Nate and Serena are in their late 20s. They are engaged and live together, but a vast difference in their incomes creates an awkward dynamic when it comes to paying for shared expenses. They think their hot-button issue is a $3,000 loan between them—it’s a lot deeper than that.

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Sometimes now when we talk about money, I feel like I’m stepping into like a landmine.

–Serena

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Transcript

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Serena: [00:00:02] I don’t know. It’s a good answer. Sometimes now when we talk about money, I feel I’m stepping into a land mine. I’m making more than Nate is now, but he’s going to be making a lot more than me.

Ramit Sethi: [00:00:17] So it’s a gradation?

Serena: [00:00:19] Yeah.

Ramit Sethi: [00:00:19] What’s the number where in your mind, it changes?

Serena: [00:00:22] I never even thought about that, to be honest.

Ramit Sethi: [00:00:24] Because it’s not a number. It’s not a number.

Serena: [00:00:29] And it’s like, I love Nate. He’s my person. We’re engaged and I’m thrilled. So why is it so hard for me to do this?

Ramit Sethi: [00:00:39] [Narration]

Meet Nate and Serena. They’re both in their late 20s, they are engaged, and they have a fascinating perspective on money. Serena was raised the daughter of immigrants, and for most of her 20s, she felt poor living in New York City. She’s only recently gotten a higher paying job. She now makes about $80,000 a year. And she has some very strong opinions on how money should be spent in their relationship. 

Nate makes $45,000 a year. He’s a resident, but in a couple of years he’s going to be a doctor and at that point his salary will increase dramatically. Now, the crux of the conversation today happens around different expectations. Serena thinks that money should be spent and distributed a certain way. Nate is just too busy going to work to even really want to talk about it. So stick with me as I talk with Nate and Serena. 

And before we go on, I want to mention two important things. First off, starting today, I have added videos to our podcast. That’s right. It means instead of just listening to the couple, you can now see them. And I want you to pay attention because on today’s episode with Nate and Serena, you can see their body language and their smiles and the way they look at each other, and even some unexpected moments. So head on over to my YouTube channel. I am at Ramit Sethi on YouTube. Click, subscribe and watch today’s episode on video. 

The second thing I have is a request for you. In the show notes today, I have a little survey link. I’d like to know more about you, and everyone who listens to this podcast so I can find out how to make it better for you. So I hope to see you on YouTube so you can watch this episode. And now, let’s get to Nate and Serena.

[Interview]

Serena: [00:02:40] Nate and I are currently planning a trip. We’ve done most of the planning, but we’re going on a trip next month to see my family in Asia for the first time ever, not just since the pandemic. I’ve been many times, but he has not, so this is a really big deal for me. And pretty much from the beginning Nate said, “I cannot afford this trip. We’re really going to have to wave a magic wand in order for this to happen.” So I ended up-fronting a lot of the costs and so now–

Ramit Sethi: [00:03:18] How much?

Serena: [00:03:20] I lent Nate about $3,000 in order to cover his portion, and I was happy to do it. I think I didn’t anticipate the stress that would cause me to have him in debt, which I know sounds weird, but I’m not the person that likes to have loose and just unaccounted for. So I think having that question mark has caused me to be a little more nervous than I usually I’m about money. Specifically, to answer your question in the last month, I would say like the cadence of like, “So when are we, Nate, going to start paying this off?” Is starting to sort of cause some issues.

Ramit Sethi: [00:04:08] Have you said that out loud or is that just in your head?

Serena: [00:04:11] Oh, no, we’ve talked about it. It doesn’t always go well.

Ramit Sethi: [00:04:15] So who brought it up?

Serena: [00:04:18] Me. It was probably something along the lines of, I know you’re stressed about money as you usually are, and that’s okay. But it would really help me to have an idea of when and how much we can start paying this back little by little.

Ramit Sethi: [00:04:34] Nate, what do you remember about that conversation where Serena said, “Hey, I know you’re stressed about money. When can you start paying me back?”

Nate: [00:04:45] That’s pretty much how it was phrased in my recollection, which obviously is unbeatable on my end when my response is, well, I don’t know, because of all these financial factors and I’m very constantly on the cusp of paying off credit cards every month, and rent and I’m not going to know until I get paid exactly how everything is going to balance out. 

I feel that’s unacceptable as a response and ends up becoming the case that needs an answer, “When am I going to pay her back and how much exactly? When? Which fits with her personality as someone who plans a lot. But it can lead to arguments and things like that. Absolutely.

Ramit Sethi: [00:05:43] What did it feel like to you when she asks you that question?

Nate: [00:05:47] Well, if it was once a month, I think it wouldn’t bother me very much at all. It’s far more than once a month.

Ramit Sethi: [00:05:56] How much?

Nate: [00:05:58] At least weekly, if not more. And it’s–

Serena: [00:06:03] I feel weekly is about right.

Ramit Sethi: [00:06:06] And at what time of the day would this come up? Like, are you brushing your teeth or what?

Serena: [00:06:11] Probably within minutes of him coming home. Yeah. I’m like, “Hey. How is your day? Nice to see you.” Our dog will greet him by his face for, like, 30 seconds straight–

Nate: [00:06:22] 10 minutes.

Serena: [00:06:24] For a long time, and then I’ll bring it up, like, “Hi. There’s something I want to talk about, if that’s okay. I know you still owe me some cash for our trip, and can we talk about paying me back?”

Nate: [00:06:43] Usually I respond by saying, I need a moment. Please give me a moment, because it takes me a long time to switch gears after I’m coming home from work, which is my own personality and just being tired all the time. So really after that, I sort of default again– because this is something that probably came up less than a week ago, I default back to, well, the answer hasn’t changed in the past six or seven days.

I still need to wait until my paycheck comes in and I know what my credit card bill is going to be, and I’m not completely in control exactly what that credit card bill is, because I need to pay for gas into all these things. And so there are these factors that do change from week to week. So basically [Inaudible 00:07:31].

Serena: [00:07:31] But you are in control of your spending. And so for me, that is usually how it goes. And me being me, I’m sort of like, “Well, things haven’t changed or I don’t know,” is not a good answer. The big thing for us is, I need to have a plan, like some sort of idea. And it could be starting three months from now, I will be able to give you $100 a month. That would be fine with me. 

I think the issue we have now is there is no plan. So I’m just very much in the dark about where and when I can expect to be paid back. And do I need this money right away? No, I do not. I’m very fortunate to say that. But I think it’s like I don’t want to be the loose end of not knowing where and when.

Ramit Sethi: [00:08:23] Because what?

