Working on the UK edition of I Will Teach You To Be Rich

Ramit Sethi

I’ve been working on the UK edition of my book and laughed out loud when I saw these edits from my UK editor:



Ice lolly? Awww. What other funny words can I learn?

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  1. Moneymonk

    You know they have a different lingo from us

    Just embrace it 🙂

  2. jason lee

    lorry = truck
    wc = water closet (bathroom)
    loo = toilet

    there are more, but i can’t remember.

  3. yatesc

    I already have the book, so instead of notifying me when the UK version comes out, can you notify me when you find more UK word changes? 🙂

  4. cukamunger

    My favorite is the queue. You don’t stand in a line, you stand in a queue. Also, proof that the Brits had an influence on Star Trek.

  5. April

    I’ll be holding on to me knickers in anticipation.

  6. asad

    when i was a small child in karachi i always went to the corner store for an ice lolly… not so in your indian summers?

  7. Jim (Brit)

    Make sure you spell colour correctly. Don’t forget s instead of z in many words i.e. authorisation not authorization. Check Google, there are a hell of a lot of differences.

  8. Jake P

    It’s great that you’re doing a UK version! I’ve been working my way through the book for the past few weeks having moved to the UK two years ago.

    Despite all the differences, I still found the advice tremendously useful.

    Some of the issues I’ve run across:

    The lack of online services in the UK similar to (though now that it was bought by Intuit, it may become less relevant).

    The likelihood of a credit card company or bank negotiating with the customer seems to be to be significantly lower here. I’d be interested in any updated statistics you might have (vs the 85% in the US for waived overdraft fees).

    The differences between a Roth IRA and a self-directed ISA.

    The immaturity of the ETF market in the UK compared to the US. For example, Vanguard recently entered the market but the minimum investment for any of their funds is £100,000.

    I hope to see these issues addressed in the UK edition.

    Also, I want to say that the most important content in the book is the mindset it instills in people. As a result of reading the book, I didn’t give up after being rejected for a credit card due to insufficient history in the UK. I spoke to three different agents until I got enough information to lodge an appeal which was eventually accepted!

  9. Lee

    Not sure about “ice lolly stick”, that’s not quite right. It’s “lollipop stick”. (I’m a Brit). Google the phrases, “lollipop stick” returns twice the results.

    I’m not even sure it’s worth the effort, just publish your US text. Brits would understand “popsicle stick”. I figure we get a lot more exposure to US English over here than vice-versa. The differences in financial/banking practices would be more important to cover (e.g. we wouldn’t understand 401k).

    They were teasing ‘Hanna Montana’ about this on the radio when she was a guest recently, it was hilarious, she didn’t know what “a-loo-min-ee-um” was.

  10. Doug

    This reminds me of a funny story. I’m an American working in the software industry. The company I was working for at the time was looking at a potential partnership with a UK company. This company’s promotional material mentioned that they specialized in “Bespoke Software”. My management came to me, the supposed software expert, to find out what exactly “bespoke software” was. I had never seen the word in my life, much less in a software context. I couldn’t even guess at a meaning (“Uh, software of which someone has spoken?”). I briefly debated between confessing my ignorance and trying to fake it, but wisely decided to come clean, and told them I’d research it.

    I hit Google and found several UK companies that mentioned their Bespoke Software but didn’t really explain what that meant. Then, oddly, I found other sites that sold men’s clothing and spoke of “Bespoke Suits”. I racked my brain to try and figure out what bizarre connection there might be between software and suits, in a vain attempt to parse out the meaning of this word.

    After much clicking around and mentally triangulating, I finally figured out that “bespoke” is a word that roughly means “custom made”. It’s apparently a perfectly valid English word, but one that I’ve NEVER heard used in America. You won’t even really find it in our dictionaries.

    Moral of the story: Just because two countries speak the “same language” doesn’t mean there won’t be some language barriers. 🙂

  11. Jake P

    @Doug: Bespoke is the opposite of OTS (Off The Shelf) which can refer to both suits and software 🙂

  12. peterxyz

    and in the UK you don’t go out in the street in your pants (they are underwear)

  13. BillyOceansEleven

    It is funny how there are so many differences between two countries that speak the same language. I worked for a UK based company for several years and then in my next job did consulting work for another UK based company, so I’d encountered a few of these before. A few more:

    car park = parking lot
    lift = elevator

    Not really a language issue, but the thing that baffled me more than anything when I was over there a few years ago was that the “first floor” is what we would call the second floor here in the states. I was kind of embarassed when I was supposed to meet a client contact at the “first floor” of their office in London and waited in the lobby for 20 minutes wondering where the hell he was. It’s even screwier than the driving on the left thing in my mind.

  14. Gerard

    Are you going to do something similar for us Aussies?! That would be a beauty!

  15. Nique

    I second that Gerard. Bring on an Aussie version!
    Please 🙂

  16. Jean

    Translation aside, why the hell are they copyediting your book by hand? are they not aware of the “track changes” feature in MS Word? I’m horrified.

    • Ramit Sethi

      That’s how it’s done on books like this, believe it or not.

