringing– does that video– those views, does that bring any money? And he’ll say, “No.” I think he wants to show that, I can do this. He wants to go to them one day and say, yeah, it is getting some money. And yeah, I’ve been speaking to this person, and get their pride, I suppose.
[00:16:28] Ramit: Darby, you agree?
[00:16:29] Darby: Yeah, that’s completely right. Yeah, that’s fine.
[00:16:34] Ramit: Kirsty, what about you? How do you feel about the way that the financial arrangement is working in your relationship?
[00:16:41] Kirsty: Apart from the fact that you see it as my money, I don’t mind being the sole provider. It doesn’t bother me paying for everything. I’m not the type of person that’s expecting Darby as the man to provide. I don’t care about any of that. Um, I just want him to feel happy and fulfilled in himself. And I want him to start earning some money because I know that that will bring some fulfillment to him and he’ll feel, um, like he’s part of it, in that he’s doing something for himself.
[00:17:16] Ramit: Darby, do you agree with that?
[00:17:17] Darby: Absolutely. Yeah. It’s became very, very clear, um, to both of us that my own fulfillment with work is a big factor. My happiness seems to be quite tied to that. And maybe that’s a bad thing, maybe it’s not, I’m not sure. But at the end of the day, I’m only going to succeed if I make good videos. If people enjoy– if I make videos that people want to watch, then– people on YouTube succeed because they deserve to succeed.
[00:17:53] Ramit: Uh, hold on. Uh, first of all, I feel very out of my element debating YouTube because you’re the ultimate YouTube couple.
[00:17:59] Darby: Yeah.
I mean, these fucking kids, they just record themselves playing some video game and gets 25 million views. I’m like, I’m going to kill this nine-year kid right now. I spent so long creating this conversation. So how do you explain that?
[00:18:14] Darby: No, I feel you’re pain because I feel my videos deserve more love too.
Both of us are so bitter right now and we’re just looking at Kirsty. We’re like, fuck you. How did you do it? We’ll get to that. Look, I understand that you’ve done it before and I understand that you’re on this path. Now I think you should keep doing your YouTube if it makes you happy, fantastic. But that’s actually not directly leading to your goal. And as Kirsty pointed out, even if you achieve that goal, it’s highly questionable if you’re actually going to feel the way you think you’re going to feel.
[00:18:48] Ramit: You know how many millionaires I talked to on this, uh, show where they’re like, oh, when I finally have $1,000,000, $2,000,000, I’ll feel safe. And then I go, you’re never going to feel fucking safe. Then I bring on something with $10,000,000 and they’re like scrounging in a garbage can to find blueberries. I go, oh God. Have you ever heard those conversations?
[00:19:07] Darby: Yeah.
[00:19:08] Ramit: But different.
[00:19:10] Darby: We’ve seen those podcasts. Yeah.
Is anything striking you here, Darby, as I talk about this?
[00:19:19] Darby: Yeah. It hurts to hear. However, uh, I’m not going to quit. I’m not going to quit because I believe in myself and I want it. This is the path that I’ve picked myself. This is what I want to do. This is what I want to do with my life. And I believe I can do it.
If in the next five, 10 years I do start seeing success, and we spoke about it, even just, I don’t know if I start to earn, let’s say 50 grand a year in the next five, 10 years, I think that– I believe that’ll make all the difference because I’ll see a lot of fulfillment in earning that amount of money because I don’t compare myself to you. I’m not comparing. I don’t need to earn as much as you to be fulfilled. I just need to earn a little bit, enough.I’ve got a letter in this desk drawer, a letter to myself saying that I’ll open when I’m 35 years old. Um, and that’s the goal I’m working towards a 100k by 35.
[00:20:34] Ramit: When did you send that letter to yourself?
[00:20:38] Darby: About two years ago.
[00:20:39] Ramit: Okay.
[00:20:40] Darby: Um, yeah, um–
[00:20:42] Ramit: What would happen if you opened it at 35 and you achieved that?
[00:20:47] Darby: I believe I’d be extremely fulfilled and happy and it’d just be massive respect. I’ll just give myself so much respect and love knowing that I’ve put my mind to something, I’ve worked hard and I’ve achieved it because at the moment I haven’t achieved anything. So to–
[00:21:09] Ramit: You haven’t achieved anything– can you finish the end of that sentence for me?
[00:21:13] Darby: Success-wise, career-wise.
[00:21:16] Ramit: Career-wise.
[00:21:18] Darby: Yeah.
[00:21:20] Ramit: There’s other things in life besides career. You have achieved other things.
[00:21:24] Darby: There is, but–
[00:21:25] Ramit: Like, uh, the relationship that I’m looking at, the kids, the house, again, not the car, but everything else.
[00:21:35] Darby: Yeah. And that’s amazing. I’m so grateful for that. Kirsty and I have been together 11 years.
[00:21:45] Ramit: Wow.
[00:21:46] Darby: Yeah, we got together at school, um, and everything outside career-wise, my life’s just been so easy. Everything’s just flowed so nicely. I married the girl I met at school and she so happened to become nearly a millionaire. I’m incredibly lucky.
[00:22:08] Ramit: You want to do something for you?
[00:22:10] Darby: Yeah.
[00:22:11] Ramit: I got you. I hear a lot of my younger self in you. The idea of driving myself, pushing myself, of setting these, uh, internal goals like, when I do this, then I will get that. I hear that, and a lot of it rings true with me. It pushes you, it keeps you sharp. I will say the one difference is that when I created those rules for myself, I was single.
I don’t know how those rules would’ve stood up in a relationship, especially if there was a dichotomy in an earning. That’s your situation, and that’s one of the reasons that I’m really delighted to get a chance to talk to you, because I want to see how these rules are stacking up in this relationship. It’s not just one, it’s two of you.
[00:23:00] Ramit: Many of us create these rules for ourselves, these goals, these timelines. I want to live in New York in my 20s. I want to be married by 30. I want to have a million dollars by 35. Whatever the rules are, adapt them for your own life. You know what I’m talking about. I actually think these are great.
I love any example where people are intentional with their lives. But I do think that as we change the season of our lives, our goals should change. That’s normal. So I’d like to issue a challenge for you right now. What’s a goal you used to have for your life that you are ready to put aside? Something you used to think, I need to do that, and now at this point in life you realize, that’s actually not a goal of mine anymore. That’s question one. Question two is, what can you replace that goal with that is more meaningful to you now?
[00:23:51] Kirsty: It’s not just 50k because you don’t really care about the money. It’s just that’s the number you think shows that you’ve gained some success at the YouTube thing.
[00:24:00] Ramit: Is that true, Darby?
