Zen and Tennis

This article reviews The Inner Game of Tennis and outlines actionable insights from the book.

In The Inner Game of Tennis, Gallwey shows the methods to overcome self-doubt, nervousness and lapses of concentration that can keep a player from winning. These challenges are called the ‘inner game’. The inner game is the game that takes place in the mind of the player and is played against inner obstacles. In contrast, the outer game is played against an external opponent to overcome external obstacles to reach an external goal.

A player wins the inner game when he can cultivate a spontaneous performance. The player then performs with a true self-confidence – calm and not trying too hard. The player’s mind is one with the body and he can surpass his limits.

There are three steps to develop one’s inner game: (1) learning to let go of judgements, (2) learning to trust yourself and (3) learning to program yourself with images rather than instructing with words.

Let Go of Judgements

The first step is to let go of judgements. Judgement is the self-imposed sense of “goodness” or “badness” that the player ascribes to the events that happen. A judgemental person is one who assigns a negative or a positive value to an event. The person is saying that some events are good, and he likes them, or they are bad, and he hates them.

Self-judgements become self-fulfilling prophecies. When a person judges himself, his inner self will act accordingly. He will begin to live according to these expectations. These expectations will perpetuate in his life until his mind establish a self-identity according to these.

In tennis, self-judgements also lead to emotional reactions and physical tightness, trying too hard and self-condemnation.

A person overcomes his judgement by seeing, feeling and being aware of what is. In tennis, the player does not have to think where the ball is, he simply sees it. He feels where the ball is and is aware of its movement. The player acknowledges his strengths, weaknesses, efforts and accomplishments.

Trusting Yourself

The second step is trusting yourself. What does it mean to trust yourself? Trusting yourself is not positive-thinking or overconfidence, convincing yourself to hit an ace in every serve. In the inner game, trusting yourself means to let your body hits the ball. The keyword is ‘let’. The player trusts in the competence of his body and mind, allowing himself to swing the racket.

Similar to self-judgement, not trusting yourself causes both mental and physical interference. These interferences result in physical tightness, mental distraction and lack of concentration.

A player who already knows how to swing the racket should trust his body to do it. A player who does not, should learn it. As he practices, his mind stores, refines and extends this movement in his memory. The mind remembers every action and the results of every action. The player should allow the natural learning process to take place and forget about the stroke-by-stroke instruction, similar to a baby learning how to walk.

Using Imagery

The last step is to program your mind using imagery, rather than words. Imagery is the mind’s native language. Using sensory images, you can hold the desired outcome that you want to achieve and let your body does the work.

To use the imagery technique, hold your desired results or form in your mind and allow the body to do what is necessary. The player must trust his body, refraining from giving itself instruction and from exerting controlled effort. The author stresses that it is important not to make any conscious effort when performing the action.

The Inner Game of Tennis demonstrates than winning in sports and life have both inner and outer game aspects. Overcoming the inner obstacles will allow a player to improve his skills continuously. However, this does not mean that the player should not practice his outer game. The book also dedicates a section to practice and perfect a player’s tennis technique.

Nonetheless, knowing these techniques is only the first step in winning any game. Only constant practise and hard work will help us to overcome any obstacle that life throws at us.

Click here to visit the Amazon book page (affiliate link), where it is available in multiple formats.

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The Definitive Guide to Investing in Malaysia

The News Straits Times reports that young Malaysians have low financial literacy. This is very alarming and reflects our poor education system, which fails to teach this important skill. 

It is important now more than ever to learn about investing. Investing is an important skill to learn simply because there is a limit to how much work a person can do. A normal human typically works from the age of 20 to 50, and then the body will reach its limit. Thus, investing will enable you to have a source of income even after you stop working. 

This guide will provide a brief review of investment options in Malaysia, their returns and how you can start. Note that this guide is for beginners and I have excluded other riskier options such as Forex, properties and cryptocurrencies. In addition, I do not recommend unit trust funds because of the high management fees which can eat up your capital.

