How to Live a Rich Life
When I was a kid and our family would take a road trip, my dad would tell us to stay in the car while he checked us into a motel. That’s because, to save money, he would get a motel room with 2 single beds — for a family of 6. Then once he got the key, we would quietly go into the room, avoiding the lobby.
When we got up there, my dad would make “the phone call.”
“Hi, this is room 324,” he would say. “Could you bring some more towels to our room?”
“Yes, sir. How many do you need? 1? 2?”
“How about 4? And if you can send 2 cots, that would be great.”
“Sir, this room is booked for double occupancy only. We cannot—”
Dad: “Thank you!”
HAHA! WE THOUGHT THIS WAS NORMAL. Only later did we realize how hilarious it was to squeeze 6 people into a room for 2. But without things like this (and little Ramit sleeping on a couch), it gets pretty expensive to take a family on a trip.
So our family vacations were fun but simple: road trips to visit our family in LA. That was it!
Fast forward about 30 years. My wife Cass and I visit Mexico and stay at one of my favorite hotels. We had an amazing time.
While we were there we said, “This would be a great place to come back to with our friends.” So a few years later, we picked a date and I emailed a few friends.
Here’s what the email said:
We want to spend time together! Here’s our plan:
We’re going for 5 days on these dates to Rosewood Mayakoba.
My vision is: 3 dinners together, the rest is total free time. You might lounge by the pool, you might work out, you might rent a boat, whatever you want.
I’ll handle planning the dinners. You just come!
And guess what? They did!
We had incredible dinners, laughed all night, and made memories that Cass and I will never forget. It was wonderful to be in this magical place with good friends.
What do you notice about these two vacations?
Growing up, price was the main factor when planning vacations.
For our Mexico trip? Price had nothing to do with it. We built it around the things that are important to us:
- Beautiful locations
- Lasting memories with friends
- Delicious food
These things are part of our Rich Life. We wanted to do it. Price was an afterthought.
There are many things like this that I spend extravagantly on. Some of my favorites:
- Tailored clothing
- Treating my parents to special experiences
- Travel to amazing places like Rosewood Mayakoba
But there’s also plenty of things I don’t spend any money on at all. For example, you’ll never see me wearing an expensive watch. Why? Because I just don’t care.
Same goes for sports, organic meats, and cars. I’m not joking. Here’s me enjoying tacos on the trunk of my 4-door Honda Accord, which I’ve had for 15+ years.
Those things are just not part of my Rich Life. Maybe they are for you, and that’s great.
The point is, once you get the basics right and money is no longer the main factor, you can start designing your life around the things that are truly important to you.
You can design your Rich Life.
What is a Rich Life?
So what is a Rich Life anyway? Is it wearing a Rolex and having a china closet? No!
A Rich Life is your ideal life — one where you look at your personal relationships, your finances, and your ordinary days and say, “Wow!”
That could be:
- Picking up your kids every day from school
- Buying a $1,000 cashmere sweater
- Buying anything you want from Whole Foods without ever worrying about cost
- Taking your family on an incredible Disney World vacation that they’ll never forget
Your Rich Life is yours. Not your parents’, not your friends’. Not even mine. Yours.
It’s a life that is full. A life lived intentionally, proactively, and abundantly.
A Rich Life isn’t all about money. At IWT, we see money as a tool for designing, enhancing, and enjoying the life you’re meant to live.
So, what does yours look like? Watch the video below to learn more about what it truly means to live a Rich Life.
Signs of a truly Rich Life
Everyone has an opinion on how you should be living your life. It can be difficult to know what is and isn’t a Rich Life.
That’s why I’ve created these Rich Life Rules. Think of them as a compass, pointing you toward your genuine Rich Life.
RICH LIFE RULE #1:
Your Rich Life should fit you like a handmade glove
What it means: You might choose to rent or own, travel for one month every year (or not at all), buy a new Tesla, or decorate your house beautifully.
Your Rich Life is yours — not mine, not your friends’, and not your parents’. No judgment.
Part of creating your Rich Life is the willingness to be unapologetically different.
Once money isn’t a primary constraint, you’ll have the freedom to design your own Rich Life, which will almost certainly be different from the average person’s. Embrace it. This is the fun part!
What it looks like: I love Japanese design and architecture. I even collect photos and examples of what I love.
When my wife Cass and I traveled to Japan, I wanted to visit the home of a Japanese couple. This is very uncommon, so I hired a firm to help us arrange it.
The couple were both architects, so they showed us their home. Then I showed them pictures I’d collected and they explained the Japanese design philosophy behind them. I loved it!
We also took a mini-cruise on an amazing boat. (See the photo above)
This trip would make no sense to others, but to me, it was incredibly meaningful.
RICH LIFE RULE #2:
A Rich Life puts you in control
What it means: Life is not a Disney movie. Nobody’s coming to rescue you!
The good news is you can take control of your finances and build your Rich Life — exactly the way you want it.
What it looks like: When I first graduated from college, I turned down a job offer at Google to join a start-up.
Later, I turned down VC investment to run IWT — which was 100% bootstrapped — so I could maintain control. That is part of my Rich Life.