Serena: [00:08:24] Because it’s stressful to me and I know it’s definitely more stressful for me.

Ramit Sethi: [00:08:31] Hold on. One step at a time. What’s stressful to you?

Serena: [00:08:35] Not knowing when I’m going to get paid back.

Ramit Sethi: [00:08:38] Why?

Serena: [00:08:41] Okay, maybe stressful is not the right word, but annoying. I think is maybe more accurate because it’s not even like, what if he just doesn’t, like we slowly forget and he never pays me back. I don’t think that’s going to happen. It’s just something, and Nate hinted at this, but if there’s something like an item on a list, I want to be able to cross it off. 

And so for me, even though it’s not like money that I owe somebody, which if someone venmo’s me, they’re getting their money within 30 seconds. I’m very good about paying people back.

Ramit Sethi: [00:09:29] So stay with me. Why is it annoying to you?

Serena: [00:09:33] It’s annoying to me because I feel like it is something where we can’t move forward until we cross that item off the list.

Ramit Sethi: [00:09:46] I see. And moving forward would mean what?

Serena: [00:09:49] Go out to dinner more or save up together to go on a trip where it’s not like, “Okay, I’m going to front this and then we’ll figure it out from there.”

Ramit Sethi: [00:09:58] Can you go on a vacation right now if he owes you $3,000 for this trip?

Serena: [00:10:04] Yeah. That’s what we’re going to do, I think. But yeah.

Ramit Sethi: [00:10:07] Okay. Could you go to dinner if he owed you a bunch of money?

Serena: [00:10:12] We do obviously go out to dinner and stuff, but it is still in the back of my mind when the check comes or like–

[Narration]

Ramit Sethi: [00:10:20] This is a golden moment. I’m not sure what the real issue is yet, but I can also tell that Serena doesn’t really know what the issue is either. She says, we can’t move ahead. But when I ask her what that actually means, she says vacations and eating out, which they’re already doing. 

I think in my 20s I would have heard this and I would have started smiling. And then I would have gone in for the kill, “Hey, you said you can’t move forward without vacations, but you’re actually already taking a vacation. So I caught you in a lie. How do you reconcile that shit? That’s so illogical.”

Well, I’ve evolved a little bit. It may be the case that Serena is illogical with money, but aren’t we all illogical when it comes to money? Also, I want to understand more about why she feels she can’t move forward. That, I think, is the real issue. Why is it vacations? Is there a meaning there I don’t yet understand? Or is there some context to their relationship that I don’t yet get? Sometimes I think it’s just asking more questions and a lot of times it’s just being a little bit more empathetic. 

Now, I will admit deep down, I still love the feeling of hearing someone say something and then watching them contradict themselves 30 seconds later. To me, it feels like finding treasure. When you were a kid, you loved finding a corner in the gumball machines. I loved finding logical inconsistencies. That doesn’t change, but the way I approach it has. Let me ask Serena a little bit more. 

[Interview]

Talk to me about that. So check comes, the server puts it down in the middle of table. What goes through your mind?

Serena: [00:12:03] Well, I know, just based on where we’re at, based on what we usually do, we usually split the check, which I’m fine with. Nate would treat me sometimes and is really generous about, “Oh, let me get you a coffee. Do you want anything?” He’s great about that, and it’s really sweet, especially as someone that is not, by first way, to show love in relationships, but he’s very generous in that sense. 

I guess what goes through my mind is I wish Nate could treat me, but one day we’ll get to that point. But tonight might not be that point. And that’s okay.

Nate: [00:12:41] But you just said that I do treat you more often than you treat me. So it’s just–

Serena: [00:12:45] No, I know.

Nate: [00:12:47] Okay.

Ramit Sethi: [00:12:50] Do you wish he treated you every time?

Serena: [00:12:56] No, but I think when the check arrives, of course, I want to feel taken care of.

Ramit Sethi: [00:13:05] So, Nate, what would you say if you were more generous when that check came?

Nate: [00:13:09] It would probably be, “Do you want me to cover this?” I’d probably do it. The problem sort of being if you knew where to go, a reply will be “Yeah, that would be great. I can’t really afford it.”

Ramit Sethi: [00:13:23] That’s kind of a problem.

Nate: [00:13:26] Absolutely.

Ramit Sethi: [00:13:27] That’s like someone saying to their partner, “Would you like to fly in that private jet?” And they’re like, “Yeah, sure.” It’s like, “Well, I can’t actually afford that.” So that’s cool. I’m glad you want to, but we’re not going. So how can you be generous, Nate, if you can’t afford the dinner?

Nate: [00:13:44] Well, it’s an excellent question. And certainly I can afford on very rare occasions to split a dinner. It’s just sort of how my financial situation is. Currently, there’s not a lot of leeway as I alluded to earlier. It’s difficult for me to take any sort of financial hit in any direction and still being solvent.

Serena: [00:14:08] Then if you’re like, in the back of your mind, like shitting a brick over here. I would say, sorry, can I swear on here?

Ramit Sethi: [00:14:16] You’re invited to. Welcome to.

Serena: [00:14:19] Sorry, I should have asked this.

Ramit Sethi: [00:14:20] Go ahead.

Serena: [00:14:21] No, but I think even if you said something, suppose the check comes and you say, I know I could treat you more often in one day and I’m going to, and one day I want to get to that place. And I really appreciate you in the meantime, I think the acknowledgement or appreciation of splitting a check– I don’t need a trophy for doing that. That’s pretty normal. I just think acknowledging it or, like, saying, something might help. Does that make sense?

Nate: [00:14:58] Sure. Yeah.

Serena: [00:15:00] Like I would love– Yeah, that was fascistic.

Ramit Sethi: [00:15:04] That was a very terse response.

Nate: [00:15:06] I’m thinking my way around it a little bit.

Serena: [00:15:08] I think, like–

Ramit Sethi: [00:15:10] Hold on. This is a great conversation. Nate, what do you think Serena is really saying right now? What is she saying?

Nate: [00:15:16] I know consciously, Serena, you really do believe these things that the man doesn’t always have to pay and stuff like this, but it does sound a little bit like with you splitting the bill, a little bit of that should be, I can be more appreciative of you contributing financially to the meal for sure. But sort of underneath that, it seems there are some latent notions about the man paying all the time or things like that, which himself is problematic, but I think they are there subconsciously.

Serena: [00:15:57] I don’t mean to be wishy washy. I think it’s hard, and I’ll be the first person to say that I’m sort of, I think, trying to have my cake and eat it, too.

