In a recent episode of The Tim Ferriss Show, host Tim Ferriss interviewed Ramit Sethi, author of I Will Teach You To Be Rich. Despite its scammy name, it’s actually a great book. In it, Sethi offers financial advice based on what folx are actually going to do. He acknowledges that not all of us are finance nerds. So, instead of saying, “X is the best option for everyone,” he says, “If you’re not into finance, do A. If you want to do more with your finances, do B. And if you want to really nerd out about your finances, do C.”
In this conversation with Ferriss, Sethi talked about Money Dials. These are essentially most people’s spending priorities. According to Sethi’s research, the ten main Money Dials are: Convenience, Travel, Health/Fitness, Experiences, Freedom, Relationships, Generosity, Luxury, Social Status, and Self-Improvement. Sethi’s advice is that people figure out what Money Dials are the most important to them so they can turn up their spending in those areas while turning down their spending in the other, less important areas of their life.
As I continue to explore what makes a rich life and what enables folx to access financial wellbeing, I find the concept of Money Dials compelling. For one thing, they’ve given me yet another way of examining my relationship to money. For another thing, I appreciate the way this model asks us to make a choice about where we’re putting our financial resources. We live in a time of excess and it’s easy to think that we have to stretch ourselves financially to spend equally across all categories of our lives because everything can feel like a priority.
Sethi’s Money Dials challenge us to figure out what is actually a priority so we can use our financial resources to help us feel greater satisfaction in our lives. As appealing as the thought of being able to turn up the Money Dials in every facet of our lives might be, it’s not a guarantee that we will feel more fulfilled. It’s far less risky to do the difficult work of defining our priorities so we don’t waste our precious time fiddling with Money Dials that aren’t going to exponentially enrich our lives.
My number one Money Dial is Freedom. It’s important to me that I have the freedom to focus on the creative work that I care about. I want complete control over how I spend my time so I can move through my days in an unrestricted way. It also matters to me that I have the freedom to say what I want and dress how I want in my personal and professional life at all times. My love of freedom is one of the reasons I have worked for myself for the past eleven-ish years and why I am so vocal about issues that take away the rights and freedoms of other folx.
What about you? What is your number one financial priority in life?