Table of Content

  1. EPF
  2. ASB
  3. Stock market
  4. REITs
  5. ETF
  6. Crowdfunding
  7. P2P Lending
  8. Robo Advisor
  9. Bonds
  10. Conclusion
  11. Investing FAQ

1. Employees Provident Fund (EPF, Malay: “Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja”)

EPF (Malay: KWSP) contribution is deducted from your monthly salary and saved for your retirement. These savings are comprised of you and your employer’s contribution plus the yearly dividend. The statutory contribution rate is currently 11% and your employer will contribute another 12% or 13% of your salary. Nonetheless, you can opt to contribute more.

Returns

EPF reports that its past 30 years return on average is 6.26% and its all-time return is 5.94%. 

EPF historical returns chart (Source: MyPF)

How to start

If you are already working, your salary will be automatically deducted and contributed to your EPF account. 

Further Resources

EPF’s website (Contribution)

2. Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB)

ASB is an investment scheme launched by the Malaysian government for Bumiputera. The investment fund aims to generate competitive and consistent long-term returns for the shareholders. Meanwhile, non-Bumiputera can invest in Amanah Saham Malaysia (ASM), although it has lower returns than ASM

How to start

You can register for an ASB account at your nearest local ASNB branch. 

Returns

ASB all-time return is 9.91% while its average 10-year return is 7.94%.

ASB Dividend Chart since 1990 (Plotted in R, Source: MyPF)

Further Resources

ASB Product Page

3. Stock Market

A stock is proof of ownership in a company. When you buy a stock, you own a piece of that company. If the company does well, the stock price goes up. In addition, if the company makes a profit, it will share its profit with shareholders in the form of dividends.

How to start

Go to the investment branch of local banks to sign up for a CDS account. For example, Maybank investments or CIMB investment. Alternatively, you can use online stockbroking accounts such as TD Ameritrade or IG.

Returns

Depends on which company, how much dividends offered and how the stock has performed. 

Further Resources

Bursa Marketplace

4. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

REIT provides an option to invest in properties by paying a smaller fraction of the real estate prices. REITs provide a way to invest in high-quality real estate, without having to deal with the risks associated with it. Similar to stock, when you buy REIT, you won a piece of a particular real estate. The main benefits of investing in REITs are their affordability and liquidity. Affordability because REITs only cost a fraction of the original real estate price. Liquidity means that units of REITs can be converted to cash quickly as these units are traded on the stock exchange.

How to start

Similar to stocks, when you sign up for CDS account, you can start investing in REIT.

Returns

Returns range from 8 to 20% depending on which REIT.

Further Resources

The Intelligent Investor

5. Exchange Traded Funds (ETF)

Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) combines the feature of an index fund with a stock. When buying an ETF unit, you buy a piece of a group of companies, rather than one company. ETF is suitable for investors who want to diversify their portfolio, without investing in any particular stock.

How to start

Similar to stocks and REIT, when you sign up for CDS account, you can start investing in REIT.

Returns

Returns range from 8 to 15% depending on which ETF.

Further Resources

The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing 

6. Crowdfunding 

Crowdfunding is a method of financing a new business using small amounts of capitals from a large amount of people. Crowdfunding works by connecting people with new business ideas and other people who support those ideas. Examples of Malaysian crowdfunding platforms are Leet Capital, MyStartr and Crowdplus.

How to start

Click Further Resources below and sign up on one of the crowdfunding platforms.

Returns

There are many crowdfunding platforms, some focus on generating profitable business while others are social enterprises. Each crowdfunding has different returns. 

Further Resources

List of registered Malaysian crowdfunding platform

7. P2P Lending

P2P Lending is a form of lending between individual investors and companies, cutting the financial institutions role as the middleman. Businesses that rely on P2P lending are usually high-growth small and medium enterprises (SMEs). 