[00:24:02] Darby: Yeah. Absolutely. It’s not the money at all. It’s what I know what that 50k represents in terms of success on YouTube. Um, and 50k, that’s like at that mark of five. That’s not what I want to– that’s not what I believe my potential is. I’m very ambitious. I want to go a lot, lot further.
[00:24:27] Ramit: Okay. What is the cost of that belief?
[00:24:32] Darby: At the moment, I guess, yeah, it’s caused– yeah, at the moment that belief is causing all the problems that we’ve discussed.
[00:24:43] Ramit: What if you find out you’ve created all these rules for yourself and they’re just totally the wrong rules to play the game of life by?
[00:24:51] Darby: I’m open.
[00:24:53] Ramit: The rules that you are telling me, they’re rules you’ve made up in your head and they don’t necessarily make sense to me. These rules of I need to deserve to go somewhere, uh, like a spa, even though my spouse who I support by taking care of our children, and I’m sure I supported in many other ways, even though my spouse has done incredibly well financially and wants to take both of us, I don’t yet deserve it.
[00:25:25] Kirsty: Then another rule you just said is, I need to earn roughly 50k but it’s got to be in this extremely narrow, specific way, which by the way, has not been working for the last three years. I don’t think this is the one thing in the whole world that will make you feel fulfilled. And I think if you just keep– I mean, it’s important not to quit, but it’s important to know when it’s been enough time that, okay, this isn’t working.
[00:25:56] Darby: Yeah. I hear what you say. I hear what you’re saying.
[00:26:02] Ramit: What I want to point out to you, Darby, is that the way you are approaching money is through a certain set of lenses that you think are totally normal because you’ve been wearing those lenses for many years. But if you were to actually take those lenses off and put on a different pair, you might see things completely differently.
I have a scenario I would like to throw out to the two of you. Let’s say that I got married and I was making a lot of money and my wife was not, and she stayed home with our two kids, and I was the breadwinner and she stayed home with the kids and we had a great– it was all good. And I said to her, I would really like to take this trip to go to Italy. What do you think her response would be in this scenario? Kirsty?
[00:26:57] Kirsty: Um, okay, let’s go.
[00:26:59] Ramit: Okay. Darby?
[00:27:02] Darby: I’m sure she’d say yes.
[00:27:04] Ramit: Okay. I agree. Why is it different when Kirsty invites Darby to a spa?
[00:27:14] Darby: Can I answer this?
[00:27:15] Ramit: Please.
[00:27:16] Darby: Can I flip it? Because what I see is, so imagine I go, yeah, take me. In fact, let’s go to an even more expensive one and let’s go for longer. Let’s spend all your money on me. In fact, I love clothes. Start buying me designer clothes. I love that. And get the Tesla. The thought of me having that life where, because my wife is successful, she’s spoiling me, or I’m reaping the rewards of her rich life, that doesn’t sit right with me.
I find that really uncomfortable. If I’m directly– what’s the word I’m looking for? Profiting is a wrong word, but get if I’m being rewarded just through because she’s doing so well, I don’t like that. Because I’m unfulfilled in what I’m what I’m doing, I can’t accept all those things.
[00:28:30] Ramit: That was a very impressive series of spinning. What if we go to the nicer spa, and the Tesla, but that’s not even on the table, is it? It was one spa, which in the scheme of your income is quite modest.
[00:28:45] Kirsty: Yeah, we don’t do much.
[00:28:48] Ramit: If I offered to take my hypothetical wife, mother of our hypothetical two children, I was the breadwinner, and I said, let’s go to Italy for five days, she would say yes, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.
[00:29:03] Ramit: In investing, there’s a concept called inversion. Charlie Munger talks about inverting the way you think about a problem. For example, most people ask, how can I become rich? Charlie says, let’s invert it. How do most people go poor? They gamble, they cheat, they don’t invest. They have high expense ratios. And he just says, let’s avoid that.
So inversion is a really helpful tool, especially with gender dynamics. I find that to be the case on this show. Because you and I grew up in a culture where we intuitively see certain things as normal. For example, a dad working and a mom staying home with kids. But if we flip that as is the case with Darby and Kirsty, suddenly lots of peculiar dynamics emerge. And so by inverting their scenario, what I’m trying to do here is gently challenge Darby on his views about money and recognize that gender is at least one variable playing a role here.
[00:29:59] Kirsty: I find it confusing because the spa’s a no-go, but he is completely happy and very excited about us getting a Tesla X, which he will happily drive everywhere.
[00:30:10] Ramit: What the fuck? Oh God. Let me guess.
[00:30:12] Darby: I know. It’s weird.
[00:30:12] Ramit: What is it? Oh, the technical specs are so cool, and it has lane assist. One day this fucking crackpot is actually going to do full self-driving. What is it? The features?
[00:30:23] Darby: No, it’s none of that at all. We’ll be taking the kids in it. Obviously, it’s a luxury. It’s a very, very nice car, obviously, however, it’s still just going to be, going to the supermarket and back, and taking the kids places and things. With my imposed rules, when it comes into the family, I guess when it comes with, uh– when our kids are involved, I guess my rules change a bit. It’s like I have this radar inside. I don’t fully understand how it works, but yeah, that goes through and that’s–
[00:31:01] Ramit: Wait, hold on a second. Just to restate what you said. Why are you covering your face? This is funny. Does it feel weird to say it out loud?
[00:31:13] Darby: It’s funny because I know it’s, um,– what’s the word? It’s a bit hypocritical. Yeah. I’m contradicting myself and I don’t–
[00:31:22] Ramit: How so?
[00:31:23] Darby: Because a Tesla X is just as luxurious as a spa, however, I think because a spa is fully indulgent as– Tesla’s still a car at the end of the day, and we’re still driving it to places we need to go. It’s still a utility vehicle. It still be– we’ll still be driving it for it’s essential.
[00:31:49] Ramit: What’s the cheapest car that people drive where you live?
[00:31:56] Darby: Um, I don’t know, probably the car that we drive, that’s a Ford Fiesta.
Oh my God, there’s so many Ford.
[00:32:02] Kirsty: You hate Fords.
[00:32:03] Ramit: I hate Ford. Why do so many people drive Ford on this show? All right. So why don’t you just get another Ford? I mean, it’s a utility vehicle, right?
[00:32:13] Darby: Well, I’m happy to drive this car until it breaks. Um, and if it was– I’m not asking to get the Tesla. I’m just saying I’m okay with it.
[00:32:26] Ramit: Oh, I’m okay getting a 80,000-dollar car. Anybody? Anybody else? All right.
[00:32:31] Darby: I know.
[00:32:31] Ramit: Okay. It’s actually interesting to hear that your rules are situational.
[00:32:38] Darby: They are situational. Yeah.