Ramit Sethi: [00:16:07] Why don’t we just invert the whole thing and see what happens? Nate says to Serena, “Serena, it would be really nice if you would offer to pick up the check a lot more of the time, because actually, I can’t recall you ever offering. And by the way, you make a lot more money than I do, so don’t you think it would be fair?” Look at that big smile on Nate’s face right now. Nate’s got the biggest smile.

Nate: [00:16:30] It’s a conversation that happened.

Ramit Sethi: [00:16:30] I’ve seen it the entire time.

Nate: [00:16:31] It’s happened, yeah.

Ramit Sethi: [00:16:32] Well, let’s have the conversation right now. Let’s just flip the whole thing and see what happens, because we can’t be wishy washy about these really important things which are causing conflict once a week, minimum. Okay, so, Nate, go ahead. Take it and run. Have the conversation.

Nate: [00:16:46] So, Serena, it be nice if you pay the check sometimes, especially because you earn a lot more than I do.

Serena: [00:16:55] I totally understand that. If I’m going to be covering us, I would just like to know beforehand. But keep in mind, just because I make more money doesn’t mean I don’t have my own student loans and bills and stuff that I pay for us, so I can treat you, but I can’t treat you all the time.

Nate: [00:17:18] Which isn’t really what the question is. Nobody’s asking each other to be treated all the time here.

Serena: [00:17:26] No. Yeah, I know. I just think because someone makes more doesn’t mean that I have a shit ton of disposable income. So I have a fair bit and I’m not worrying and stressing about day to day stuff. But I–

Ramit Sethi: [00:17:45] Can I interrupt you? I feel like this is going in a bad direction. Let me ask one question and then I make one observation. Are you both highly intellectual?

Nate: [00:17:56] Too much.

Ramit Sethi: [00:17:57] Yeah. I’m like, “Jesus Christ, I love a good intellectual.” Listen, I have a very long academic history myself, but you two talk yourselves around the issue a lot. Paying the check is a financial question. Absolutely. But it’s also a deeply emotional one. 

So, Serena, you actually explicitly said the word emotional. You said, “I want this emotional” and I don’t recall, really you finish the sentence. You said the phrase, I want to be taken care of, which is highly emotional. So on your end, when the check comes and he offers– and you created this very nice script for him to say, “Hey, I’d like to you to acknowledge this and that,” all emotional and that’s totally fine. Money is emotional. 

But what’s interesting is that when we flip the script and he said to you, “Hey, I would actually like for you to pick up the check sometimes,” your answer was totally intellectual. Well, sure I can, but then just because I make more money doesn’t mean I don’t have more expenses and I have at this and that. What he’s really looking for is? What?

Serena: [00:19:02] Emotion.

Nate: [00:19:03] Yes. So try to answer it. This time meet him where he is. And you’re not off the hook either. I’m coming back to you in just a second.

Nate: [00:19:13] I know. I’m aware.

Serena: [00:19:14] Nate asks me, “You make more than me. I would love it if you covered this check.” This is going against my nature just so everyone does. I think it would be–

Ramit Sethi: [00:19:24] What nature is that it’s going against?

Serena: [00:19:28] It’s going against, of course, like I said before, I like being treated. I don’t need to be treated all the time, but it is the vast majority of the time that I treat him. So I’m just saying it feels weird. It feels a little weird, but let’s say we’re doing it, I think I–

Ramit Sethi: [00:19:56] Look at the difficulty in even saying this in a fake role play. This is amazing.

Serena: [00:20:01] For me, this has happened with other couples, are always okay.

Ramit Sethi: [00:20:04] And what I want you to access here is that you, you even just said it. You said this is going against my nature. What we do in these conversations is we examine our very nature. And where did it come from? Because the way that the two of you see money, treat money, talk about money is deeply influenced by your culture, gender, socioeconomic background, but it’s not necessarily about the spreadsheet. And that’s what we have to grapple with. 

So in this artificial role play, which nobody’s going to hold you to, he asks you and says, “Hey, I’d like for you to pay more.” One, it would be nice because you rarely do it. And two, you actually make a lot more money than me. Go ahead and respond.

Serena: [00:20:48] Okay. I will treat you, this time. I don’t, oh, I know–

Ramit Sethi: [00:20:56] Why did you say that? Why did you say this time, like that? Tell me. Think really hard. Why did you say that?

Serena: [00:21:06] Do you want to know also? I think just because, I don’t want to make it a habit. I know that’s really mean to say.

Ramit Sethi: [00:21:19] You don’t want to make it a habit because?

Serena: [00:21:23] Because I don’t want to pay for both of us all the time.

Ramit Sethi: [00:21:28] Can I just say that nobody’s expecting you to pay for both of you all the time? Fair enough?

Serena: [00:21:33] Yeah. Totally.

Ramit Sethi: [00:21:33] Let’s take that off the table. All right.

Serena: [00:21:35] This is so hard for me. My heart is pounding.

Ramit Sethi: [00:21:40] Yeah, I know. I like watching the difficulty. This is quite cognitively taxing, right? And where do you feel it when you’re feeling what you’re feeling right now?

Serena: [00:21:53] It’s in my chest. It’s in right here. And it’s like I love Nate. He’s my person. We’re engaged, and I’m thrilled. So why is it so hard for me to do this?

[Narration]

Ramit Sethi: [00:22:06] That was one of my favorite moments on this entire podcast so far. Let’s lay out what’s going on here. Serena and Nate love each other. They really do. I can see it watching them, and if you’re watching this on YouTube, you can see for yourself as well. Serena makes more money than Nate. Nate pays for dinner more often than Serena. Serena says she wishes she felt taken care of, and she understands that Nate can’t afford to always pick up the check.

Now, she suggests a very lengthy script he can use to acknowledge that maybe right now he can’t afford it, but hopefully at some point in the future he will, etc, etc. She wants him to acknowledge that while they are splitting the check. And when I ask them to invert the concept or flip the script, Nate asks Serena to pick up the check every so often because she rarely does and she makes more money. And suddenly Serena responds by saying, “Well, I can’t always pick it up. I also have a lot of other expenses.”

And when I urge her to try to meet Nate where he is, it’s excruciating for her to even voice the words, “I will pay for the check.” When I ask her why it’s so difficult to say that, she herself doesn’t know. Her heart is pounding, she says, “Nate is my person. I love him. Why is this so hard?” 

To me, this is such a beautiful example of how money and invisible scripts and culture and gender and communication, all roll up into the way we feel about money and the way we treat money, including how we treat money with our loved ones. Serena is struggling, but you would also be if I asked you to do something you’ve literally never, ever done in your life. 