How to start

Click Further Resources below and sign up on one of the P2P platforms.

Returns

Depending on the company, P2P Lending can have returns ranging from 10 to 14%, with higher risk as well. 

Further Resources

List of registered Malaysian P2P platform

8. Robo advisor

Robo advisor is a service that uses algorithms to match a client’s needs with a specific investment portfolio. As the name suggests, the robo advisor relies on little to no human management. Robo advisor is suitable for people who want to invest but do not want to micromanage their investments. 

How to start

At the time of writing, the robo advisor platforms that have received approval from Securities Commission Malaysia are MyTHEO, StashAway and Wahed.

9. Other resources

There are many resources online to learn about investing. For absolute beginners, I will recommend the following:

10. Conclusion

Malaysia has relatively mature and diverse options for people looking to invest their money. Choosing which to invest depends on several factors such as your salary, returns and the risk associated with each investment. However, the most important thing is to start early. Compounding interest works wonder and you will be surprised how much your net worth will be after two and three decades. For specific investment instrument, I would recommend ASB as it has low cost and risk. Once you have maxed out your ASB, you can start diversifying in other investments.

11. Investing FAQs

I don’t have the time to learn about investing, what can I do?

Contribute more towards your EPF. EPF is deducted automatically from your salary and you can opt for a higher contribution per month. If your salary is RM2000, 15% contribution per month means it is RM3600 annually. With a 6% growth rate, your contributions will be around RM300,000 in 30 years. Most Malaysians do not have cash for your retirement and having that amount is definitely better than nothing.

When should I start investing?

Now. Starting earlier enables your money to increase exponentially via compound interest. I can emphasise this enough, the earlier you start investing, the more time your money has to grow. If you’re not willing to invest in the riskier options, start with ASB. For non-Bumiputera, start with ASM (Amanah Saham Malaysia).

Are these investments halal or Syariah-compliant?

Most of these instruments have both non-Syariah compliant and Syariah-compliant options including EPF. For ASB, there are debates around its status. Currently, the general consensus is it is halal although a portion of it should be contributed to zakat

How to Grow Your Startup with Data (Lean Analytics Book Review)

In the book Lean Startup, Eric Ries advocates entrepreneurs to build products that people love. However, entrepreneurs often find it difficult to know what people want. Most people do not know what they want, and entrepreneurs waste a lot of resources building something that no one buys. Fortunately, Lean Analytics illuminates ways to solve these problems.

In , Lean Analytics, the author attempts to guide readers to instil analytics mindset in their business, from validating products to preparing for acquisition. The book is massive, consisting of 30 chapters and over 400 pages. These pages originate from interviews involving over a hundred founders, investors and entrepreneurs.

The book is divided into four parts. Part 1 covers the fundamental analytics in business while Part 2 shows the applications of analytics. Part 3 discusses the baseline for business analytics. Finally, part 4 guides the readers to apply Lean Analytics to their organisations. This article reviews the book and provides a key summary of each chapter. The article also applies the insights to this blog’s growth. Finally, I will discuss the problems with the book.

Summary

Chapter 1 introduces readers to the Lean Analytics mindset. The core idea of Lean Analytics is knowing the kind of business you are, and the stage you’re at, you can track and optimize the One Metrics That Matters to your startup right now. 

A business is like a scientific experiment, where entrepreneurs have to test their hypothesis.The business survives if its hypothesis is correct, or it fails otherwise. And to test a hypothesis, the business will have to collect data. This continuous process of asking hypotheses and collecting data transform how entrepreneurs run their businesses. Lean Analytics help entrepreneurs to conduct these two processes effectively.

Chapter 2 discusses the aspects of a good metric such as being comparative and understandable. A good metric also needs to change the way you behave. Sometimes, businesses track their metrics not to test a hypothesis, but to make them feel good. If the businesses measure a metric that does not relate to their goals or affect their behaviour, they are only lying to themselves and wasting their time.