[00:32:39] Ramit: Yeah. And I hear a lot of commonalities with other people I’ve spoken to where they have certain rules for themselves. Parents love to deprive themselves of stuff. In fact, the spa/massage is a classic example. But if it’s the kids, they will either do anything for the kids or they will create loopholes so they can justify purchases for their kids. In all the reasoning for your Tesla, and by the way, if you want to get a Tesla and you can afford it, get a Tesla, whatever. But it’s, well, it’s utility. Well, it’s for the kids. Well, I don’t really care, I could drive a Ford. It feels like there’s a lack of coherence as to what you truly want and whether you deserve it.
[00:33:25] Darby: Well, I don’t deserve the Tesla and I’ll happily drive the Ford. Um, but Kirsty deserves the Tesla, and she can drive now. So if she wants a Tesla, she can have a Tesla.
[00:33:37] Ramit: What if she bought you a Tesla?
[00:33:38] Darby: I would–
[00:33:40] Kirsty: No, that would– no, no, no.
[00:33:41] Darby: No, that wouldn’t happen.
[00:33:43] Ramit: Really?
[00:33:43] Kirsty: You’d refuse that?
[00:33:44] Darby: Yeah.
[00:33:45] Kirsty: Like for example, his phone broke, so he’s now using a Nokia, a 10-pound Nokia.
[00:33:50] Ramit: No. Show me. That’s actually retro. That’s cool.
[00:33:55] Darby: Until I can afford to buy that phone myself, I’ll stick with the Nokia. And if Kirsty was to buy me a new phone, well, it wouldn’t be a problem. She could buy me a new phone every single day for an entire year, but, um, yeah, it’s just like, well, I wouldn’t appreciate it. I want to appreciate it. I want to be able to do something for myself.
[00:34:22] Kirsty: Can I give another specific example?
[00:34:25] Ramit: Okay.
[00:34:27] Kirsty: Um, we were talking about the Tesla and everything and how that’s okay because the children are benefiting. There is another example where Darby is directly benefiting, but he’s okay with it, and that’s restaurants. He’s happy if we was to go to like a Michelin Star restaurant or a nice restaurant, eating out, you are fine with it. You don’t mind. And that’s something you are directly profiting from and enjoying it, but you’re fine with that.
[00:34:54] Ramit: You know the difference, Darby?
[00:34:56] Darby: Please tell me because I don’t know.
[00:34:58] Ramit: What’s the difference between that nice spa and a restaurant?
[00:35:04] Darby: To me, the spa is a lot more self-indulgent and relaxing as I know when we’re at a restaurant, we’ll have nice conversations, we’ll be sharing food and I know we’ll be– it’s like when we’re at restaurants, that’s our time to connect and talk and have nice conversations.
[00:35:26] Kirsty: Isn’t that what you do at a spa?
[00:35:28] Darby: Yeah. But it’s so much more relaxing. We were already doing the restaurant, so let’s continue doing the restaurants.
[00:35:37] Ramit: Here’s a question for you, Darby. When you grew up, did you eat out at restaurants?
[00:35:42] Darby: Yes.
[00:35:42] Ramit: Mm-hmm. And did you ever go to a spa?
[00:35:46] Darby: No. If we’re going to spa down the road, I’m cool with that. But it’s that big luxury spa that rich people go to–
[00:35:58] Ramit: You guys are rich, you know that, right?
[00:36:00] Darby: Kirsty is.
[00:36:03] Ramit: Aren’t you married?
[00:36:06] Darby: Yes.
[00:36:08] Ramit: Until you see your finances as a team, you will forever be drifting apart one degree at a time.
[00:36:17] Darby: Okay, but Ramit, what I need help with is I don’t know where that healthy balance is, because like I said, that alternative that I shared earlier about me just accepting everything and saying yes to everything, that will just make you feel really dirty and horrible. And I can’t apprec– it just feels wrong.
[00:36:48] Ramit: What feels more important to you right now? Is it not feeling dirty by accepting the offers of your wife or the need to keep pursuing this YouTube channel?
[00:37:07] Darby: Is that the ultimatum?
[00:37:10] Ramit: No. But it’s the two things that are most, uh, at the surface for you. So tell me which one of those is most.
[00:37:25] Darby: Okay, well, on the one hand, with my career, that’s my–
[00:37:30] Kirsty: Just say what you want to say. You won’t hurt my feelings.
[00:37:34] Darby: To me, that’s extremely important to me. That’s my fulfillment. That’s my happiness. That’s what I’m tying a lot to having that fulfillment. But then, us going to the spas and things, I know that’s not make or break. Is that make or break for you? I don’t know. Are those things as important to you as my career is to me?
[00:38:01] Kirsty: It’s not about that. It’s about things adding up on one side. It’s not just one spa. It’s the 10th time you reject the spa. And then it’s like, we are not going on vacations or on skiing trips. And then if you are not being successful as well, you’ll get more depressed or, um, more unfulfilled. And then you’ll be even more resistant to, um, anything I offer you because you’ll feel even more, um, unsatisfied with yourself.
[00:38:32] Darby: So do you believe I should just accept everything?
[00:38:37] Kirsty: I mean, I mean, you know me. It’s not like I go and splurge on loads of things or I’m going to be throwing cash at you. But one holiday or two holidays a year and stuff like that, I’m not saying you can never say no, but it’s about–
[00:38:57] Ramit: Why is the premise of accepting as if you’re the recipient? Why is that even the premise? I reject the premise. What’s a good model? Because the one you have is like, you’re just this passive recipient. It feels very disempowering to me, Darby.
[00:39:19] Darby: What do you mean by disempowering? As in because I don’t give myself any power; is that what you’re saying?
[00:39:24] Ramit: Correct. And so you see yourself as this little baby bird with its mouth open. Ah. Oh, I don’t want that spa because I didn’t work for it. Ah. And I’m like, this is a weird ass metaphor for two grown intimate partners who are also parents.
[00:39:42] Darby: Yeah. Um, I don’t know. I just find it extremely hard to accept things.
[00:39:54] Ramit: Notice what just happened. I asked him for another model of how they can be partners and his response was, “I don’t know. I just find this hard.” That comment right there is typical of about 80% of the people I speak to. They will agonize over money. They will worry about it every day of their lives. They’re what’s called problem aware, meaning they realize they have a problem, but when I ask them for a solution, any solution, they fall back on that phrase, “I don’t know. I find this hard.”
Yes, it’s hard. If it was easy, you would’ve solved it a long time. Part of making major changes in life is accepting that this is hard and it’s supposed to be hard. Now let’s get on with it.
[00:40:39] Ramit: Okay. Are you scared of money?
[00:40:42] Kirsty: Yeah.
[00:40:42] Darby: No, I’m not. What’d you mean? Kirsty, what’d you mean?
[00:40:50] Kirsty: What? Why am I scared?
[00:40:51] Darby: Yeah. Why are you scared of money?