[Interview] 


So let’s try it again. He’s asking you when he says what he says what is he really saying to you?

Serena: [00:24:08] He’s saying he wants to be taken care of, just like I want to be taken care of. 

Ramit Sethi: [00:24:12] Yes. Yeah. Okay. Meet him where he is when you respond to him. He’s your person.

Serena: [00:24:22] I would love to treat you this time. Fuck, I did it again. What is wrong with me? 

Ramit Sethi: [00:24:29] It is okay.

Serena: [00:24:29] Now, okay. I would love to treat–

Ramit Sethi: [00:24:29] We’ll take as much time as we need. Do it again.

Serena: [00:24:31] I would love to do it now. Then we’ll do it all night. I would love to treat you. It would make you really happy because I know that you are generous to me in many ways and so it would be my pleasure to pay for you.

Ramit Sethi: [00:24:47] Wow, that was fantastic. Nate, what did that feel like to receive?

Nate: [00:24:52] I felt excellent. It was really nice. Yeah, it feels difficult a lot of times to even ask her to pay. Just in the sense that I don’t necessarily always think the framing comes with it, and that’s the response I’m going to get. And so a lot of times, it just feels easier to split it or pick it up myself. But it feels nice to hear.

Serena: [00:25:21] Once I got there, it actually felt nice to say, and I’m not bullshitting you guys here.

Nate: [00:25:28] Stay there.

Ramit Sethi: [00:25:32] I like seeing you, Serena, build a bridge to Nate and connect on a different level than you’ve connected before. I would be willing to bet that the two of you have had these intellectual conversations where you spin over, and over, and just get nowhere. But just that moment with the heart pounding and having to pull yourself back two times from saying, this time, that’s a real breakthrough. Hearing yourself come to that realization, what do you realize?

Serena: [00:26:05] That it’s okay. It’s really okay to maybe be more generous than I am and to say it’s okay for me to pay for both of us sometimes. And I think also part of what goes into my mind is like, if I pay for this nice dinner, if I pay for our bar tab, Nate doesn’t even care. 

I think seeing his reaction now shows me that it’s a gesture that would actually go quite a long way with him, which is something I kind of filled in for myself without thinking of what it would actually mean to him.

[Narration]

Ramit Sethi: [00:26:50] Big insight here. I’m extremely impressed with Serena. And everyone, take note of how she pointed out that she had assumed Nate wouldn’t even care, but now that they finally talked about it, she realized he actually would. What is something in your relationship that you assume your partner won’t care about, but you’ve never actually offered it?


[Interview]

I’d like to talk, Nate, about your financial situation, because that’s been looming in this conversation. And you’ve mentioned a couple of things. You’ve mentioned that you come home tired at different times. You’ve mentioned that you don’t have a lot of money right now and that you would like for that to change. Tell me a little bit about the training that you’re currently in, how much you’re making right now, and what might change in the future?

Nate: [00:27:34] So I am a doctor. I graduated from medical school a couple of years ago. And I’m currently in training to become a specialist at a fairly lucrative field compared to most fields. I’m in my second year of four.

Ramit Sethi: [00:27:53] How much are you making now and how much will you make after you’re done?

Nate: [00:27:56] So I’m making about $45,000 now. After residency, I’m not going into academics or anything. So to make a salary of, say, $300,000 is probably not unrealistic.

Ramit Sethi: [00:28:13] I like talking to doctors. As you can tell from looking at me, I have a lot of doctors in my family. I’m the black sheep because I don’t have an MD. And also– thank you. So you’re going to make 300K in two and a half years. Right now you make $45,000. I assume that is where a lot of this financial stress comes from.

Nate: [00:28:33] Absolutely.

Ramit Sethi: [00:28:34] Yeah. I want to make sure people understand that residents really face a very, very challenging financial situation in the short term. A lot of them go into debt. A lot of them just cannot go out. You can’t just be like, “Meet me at a bar on a Friday night.” Thy’re like like, “I literally have no money.” And you’re like, “But you’re a doctor. How can that be?” And they’re like, “I don’t want to explain this for the 50th time,” but after a few years, that all changes. Even with your heavy debt, what do you have? Like $450,000 of debt?

Nate: [00:29:09] Yeah, about half. Something like that.

Ramit Sethi: [00:29:10] Okay. So even with that, you still make a lot of money.

[Narration]

The key lesson here is that a high salary solves many financial problems. Yes, yes, I know you’ve probably been taught the opposite by a bunch of finger wagging naysaying financial experts who always say things like, it’s not what you make, it’s what you keep. Then they pull out a copy of the Millionaire Next Door, blow the dust off of it, and they say, “Read this.”

And yes, it’s true. There are people who make a lot of money and they spend it all. I’ve talked to some of them on this very podcast. But there are a lot more people who make low salaries and are in financial trouble. If you have the ability to make a high salary, that solves many financial problems. With a high salary, you can afford to pay off debt rapidly, you can save more, and you can invest aggressively.

That’s why when he says he has about a half million dollars in debt, I just shrug. All right, fine. If Nate is smart with his money, he can pay that off without even being a huge burden at all. So I have little patience for people who spend their lives agonizing over $3 questions like the price of dessert because I know most of us should be spending time talking about $30,000 questions. Or in the case of your salary, it can be a $3 million question over the course of your lifetime. 

If you want to increase your earnings, you have a couple of great options. First, identify what your dream job is. Build a network that will help you land that job over all your competitors. And then build the skills of interviewing and negotiating your salary. I’ve taught thousands of people how to do that, which is why so many of them get $5,000 raises, $10,000, even $80,000 raises. 

I added a link to the Dream Job program in today’s show notes. The second way you can increase your income is to build a side income, and you can do that by finding a side business idea, a profitable one, and then build a product or service around it. I’ve helped thousands of people start businesses in over 50 industries, including fitness, food, pets, cooking, and a lot more. I’ve included a link to my earnings program in the show notes if you want to start a side business as well.

[Interview]

Serena: [00:31:29] I spent the bulk of my 20s being super broke in New York as super broke 20 somethings in New York tend to do strain out of college. And so I think where this shows up in our relationship is like, “Wow, I’m finally in this place where I’m not super broke and I actually can afford to be like, hey, yeah, I’ll meet you for drinks. Let me know where or, hey, let’s go out to dinner.”

I feel like dressing up, going out, not cooking, whatever. And so I’m in that phase, but Nate’s not. And so that’s where the issues come up. I think it feels a bit like a cruel joke because it’s like, “Wow, I’m finally in this place where I can more or less afford to go out and not sweat it so much. But I can’t really enjoy it if I’m not going to just table for one. I could. It’d be very European, I guess. But it’s I want to do these things with my person, obviously.

