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1. Always have one year of emergency funds

One year of emergency fund savings “is more conservative” than most finance experts might recommend, Sethi acknowledged. But it helps him (and could help you) sleep better at night.

“It’s in a savings account, totally liquid and that’s what it’s for,” he said.

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2. Save 10%, invest 20% of gross annual income

Sethi is a fan of investing in the S&P 500, which tracks the stock performance of the 500 largest companies. While it’s had ups and downs, investors in the S&P 500 have seen gains of around 80% since February 2019.

3. Pay cash for large expenses

Sethi says big holidays, weddings and engagement rings fall under this category.

“This one is controversial,” he noted, but it also builds delayed gratification and avoids unsecured debt. Sethi sets goals for these expenditures and saves monthly.

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4. Never question spending money on books, appetizers, health or contributing to a friend’s charity fundraiser

Sethi has a book-buying rule that if he thinks it’s possible to learn even one transformational thing, he’ll buy it.

But appetizers? Sethi says in his youth his family couldn’t afford them, so allowing the indulgence is something that “feels incredibly rich” to him.

5. Book business class for flights more than for fours long

Yes, the seats are more expensive than flying economy. But the idea behind this counterintuitive strategy is to go “from disparagement to curiosity,” he said.

Ask yourself whether your company will pay for it and/or whether flying business will help you arrive feeling less physically stressed.

6. Always buy the best and keep it as long as possible

That doesn’t mean spending a ton. Sethi takes pride in his four-door Honda Accord, which is 17 years old and a very reliable model. Any savings he has from keeping his car can also be applied elsewhere.

7. Don’t limit spending on health and education

Growing your knowledge base sets you up for greater success.

“I want to learn from great [finance] teachers by taking accounting classes,” Sethi said.

Tending to your health yields a better quality of life. Sethi says that getting help from a personal trainer, for example, can help with your workout and nutritional regimens.

8. Earn enough to work only with people you respect and like

“Whom you surround yourself with matters profoundly,” he noted. “Ideas seep into your consciousness, values seep in.”

If you feel stuck with a jerk at work, explore transferring to another department and a different boss.

9. Prioritize time outside the spreadsheets

“Yes, you should know your numbers,” Sethi said of money matters.

But at a certain point, he stresses, it’s time to turn the page and live a rich life with friends and family.

“I spend less than one hour per month on my finances.”

10. Marry the right person

Bet you never thought of this as a financial decision, right?

“Maybe the most important one of all,” Sethi said.

The partner you choose, he contends, “will effect where you live, the house you’ll buy and how much you spend.”

Talk about money early and often with your partner to create harmony around one of life’s most crucial matters.


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About the Author

Lou Carlozo

Lou Carlozo

Freelance writer

Lou Carlozo is a freelance contributor to Moneywise.

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