[00:40:52] Kirsty: I’m always always scared that I’m going to lose it at some point.
[00:40:57] Darby: Scared of losing it.
[00:40:57] Kirsty: I’m scared of the lack. Yeah.
[00:41:00] Darby: Not having money.
[00:41:02] Kirsty: Yeah.
[00:41:03] Ramit: Were you scared of money when you were making a 1,000 a month?
[00:41:09] Kirsty: No. So only since I’ve started earning more.
[00:41:11] Ramit: For a lot of people they have this idea that if they start off a business and it eventually takes off, everything will be great. Is that the case for you?
[00:41:23] Kirsty: No, I’m just constantly worried it’ll end.
[00:41:26] Ramit: Oh, really.
[00:41:27] Kirsty: Yeah.
I suppose it’s because I feel so young and it seems like I’m 25 and when I think about 20 years time, I’m like, well, this just seems too good to be true to last forever. And I’m worried about peaking really young.
[00:41:42] Ramit: Mm-hmm. And peaking would mean what?
[00:41:47] Kirsty: I’m worried that I’ll reach this high level of success and it’ll end and I’ll never feel like I can get back to that point. And so I’ll always feel a little bit– like athletes, I suppose, when they have this big football career and then it ends and maybe feeling dissatisfied and, what am I going to do myself?
[00:42:03] Ramit: Okay. All right. You like to worry?
[00:42:07] Kirsty: In other aspects I don’t think I worry a lot at all too. I’m more the carefree I suppose. I don’t know if you’d agree, Darby.
[00:42:15] Darby: No.
[00:42:18] Ramit: Partner always knows best. Darby does she like to worry?
[00:42:22] Darby: Yeah. It’s in her blood. Her mum is a massive worrier and even though Kirsty compared to her mum looks carefree, Kirsty still worries. Yeah.
[00:42:35] Ramit: What is the cost of, uh, worrying about money so much, Kirsty?
[00:42:43] Kirsty: Um, I think it gives me more stress than I need, and I also think it’s preventing me putting a financial plan in place because I’m worried about doing the wrong thing and losing it that way. So I’ve just left it sitting there because at least I know it’s there rather than making the wrong decision.
[00:43:05] Darby: Our lifestyle hasn’t adjusted much, especially in those, um, first and in the last three, four years. It has recently as we’ve just recently bought a house. Um, but yeah, our lives haven’t really changed. So Kirsty will say this too, like, all this money that’s been flooding in to her bank account, our lives haven’t changed.
[00:43:27] Ramit: Is that good or bad?
[00:43:31] Kirsty: Um, I mean, it was just coming in and it was just sitting in the bank, but if anyone looks at us apart from the house, you wouldn’t think that we earn anything different to anybody else. And I think early on in the first few years of earning it, I like that we saved, I should have invested it.
That’s a whole different issue. But, um, I think we’re at the stage now where it’s like, okay, we maybe should be spending some of it on doing something fun because I’m seeing a trait in myself where I might be starting to feel a bit, uh, guilty and I’m worried that if I earn even more, I’ll get to the point where, um, I struggle to spend it and it will always feel like, oh, that’s a lot to spend on something.
[00:44:22] Ramit: Hmm. Is that why you reached out now?
[00:44:26] Kirsty: We reached out now because we started watching the podcast recently and yeah, as soon as we saw that we could apply, we applied.
[00:44:34] Ramit: Hmm. But why not– I mean, life is good. You have a, looks like a nice place. You, um, have a lot of money. I guess the one really, truly depressing thing is you drive a Ford Fusion. That’s fucking atrocious. But aside from that, life is pretty good. So why now? This is liable to be a tough conversation. Why talk about this now?
[00:45:01] Darby: Um, I’d say because our lives are still moving so, so fast. I guess it’s hard to imagine it slowing down. I definitely imagine Kirsty’s growth to continue. So I guess it’s one of those things where it’s like– what do they say? The best time to plant the tree’s 20 years ago. Second best time is today. That’s the situation we’re in. It’s we need to sort this out now because it’ll get really bad.
[00:45:32] Kirsty: A bigger problem. Yeah.
[00:45:33] Darby: Yeah.
[00:45:34] Ramit: Okay. That’s good. I’m glad to hear that. Forward thinking. It’s a good sign. That’s one of the key differences among people who live rich lives and everybody else, is the ability to think ahead and to plan ahead. Even with bad things, it’s like, “Hey, we disagree about this. We better sort this out now.” Which of these two issues do you both think are more important? Creating a financial plan or sorting out the way that you talk about money and behave with money together?
[00:46:08] Kirsty: The second one.
[00:46:10] Darby: I’d say the first one.
[00:46:11] Ramit: Well, that’s interesting.
[00:46:13] Kirsty: second one just seemed like the right answer.
[00:46:15] Ramit: Well, would you two like to discuss it?
[00:46:16] Darby: Yes. Sounds like the right answer though.
[00:46:19] Kirsty: Because I feel like if we have the second one, we can create the first one. If we know how to talk about money together, then we can talk together to come up with a financial plan. Because it starts with knowing your rich life and you can’t create a financial plan if you don’t know that, and you can’t create the financial plan if you don’t know your rich life because you don’t what your goals are. And to create your rich life, you need to be able to communicate. That’s my thought.
[00:46:45] Darby: Yeah. We have discussed all that, but our main issue is what we were talking about earlier with me not being fulfilled and earning no money and wanting to deserve things, and you wanting to obviously reap the rewards of, um, your success. So for me, I think with the second one, it’s like, I need to start earning money to be able to get over that problem. As the financial plan, we can start creating that straight away.
[00:47:24] Ramit: So what did we conclude just now?
[00:47:29] Darby: Nothing.
[00:47:30] Ramit: Is this a common thing, you talk a lot but no conclusion?
[00:47:36] Darby: Sometimes. The thing is we do talk a lot though. We are always talking about, um, big important conversations.
[00:47:49] Ramit: Talking is good, for sure. But also talking can get in the way sometimes of taking action. It’s like, all right, enough fucking talking. What’s the answer? Which I’m still looking for, by the way. Is it one or two? Do you need a financial plan or is it figuring out a way for the two of you to communicate about money? Which one is important?
[00:48:12] Darby: The right answer’s number two. Since watching your podcast, we’ve binged a few episodes since we discovered it just over a month ago, and within that month we’ve been having a lot more of these type of discussions and we’ve talked about–
[00:48:27] Kirsty: Not getting very far, are we?
[00:48:29] Ramit: No, maybe not.
We do a lot of talking, but no conclusions. It feels like you are now operating with a 50-pound weight vest on your backs. Both of you. You’ve accomplished this incredible thing, but you’re not allowing yourselves to run as fast and as far as you actually can.