Nate: [00:32:28] Frankly, it just feels a little bit stressful because she does want to go out on weekends and the question becomes whether I start a potential argument or something about, well, I can’t really do that. And more often than not, frankly, I just go along with it and it just worsens the financial burden.

Ramit Sethi: [00:32:55] And when you say it makes the situation worse and you just go along with it, so you all go out, you go to dinner or drinks or whatever, and then am I reading this correctly? Two thirds of the time, Nate, you offer to pick it up, but from your finances, you can’t really afford it. Is that how it plays out?

Nate: [00:33:12] Yeah. Usually offered a split and then she’ll say, “Oh, do you mind getting it?” And that conversation will essentially be like, “Well, we’ll be unhappy if we split. But if you get it, it’ll be fine.” And again, as we discussed earlier, I think that put it in a different light and hopefully that will change. 

But a lot of times I do end up just putting my card down and saying, okay, right now, whatever, I’ll talk to you about this later, which I do sometimes to try and even things up.

Ramit Sethi: [00:33:44] What’s that conversation like when you bring up money with Serena?

Nate: [00:33:49] More often than not, it’s “I looked at my bank account, and I really can’t afford this. Could you please help me out?”  Often asking for a good split, but settling for anything, even if it’s–

Ramit Sethi: [00:34:06] What does that feel like to conversation?

Nate: [00:34:08] It feels like I have to grovel to my significant other for a little bit of help.

Serena: [00:34:13] You make me sounds so mean.

Nate: [00:34:16] You’re not mean. You’re just comfortable. And it’s hard for you to understand that I’m not–

Serena: [00:34:23] I don’t want this be a stressor. I think it’s like I want you to feel comfortable saying, like, I don’t want you to just put your card down because it’s like putting a Band-Aid over the situation, but not really getting to the bottom of it.

Ramit Sethi: [00:34:35] Well, that’s why we’re here, right? We’re here to get to the bottom of it. But it is an interesting reaction, Serena, that I asked him, what does it feel like? And his response was, it feels like I’m groveling. It’s very honest. Quite a haunting response.

Serena: [00:34:51] I appreciate the honesty.

Ramit Sethi: [00:34:51] I do, too. And then you jumped in. And what did you say?

Serena: [00:34:56] You’re making me sound so mean.

Ramit Sethi: [00:34:58] Right. And what were we talking about when you jumped in?

Serena: [00:35:04] Splitting the check afterwards.

Ramit Sethi: [00:35:07] No. We’re talking about what he feels like having to come to you and ask for financial help.

Serena: [00:35:13] Yes.

Ramit Sethi: [00:35:14] I think what I’m hearing is there’s a lot of emotion in this relationship that is being ignored, a lot from both sides. But Nate is really saying the word groveling. That’s not a word you want to hear your partner say in any scenario. Doesn’t matter if they’re earning $0, they should not be groveling the other partner for anything. So when my partner says groveling, what should my reaction be?

Serena: [00:35:42] My reaction?

Ramit Sethi: [00:35:43] Yeah. What should your reaction be when your partner says groveling?

Serena: [00:35:46] No groveling allowed.

[Narration]

Ramit Sethi: [00:35:47] God damn, I thought I was harsh, but Serena is absolutely savage. I can imagine my kids one day coming home and saying, “We got an A-minus.” And then I say, “Sit down.” And I lecture them for three hours about their heritage and academic excellence and how if they don’t shape up, they’re going to end up in a gutter. That’s going to happen. 

But if Serena’s kids came home and said the same thing, she would literally just point at the door and say, “No roof for you tonight. Find your own food, you pathetic losers.” Man. Serena, I am inspired.

[Interview]

Serena: [00:36:22] No groveling allowed.

Ramit Sethi: [00:36:25] No. I’m thinking if I heard my partner saying, “Gosh, I feel like I have to grovel to Ramit” I’m like, I drop–

Serena: [00:36:32] You don’t have to grovel. Yeah.

Ramit Sethi: [00:36:34] No, that’s not it either. I’m not going to tell them, you don’t have to grovel. My response is “Oh, my God. I didn’t realize that you felt you have to grovel. Why do you feel that way? And what can I do so that you don’t have to feel that way?” It’s different, right?

Serena: [00:36:53] Yeah. One is focused on the other person, and the other one’s focused on me.

Ramit Sethi: [00:36:59] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Part of being generous is looking at your partner, right? So when Nate’s over here and he’s hearing that you want– the check part is not only about the money. It’s also about feeling connected, feeling taken care of for you. He’s hearing that, and we’re going to get to that. But what are you hearing about Nate?

Serena: [00:37:24] I’m hearing that it’s causing him stress to even consider splitting or asking me to cover.

Ramit Sethi: [00:37:31] Yeah. Or coming back to you after being like, “Hey, I have no money.” That’s horrible.

Serena: [00:37:36] No, it can’t be a good feeling at all. And–

Ramit Sethi: [00:37:42] Keep going.

Serena: [00:37:45] I guess I didn’t realize that it was affecting you on that level. Obviously, I can pragmatically understand that not having enough money to go buy something or go somewhere is not good and it probably doesn’t feel very nice. But I guess I underestimated the toll it was taking on you. 

And how it was playing into it, also how you communicate with me not just within your own brain, but also just with me as your partner. I think enjoying the dinner or making the reservation, those are all things that play into my feeling of being taken care of.

Ramit Sethi: [00:38:37] Love it, love it. There we go. That’s awesome. So by identifying the feeling you want and then we can start to say, “Well, what does that mean?” Sometimes being taken care of can be having someone pay for it, but it can also be planning it, making reservations, all that. There’s so many things besides money. 

I love seeing the two of you build these bridges, and I’m certain that this is opening up a whole different level of being able to communicate for you. But I just want to say it is totally normal for so many of the couples that I speak to, to not have this type of communication. I didn’t even have it with my own wife. We had to go talk to somebody so that we could get new tools, so that we could communicate about money. 
So I appreciate you both playing ball. And we are definitely getting somewhere. Do you both feel that way too?

Serena: [00:39:24] Yeah.

Nate: [00:39:25] Absolutely.

Nate: [00:39:25] This is so cheesy, but I just want to run over and give you a hug right now.

Ramit Sethi: [00:39:31] Are you talking to him or me?

Serena: [00:39:32] Oh, both of you guys.