The authors also warn against tracking vanity metrics. A vanity metric is a piece of data that does not inform, guide or improve your business model. An example of a vanity metric is the number of signups, which tells nothing about the users and what they do. Alternatively, the authors advocate business to track actionable metrics.

Applying this insight to the blog, I can choose to track the number of visitors per day. However, this metric does not tell anything about what the visitors do or the types of posts that visitors read. As an alternative, I can track the number of visitors for each article and what types of posts do visitors like, comment and share. These metrics are more insightful because it guides me in my next decision.

As of now, the most popular most in the blog is “How to Write Well: 4 Steps to Improve Your Writing”. It received 7100 visitors on the day it was published. The post also has the most comments, likes and shares. My hypothesis is that visitors like an engaging, well-researched and well-written how-to guide. Hence, I could use this information to decide the posts that I will write in the future. If my hypothesis is correct, this blog will have a significant growth.

Next, chapter 3 discusses the questions that founders need to ask before starting a company. The authors recommend using the Lean Canvas framework to answer these questions. Chapter 4 brings the readers back to the importance of combining analytics with human introspection.

Chapter 5 reviews several analytics frameworks such as the Pirate Metrics, Engines of Growth, Lean Canvas and Startup Growth Pyramid. The authors propose a new model called Lean Analytics Stages, which combines the best of these frameworks.

Chapter 6 presents us with the concept, One Metrics That Matters (OMTM). OMTM is the metric that a startup needs to focus on above everything else at a particular stage. Although tracking metrics is good, startups can lose focus and track excessive metrics. Unfocused startups are less likely to succeed because they will waste resources while wandering aimlessly.

Next, chapter 7 discusses business models and how to come up with one, depending on your startups. The next chapters (8-13) examine six types of startups and their business models. These are e-commerce, Software as A Service (SaaS), mobile app, media site, user-generated content and two-sided marketplaces. Each chapter examines the important metrics, problems and challenges for the respective startups. After that, chapter 14 to 20 discusses each stage of the Lean Analytics Stages framework. These stages are empathy, stickiness, virality, revenue and scale.

Chapter 21 establishes the baseline for the metrics that startups track. For example, a 5% growth rate is a good baseline for a startup. The time period for this growth depends on which stage your startup is at. The chapter also outlines other key baselines for metrics such as pricing metrics, cost of customer acquisition, site engagement and web performance.

Similar to chapters 8 to 13, chapter 22 to 27 examine the metrics for the six types of startups. Part 3 ends with a review of these concepts and strategies when startups do not have a clear baseline. Chapter 29 outlines the advantages of having enterprise customers and important metrics. The final chapter recommends readers ways they can apply Lean Analytics concept in their organisation.

Although this book covers a lot of topics, it fails to dive deeper into the specifics. In fact, some chapters contain information that tends to be shallow and generic. For example, in chapter 11, the authors discuss the business model of a media site. I expected the chapter to include evidence of how media businesses achieve growth with certain strategies. Similarly, the book covers the key metrics for media site in chapter 25. These metrics are click-through rates, sessions-to-click ratio, referrers, engaged time and sharing. The chapter only briefly reviews each metric. A more detailed guide on how startups can adapt using these metrics would have been useful. These issues notwithstanding, this book is a comprehensive guide for anyone who wants to incorporate analytics mindset in his life.

Conclusion

Overall, the authors deliver the main objective of the book, which is to guide readers to instil analytics in their business, from validating products to preparing for acquisition. Additionally, the authors have provided readers with a specific framework to track these metrics, depending on which stages of business they are at. To conclude, I recommend this book to anyone who wants to use analytics to grow their business effectively. The book is massive and if your business is already growing fast, you will not have the time to read this cover-to-cover. Nonetheless, it is worth reading if you want to apply analytics in a systematic way.

Click here to get the book on Amazon.