And part of that I hear are these self-created narratives of, my dad was a provider. Um, I need to deserve it. I need to feel fulfillment before we can go to the spa, etc. And I’m worried about losing money. We talk a lot. These are all narratives. Sometimes narratives are true, but sometimes they’re just stories we tell ourselves. So I can help you get where you want to go, but do you both understand the cost of what you are currently doing? Do you understand the cost of wearing this weight vest around?
[00:49:26] Kirsty: I think everything is just going to get harder, more stressful. I feel like we’ll get further apart because what I’m worried about is if you don’t start seeing fulfillment in the next five, 10 years and you’re still waiting for something to validate you before you can enjoy things, and if I carry on growing and wanting to do more fun stuff, I feel like we’ll push further apart. And I don’t want something like money to push us apart because I feel like we’re so strong in other areas and we love each other so much. Just having all of these invisible scripts that you are telling yourself is causing more damage.
[00:50:09] Ramit: It’s interesting to hear Kirsty’s perspective on money, the huge earnings, the feelings like she’s going to peak and it’s too good to be true. What I hear with both of them is that they have not adjusted to earning this kind of money, not individually, certainly not jointly. And a lot of people in this personal finance space have this phrase, “Live beneath your means.”
Okay. It’s true, but I don’t think the nuances are often explained. The idea, again, typical of most of the personal finance space, is that if you get a $10,000 raise, you should just save it all. Okay. The idea is if you get a $10,000 raise, I would argue most people in personal finance will tell you to take that money and invest a 100% of it.
They’ll say, live like you didn’t get that raise, and after 30 years you can really enjoy it. Honestly, I hate that idea. I’m much more a fan of creating a rule where you invest, let’s say 80% of that money, but you spend 20% on something absolutely amazing. In other words, live beneath your means, yes, but remember that a rich life is lived today and tomorrow.
This is why I say that it’s a tragedy to live a smaller life than you have to. They’re making $250,000 a year, but living like they’re making 40,000. They’re making this much money and they can’t even enjoy a spa? When will that change?
[00:51:35] Ramit: How do you think my wife and I handle it? Because we have a difference in income. Do we have like she’s just accepting or I’m just accepting?
[00:51:47] Kirsty: I am assuming there’s some joint account or–
[00:51:50] Ramit: Mm-hmm.
[00:51:51] Kirsty: Just communal.
[00:51:52] Ramit: Yeah. Darby?
[00:51:56] Darby: Yeah, I’m sure it’s like a level playing field in terms of you both decide equally how you should spend and enjoy your money.
[00:52:07] Ramit: And how about in a lot of relationships where one partner is staying at home? How do they do it? Is it the non-earning partner is just accepting everything? How do they do it?
[00:52:20] Darby: I’m sure it’s joint also and it’s a discussion together.
[00:52:27] Ramit: All right. Can we put on those lenses for just a second and just pretend that that’s how it is in your relationship?
[00:52:33] Darby: Okay.
[00:52:33] Ramit: All right. So let’s physically take the lenses off of your face, theatrically. There you go. Very good. All right. Now put these, tell me what those lenses looked like. Just so we all know. Those accepting recipient lenses, what do they look like?
[00:52:49] Kirsty: Gray.
[00:52:51] Darby: They’re heavy and they’re dark. They’ve a very dark tint.
[00:52:55] Ramit: Very nice. Okay. And what do the new lenses look like? Describe them for me.
[00:53:01] Kirsty: Rose gold and thin frames.
[00:53:04] Ramit: Oh.
[00:53:05] Darby: Yeah. Thin light.
[00:53:06] Ramit: Light. Okay. Maybe they allow you to see things a little more clearly than the other ones. Okay. Darby, take the lead on this. Just for the next two minutes, we’re going to put these lenses on. Can you put them on for me so I can see?
[00:53:20] Darby: Oh, sorry. I forget to do that.
Very good. They look so fantastic. Okay. Now talk to me about how you would decide on going to a spa.
[00:53:33] Darby: Y Me. Um, I would– yeah, look at our finances, look at our guilt-free spending. We would discuss how we want to allocate that.
[00:53:48] Ramit: Can we just do it right now? So she comes to you, she goes, “Hey, I’d really love to go to this spa. It looks so cool. Take a look.” Respond to her, and then the two of you talk.
[00:53:57] Darby: Okay. Yeah. Hypothetically, look at our guilt-free spending budget. Is this something that we can afford? Do we have the money for it in our guilt-free spending, um, bucket? Are we happy with that? Are we happy to spend that? Yeah. If it fits and there’s still room left for us to continue to spend money on other things that we want, then yeah, we go for it. If we’ve got the money for it, we go for it.
[00:54:35] Ramit: Uh, that sounded pretty cool to me.
[00:54:40] Darby: Well, I had those glasses, I remembered.
[00:54:42] Ramit: Yeah, it’s amazing what a fake pair of glasses can do. So what did it feel like to say that?
[00:54:51] Darby: Very foreign.
[00:54:53] Ramit: Why?
[00:54:58] Darby: I don’t know. Well, first, I’m making, uh, a decision about money that I haven’t earned, and I don’t see as mine. Um, so just making those decisions feels, it doesn’t sit right with me.
[00:55:18] Ramit: You are not making the decision, were you? Who made the decision?
[00:55:22] Darby: No, we were making it together, weren’t we?
[00:55:24] Kirsty: I’d love that.
[00:55:25] Ramit: Tell him.
[00:55:25] Kirsty: Because that’s what I’ve been wanting. I know we have the money, I know we have, uh, money that we should be spending and that’s why I wanted to find this spa and to enjoy some of it. And obviously the person that I want to do it with is you. And that’s the whole reason I want to do these things and make these memories, is with you. So I would love it if you could just allow us to do some things each year and we build on it and as it gets more comfortable each year we start doing other things and building that in. I’d love that. Made me very happy.
[00:56:09] Ramit: You know what it sounded like to me? It sounded healthy.
[00:56:15] Kirsty: Oh yeah.
[00:56:16] Ramit: Healthy. Kirsty is like, holy shit, this business blew up. I had no idea and I want to start leveraging. I want to start using this. I want to do it together. And I can’t. We can’t even go to a spa because of all these stories that you’re living, which you wrote these identities 10 years ago. What do you think?
[00:56:41] Kirsty: I agree.
[00:56:45] Darby: Yeah. Everything you’re saying is right. Yeah. So let’s say we’re having this love– we’re in this lovely surroundings, and I’m relaxing and I’m sat there with my own thoughts and I’m just thinking, I don’t earn anything. I’m in this beautiful place and I’ve achieved nothing. Why am I here? Why am I here? I don’t deserve this.
[00:57:22] Ramit: Can I tell you how I would, uh, interpret that?
[00:57:27] Darby: Yeah.
