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How I spent over $50,000 on luxury services last year

Ramit Sethi

Now THIS is interesting.

On Monday, I wrote a massive post about how we’re going to get MORE in 2015. Hundreds of comments said, HELL YA RAMIT, I WANT MORE!

Then, yesterday, I decided to get a little more specific about what “more” actually means to you.

All of a sudden, things changed.

Look at this email I got yesterday:

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Guy: “Woohoo… I want an assistant!”

My response:

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I showed him exactly what it would take to get what he claimed he wanted. Let’s see how he responds:

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He literally says, “I could afford it,” but when it goes from “dream” to “reality,” he starts backpedaling.

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MY REACTION:

ramit_cuttheshitSurrogate Asian Father tries his hand at encouragement

 

Can you guys see what’s going on here?

This dude from the email above was ALL about getting the luxury of an assistant…until I got down to SPECIFICS. Suddenly, he had 50 reasons why he couldn’t do it.

Do you see how we love to DREAM about more, but when we see how to actually get it, our minds create all kinds of excuses? He even said, I would absolutely take the assistant…not enough hours in the day…I could afford it” — but when I showed him exactly what it would take to get it…

…he ran away!

DREAMS ARE CHEAP. Anyone can say what they want. Few will actually do something to get it.

Think about it — exactly a year ago, in January, how many of us read some motivational post telling us to reach for the stars, be all you can be, find your sisterhood, blah blah blah?

Maybe we said, “YES! THIS IS THE YEAR FOR ME!”

And what changed? Saying you want more is the EASY part! EVERYBODY wants more. What are you going to do about it?

The key insight: It’s easy to toss around platitudes like “More Passion!” and “Live Healthier!” but when you get specific, a lot of people get really uncomfortable:

“Michael Pollan, the best-selling author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and a leading advocate of buying locally grown food, recently upset many of his fans by daring to put numbers on his oft-repeated prescription to “pay more, eat less.” Eight dollars for a dozen eggs? $3.90 for a pound of peaches?

“Those figures were way too specific and way, way too high to go unnoticed. The humanistic foe of industrialized eating suddenly sounded like a privileged elitist, and the local-food cause seemed insensitive to cash-strapped shoppers.”

Fascinating.

It’s all puppies and flowers until you get into specifics. And that’s when everybody says, WOAH THERE, BUSTER.

We all dream about more, but when it gets down to actually GETTING IT, what happens?

  1. The specifics of MORE scare us: $500 for an assistant every month? Not now…maybe later
  2. We start creating tons of reasons why WE can’t do this: I could do it myself, I’m really busy at work right now, maybe later this year…

After years and years, we’ve built the habit of dreaming about more — but doing nothing to get it. In fact, some of us even know people who don’t even bother dreaming big any more.

I will never let that happen to you.

This affects all of us, even top performers. For example, watch my friend Pam talk about how she realized why she had been procrastinating on getting “more”:

Notice how she was afraid to go after more because it “wasn’t her.” Then she realized YOU define what More is!

Maybe your luxury is insane. Who cares?

Let’s get one thing clear: Luxury doesn’t have to mean a $50,000 dog house or a gaudy fur coat. YOU choose what luxury means to you.

I might think it’s insane, your college friend might think it’s insane, but if you’re getting superlative value from it, that’s luxury.

Instead of being dismissive of all luxuries (like I used to be), I decided to learn about the reasons behind why people pursue more, even when others might find it ridiculous or frivolous.

Check out what I learned:

LUXURY REASON #1: Functional I used to dismiss people who got first-class airplane tickets by saying, “Ugh, we both get to the same place, and I just saved $2,000.” I was a stupid know-it-all when I said that. Now I know CEOs who travel first class because they can sleep a full 6 hours on a cross-country flight, land, and go straight to a meeting. Luxury can be functional.

LUXURY REASON #2: Economical Luxury is, by definition, not cheap. But some people change from a “disposable” mentality of buying cheap umbrellas, cheap clothes, cheap EVERYTHING…to selectively buying the best and keeping it forever. I have a coat that costs what many would consider an obscene amount. If I keep it for 10 years — which I will — the price becomes much more palatable. And that says nothing about how much I love wearing it.

LUXURY REASON #3: $20,000 means nothing to them So many people cannot fathom the idea that what costs a lot to you may not cost that much to someone else. Go look at literally any forum online about how much people paid for wedding rings. 100% of the respondents will say something like, “My husband paid $287 and we’ve been married 890 years. Anyone who pays more is a fool!” That is great, Dorothy. But there are also people for whom $20,000 is nothing. They saved more, or they earned more, or they just have more (here’s what $50,000 is to Jay-Z).

What’s important to understand is that YOUR FINANCIAL SITUATION IS NOT EVERYONE ELSE’S. Personally, I wanted to know who these people are and how they did it.

LUXURY REASON #4: YOU JUST WANT IT! There’s nothing wrong with just WANTING something! When I got my apartment in NYC, I had a certain budget. As I toured apartment after apartment, I realized…I just want a nice place. Sure, I could come up with all these BS reasons like “Oh Ramit, you’ll be so much more efficient,” but the truth is: I WANTED IT. If you want something, and you can afford it, IT’S OK TO GET IT!