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How to Write Well: 4 Steps to Improve Your Writing

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway

Introduction 

Looking back, I always struggled with writing. I felt pain every time I try to fill a blank page. I could bear the pain of writing in high school, but I almost gave up in university. I could read many books and understand the lectures, but give me a writing task? My mind went blank as if I never understood any of the concepts. Maybe I do not understand what I learned and the struggle to write is a symptom. Or it could be that I have been reading bad writings in university, which affects my thought process. Or maybe some concepts are complex, and I struggle to communicate them. Nonetheless, writing is my major weakness.

I tried to search for help with my writing. Reading books on writing did nothing. Most books tend to give generic advice such as “Don’t use passive voice” or “Be clear”. These are bad advices, similar to how “just be yourself” is the worst dating advice. Everyone knows you should do it, but no one tells you why it works.

How do I isolate the mechanics of writing and focus on each component one by one, thereby improving my writing? After further research, I have explored the potential answers to these questions. This article will outline the aspects of good writing namely clarity, cohesiveness, emphasis and conciseness.

Table of Contents
1. Good writing is clear
2. Good writing is cohesive
3. Good writing has emphasis
4. Good writing is concise

Good writing is clear

Clear prose is one that a reader can understand. But it is not enough merely to be understandable. A statement can be easily understood yet tells nothing interesting to the reader. That is a common flaw in clickbait journalism like BuzzFeed. Readers can understand it, yet it does not captivate anyone. So, what makes prose clear and good? Clear prose is good when it tells a story. A story has two components – characters and actions. The characters are the subjects of the sentences that name the cast of the characters. Meanwhile, the actions are the verbs that go with these subjects.

Every prose can be simplified using these two principles. When your prose seems too complex, locate the cast of characters and their actions. Remove the unnecessary information and focus on these two components. Once you have clear subjects and their action, add more information if needed.

A prose may also be difficult to read when it has unnecessary nominalisations. Nominalisation is the process of making a noun from a verb or an adjective. Since nominalisation is a noun, it does not carry the same weight to the prose like an action word. Prose that contains a subject and a nominalisation lacks the element of a good story. Consider the following examples:

1. Our lack of knowledge about local conditions precluded determination of committee action effectiveness in fund allocation to those areas in greatest need of assistance.

2. Because we know nothing about the local conditions, we could not determine how effectively the committee had allocated funds to areas that need the most assistance.

Readers will find (2) clearer than (1). Not only (2) relies on fewer nominalisations than (1), it also uses more verbs that express actions. (2) also tells the readers a story. There are clear subjects (we, committee) and the actions know, determine and allocate. This creates a clear story in (2) and makes it more interesting than (1). 

Good writing is cohesive

Cohesive prose means that the separate sentences that form the prose flow into a single, unified whole. Williams and Colomb (1990) illustrate the principle of cohesion:

“Put at the beginning of a sentence those ideas that you have already mentioned, referred to, or implied, or concepts that you can reasonably assume your reader is already familiar with, and will readily recognize.”

The principle suggests that we focus on one concept at a time. Prose that does this will have a consistent topic string, which will make it feels more focused and cohesive. Prose that breaks this rule, such as an arduously long sentence usually does not focus on one topic. Hence, the reader will struggle to assemble these concepts into a cohesive discourse. Consider the following examples:

1. The hotel is famous. It is one of the most well-known hotels in the country. The latest international dancing competition was held at the hotel. The hotel spent a lot of money to advertise the event. Because the hotel wanted to gain an international reputation. But not many people attended the event.

2. The hotel, which is one of the most well-known hotels in this region, wanted to promote its image around the world by hosting the latest international dancing competition. Although the event was widely advertised, not many people participated in the competition.

The first paragraph has inconsistent topic strings, such as hotel, international dancing competition and people. These topics strings are not introduced properly, hence, it feels disjointed. Furthermore, the characters do not have any actions attached to it, making the paragraph lacks a story. The lack of story and the inconsistent topic strings make the paragraph confusing. 