I would say this to myself, not to my wife, because I’m not trying to bring this shit up in the infinity pool. I would say, I am feeling a lot of different things right now. On one hand, I feel incredibly grateful that I can be in this place. I never thought I would be able to go to as a kid. They just brought us 10 rounds of different foods out to the pool. I can’t even believe it. It’s amazing. I love that they did this and I love that they put fresh flowers in our room. Oh my God, it makes me feel so good.
[00:58:01] Ramit: But on the other hand, I feel torn because deep down it doesn’t feel like I earned this. I don’t feel like I am living up to the potential that I have, and I’m here because I know it makes my wife happy. I’m hoping to be able to get inspired by where we are so that I can dream bigger. But deep down, I’m not sure if I know how to do that. That’s honest. It acknowledges everything you said, but what does it also do, Darby?
[00:58:38] Darby: You said it inspires.
[00:58:41] Ramit: Yeah.
[00:58:41] Darby: So it’s motivation to want to eventually be able to come back to this place or come back to another spa and not have that feeling.
[00:58:53] Ramit: And eventually to be able to splurge and surprise Kirsty one day and say, I have something I planned for us. Clear the schedule.
[00:59:04] Ramit: Two things I did there. First, I expressed gratitude. So many people are stuck in their own heads with their own stories of how money is supposed to feel, that they don’t even stop to appreciate their partner. It’s rude and it’s lazy. If I had a partner who was stuck in their own head and just kept on trotting out these tired, old stories, that would get really old really fast.
Second, I got vivid with the details. Maybe an infinity pool inspires you. If you’re at a spa, maybe you take note of all the amazing details there. Hey, if you’ve ever watched my Instagram travel stories, that’s exactly what I love to do. If you are listening to this at home, or watching this at home, and thinking about designing your rich life, get extremely vivid about what would be exciting, inspiring, and motivating to you. Now you can try this on your own, or you can get my journal, which will show you the exact questions to design your rich life.
[01:00:05] Ramit: Let’s look at your numbers. I want to talk about that because, Kirsty, I know you had some questions.
[01:00:10] Kirsty: Yeah.
[01:00:10] Ramit: And let’s just walk through it. What do you see under assets?
[01:00:15] Darby: 780.
[01:00:17] Ramit: Say the full number.
[01:00:18] Darby: 780,000.
[01:00:20] Ramit: Okay. Investments?
[01:00:24] Kirsty: Um, 33–
[01:00:26] Darby: 33,500.
[01:00:26] Kirsty: 500.
[01:00:27] Ramit: 33,000. Okay. Savings. Kirsty, can you say this number please?
[01:00:32] Kirsty: Yeah. 729,398.
[01:00:36] Ramit: You have $730,000 in savings? Pounds?
[01:00:41] Kirsty: Yeah.
[01:00:41] Ramit: Okay. That’s weird. And your debt is 615,000. I assume that’s your mortgage.
[01:00:46] Kirsty: Yeah.
[01:00:46] Ramit: All right, fine. Your net worth is 927,000 pounds and you are in your 20s. How do you both feel about that number?
[01:00:55] Kirsty: Uh, very proud.
[01:00:57] Darby: Yeah. It’s an amazing, uh, situation to be in.
[01:01:01] Ramit: Okay, great. I agree. It’s extremely impressive. Nice work. I see one income here. How much is that? Kirsty?
[01:01:09] Kirsty: Yeah. So the gross is 35,000 pounds a month.
[01:01:14] Ramit: Great. And the net is 28,000. That’s a lot of money.
[01:01:18] Kirsty: Yeah.
[01:01:19] Ramit: So you basically make all this money and then it just goes into your savings account.
[01:01:23] Kirsty: It’s just left in my business account.
[01:01:24] Ramit: Oh, that seems–
[01:01:26] Kirsty: Yeah, I just, um, withdraw the amount that gives the lowest dividend tax and then just leave the rest in there.
[01:01:36] Ramit: Your savings are 75%. Holy shit. Okay, let’s not do that. But I get why you’re doing it. And what do you tell yourself about all this money?
[01:01:48] Kirsty: Um, I’m excited when I see it go up, but as it gets bigger, I’m like, I just don’t know how to manage this. I don’t know where I– I always know that leaving it there, inflation is just going to eat away at it. I know it should be in investments. It’s just figuring out, um, what to invest in and whether it should be through the business or personally or the tax things have got me a bit confused.
[01:02:18] Ramit: Okay. So it just sits there.
[01:02:20] Kirsty: Yeah.
[01:02:21] Ramit: Okay? Fine. Um, your investments are zero. What the fuck? That’s not– all right. We’ll fix that. Your savings are 75%. Holy shit. You’re probably going to want to keep some of that in your savings because you’re worried about one day your business is going to collapse and all that stuff. Just keep some extra money in there so you don’t have to worry about that anymore.
The bulk of it, if it were me, I would invest it. Now a lot of people are really– you want to. Good. A lot of people are really nervous to put $600,000 at once. That’s understandable. You could drip that out. It’s called dollar cost averaging for 12 months. Just put 70k a month, uh, or whatever amount you decide every month consistently. It’s fine.
Right now your actions are misaligned with how much I see on your conscious spending plan. The way you spend money, the way you talk about money, even the way you think about money reflects a couple that makes about a 10th of what you make.
[01:03:23] Darby: I’m sure. Yeah.
[01:03:27] Ramit: So you’ve made the money, but your money psychology has not gone along with you.
[01:03:33] Darby: Yeah.
[01:03:34] Kirsty: No.
[01:03:35] Ramit: So what would you like to do? What do you think the solutions are here?
[01:03:40] Kirsty: We do have plans of what we’d love to do. We’ve got some longer term plans. We do want to travel and do stuff like that. Um, we’d also love in the next five years to buy our own skiing cabins somewhere that we can take the kids to ski in the winter and hike in the summer.
[01:04:03] Ramit: Good. I would take the extra money from that guilt-free spending instead of, let’s say, 30%, you want to do 15, I would take the remaining 15, the difference, and I would put it in a long-term savings account. And once that money got to a certain point, you can go and buy your place. That’s how you do it.
That’s how wealthy people plan for big purchases. It’s not just an intention one day. It’s like, you have the money, let’s start putting it towards it. All right, so every month we’re going to put X thousand dollars. It’s going in our cabin fund, and one day we’re going to have enough and then we go buy the cabin. Done. No emotions, no crying. We did it. It’s done. Simple. Decisive. Can that be one of the new values in your relationship with money?
[01:04:53] Kirsty: Yeah.
[01:04:54] Darby: Absolutely. Yeah.
[01:04:56] Ramit: Decisive. Think about how that would flow to so many things. Deciding on the spa, deciding on the YouTube channel, deciding on investing the money. Decisive. Even if you make a wrong decision, you’re smart enough to correct it. There’s very few things in life that you get wrong and you can’t go back and fix.
