Live right now (12/6, 12pm PST): Taking live questions on a webcast

Ramit Sethi · December 6th, 2008

Right now, it’s Saturday, December 6th at 11:55am PST. The web chat I announced two days ago is starting in 5 minutes. I probably won’t record it, so if you’re watching now, here it is…

Update: The webcast is over, but the comments below are the next-best thing to being there…

Here’s one of my favorite quotes:

Quiz: What is your earning potential? Choose the answer you agree with the most
View Results

Didn’t think it was gonna be 2 hours long but I’m listening to the recording I made and it’s awesome. Time to get off my lazy ass and set up my accounts without trying to find the best rates, automate my life or whatever. No barriers right? Really can’t wait for the next one(if there is one… PLEASE?) cuz I like this format just as much as you. Actual words sink in better than text apparently since I already signed up for scrooge, ing, and i’ve got my napkin with all kinds of math outlining my spending/saving plans

Live video by Ustream

If you want to ask questions or see what others are asking, join the full chat room + video here.

While you’re watching, here’s a link to my:

Do you know your actual earning potential?

Get started with the Earning Potential quiz. Get a custom report based on your unique strengths, and discover how to start making extra money — in as little as an hour.

Start The Quiz

Takes 3 min


  1. Jon Bohlinger

    Do you find meaning in what you do?

  2. Is this webcast going to be saved and provided for download later?

  3. Sean Oliver

    Should I pay down my debt or fund an emergency fund first?

  4. westindianladee

    How do you get clients if you want to freelance offline and not in the internet?

  5. Why do people consistently say that the best way to invest in yourself is to open a business (more than stocks/bonds/etc.)? What is your take on this? Businesses seem high risk (and a lot of work) to me. Granted, I will probably do it anyway, but I don’t understand why people make this claim. What’s your take?

  6. I am in a good job now. I have$30K I am going to use to pay down loans. Which loan do I pay off first — a 6.5% fixed rate govt loan (which is more flexible if I need any deferral in the future) or 5% variable (LIBOR-linked) private loan? I hear interest rates are going down, but you never know.

  7. Ramit,
    My wife and I are launching a blog as way to eventually earn more revenue. What are your favorite methods of self-promotion, monetizing, and building a community of readers?

  8. What is a good way to setup contractually freelance work? Should you collect up front? Collect after?

  9. Why do people(my brother mainly) not realize that when they buy a financial book that it is an investment in themselves? They seem to always complain about the expense!

  10. Do you have any advice on finding a part-time (30 hours and less) office job? Most jobs seem to be $8/hr. I have been able to do ‘full time’ jobs in 3-4 days. How do I introduce the idea when interviewing? I just wanted to see how others would handle it.

  11. Jonathan

    How do we recognize/determine whether the value of something is worth the cost? For instance, everyone knows to “go green”, but that can be expensive! Also, should we be spending money on books, or should we look at things like the internet and the library? Particularly books like personal finance ones that might not be current at the library? More examples: when is it worth it to remodel your home? What about saving time versus saving money? I.E. public transportation versus buying a car?

  12. I would like a book.

  13. When is the best time to sign up for a gym membership? How do you get your company to sponsor it?

  14. Joseph Dearman

    Ramit, I have a wedding in exactly a year. I’ve saved for half so-far. How should I, or, should I invest in the meantime?

  15. Can students who are living in Europe apply for that scholarship you are planning about?

  16. Thanks for the comment on what to do with no debt and extra money after IRA and 401k are maxed out. That is something that my husband and I have been trying to figure out for a long time.

  17. Hey,

    I really enjoyed the web cast! But, one question I thought of… There are tons of suggestions on what investments to buy, but I have never seen much on how you decide to sell something. What should be sold and when do you sell it? Does the answer change once someone reaches retirement?



  18. Daniel Roberts

    Thank you so much for answering all three of my questions. I’ve been wondering how to establish credit for a while now. I really appreciate all of your great advice.

    I promise I’ll read a book if I get one.

  19. Peter Lee

    The webchat was great. I enjoyed it.

    I am maxing out my 401k and retirement plans. I have an emergency fund that covers 6 months worth of expenses. I have about 12k coming in at the end of the year, and don’t know what to do with it —

    1) pay off debt – I owe about 19k on a car and about 25k in student loans

    2) invest in a taxable investment account – I have about 5k in a vanguard index fund, and am thinking that now would be a good time to invest more in the market.

