Dismantling the Ladder of Personal Finance …

For those who are new to this blog, 7 Million 7 Years is not about saving money, retiring on 75% of your salary in 30 years, stock or real-estate investing, frugal living, ‘getting rich quick’ or anything else that you are likely to find around the blogosphere …

… this blog is simply aimed at those who want to get rich(er) quick(er) more so than any of these other things – on their own – can possibly accomplish. That’s why, from time to time, you will read things here that (a) you won’t see anywhere else, and (b) will fly in the face of conventional wisdom.

You can choose to follow these suggestions or to ignore them; either way, this is unique opinion offered by somebody who has already made their millions and is doing one thing and one thing only: giving back to the best of their ability. Enjoy!

iwtytbr-bookRamit Sethi, the personal finance blogging phenom – and, champion of Gen Y (18 to 30 y.o.) has finally published his book.

Naturally, it is being reviewed all over the blogosphere, including a review by my good blogging friend JD Roth of Get Rich Slowly, who ventures close to giving the book his highest possible endorsement (JD’s Caveat: for the right audience):

I’m often asked to recommend personal-finance books for young adults. I’ve read a few (and have more in my to-read stack), but there are only two that I promote … however, my friend and colleague Ramit Sethi has written a money book aimed squarely at those in their twenties. If you’re under 25 and single, and if you make a decent living, this book is perfect.

I have to confess that I have not (yet) read the book, but if JD recommends it, then it is probably worth a read.

However, I did find a ‘sneak peak’ of one of the pillars of the book, “The Ladder of Personal Finance“; Ramit says:

These are the five systematic steps you should take to invest. Each step builds on the previous one. So when you finish the first. go on to the second. If you can‘t get to number 5, don‘t worry. You can still feel great, since most people never even get to the first step.

Rung 1: If your employer offers a 401(k) match, invest to take full advantage of it and contribute just enough to get too percent of the match. This is free money and there is, quite simply, no better deal.

Rung 2: Pay off your credit card and any other debt. The average credit card APR is 14 percent. and many APRs are higher. Whatever your card company charges, paying off your debt will give you a significant instant return.

Rung 3: Open up a Roth IRA and contribute as much money as possible to it.

Rung 4: If you have money left oven go back to your 401(k) and contribute as much as possible to it (this time above and beyond your employer match).

Rung 5: If you still have money left to invest, open a regular nonretirement account and put as much as possible there. Also, pay extra on any mortgage debt you have, and consider investing in yourself: Whether it’s starting a company or getting an additional degree, there’s often no better investment than your own career.


It appears that Ramith Sethi has outlined a simple plan to financial success that is aimed at removing debt and ensuring that you have a great retirement, IF you are prepared to work until retirement age.

My major issue with it is that the book is called I Will Teach You To Be Rich and I will need to read it to see what Ramit thinks ‘rich’ is, because inflation will erode a good chunk of the benefit of any time-based ‘retirement saving plan’ …

… but, if you’re reading this blog, you probably want to become rich(er) quick(er) [AJC: After all, this blog IS called How to Make 7 Million in 7 Years 😉 ], in which case I have a simple solution for you:

Turn Ramit’s ladder upside down!

The 7 Million 7 Year Patented Upside Down Ladder of Personal Finance might look something like this:

Step 1: Start investing in yourself: start a side-company or get an additional job

Step 2: Put at least 50% of the extra money into a regular nonretirement account

Step 3: Pay off your credit card and any other non-mortgage, non-investment debt

Step 4: Start investing in real-estate, stocks, and/or your own business

Step 5: Since you will have money left over (i.e. at least 10% of your original – pre-Step 1 income) feel free to feather your 401(k) nest with it (grab the employer match if you do)

A simple solution with a powerful result … and, if you don’t get past Step 4 then I won’t be terribly upset. 🙂

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5 thoughts on “Dismantling the Ladder of Personal Finance …

  1. Ramit’s steps are aptly named, as his is definitely a long slow climb up the ladder to the top. Not a bad plan if you are very patient and love working enough to do it for the next 40 years!

  2. I feel like your posts have failed to inspire me lately (its me not you) but man this one got under my skin Good Job!

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