Compare this to the second paragraph, where it has only two topic strings, hotel and event. The character, hotel has an action wanted. The combination of a character and an action creates a story in the sentence. In addition, the second sentence starts by repeating the event, which the writer has mentioned in the first sentence. Therefore, the second paragraph has a story and consistent topic strings. As a result, the paragraph feels more cohesive.

Good writing has emphasis

Prose has a good emphasis when it ends itself well. To emphasise, Williams and Colomb (1990) suggest readers to:

“Put at the end of your sentence the newest, the most surprising, the most significant information: information that you want to stress – perhaps the information that you will expand on in your next sentence.”

Most writers struggle to write well when the subjects use technical terms. Technical terms are confusing when they are not introduced properly. This technique is helpful when communicating complex information that requires technical terms. When you introduce complex information, design the sentence that it appears in, so that you can locate that term at the end.

Why does this work? When you end a sentence with a good emphasis, the readers know what to expect in the sentence. A sentence that does not end with an emphasis, will feel monotonous. Also, putting the emphasis at the end has more impact on the reader’s feeling. Consider the following examples:

1. My friend John commented, “The movie Captain America was thrilling”.
2. “The movie Captain America was thrilling”, my friend John commented.

In the first sentence, the word “thrilling” is the emphasis, which is a strong endorsement for the film. In the second example, the sentence ends with the word “commented”, which does not carry any impact. Meanwhile, the word “thrilling” is buried in the middle of the sentence. This diminishes its impact to the readers. 

Good writing is concise

Prose is concise when it gives a lot of information clearly and in the fewest words. Williams and Colomb (1990) outline two principles to be concise:

a. Compress what you mean into the fewest words
b. Don’t state what your reader can easily refer

Principle (a) means writers should remove any redundancy or unnecessary wordiness in the prose. Principle (b) means that we remove attribution that does not add anything to the prose. One way that a writer can violate these two principles is by using an attribution. An attribution tells the reader the source of ideas or facts. When the attribution does not add anything to the point, it should be removed. Consider the following examples:

      “Regular patterns of drought and precipitation have been found to coincide with cycles of sunspot activity” 

which can be simplified to:

      “Regular patterns of drought and precipitation coincide with cycles of sunspot activity”

Not only the phrase “have been found” adds nothing to the prose, it also does not state the subject. Removing the phrase will make the prose above more concise.

Conclusion

To conclude, I have identified the aspects of good writing, which are clarity, cohesiveness, emphasis and conciseness. Any writer who aspires to improve their crafts should practice these aspects. Nonetheless, these are not the panacea for all your struggles with writing. There are many other aspects of good writing. And only with continuous practice and the iterative process of writing will help you to improve this craft. 

Books and resources on writing well

  1. Style: Toward Clarity and Grace
  2. The Craft of Writing Effectively (YouTube)
  3. Ohio State University: The Function and Value of Academic Writing

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I Will Teach You to Be Rich (Book Review)

I have been resisting to read I Will Teach You to Be Rich for a while now because of the clickbait title and weird book cover (on the 2009 version), although it has good reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. After seeing Personal Finance and FIRE (Financial Independence/ Retire Early) subreddits recommending this book, I decided to watch some YouTube videos by the author, Ramit Sethi. Surprisingly, Ramit has interesting perspectives on managing money and personal finance. This article will review the book, its key messages and the insights that I find interesting. 

No more Ramit on the cover.

Summary

I Will Teach You to Be Rich employs a unique approach in personal finance, which is to use insights from Psychology and applying them in personal finance. This is similar to the idea of nudging in Behavioural Economics, which is to design the choice architecture surrounding your personal finance behaviour in ways that promote certain desired actions. His main messages are:

Start Today

Starting earlier enables your money to increase exponentially via compound interest. If you start investing earlier in life, your money will have more time to grow.

Focus on The Big Wins.