Ramit Sethi: [00:39:34] Go give him a hug. Give each other a hug. You’re next door to each other. Go ahead.

Nate: [00:39:37] I’m taking a hug break.

Ramit Sethi: [00:39:38] Go ahead. This is amazing. So they’re both getting up. He’s going into her room. She’s got the dog in her hand. And the dog just disappeared from frame. Wait. Do this on camera. Hey, I want to see this. I’m like the leering dude watching this couple give each other a hug. If it doesn’t happen on camera, it doesn’t. What a nice hug. Look at that. I love that. That is beautiful. You guys are too cute. Oh, she’s got to get her mic on or her headphones.

Nate: [00:40:16] She’s too cute. I just dabble.

[Narration]

Ramit Sethi: [00:40:21] This is the first time I’ve ever seen this happening on this podcast. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a couple get up and hug each other in the middle of an episode. You guys have to watch this. This episode is up on YouTube, so you can actually see what Nate and Serena look like, and what it looks like when they are talking to each other. Check it out. The link is in the show notes. Now let’s talk about Serena and Nate’s numbers. Serena has about $20,000 invested, $10,000 saved and $81,000 in student loans. 

[Interview] 


All right. So your total net worth, -$51,000. Okay. How do you feel about that?

Serena: [00:41:06] Not great. A lot of people my age have student loan debt. I have more than average. My parents didn’t have anything saved for me to go to college.

Ramit Sethi: [00:41:19] Do you know when your debt will be paid off?

Serena: [00:41:21] So I refinanced earlier this year, and I think I’m on like a 10 year plan. 

Ramit Sethi: [00:41:27] So you’re 29, so that debt will be paid off by the time you’re 39? Yeah, fine. Nate, walk me through your numbers.

Nate: [00:41:34] So technically, I have two cars at this point.

Ramit Sethi: [00:41:35] What kind of cars?

Nate: [00:41:36] A Hyundai and Honda Civic.

Ramit Sethi: [00:41:41] My man. We can be best friends. Great cars, great choices.

Nate: [00:41:45] I love my Hyundai.

Ramit Sethi: [00:41:46] No comment. No comments. All right, moving along. Your investments?

Nate: [00:41:52] So actually, I might have more than this, but I think I have over $1000, give or take in a Roth IRA and about $200 in stocks, bonds, generic stuff.

Ramit Sethi: [00:42:08] And your debt?

Nate: [00:42:08] $450,000. Estimated.

Ramit Sethi: [00:42:11] Okay. What’s the interest rate on that?

Nate: [00:42:13] No idea.

Ramit Sethi: [00:42:14] Really?

Nate: [00:42:16] Zero idea. I haven’t been accruing interest because of the pause on repayment and yeah, I don’t know.

Ramit Sethi: [00:42:28] Serena, you didn’t suggest to Nate, like, “Hey, have you made a plan for your student loan debt or anything?” Surprises me.

Serena: [00:42:28] I don’t really think we’ve talked about it. It’s sort of the thing where I’ll be the first to say this is maybe irresponsible, but I feel like it’s almost something that I don’t even see talking about, see worth talking about until he’s making more money to a point where he can’t even really make a significant dent in it. So it’s something I’m voluntarily not worrying.

Ramit Sethi: [00:43:00] Nate, your net worth is -$432,800. How do you feel about that number?

Nate: [00:43:05] Mission accomplished. Yeah, pretty terrible, obviously. And–

Ramit Sethi: [00:43:10] Why is it terrible?

Nate: [00:43:13] It’s just a lot of debt. It’s a lot, a lot of debt. And that’s almost exclusively medical school. I think maybe $27,000 of that is undergraduate.

Ramit Sethi: [00:43:27] But can I come back to this. I don’t care about the numbers. I care about how you feel about it. You feel, quote, “terrible.” Is that really how you feel?

Nate: [00:43:34] Well, it’s one of those things where I’ve a bunch of different numbers and I’ve contemplated my way through it and essentially came to the realization that during residency to put money in like a Roth IRA ended up being more return than paying down minimally this debt that was still accruing interest. So in addition a lot of jobs offer.

Ramit Sethi: [00:44:05] Wait, I’m not talking about your investment strategies. I’m talking about how do you feel about $400,000 of debt?

Nate: [00:44:12] I don’t think about it. I don’t think about it right now.

Ramit Sethi: [00:44:14] Okay. That’s more honest. Do you notice that when I ask how you feel, you often go into the tactical?

Nate: [00:44:20] Well, the tactical is why I don’t think about it, because I’ve thought about it and it’s out of the way for now. I can’t do anything about it. I have other more pressing financial concerns at this point.

[Narration]

Ramit Sethi: [00:44:32] Did you catch that? He did it again. A lot of men genuinely do not know how to answer a question about feelings. And we see this as a recurring point on this podcast. Honestly, I know I didn’t. If someone had asked me at age 19 how I felt about something, I would have answered back, starting by saying, I think… In my culture, and to a large extent with men, we were not taught how to connect with our feelings. We were not even taught how to talk about them. And that’s really what you hear Nate doing.

What’s interesting is that earlier he did open up. He really opened up when he said, “I feel like I have to grovel to Serena about money.” So we know that he has feelings. Of course he has feelings, and we know that he can articulate them. But it’s challenging to get him to connect with them and say them out loud. 

[Interview]

I guess what I’m saying, beyond the debt number is the emotional part of your relationship, both of you with money is super important and it’s super neglected. To not have ever used the word groveling until just now, when the two of you have been together for a long time, that’s an issue. And to not have been able to connect on generosity before, that’s an issue. 

So I don’t doubt that the two of you can come up with a really good debt payoff plan. You two are very smart. I have no doubt about that. But the area of opportunity is to be able to communicate about money and be honest about your feelings. And I would challenge the two of you to steer away from your natural tendency, which is talking, talking, talking. So let me tell you what I see when I see these numbers. What do you think I think of these numbers? -$51,000, -$432,000?

Serena: [00:46:27] You’re probably like, “Holy shit, these people are really chill for how bad their financial situation is.” But it’s like, “Well, he’s a future doctor. She’s probably just like, I don’t know.” I went through many years of my life again where I was like struggling to make rent and student loan payments and all of that. And I very recently within the past like four months have been like, okay, I can pay more than the minimum now.

I’ve cried on the phone with student loan provider here and I just rather not do that anymore. And you can see my take home and everything, I have like extra cash at the end of the day and we’ll go into that later. But I guess that was a long winded way of saying, I don’t think our situation is great.