[01:05:19] Kirsty: Yeah, that’s very true.
[01:05:20] Darby: Yeah. That’d be nice.
[01:05:23] Ramit: It’s exciting to talk about this, isn’t it?
[01:05:25] Kirsty: Yeah.
[01:05:26] Ramit: What do you notice about this conversation?
[01:05:30] Darby: Well, this conversation feels–
[01:05:30] Kirsty: Feels lighter.
[01:05:32] Darby: Yeah. And this conversation feels different now because we’re actually talking about it like it’s possible and we’re actually going to act on it rather than just talking about it.
[01:05:42] Ramit: Yeah.
[01:05:43] Darby: And that’s what makes it feel– that’s the difference, I think.
[01:05:47] Ramit: Once you learn this skill of talking about money and dreaming about your rich life, it’s actually very common to watch the floodgates open. Kirsty later told me that she wants a personal shopper to refresh her wardrobe. They want to go bigger on Christmas for the kids and their family. They want to spend on a babysitter for more consistent date nights, and the cinema, and the theater. It was actually amazing to listen to. A lot of times we’re afraid to dream alone or with our partner, because it can feel like a failure if we can’t accomplish every single one of those things.
It’s almost like if we say something out loud, we now feel that we are obligated to do it, and if we don’t, we’re a failure. But I look at it a little differently. I think those are two separate skills. Number one, learning how to design your rich life. And number two, learning how to use your money to live that rich life. It’s perfectly okay if you cannot achieve every single thing on your rich life. The truth is that part of your rich life is the journey of actually creating it. All right, let’s talk about Darby’s YouTube channel and make a plan.
[01:06:51] Ramit: So how long do you need to see if this YouTube channel works out?
[01:06:57] Darby: Well, because financially we’re in a good position, so, um, we haven’t actually put a deadline on it, like, when should I move on? Kirsty? What’s my deadline?
[01:07:13] Ramit: Wait, what the fuck? That’s how you make decisions? You ask her say your deadline? No, don’t do it that way. Do it another way.
[01:07:25] Darby: Um, well, when I’m 35.
[01:07:30] Kirsty: It’s a long deadline. Imagine how depressed you’ll be if at 35 you have zero views still, and not even monetizing, nothing’s coming in, in eight years’ time.
[01:07:51] Ramit: Counter suggest something. Give him a different suggestion. If you don’t like his answer, why don’t you suggest one?
[01:07:58] Kirsty: Um, I mean, I know that the main thing that you want to do is that you like the idea of helping people. So I feel like if in three years’ time of making consistent videos you are really not seeing any– I know it’s a slow thing. If there’s no traction, then I would suggest looking at alternative ways.
[01:08:23] Ramit: Okay, great. Now, one of the greatest things I get to do is to, uh, also weigh in on these relationship conversations. So I share what I think, uh–
[01:08:33] Kirsty: Yeah.
[01:08:33] Ramit: About this? Three years is way too long. Holy shit. You can’t go three years hoping and praying the God of views is going to bless you. No way. No entrepreneur would just go, I’m going to dedicate my entire life for three years without any measurable milestones. That’s not how successful entrepreneurs work. And just to check this, how many successful entrepreneurs do the two of you know?
[01:09:03] Kirsty: None.
[01:09:04] Darby: Apart from the person we’re speaking to now.
Thank you very much. And if that’s true, then let me tell you. Three years is way too long. Shrink that. Way shrink, like six months max. Let’s talk about what you need to make this super successful and let’s set out some milestones. I’m going to be your partner, Darby, in this conversation. What milestones do you think, uh, would tell you if you’re on the right track or not?
[01:09:32] Darby: For six months’ time?
[01:09:34] Ramit: Sure.
[01:09:36] Darby: Um, I guess to be earning a 1,000 a month.
[01:09:48] Ramit: Anything else?
[01:09:50] Darby: How many videos? Oh, it’d be one every couple of weeks.
[01:09:53] Ramit: Uh, so that’s one every two weeks? Oh, wow. Okay. And how many views did your last video get?
[01:10:01] Darby: Like a 100.
[01:10:02] Ramit: Okay. How much does your videos need to get, uh, within two months?
[01:10:10] Darby: Um, within two months, uh, easily over a 1,000.
[01:10:15] Ramit: Wow. Okay, good. I like that growth rate. Very nice. Over 1,000. So now you’re laying out month by month how much I want to target. Great. What else? Uh, monetization is the last piece of it. Is there anything else? So one video every two weeks, 1,000 video views after a month. So those milestones feel pretty good. Uh, I’m going to turn to the YouTube expert real quick. Kirsty, are those fair? Are there any other milestones?
[01:10:42] Kirsty: Yeah. I mean, I am worried that– I’ve said this to you before, Darbs, that I feel like you don’t like coming into it with a business mindset. So you’re like, I’ll get the views and then I’ll decide how I’ll actually monetize it instead of going into it with a clear idea of how you’re going to make money in it and I don’t think you like thinking about that because you’re not quite sure. Um, and that’s what I’m concerned about say if you get thousands of views and you start getting thousands of subscribers, how are you going to monetize it? You just don’t–
[01:11:14] Ramit: Let’s just talk about it right now.
[01:11:16] Kirsty: Yeah.
[01:11:16] Ramit: Because a $1,000 a month is what he plans to be making within six months. How are you going to make that money?
[01:11:26] Darby: That will probably just be from ad revenue.
[01:11:31] Kirsty: That would be a lot of ads. That would be a lot of views to get a 1,000.
[01:11:34] Darby: Yeah, you’re right.
[01:11:35] Kirsty: A month. That’s like 500,000 views or maybe 400,000 views a month.
[01:11:39] Darby: You’re right. Yeah. Um, yeah, I mean, we haven’t had these conversations. We haven’t really looked at it.
[01:11:48] Ramit: It’s easy to stay talking about theory, but you could spend the next eight years of your life talking about theory. And if you don’t have real conversations like this, you will wake up at 35 and open that letter in your drawer and you will look at it and say, where did the time go?
[01:12:07] Darby: I’m sure.
[01:12:12] Ramit: So, what do you want to do?
[01:12:19] Darby: Well, I’m not going to quit because I want to–
[01:12:28] Kirsty: We’re not saying to quit. You just need a plan around how to monetize it, how to be more in control of it.
[01:12:43] Ramit: When I was starting my business, health insurance is very difficult in America to figure out which insurance to get and what does it cover. I had to get my own health insurance, and it was incredibly confusing. I could not figure it out. I’m an educated guy. I just could not figure out what to do.