  17. Scott

    UK: Pants = Underpants
    US: Pants = Trousers

  18. Franke

    My favorite Britishism is “kit” which roughly translates into “gear.” But it’s a bit more all-encompassing than gear.

  19. Rob in Madrid

    Funny you’d mention this as I’m just watching bill Brysons Notes from a Small Island DVD and it’s just that kind of stuff to a t.

  20. Lee

    Oh, and it’s not uncommon for pupils to carry a rubber in their pencil case. In fact, most schools provide pencils with a rubber on the end.

  21. The Arabic Student

    Wow, I thought I knew most of the different words that the British used, but this one is totally knew for me. One of the funniest I’ve heard too. lol

  22. Rob in Madrid

    I teach young kids English and I have to keep myself from laughing everytime they ask for a RUBBER! There too young to teach them easier

  23. Terri

    My husband is from the UK and the best one is:
    Lollipop Lady = Crossing guard

    Because they hold the stick with a circle on the top to control the traffic at school crosswalks! HAHA!

  24. dan foy

    A lot of the suggestions here, whilst good natured, sound a bit unnatural. Your young target audience is probabally more Americanized than you realise, and there really is no need to change words like ‘lorry’ or ‘loo’ or ‘line’. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone call a lift an ‘elevator’ outside of a health and safety manual.

    I’ve read and loved your book, and no doubt am going to have to ebay it in favour of the UK version. So much of it made so little sense because of the differences in monetary systems, 401(k) and ROTH ISAs seeming to be the things you talk about most that don’t really have any relevance here.

  25. Rob

    @Jake p & @Doug – my company is named Bespoke Real Estate. Based in Melbourne, Australia. We specialise in custom made real estate solutions for our customers. Cheers, Rob.

    Ps: our English is very much similar to GB rather than US English.

  26. francis

    A lot of suggestions but most of it is PANTS.
    As Dan Foy mentioned, your target audience is more American than you realise and the book is not a health and safety manual, PLEASE.

    What needs to be highlighted is the differences in monetary systems, 401(k), ROTH ISAs and some of the investments.

  27. dreamseller

    As a side note to this dicussion: Can ISAs (Individual Savings Accounts) be considered as similar to Roth IRAs?

    I understand ISAs are not retirement accounts (that’s not what I’m looking for anyway), but are they the nearest contemporary to the investment accounts Ramit talks about in the book?

    I want to start investing here in the UK using the tips Ramit highlights in the book, but obviously 401 (k)s and Roth IRAs aren’t available to me. Should I open an account with a broker (as mentioned in the book), and then set up an ISA from there?



    PS I can’t access the I Will Teach You To Be Rich forums. Is there a way to have my account activated there. I have many other questions like these ones, and it would be great to have a place to ask questions and compare notes with other fans of the book (especially fellow Brit readers!)

  28. pao

    @ Jake K, instead of, I use in the UK and it is quite good, and getting better

  29. Not My Mother

    As others have said, while it’s cute that your publisher is changing some words to be more anglicised, it’s nowhere near as important as changing your core information to cater for the British market. 401ks are unknown there, as are CDs, but put in ISAs instead… the hardest thing about reading american finance blogs is how much of the information is specific to the US market, but there just isn’t the same depth of information out there in blogs for other countries.

    (BTW popsicle does = ice lolly. A lollipop is a hard candy (sweet) on a little round stick. Not quite the same thing)

    • Ramit Sethi

      Yes, all those changes will be in the UK edition, too.

  30. Jake P

    @pao: Thanks! I will check it out.
    @dreamseller: You can open a self-directed ISA stocks & shares ISA that will let you invest £7200/year with all gains being tax free. Check out and for the different credit card and ISA providers.

  31. Lee

    @NotMyMother#30: Lollipop/lolly is used for both ice lollies and the Chupa Chups type. Lolly is just an abbreviation. The flat wooden ice lolly sticks are generally referred to as a lollipop sticks, perhaps its a regional thing (and let’s not go there), but I’ve always known them as lollipop sticks. (wooden lollipop sticks, like off ice lollies – 100 for 99p, bargain).

  32. Liz

    I’m British. I say “ice lolly stick”. It’s a flat wooden blade. A lollipop stick is a tube of plastic like the one on a Chupa Chup. An ice lolly is frozen a lollipop isn’t

  33. Lee

    Yeah, I am English, I once heard someone from the south say “Ice Lolly” and it struck me as immature, but it’s nothing worth debating. Being British you should just accept little differences and just live with them.

  34. jon

    Please please please please PLEASE include the word “Fanny” and “Pants” in your book! If for nothing else, just to see how it is edited by the British editors!!!!!

  35. Lee

    Hi, the US version is already on sale here (UK) though, which is a bit frustrating for those of us who have bought it!

  36. Mathew

    Ramit, I’ve been reading your emails for few months now. Keep going. I really really really hope that you would start an INDIAN version of this whole movement. This is a revolution of sorts – in personal finance. But please start an Indian version with relevant information..

  37. Lee