RICH LIFE RULE #3:
Getting started is more important than becoming an expert
What it means: Too many of us get overwhelmed thinking we need to do everything perfectly. You know what ends up happening? We do nothing at all!
This can be especially true when we’re designing our Rich Life. That’s why the easiest way to build your Rich Life is to take it one step at a time — and not worry about being perfect.
I call this the 85% Solution. I’d rather act and get it 85% right than do nothing. Think about it: 85% of the way is far better than 0%.
This applies to money too. Once your money system is good enough — or 85% of the way there — you can get on with your life and go do the things you really want to do.
What it looks like: I keep things simple:
- I have a very simple investment portfolio.
- I have a few credit cards.
- I follow a simple fitness program.
If you keep things simple, it’s easier to get started and easier to keep going. Most importantly, it leaves you more time for the things you really love.
RICH LIFE RULE #4:
It’s okay to make mistakes
What it means: The path to a Rich Life isn’t perfect.
You’ll make money mistakes, relationship mistakes — you may even change what a Rich Life looks like for you. And that’s totally fine.
Make your mistakes early when the stakes are lower and you can learn from them.
What it looks like: I made mistakes by investing in individual stocks early on. If you read Chapter 7 of my book, you know why this is a bad idea.
In my business, I’ve hired the wrong people. I haven’t managed properly. I’ve made bad strategic choices.
I even have a failures folder set up in my email account. If I’m not sending 5-7 failures there a month, I know that I’m not trying enough. And if I’m not trying enough, I’m not learning enough.
RICH LIFE RULE #5:
Play offense, not defense
What it means: Too many of us play defense with our finances:
- We wait until the end of the month, then look at our spending and shrug: “I guess I spent that much.”
- We accept onerous fees.
- We don’t question complicated advice because it’s given to us in a language we don’t understand.
Don’t do this. Go on offense with your credit cards, your banks, your investments, and even your own money psychology.
What it looks like: First, I covered the basics with my money:
- Automatic saving
- Automatic investing
- Basic guidelines, e.g., save + invest 20% of gross income
(I cover this in Chapters 4 and 5 of my book.)
Second, I went on offense for my own Rich Life vision. This included setting aside money aside for specific goals.
For example, one of our dreams is to have a beautiful 10-year wedding anniversary celebration in India. We know the exact place and we know exactly who we want to bring. We consciously save for that — every month.
RICH LIFE RULE #6:
You don’t have to wait until you retire to live a Rich Life
What it means: Your Rich Life doesn’t have to wait until you’re 65. You can start living it now.
Get specific. What could your “everyday” Rich Life look like? Maybe it’s…
- Handing out full-size candy bars to kids for Halloween
- Grocery shopping without considering the price
- Buying a $100,000 car that you love every time you sit in it
- Spontaneously extending your vacation by a day
- Buying popcorn at the movies
The goal of a Rich Life is to enjoy today, and every day after it. Not to postpone joy for some far off future date. No one wants to be a rich 95-year-old with regrets.
What it looks like: My wife and I take 4-6 week vacations at the end of every year.
In addition to the joys of traveling, we leave time for relaxing, reading, and setting our goals for the next year.
When I can’t decide which dish I like at a restaurant, I order both. Being able to say “yes” and try both makes me happy every time I do it.
RICH LIFE RULE #7:
Focus on the Big Wins
What it means: There are a few Big Wins in life where — if you simply get them right — you almost never have to worry about the small things.
For example, learning how to negotiate your salary? Big Win. Tweaking the formatting on your resume? Small things.
If you can focus on the 5-10 Big Wins, rather than 50 little things, you can have an insurmountable edge in life.
What it looks like: Learn to tune the noise out: Cut back on lattes! The stock market is too high! Use a size 11.5 font on your resume!
Instead, focus on the Big Wins like:
- Start investing early
- Land your Dream Job
- Earn money on the side
- Improve your credit
- Cut costs mercilessly on the things you don’t care about
Do these things and you’ll be ahead of 99% of other people — and you can order as many lattes as you want.
RICH LIFE RULE #8:
A Rich Life is generous
What it means: The truly rich have enough to give back. If you’re living a Rich Life you’re able to share your time, money, resources, or talents with the world.
What it looks like: I donate heavily to causes I care about.
I like to tip big. I always donate to friends’ fundraisers. I think being generous is a hallmark of a Rich Life. (Note: This doesn’t just mean donations. Volunteering is a wonderful way to give back!)
Build YOUR Rich Life
To live your unique Rich Life, you need to start with a vision. What does it look like? Where will you go? Who will you take with you?
I’ve designed a brand new free mini-course to help you do just that: How to Design Your Rich Life.
In 1 hour, you’ll create a vivid picture of your personal Rich Life so you can start living intentionally, focusing on the things you love, and ignoring the things you don’t.
Along the way, you’ll learn:
- What is and is not a Rich Life?
- How to map your Rich Life.
- How to dial up your happiness.
When you’re done, your vision will be yours to guide you through the rest of your life.
Enter your information below to enroll, it’s totally free.
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