So I put out a survey online saying like, is anyone else frustrated with health insurance? And all these people were like, oh my God, I don’t know where to get PPO, and I said, if I created something on this, a guide, would you be interested? And it was 90% of people said, yes, yes, yes. Create it. Please. I’ll buy anything.
We started creating it, and comparing this and really building this beautiful guide. And midway through we tested to see if people would pay something like $50 for it. You know what they said to us? No fucking way. They were like, oh, uh, yeah, I don’t know what health insurance to get and I’m probably going to have to pay $200,000 out of pocket for this thing, but I don’t want to pay for this thing. I’ll just call my broker. I don’t know. Uh, I’ll figure it out later. Uh, all these reasons.
And you know what I thought to myself? Thank God that we stopped doing this thing that was never going to work. Because if we had tried, it would’ve been the most depressing way to spend the next five years of our life, building something that we think should be in the world that we can see should be in the world but the bottom line is nobody actually wants it. And so we quit. We quit.
And thank God we did because closing that door allowed us to open up several other doors where it actually felt easy, where we could actually see people saying, please, yes, take my money. Double engine growth, for example. What did that feel like? That’s an expensive program. Thousands of dollars. What did that feel like to sign up for?
[01:14:50] Kirsty: Uh, I didn’t really think about it much.
[01:14:52] Ramit: There you go. That’s an example of a fantastic customer experience. They go, yeah, I trust this guy. I know his stuff. It’s going to be awesome. Boom. Done. Thousands of dollars. Here you go. Now what if I had been playing small and trying to beat everyone over the head to buy a $50 ebook on health insurance? We would not be here.
I’m not telling you to quit your YouTube channel. That’s not what I’m saying at all. What I am saying is that the worst thing in the world is for a smart person to go sideways. Meaning they don’t go up. They don’t go down. They just keep hammering at it for years and years. It’s an awful existence.
So what I like to do is compress the time. Three months or six months, either it starts taking off huge, or we pull the plug, take it out back, shoot it in the head, and move on to the next thing. How do you feel hearing that?
[01:15:54] Darby: I like that a lot. I respect you a lot, so I’m really listening intently, and I’ve never had a conversation like this before, so I’m finding it really, really valuable. So I really, really appreciate it. And I think you are right, that in order for me to achieve my goals, having that time constraint to shoot a firework up my ass and get me moving, um, yeah, I think that is really helpful and really important and, yeah, I appreciate that a lot.
[01:16:34] Ramit: I would honestly take that letter and I would fucking rip that thing up and I would do it ceremonially. I would film it. I would do a bonfire outside. I would say, this is my old self who set this rule. It’s not helping you at all. It’s actually keeping you small and the rules you think are helping you are actually keeping you in your own mental prison. Rip it up, burn it, and instead create a new set of rules. What are they? One, I’m going to move fast. Two, I am going to achieve $50,000 a year minimum, even though I know I can achieve much more, but I’m going to do it in whatever form it takes.
So maybe it’s YouTube, maybe not. I mean, the real question is, would you rather make a $100,000 a year working for an amazing boss, or would you rather make $20,000 on YouTube? These are questions you need to grapple with. And candidly, you’re young, you haven’t known much. We all have these ideas of, I only want to do it this way, but I can tell you what you don’t want to do is keep beating your head against the wall for something that’s not working. This is my opinion, but I believe that you can’t think your way out of this one. Ultimately, you need to start earning money.
[01:17:54] Darby: Yeah.
[01:17:54] Ramit: Because without it, it’s just rumination day after day. And you used the word unfulfilled several times. You are unfulfilled in part, I believe, because you’ve been trying this thing half-heartedly for a few years. I know it’s only recently you’ve really gone in on it. But that would be frustrating to anybody, and that’s why I’m in such a hurry for you to either make this thing work or to get onto something else.
[01:18:24] Darby: I see. Okay. I hear you loud and clear.
[01:18:26] Ramit: Cool.
[01:18:27] Darby: I want you to know that what you said to me has resonated with me. I’m deeply emotional right now because I’m processing what you said. Um, so it’s not going straight over me. Kirsty and I we’ll sit down and we’ll have these com– we’ll go through these steps.
[01:18:45] Ramit: Yeah.
[01:18:47] Ramit: The key lesson of today’s podcast, the key lesson of today’s conversation is you’ve got to be more decisive. Sometimes I talk to people who have been agonizing over the same question. What credit card should I get? Uh, should I get the Chase Sapphire Reserve or, uh, Fidelity? For 15 years. I go, “Pick one. Pick both.” We cannot be indecisive, especially on three-dollar questions. So being decisive is a skill that is learned, and beneath this indecisiveness is a fear of making the wrong decision, a fear of being seen as stupid, a fear of not picking the perfect decision, in other words, being a perfectionist.
But what you realize is that perfectionism is really for losers. It is a mechanism that allows us to avoid making decisions and making decisions is where real progress is gained. That’s where we learn. Most decisions are reversible. You picked the wrong credit card? Big deal. Close it. Get another one. There are certain decisions that are really big. Should we have kids? Should we buy a house? Those ones you should be really thoughtful about. But the three-dollar questions, they can become a trap. And so I’d like to now read you the follow up messages that I got from Darby and Kirsty.
Darby said, “After our uncomfortable, potentially dream-crushing conversation, the first thing I did the next day was put together a six month plan and a one year financial goal that we both agreed upon and signed. I completely agree with you that without a specific short-term goal, I would just be hammering away at the same thing, but potentially be in the same position I am now at 35 years old with more shame and failure on my shoulders.
“With this new plan, I’m driven towards a specific goal with the understanding I will find a way to make money if I don’t reach the goal. You’ve helped me realize how much of a restrictive mindset I had and how damaging that was to my career and our relationship.” Fantastic work, Darby. I’m thrilled to get that follow up.”
And Kirsty, she wrote, “Thank you for shining a light on our lack of decisiveness. We didn’t realize it before, but now we are starting to see how most of the time we talk a lot, but never make a decision. Since the call, whenever we find ourselves talking but not getting anywhere, we just say, okay, what is our decision? I now realize that finding the perfect solution is not as important as finding a good enough solution and actually implementing it. Worrying about not picking the perfect index fund or not being the most tax efficient has made me put off investing for years, even though I really wanted to do it. Your coaching has helped me stop this and start taking action.”
Darby and Kirsty also shared a new CSP. Here’s what they decided. “We will pay ourselves a salary of 300,000 per year. The remaining profit will be invested. We merged Partner 1 and Partner 2 as we wanted to view this as our joint finances. We are putting aside $1,000 to spend on each other for gifts and birthdays and for family. We are putting 20,000 aside for a nice family vacation each year.” And Kirsty added, “I was originally thinking 10k, but Darby said 20K, which I loved.” I want to thank you for listening and for watching. I’m Ramit Sethi, and this is, I Will Teach You to Be Rich.