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Decoding Naval Ravikant’s Quotes on Personal Finance

I am a bibliophile who loves to read about new concepts and ideas. The next step almost always involves testing them out in real life.

Naval Ravikant

Naval Ravikant

Who is Naval Ravikant?

Naval Ravikant is an angel investor and businessman who loves philosophy and human psychology. A unique mix. How often do you hear entrepreneurs talk passionately about business, yoga, meditation, and minimalism, all in the same breath? This is what caught my eye. This is what got me intrigued.

I went on to read and listen to a lot of Naval Ravikant's materials online. I noted some of his quotes down because I found them deep, informative, and thought-provoking. His personal finance thread on Twitter is a gem.

On this page, I am going to list some of Naval's insightful points on financial knowledge, income streams, investing and business, followed by my thoughts on the matter.

On Specific Knowledge

"Knowledge only you know or only a small set of people know is going to come out of your passions and your hobbies, oddly enough. If you have hobbies around your intellectual curiosity, you’re more likely to develop these passions."

Specific knowledge (niche knowledge) is what is going to set you apart from others. This knowledge is most probably going to come from things that you are already highly passionate about because you are going to take that extra step in learning everything about it. It is not something everyone can do because they are not as passionate as you. It might seem like work for them but is more like play for you, because you are interested in the subject and it drives you.

On Informed Decisions

“We waste our time with short-term thinking and busywork. Warren Buffett spends a year deciding and a day acting. That act lasts decades.”

We are impulsive creatures when it comes to investing. We take a lot of time to research the best mobile phones, gadgets but have no patience when it comes to researching financial instruments. We rely on our neighbors, friends, relatives to guide us on this matter. When it comes to investing, we should take ample time out for research. There are a lot of resources online nowadays that can guide you.

On Realizing Your True Value

“Value your time at an hourly rate, and ruthlessly spend to save time at that rate. You will never be worth more than you think you’re worth.”

People tend to compromise a lot (at home, work, anywhere) when there is a lack of self-esteem. Once you know your worth, things that do not match up to your value will be given less time and importance.

On Not Being Anti-Wealth

“Literally, being anti-wealth will prevent you from becoming wealthy, because you will not have the right mindset for it, you won’t have the right spirit, and you won’t be dealing with people on the right level.”

If you have a hatred for wealth, you will never stumble upon new ideas to generate it. Your mind will never go in that direction because you feel it’s sinful to think about money. Once you are not averse to creating wealth, you will consciously seek out new opportunities.

On the Status Game

“The problem is, to win at a status game, you have to put somebody else down. That’s why you should avoid status games in your life—they make you into an angry, combative person. You’re always fighting to put other people down, to put yourself and the people you like up.”

Jealousy is a beast. It is more common if you are in a rat race. You always want to one-up the other competitor, draining yourself in the process. The best competition is always with yourself. Try to define your own goals, and stick to them, instead of comparing yourself to the next person.

On Retirement

“Retirement is when you stop sacrificing today for an imaginary tomorrow. When today is complete, in and of itself, you’re retired.”

When you realize you do not need to save as much because you have already earned enough, that’s when you know you have attained the financial freedom required for retirement. It is said if you require only 4% of your annual income to meet your expenses each year, you are financially free.

On Lust for Money

“Money is not the root of all evil; there’s nothing evil about it. But the lust for money is bad. The lust for money is not bad in a social sense. It’s not bad in the sense of “you’re a bad person for lusting for money.” It’s bad for you. Lusting for money is bad for us because it is a bottomless pit. It will always occupy your mind. If you love money, and you make it, there’s never enough.”

Lust for money is all around. The rich just keep getting richer, and they don’t seem to be satiated. Citing an article on Oxfam – “The richest 1 percent of the world currently hold about $125 trillion, which is half the world’s wealth according to Credit Suisse. So, a very modest allocation of 0.064 percent of the wealth of the top 1 percent would be enough to end desperate poverty.” When we lust for money, we refuse to share even 0.064% of it, despite knowing how it can hugely help the world.

On Money Being Restrictive

“To the extent money buys freedom, it’s great. But to the extent it makes me less free, which it definitely does at some level as well, I don’t like it.”

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To be honest, I am not much of a spendthrift. I require very little to be happy. But I have noticed as my income increases, my carefree attitude tends to go down a bit. I am more concerned about my finance now than when I was 10 years ago when I had lesser. Managing money requires some mental juice. Even if this task is delegated, you cannot free yourself from that thought altogether. You cannot reclaim the peace of mind you had when your income was more manageable. This does not mean you should have less income, but that you shouldn’t be spending sleepless nights over it.

On Becoming Rich Before You Realize It’s Not The Answer

“Let’s get you rich first. I’m very practical about it because, you know, Buddha was a prince. He started off really rich, then he got to go off in the woods.”

Jim Carrey famously said – “I hope everybody could get rich and famous and will have everything they ever dreamed of, so they will know that it’s not the answer.” Being wealthy doesn’t always amount to happiness. You can have very little and still be happy with what you have. Money can bring you material gains. It is only with ample money do people realize money alone doesn’t solve all issues. Some issues yes. But there is so much more to life – health, relationships, peaceful environment – that money cannot buy.

On Boredom Helping with Creativity

“It’s only after you’re bored you have the great ideas. It’s never going to be when you’re stressed, or busy, running around or rushed. Make the time.”

I have realized when I am bored, my mind drifts, and that’s when some of my best ideas come about. Ideas like how to better manage my home, finances, life in general – these all come up when I have freed up my schedule a little to allow myself to think.

On Understanding The Pros of Working in Smaller Companies

“The smaller the company, the more everyone feels like a principal. The less you feel like an agent, the better the job you’re going to do. The more closely you can tie someone’s compensation to the exact value they’re creating, the more you turn them into a principal, and the less you turn them into an agent.”

I have worked with MNCs, and currently, I am working for a start-up. My job satisfaction is much more. Why? Because I get to interact with the top-level freely, and my opinion matters. How often does every employee get to interact with a CEO in an MNC? How much importance is placed on your feedback? The bigger the company, the lesser you matter and the more replaceable you become. They have already achieved their growth without you.

With start-ups, who are growing, your opinion matters a lot. They want to grow with you. This leads to a lot more job satisfaction. The pay might be less, but as already mentioned, a lot of money does not always guarantee happiness.

Of course, it all depends on the individual. MNCs offer more job stability than a start-up. To determine your type, you should give both a try.

Most of the quotes on this page are from the book Navalmanack. It is something I came across while going through a YouTuber's favorite books video. I was intrigued because the YouTuber mentioned how philosophical and financially sound this entrepreneur was - a unique combination.

I decided to give it a go and wasn't disappointed. Naval talks about any topic under the sun with equal ease and adds a whole new dimension to it.

If you liked the quotes on this page, then I would suggest giving the book a try. It has been compiled by a fan of his and covers most of Naval's interviews, thought-provoking tweets, anecdotes. It also includes many helpful resources (personal finance articles and websites) recommended by Naval himself towards the end.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Kalpana Iyer


Kalpana Iyer (author) from India on August 08, 2021:

Thank you for commenting, Peggy! Glad you liked the quotes.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 05, 2021:

Those are some excellent quotes.

Kalpana Iyer (author) from India on August 05, 2021:

Thank you Nate!

Nate (Wehzo) on August 04, 2021:

This is very interesting and informative. Thank you for sharing.

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