    What do you think?

    You have really good tips on your website and I think your advice is very realistic. I have become a fan! Keep it up.

  20. Karthik Sainath

    I am in early 30s, no debt, maxed out my 401 K, invest just about $5000 in individual stocks, and currently saving my money in ING for a down payment on a house…I live in SF city and yes, I know you advice against buying especially in cities like SF or NYC.
    But my question is if I do wanted to buy anyway, I want to know if I should start investing in Roth IRA or continue to save the cash for down payment.

    Thanks a bunch…Your articles rock and will soon sign up for your Scrooge site.

  21. Katie Dunton

    I already did most of your $1,000 challenge ideas, so I wasn’t able to reach my goal of $1,000. My biggest expense is on home necessities such as: food, cleaning supplies, toiletries, ect. I use coupons and buy the generic brands when I can, but this is still my largest monthly expense. Do you have any more ideas of how to lower this expense?

  22. Great stuff, hope you do more!

  23. Annemarie

    Great website! My sister and I are 2 college students and we’re really taking your advice for young people to heart. Thanks for your help.

  24. Your Money or Your Life is one of my favorite books.
    For a wedding gift I often give used copies of three books. Your Money or Your Life
    The Complete Tightwad Gazette
    The Wealthy Barber
    A good way to start your married life off frugally so that you’ll become rich together.

  25. What is the best way to start investing?

  26. I work at a job that pays quite little (less than $15/hr) with no benefits. I would like to get a job in film editing. How can I afford to take the necessary classes and get an education while working at this job and not using emergency funds (none of the places that offer classes have scholarships). A film editor starting out can make $20 – 30/hr. A more experienced one, $50/hr and so on.

  27. The live chat was adequate. I would have preferred if it had followed the proposed format: not enough time was budgeted for the topics that were given in the post. I also found that the chat was crazy and pulling questions from it was haphazard; this led to Ramit seeming to ramble a little bit as he just from idea to idea.

    I found the person-to-person chat and advice more useful, but thank you for the forum!

  28. I spent half what I usually spend per month last month. Mostly because I would get a tip each day, which I usually couldn’t apply, but it reminds me to be mindful of what I spend. The best tip was the no spend days. That saved me a bundle.

  29. Paras Nanavati

    How could I give the Scrooge Strategy as a gift to people in my family?

  30. How could I give the Scrooge Strategy as a gift to people in my family?

  31. My question posted:
    01:22 ustreamer-84454 : What if you try to offer suggestions to your family, and then get angry/upset/touchy about me ‘butting in’?

  32. Violetta

    Dear Ramit, I am so glad I found your website! I am in my 40s with two sons your age, one married and paying off his student loan and one still in college. Believe it or not, but all three of us enjoying your comments and ideas! Especially now, when I was laid off (after 11 years), I will definitely use your advise. We wish you much success. We would love to get some of the books. Thank you.

  33. Thanks for the inspiring webinar. I shared some of the quotes with friends — like about books being business cards (vs money-makers), keeping your car to give it to you kids, using cellphone until keys fall off. This afternoon I finally opened a Roth IRA and am setting up ING sub-accounts.

  34. Ramit- Per your request for questions on the live video –

    I made the mistake of working through college at a job that made me decent money, but was a dead end in terms of helping me figure out what I want to do. I was at that job for almost 2 years and recently left for a lucrative opportunity that did not work out. Now I am jobless and having a tough time finding a new job because I do not know what would make me happy/what I would be great at. What should I do?

  35. I’m sorry for posting two questions, but I’m really interested in this one as well.

    I have about 70,000 in college loans that I will start paying back once I get my master’s (in a year). I think I can probably afford the monthly minimum on those. However, I’m 25 and I would also like to start investing early (since this is the time to be Smart Suzy as Ramit said rather than Dumb Dan… thanks for poking alliterative fun at my name!!! jk) Does it really make more sense for me to pay off the loans faster than putting money into a vanguard fund? It seems like, I will pay off the loans, the money goes into and evaporates. However, if I put it into the funds, it’ll compound.

    Do you still recommend trying to put more money into paying off the debt? Am I misunderstanding?