Ramit Sethi: [00:47:26] I think that when I look at just the net worth part, and knowing your ages, for you, Serena, I think, Oh, 80K at 29. That’s really good. I bet you she recently got promoted and started making more money. Is that true?

Serena: [00:47:44] Yeah.

Ramit Sethi: [00:47:45] Yeah, yeah. I can tell that. See, you see numbers and I see a lifetime of decisions. And I can tell that because your income is relatively high compared to how much you have saved or invested. 

But that also tells me that, gosh, the fact that you’ve put that much away in probably what’s a very short time is very impressive at 29. And so yeah, you have 80K of debt, but you could pay that off. You know your debt payoff date, that’s impressive. Less than 5% of people know that.

Serena: [00:48:21] What?

Ramit Sethi: [00:48:21] So overall– yeah, do you know 90% of people don’t even know how much debt they owe?

Serena: [00:48:27] Thats blowing my mind. 

Ramit Sethi: [00:48:27] And 95% of people do not know their debt payoff date. I talk to a lot of people. Now, as for you, Nate. I think, to myself, if I were in your position, I would be super chill about this. Let me explain why. If I were in your position but I had my knowledge of compound interest and income and stuff like that, this is how I would explain. 

I’d be like, “Yeah, I have a shitload of debt right now, but in a few years I’m going to pay it off aggressively and then I’m going to invest a ton.” So I feel super comfortable with my decision. I did it eyes wide open. And yeah, times are pretty tough right now. I know that I can barely afford a cocktail, but I know that that’s going to change in a few years.

And I know that being partnered with Serena, we’re going to do more than we can even imagine together. That’s how I would look at it. Your short term is really tough. There’s no doubt about that. But can I just point this out? If you describe your net worth as terrible and I asked you twice and you were like, “Yep, terrible.” You weren’t kidding. It’s going to be very difficult for you to feel good about money. 

So our language really reveals a lot about us. And if you say, “Oh, I feel terrible about it, this is horrible,” then you’re going to interpret every decision as terrible. And by the way, it’s not going to change when you have $1,000,000 in the bank. You’re still going to feel terrible.

Or you can say, “Yeah, I made a calculated bet. I know my specialty. It is going to make 300K conservatively, and I’m a frugal guy. I don’t need a fancy car, Hyundai, blah, blah, blah. I’m going to be fine. We’re going to be better than fine. That is just a totally different set of lenses. 

[Narration]
I want to teach you how to look at a few numbers and see what’s really going on. I did that with Nate and Serena, and now I think it’s time for you to do it with your own money. Get my conscious spending plan from the show notes. It’s free. It’s a download. You will have it in your inbox in less than 60 seconds, and you can see your numbers laid out easily within 10 to 15 minutes. Suddenly, you’re going to have a whole new perspective on your numbers when you use the conscious spending plan. The link is in the show notes.

[Interview]

Serena how much do you make per year?

Serena: [00:50:46] I make $80K before taxes.

Ramit Sethi: [00:50:49] Okay, cool. And Nate, what about you? You make $45,000?

Nate: [00:50:53] Yeah.

Ramit Sethi: [00:50:54] All right, fine. So, $80K plus $45,000. All right. That’s a pretty good income together, but you don’t combine your incomes. So let’s talk about your expenses. This is where I’m very interested. All right. We’re using the conscious spending plan. Four categories. Let’s start with fixed costs. So your rent or mortgage is how much so?

Serena: [00:51:19] It’s $1,260 combined. I pay a little bit more than half.

Nate: [00:51:24] No. It’s $2,560 total.

Serena: [00:51:27] Damm it. I’m terrible at math.

Nate: [00:51:29] Yes.

Serena: [00:51:31] It’s $2,560. So I pay a little more than half just because I make more. Nate pays $1,200 to my $1,360.

Ramit Sethi: [00:51:40] How’d you come up with those numbers? I know this was a juicy conversation. Don’t lie to me.

Nate: [00:51:46] Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. It was a negotiation.

Ramit Sethi: [00:51:49] Okay, tell me. I got to hear this.

Nate: [00:51:50] So, rent prices, as well as everything in the last year have skyrocketed where we lived. So last year we were paying the same. We were both paying about $1,000 each per month. And this year our rent went up almost 30%. And so I could not really afford to split the rent at all. And so, on the other hand, Serena really wanted to stay in the area that we’re in. She really liked the area. I love the area, too. Don’t get me wrong. But as opposed to moving elsewhere where there would have been slightly cheaper rent, but maybe not that substantial.

So she wanted to stay in the area and the rent was too much for me to afford. So basically it took a long time of me saying, I can’t afford this. Can we balance this a little bit in a direction based on what we make?

Ramit Sethi: [00:53:00] Let me make sure I understand. So you’re each paying $1,000. Your rent went up. That made it very difficult for you, Nate, to afford it. Serena, you wanted to stay in this particular area, so you had a back and forth, and you concluded with Serena you’re paying a little bit more like $160 more per month for this apartment?

Serena: [00:53:20] Yeah.

Ramit Sethi: [00:53:24] What do you both think about how you are splitting your rent?

Serena: [00:53:29] At first I was not thrilled that the prospect of spending more when we’re both splitting the apartment. But after thinking about it, now I’m completely fine with it and it’s totally normal. And I don’t mind at all. And Nate is correct. It was 100%, I didn’t want to move. I didn’t want to leave the area. And so–

Ramit Sethi: [00:53:56] Is that why you offered to pay the extra $160 a month?

Serena: [00:53:58] I didn’t offer. It was something that Nate sort of proposed. And then after some back and forth that was like, okay, I see where you’re coming from. I’m okay paying $160 extra. Because it was more me that was wanting to stay here and I make more. So I understood.

Ramit Sethi: [00:54:22] How much more do you make than Nate?

Serena: [00:54:24] I would say significantly more.

Nate: [00:54:28] I initially thought that it would be a good idea to basically take the net incomes and base it on that. But on the other hand, that would have put me under or basically would have put all of the increased rent on her shoulders. And essentially as part of the discussion, I decided that it would feel unfair. 

And I understood from her perspective how that would feel unfair. And so I definitely at some point like I said, we arrived at whatever numbers we arrived at, which is about $160 more on her part. And I just took the W and ended the conversation.

Ramit Sethi: [00:55:17] I like that you take the win. That’s a philosophy of mine. Take the win. But I find it’s being used in a very peculiar way in this relationship. Like, that’s not the win I want you to take. Okay, let me point out a few numbers. Again, these numbers just look like numbers to you, but to me, they tell a very rich story. So your fixed costs together represent 78% of your take home pay. Now in my conscious spending plan, do you know the number that I recommend?