When cutting down your spending, focus on the Big Wins, which are the areas where you are spending a lot but do not mind reducing with some efforts. For example, unnecessary subscriptions or eating out. 

Spend extravagantly on the things you love and cut costs mercilessly on the things you do not love.

Similar to the above, after getting the Big Wins, you should allocate some money on the things that you love.

There is a difference between having possessions and living a rich life.

Ramit urges readers to start defining their own rich life and asking themselves why they want to be rich? Whether it is to have the freedom to make your own career decisions or being able to allocate time for family and the things that you love. Regardless of the reasons, it is important to define your own rich life and understand that personal finance is a tool to achieve that goal.

Do not live in the spreadsheet. Start today, automate your finance and live your life.

Using the techniques in this book, you can automate your money management. Once you have the automation system set up, you can live your life and spend less time thinking about financial issues.

Managing Your Credit Card, Bank Accounts and Investments 

The first three chapters cover personal finance basics such as managing credit card and choosing a bank account. Ramit compares all the American retail banks and recommends the ones that he thinks are good. Chapter three discusses pension and investment and recommends readers to maximise their pension contribution and allocate a certain fraction to your investment account. 

Money Dial

Chapter 4 focuses on money dial, the idea that you should cut cost mercilessly on the things you do not love but spend extravagantly on the things you do. Some of the things that people love are fitness, wellness, convenience, eating out or clothing. For example, although I subscribe to Netflix and other streaming services, I do not fully use them, therefore, I should cut them mercilessly. After that, I can use this extra money and spend extravagantly on things I love. Since I love fitness, I can spend the extra money to hire a personal trainer or buy the highest quality shoes. If I love clothing, I can spend on buying luxurious clothes rather than buying cheaper ones. 

Increasing Your Income

Next, Ramit discusses ways to increase your incomes such as negotiating for a raise, changing jobs or freelancing. Ramit explains elaborately on the steps that you should take to negotiate for a raise, starting from the discussing with your manager and executing the deal.

This is my favourite chapter from the book as it gives practical advice on negotiating for a higher salary or a promotion. If there is one chapter that you need to read, it is this one. I strongly recommend reading this chapter with the book Never Split the Difference. Both this chapter and Never Split the Difference have solid strategies for negotiations. 

Automating Your Finance

In chapter 5, Ramit outlines the ways you can automate your savings, then, in chapter 6, he discusses the myth of expert. With the advent of digital banking, your money management can be automated. For example, you can ask your bank to automatically transfer money between accounts and pay bills (utilities and credit cards). In terms of investment, Ramit recommends the readers to invest in low-cost index funds rather than relying on wealth managers. Next, Ramit discusses ways to maintain this automated system, tax laws and when to sell your assets. 

Money and Relationship

Finally, Ramit ends the book with his own experience in communicating about money issue with his partner. These include the kinds of conversations that you should have before getting married and planning for the wedding.

One thing I find interesting from this chapter is dealing with the taboo surrounding having conservation about money with your partner. It is one of those things where people know they should be doing, but most people do not do it. Additionally, Ramit suggests several ways to reduce your wedding expenses such as by cutting the fixed costs. Fixed costs are expenses that are constant regardless of the amount of good or services produced. For example, photographer, rentals, flowers, invitations, dress and rings. Ramit demonstrates that cutting fixed costs would enable you to reduce your wedding spending significantly. 

Conclusion 

Overall, the book has been very engaging. Ramit offers interesting perspectives not just on managing money, but also on communicating with other people about your financial goals. The book aims to guide people to define their own rich life and I think it managed to do that well. 

I Will Teach You to Be Rich targets young adults who are starting to learn about finance and the advice may seem basic for people who have already dabbled in the personal finance world. Nonetheless, I applaud Ramit’s effort in encouraging people to start early and spreading positive outlook on others’ personal finance. 

Click here to visit the Amazon book page (affiliate link), where it is available in multiple formats.

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