How I define luxury and more may be different than you… AND THAT’S GOOD. Today I want to show you what luxury means to me so you can see what’s possible.

How I spent more than $50,000 on luxury services last year — and why

I spend over $50,000 a year on items that could be considered luxuries. I make no apologies. In fact, I LOVE THEM! I earned them, I enjoy them, and they help me spend my time the way I want to. These luxuries are part of how I define a Rich Life of living more.

Do I need them? Of course not.

Could I be happy without them? Yes, of course. I was happy then — when we grew up middle class on one income (my Mom stayed home) — and I’m happy now. And if I had to start again without all the luxuries I now have, I could do it tomorrow.

But these make me happy and I can afford them — so I enjoy them, guilt-free. I get to wake up slowly, get dressed, walk into the living room and check out the view while I brew some tea, then begin my day, knowing that everything else is taken care of.

So take a look. Here are 3 examples of luxuries in my life.

My personal trainer

Everyone says being healthy is important, but I wanted to make it a priority of my time and spending.

That’s why I hired a personal trainer for $16,380/year. I see him 3x/week and I never miss a session. Together, he’s helped me change from THIS to THIS

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If you’re interested in learning about my workout plan and diet, click here.

 

After each workout, he records that day’s workout program (sets/reps/weight) and emails it to my assistant, who compiles it and sends it to…

My nutritionist

This costs me $3,000/year. My nutritionist has his IFBB Pro Card and evaluates my progress pics / workouts, responds to my questions within 24 hours, and adjusts my diet every single week. That weekly updated diet goes straight to…

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My personal chef

I love home-cooked food and I want it to be in line with my training requirements — and I don’t want to learn to cook. The chef gets the new week’s diet and cooks it for me using precise measurements. He even knows what I love (spicy food) and what I don’t (no tomatoes). So every morning, I open my fridge knowing I’ll have fresh food ready and waiting for me.

Last year, I spent $21,635.64 on my personal chef, and it was worth every penny.

Here’s a quick little video look inside my fridge

 

All of this happens invisibly. I have a system that automatically routes the information from the right person to the right person. I just focus on showing up and working as hard as I can, and I get massively accelerated results. What used to be an overwhelming, complicated time-suck is now an extremely valuable system that happens automatically.

First-class travel

I wrote about my system set up for travel, which includes a 40-page document detailing my favorite seats, airlines, and travel preferences. Travel is important to me, and my philosophy is to travel any time I can for business or fun.

In 2014, I took a last-minute skiing trip with my friends, went to Asia on a week’s notice, and flew to Barbados for my birthday. I also have a second apartment in San Francisco where I spend some time. In total, I spent $31.177.37 on first- and business-class flights last year.

PicMonkey-CollageVisiting my readers in Manila (Philippines), NYC, and San Francisco

 

Remember, these are MY luxuries for me at this point in my life. They would not have made sense 5 years ago — because I wouldn’t have been able to afford them or appreciate them — and they will probably be very different 10 years from now. But they are the definition of a Rich Life — a life of MORE — to me.

And that brings me to you.

 

You Deserve More, Not Less

Yesterday, an IWT reader wrote to me about leaving behind a group of frugalistas she’d gotten to know:

“Frugality has its place, but I couldn’t even write about buying a riding lawn mower for my 1/2-acre yard without 20 comments about “A riding mower is not a necessity. I have one acre and use a push mower in the 90-degree heat.” And here I thought I WAS being frugal by not hiring a lawn service! Whatevers.”

Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

If you surround yourself with people who constantly think about LESS, how can you ever expect to get more?

Can you imagine me, 15 years ago in high school, talking about having a private chef? It would be absurd.

The difference is, now you’re not forced to sit in a classroom with random people. YOU GET TO CONTROL WHO YOU HANG OUT WITH.

YOU get to control what you want. There’s no shame in wanting more, no matter how many people tell you to be “satisfied with what you have.”

How could they want more? Many of them have been surrounded and inculcated by generations of people who only knew the same. They don’t know any better.

But you do.

When it comes to luxury, more, business, fitness, and everything I’m working on — I’m HAPPY. But I’m not satisfied.

And I want you to know that you can want more and you can get more. In fact, you deserve more. But only if you put the work in to get it.

There are two kinds of people who will read this post today.

Some will read it as intellectual entertainment and say, “Nice, nice…a personal chef…that would be nice. Some day…”

They will take no action, and next year — in January 2016 — they’ll start the cycle of making big promises to themselves, getting motivated, and falling back to identical patterns all over again.

Another group will read this and say, “This year is it. I want MORE, not less. And I’m willing to change to get it.”

A personal chef never happens by accident. Neither does a $10,000 raise or a successful online business. No luxury does, no matter what your definition of a Rich Life is. You have to intentionally change to get it.

Now the choice is yours.

Which will you be?

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