Serena: [00:55:49] Oh, my God.

Nate: [00:55:49] 50% to 60%, right?

Ramit Sethi: [00:55:51] Yes. What’s that smile, Serena?

Serena: [00:55:53] I was like, I don’t know. I was going to guess 40% to 50%, but I was like, whatever it is, it’s significantly lower than what our current combined is.

Ramit Sethi: [00:56:01] Nate, your fixed cost represent 97% of your take home pay. How can that be?

Nate: [00:56:10] Well, I spend about $600 ish dollars on gas, give or take, every month.

Ramit Sethi: [00:56:18] You live far away. You have to drive. Is there anything you can do about it?

Nate: [00:56:21] No. I bought a Honda Civic, which gets slightly better miles to the gallon, but–

Ramit Sethi: [00:56:27] That’s good. That’s a good call regardless. And the two of you don’t want to move closer to work?

Nate: [00:56:36] It will be happening after this year for essentially details that have to do with my scheduling, with my program and a bunch of nitty gritty stuff that I’m–

Ramit Sethi: [00:56:44] So you’re going to cut back on gas expense next year?

Nate: [00:56:47] Oh, yeah. Also I have housing provided for me for six months next year.

Ramit Sethi: [00:56:53] Great. All right. Can I just say, Nate, you’re making way less than Serena, and you’re paying essentially 50-50. That’s the problem. That’s the reason that when you go out to dinner, the two seem totally unconnected, don’t they? The amount you pay for your apartment and then going out to dinner and all this drama happening around the check coming, but it’s actually directly connected. 

Nate, you are spending too much for your portion of housing and therefore you have nothing left over. No wiggle room. You can’t even give Serena a straight answer on when you can pay her back $50 a month. And that’s causing stress. Do you see how it all rolls back to one thing that is seemingly invisible in your finances?

Nate: [00:57:49] Yeah.

Ramit Sethi: [00:57:51] It’s this. Serena, let’s say that my wife and I were dating and I was like, hey, move in with me. I make twice as much as you, but we should split it 50-50. What would you say to that?

Serena: [00:58:09] I don’t think I would love it if it were me.

Ramit Sethi: [00:58:13] Okay. Would you love it if it were Nate?

Serena: [00:58:17] No.

Ramit Sethi: [00:58:19] Okay, good. Okay, great. So we can meet there. The most successful couples I see, especially in situations like this, where you have separate incomes, etc., is proportional. So proportional means if you’re making 65% of the income, you pay 65% of the joint expenses. And that would probably suggest that you pay more for this rent and that Nate pay less. How would you feel about that?

Serena: [00:58:46] It’s like what the talking about the check. I think it would be really hard for me at first just because it’s not something I’ve done ever before and not something I even would have considered.

Ramit Sethi: [00:59:02] Yeah. Let me ask you this before you go on. Let’s just fast forward, like, three years, and Nate’s making $325K, how much should he pay for the rent? 

[Narration]

Okay, forget everything I said earlier about how I’ve grown up and matured and now I don’t try to expose logical inconsistencies, and instead I just ask nicer questions. Forget all that. I heard this, I had to go in for the kill. 

[Interview]

Let’s just fast forward, like, three years, and Nate’s making $325K, how much should he pay for the rent?

Serena: [00:59:40] Yeah, this is something we’ve talked about. I would be super weirded out if he expected me to pay 50-50 for rent.

Ramit Sethi: [00:59:48] Wait, what are you talking about? You make more right now, and you’re paying 50-50, basically. That’s kind of a double standard.

Serena: [00:59:55] I know, but I’m not making that much. I’m making more than Nate is now, but he’s going to be making a lot more than me.

Ramit Sethi: [01:00:05] So it’s a gradation? What’s the number where in your mind it changes?

Serena: [01:00:11] I’ve never even thought about that, to be honest.

Ramit Sethi: [01:00:13] Because it’s not a number. It’s not a number?

Serena: [01:00:17] Yeah.

Ramit Sethi: [01:00:19] I know you’re about to spend five minutes intellectualizing it, and we’re going to go round and round. It’s not a number. If you made $200,000 right now, Serena, do you think you would be proactively going to Nate and saying I should pay quadruple what you pay for our rent?

Serena: [01:00:40] Proactively, probably not.

Ramit Sethi: [01:00:44] I love the honesty. I love it. This is the kind of thing that’s going to allow the two of you to connect about money. And Serena, if we can keep on this path for a second, why not proactively? What would stop you from doing that?

Serena: [01:01:00] I think if we sat down and had a conversation or if Nate brought it up to me, then we would get to that place where it’s proportional to what we’re making. But I think it wouldn’t be my first inclination to do that.

Ramit Sethi: [01:01:16] Because?

Serena: [01:01:16] Because I think a little bit it’s probably societal, a little bit is probably selfish where it’s like, I have this money. I want to be able to choose what I spend it on. I want to go to find stuff.

Nate: [01:01:38] I think I know something.

Ramit Sethi: [01:01:39] One second. One second, please. Let me finish this.

Serena: [01:01:42] It just wouldn’t come to mind at first just because I can very easily rattle off other things that are also important to me with how I spend my money.

Ramit Sethi: [01:01:51] Your 401K, your investments, your travel, family gifts, all of those things.

Serena: [01:01:57] For sure.

Ramit Sethi: [01:01:58] You can always find something to put a lot of money towards. I have to ask you this. Who’s your person?

Serena: [01:02:11] Nate.

Ramit Sethi: [01:02:11] And of all those things, shouldn’t Nate be up there somewhere?

Serena: [01:02:17] Yeah.

[Narration]

Ramit Sethi: [01:02:18] So far, we have talked about expectations with money in this relationship. We’ve talked about what happens when one partner earns more than the other, and in this unique situation, what’s going to happen when that income flips in a couple of years. We’ve talked about the need to feel taken care of. We’ve talked about picking up checks. We’ve talked about double standards, but we haven’t talked about how to solve Nate and Serena’s questions about money. 

So far, we’ve scratched the surface of what they need to both realize about the way that they’ve been communicating about money. But next week on part two of this conversation, I think you will be surprised at what we come to discover.

Please remember, you can watch this episode on YouTube. You can see the body language of Nate and Serena. I would highly encourage you to go over to YouTube, find my channel, Ramit Sethi, and click, subscribe or follow. Please also check out the show notes. I’ve got a survey link. I’d love for you to take that and I’ve got all the links that I mentioned in today’s episode. I will see you next week for the second part of Nate and Serena.