Someone Pinch ME!
Ramit (www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com) emailed me back!!!!!!
I can’t lie. I’m a total fangirl. I have spent my life surrounded by big names and large people. When I was in the third grade I shook hands with the President and sang with the Pointer Sisters all in the same week. If you don’t know who these people are I’m not going to judge you for it, promise. I only knew who they were because my mom told me they were important. Needless to say it takes a LOT for me to fangirl (or so I thought). Big names, big people never set off that crazy blubbering inner child until one day at comic con when I met Holly Black and I found out I too could be reduced to a raving lunatic.
If you don’t know who Holly Black is, she’s one of my top ten favorite living authors and I had the embarrassing moment of telling her not to die after spending an hour in line with thirteen-year-olds to meet her. Context: she writes YA and Tween fiction books, and three of the authors on that top ten list had gotten cancer that year, two of whom died, so I’m not totally crazy, maybe.
What have I learned from this? Fame and power mean little to me. Meeting/hearing from a top performer in a field I care about will reduce me to screaming fan.
That’s where I found myself when I saw that email. Screaming fandom mode. To me, receiving an actual email back from Ramit was better than if Taylor Swift had personally responded to one of my tweets. I did a happy dance around the room. Then I opened it.
It was short (I honestly didn’t expect it to be long, he is a busy man. After all he runs a multi-million dollar business.) It said the following:
“Very few have 90% going to rent.”
More context: It was a response to my response to a question email he sent out. He’d asked us, his loyal students and readers:
“What are the money questions that you can’t seem to solve?”
And like a good student, I responded:
“I want to know how anybody can save anything for retirement when 90% of their income is going to rent and they have to live off the other 10%.”
In the past, I’ve responded to at least six of these emails before, with no indication that they did anything but fall into the black hole we call email until he responded BACK. (Writing this got me squealing again).
This is the guy that taught me why my first online business tanked. Read SUPER important person in my life. A guy that is on a first name basis with one of my idols. Yes, I said it, Timothy Ferriss is my choice for American Idol. Who wouldn’t idolize the person that conquered my three biggest struggles in life: money, sex, and cooking? He even wrote books about it! (Publishing my own book is up there in life dreams). Can you say crushing? And Ramit, Tim Ferriss’ friend, successful businessman, and my teacher took his precious time to write me back (swoon).
I read that one short sentence. My smile went to a puzzled frown. This response had come out of a place of real pain. I was talking about me. I’d been paying 90% of my husband’s and my base pay to have a roof over our heads. Only I must confess, I’d lied to Ramit. My husband and I are Christians. As a Christian, I was taught from a very young age to tithe. So that 10% to live off I talked to Ramit about, yeah, that was the first thing gone from the budget. We gave it faithfully to God.
And God was good. Somehow through the odd jobs my husband and I picked up, extra shifts when asked, and so on, we would have just enough to cover last month’s expenses and clear the credit card at the end of the month. We never carried a balance. It was always close. One month a person I didn’t know handed me two hundred dollars in cash. The exact amount of money I’d needed to pay a bill that was due that day. But we scraped by.
Months of living like this went by. Months turned into years. My faith grew thin. I stopped seeing the gifts of clothes for my daughter and only saw the holes in my work pants I had to patch. I saw the gift of groceries as a burden. I wanted to buy my own food, not have other people dictate what I ate that week. The guilt built up inside me as I robbed Peter to pay Paul month after month.
My first suicide attempt happened when we couldn’t make the payment on our electric bill again. I had to charge it for the second month in a row. I was living a money nightmare. I DON’T charge utilities. I looked down on people that charged utilities. It’s humbling to be in that situation. Not only were we living paycheck to paycheck, we were eating food stamp renewal to food stamp renewal. Still, rent came due.
That inner hateful voice inside kept asking, “When are you going to save for retirement?”
“Who could think about retirement when I can’t pay the electric bill,” I told it back.
“Me,” my inner voice replied. ALL THE TIME. Day and night I berated myself.
“You are wasting your prime saving years,” the experts told me.
“Savings in your twenties will triple your wealth,” they said.
“What savings?” I asked back. I really wanted to know. I was in real pain.
I still want to know: is there a better way? So when Ramit asked, I asked back.
Can a person live and save for the future like he’d told me to do on 10% of their income? And he’d responded! His answer: “Very few have 90% going to rent.” Which is an answer of sorts, but not the one I was looking for.
It made me feel alone. So I’m asking you, reader, am I alone? Am I part of a very few who the crash of 09’ has left homeless, jobless, and struggling to meet the basic needs while worrying that I’m throwing away my future? Am I the only one that has tried everything in their power to overcome 0% income after God and rent by spending less and making more only to remain stuck?
Is Ramit right?
Please comment with your truth. I’m looking to you for the answer now.