  36. Gabriana

    I read Ramit’s blog regularly. I found it through Penelope Trunk. I did the Save $1000 in 30 Days Challenge with my mom and we had a great time seeing who could save more! This site is great and Ramit’s chat today was very informative. I already signed up for the Scrooge Strategy as well. I’d love to get one of the free books from the chat please! Can’t wait to read Scratch Beginnings and Mindless Eating. Thanks especially for talking about renting versus buying. You are fantastic and I’ve saved a bunch!

  37. Do you have any recommendations for short term investing that has a high interest rates? Short term as in 5 years? Also, I enjoyed the webcast and am interested in getting a book!

  38. For those looking to open savings account sub-accounts on ING,
    log into your account, and click on Open an Account. You then give the account a nickname and fund it with at least 50 cents. You can then set up automatic transfers into that account.

  39. I missed the 1st half of your webcast, but found the 2nd half immensely useful. Is the video archived anywhere? Thanks! I look forward to the Scrooge newsletter.

  40. Stephanie PTY

    Thanks Ramit! (Glad you liked my “Don’t butt in with family members – give Suze Orman books” comment).

    My question is actually related to that: what if you do have family members that won’t save themselves, and you know that you’ll eventually be financially responsible for them? (Yeah, they’ve already read several Suze Orman books, not helping…)

    Right now, the best thing I can do is put aside as much money as I can, thinking of them as additional children to support eventually. Do you have any thoughts?

  41. Had to run out towards the end. Didn’t think it was gonna be 2 hours long but I’m listening to the recording I made and it’s awesome. Time to get off my lazy ass and set up my accounts without trying to find the best rates, automate my life or whatever. No barriers right? Really can’t wait for the next one(if there is one… PLEASE?) cuz I like this format just as much as you. Actual words sink in better than text apparently since I already signed up for scrooge, ing, and i’ve got my napkin with all kinds of math outlining my spending/saving plans

  42. I missed the chat and I really hope someone recorded it and is willing to share.

    Someone asked why some people complain about the expense of buying personal finance books, not understanding its an investment. I believe that’s precisely it; it’s an investment and most people aren’t geared towards thinking about investments vs expenses. I might even argue that Rich Dad, Poor Dad is about getting you to think about investments rather than expenses.

    To the above commenter about family members who are irresponsible and immature (I don’t mean this in an insulting way–they lack responsibility for themselves and are lacking the maturity to be responsible), you can try reading It Pays to Talk, its about talking to your family about money. It may not have the answer you’re looking for (I haven’t read it) but it comes highly recommended from The Simple Dollar. I’m facing this problem myself and I firmly believe that you should let them crash and burn, as long as they’re able to work. They’ll figure it out eventually. I’ve been on both sides of this, and I firmly believe my crashing-and-burning period was very, very important to becoming the man I am today, and who I will be tomorrow. In fact, I didn’t shape up until it hit me: I am the only one responsible for me life. I have no safety net and no one to blame if I’m not where I want to be in ten years. Realizing that it was all upto me was very important in my development. It’s hard to be firm, especially with the kinds of things family can do to try to persuade you, but sometimes you have to do something that’s hard in the short term but will improve things in the long run. You may want to write a letter and tell your family your decision if its too hard to do otherwise.

  43. If anyone’s made a recording, you can upload it to or and post a link here, if that’s cool with Ramit.

  44. If ramit’s cool with it, I’ve already uploaded the last ~35 minutes of it to sendspace and posted the link in the video’s chatbox for those who attended and could just post it here, but he did say he probably wasn’t going to post it himself so I dunno.

  45. I also had to miss the chat yesterday–I did not realize until today that Ramit was not recording it. I would really enjoy watching it or reading the highlights later if anyone makes them available! What is this Scrooge Strategy that everyone’s psyched about?

  46. Chris @ BuildMyBudget

    I would like to listen to it as well if anybody recorded it. Cheers!

  47. @Jonathan – most libraries are receptive to requests for books they should add to their collections, so if your local library doesn’t have a book you want, don’t hesitate to enter a request for it. Usually they just need title, author, year of publication, and ISBN (easy to find on amazon) and possibly short description of the book.

  48. I’d like to listen to it as well if anybody recorded it. Anyway, this was a fantastic initiative, Ramit!