These Are Ramit Sethi's 10 Money Rules. How Many Do You Follow?

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  • Money rules are important to keep your finances on track.
  • Sethi prioritizes living his Rich Life and buying things that make his life better and more enjoyable.

Money rules to live by…

One of the worst things you can do with your finances is let them run unfettered. Even the rich -- especially the rich? -- have money rules. Take popular personal finance guru Ramit Sethi. He has a set of 10 money rules that help him keep his finances on track. Let's take a look at them and the reasoning behind them.

1. Have a one-year emergency fund

An easily accessible emergency fund can save the day when an unexpected expense comes up. But how much should you have on hand? Well, for many years, most gurus recommended a six-month emergency fund. This changed after the financial chaos of COVID-19.

Suze Orman, for example, revised her advice from a six-month fund to a minimum of eight months, with a year being better. Sethi also had a recent change of heart, upping his emergency fund rule from six months to a full year.

Both agree that your emergency fund should be in cash -- not invested. Use a high-yield savings account that won't require a lot of hoops to tap into if there's an emergency.

2. Save 10%, invest 20%

Most experts suggest saving and investing part of your income, but Sethi puts hard numbers on it. Specifically, his rule is to save 10% of your gross income and invest 20%.

The savings portion of your income is for shorter-term goals. This includes your emergency fund, your summer vacation, a new-car fund, or even a house down payment.

The investing portion is for actual investments, like your retirement account. Historically, investing in the stock market will have a much better return than anything you could get from a savings account. In Sethi's view, savings help with the day to day, but it's investments that make you rich.

3. Have the cash for large expenses

If you don't have the cash on hand for large purchases, don't make them. Whether it's a sweet vacation or a new car, Sethi says you should have the cash on hand to afford it.

This doesn't necessarily mean paying in cash; Sethi is a known proponent of credit card rewards. Just don't take on debt for your purchase; have the cash on hand so you can pay off the purchase right away.

He does make a little leeway for housing, allowing that it's not necessarily feasible to buy a house in cash. However, if you don't have at least a 20% down payment, you're not ready yet.

4. Don't question every purchase

Sethi's whole shtick is that we should all live our own "Rich Life." This means knowing which little purchases bring us joy -- then making them, no questions asked.

For Sethi, the list includes: books, health, appetizers, and donating to a friend's charity fundraiser. Everything on this list he spends on when he wants to without agonizing over the cost.

In short, stop questioning the little purchases that make you happy and just go for it.

5. Fly business class on long flights

Sethi says he automatically flies business class (or first class, when flying domestically) for any flight longer than four hours. And this is certainly a rule I can agree on.

Not only is business class infinitely more comfortable, but the associated perks can be well worth the extra investment. For example, the food and drinks are free, you often get free checked bags, and the pre-flight lounge access is nearly priceless.

6. Buy the best and make it last

This is another of Sethi's rules that I happily endorse. Whenever possible, buy the best quality version of an item -- then use it as long as possible.

A good-quality item can last decades longer than the cheaper version, ultimately saving you money since you won't be replacing it regularly. You'll also get a better experience of using it.

I will put my own caveat on this rule, however: Make sure you need the item before investing in it. For example, if you're starting a new hobby, go with cheap equipment or supplies at first, then upgrade when you know you'll stick with it.

7. Don't cap spending on health

The sad fact is that we only get one body. So, you should take care of it. Sethi's rule is that you shouldn't put a cap on health-related spending, whether it's a quality gym membership or better quality food. And yes, your mental health falls into this category, too!

8. Work with people you respect

In Sethi's opinion, one of the best parts of being financially independent is that you don't have to deal with people you don't like or respect. You can fire, hire, quit -- whatever it takes to get to the point where everyone you work with is worthy of your time and attention.

It will probably take time for most of us to get to the financial position that Sethi enjoys that allows him to make these decisions. But #lifegoals, friends.

9. Live outside the spreadsheet

Once your personal finance spreadsheets are set up, once your savings are automated, once it's all under control -- go live your life. Prioritize spending time with your family, friends, and hobbies. After all, why else are you doing all this?

10. Marry the right person

Your spouse will be your partner in life -- including your finances. Financial incompatibility is one of the most common reasons marriages end.

You should definitely have a few conversations on your financial values long before you walk down the aisle.

To each their own rules

Many of Sethi's rules easily extend to most folks. For example, everyone should absolutely have an emergency fund. But other rules on this list aren't going to be for everyone.

That said, it's important that we all create our own set of money rules to help keep us on track. What are your rules?

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