Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Discount "Dave Ramsey, Millionaire"?

Overheard on a Prosper message board a couple of days ago:

Dave Ramsey is interesting to listen to, but it's important to remember that he's providing advice from a millionaire's point of view.

It's like Lance Armstrong telling you that all you need to do is pedal really fast. It's true, but you're still not going to win the Tour de France by following his advice.

FWIW, I've loved Alan's posts since Day One. Always a great and insightful read, his stuff is.

Time for An Opinion

There's a sizeable chunk o' truth in Alan's assertion. I buy Dave's story about his "I worked hard to get out of debt and never have to worry about BK again, and you can do this too!" But the simple fact is that at some point, Dave was able to leverage (pun intended) his personality and brains into a business gig that paid stupid-big dividends. And the vast majority of folks he preaches to don't have an ounce of the Dave Ramsey Personality and Marketing Magic that allowed him to build the business that he has.

Their means are not his means, and never will be. Their challenges are not his challenges — and probably never were, no matter what he tells us.

Sure, Dave was at one point "as lost as a ball in tall weeds," and many of us have been there, too. At some point he pressed the BK button, and then worked his way up the other side. Kudos for that. He had resources, both inside and outside himself, that allowed that.

Same for me: I'm nothing special, and haven't attained anything particularly noteworthy in my life. But I've done okay, and there are a lot of things I no longer really have to worry much about. But the resources I've had to work with are not the same resources a single mom with two teenage kids has to work with. I can tell her all day long what to do with her money, but that doesn't mean there isn't a better way for her specific situation ... a way that I would've never had to learn.

Dave's advice is very sound, for the most part. That's why I devote a large amount of space on this site to furthering his message and, in particular, his "Baby Steps" plan.

But I think we do have to be very careful when we place any guru in a "his/her way is the gospel" position.

The world, and how we manage the money in it, just isn't that simple.


— Posted by Michael @ 10:21 AM


You guys miss one of the biggest Dave Ramsey stumbling blocks I have--bankruptcy. Dave tells you not to do it, yet he did. They will tell you that you need to do whatever it takes to pay back all the debt that was released in bankruptcy. They never seem to take into account that you could do bankruptcy due to job loss and that the new job might not pay anywhere near as much.

I applaud those who want to get out of debt and despise those who use debt to pretend to a lifestyle they can't afford. But we must have a life too. Working two jobs for years to pay off old bills or move to debt free doesn't seem like much of a life to me.


I can't find any data that DR millionaire every paid back his BK. Which is weird because he says not to do it.

What also bothers me is his cookie cutter retirement and telling people 15% is enough when it's obviously not for some people. It's more like he's guarantees them a good retirement but it's not true.

Then another big point of contention is his CC assertion that people spend more on CC. That's fine but I want to see the study. If it exists he should buy it. That would strengthen his argument to produce it. Scientifically you can't keep quoting a study that doesn't appear to exist. But most scientists would tell you if it's not published and reproduced how can you assume it's real?


I've been a big Dave Ramsey fan for years now. And, agree with almost everything that he teaches but, what I think people have a tendency to forget is that even Dave admits that nothing he teaches is new. Long before Dave, Larry Burkett, John Avanzni, Ron Blue, John Cummutta, Mary Hunt and others were teaching similarly from a Biblical standpoint. None of these men and women agree in every area of finances nor ever filed bankruptcy., like Dave. But, they all taught that "..the borrower is slave to the lender" Proverbs 22:7.

In the short time that I've been reading related Blogs I've read some much more valuable information than even Dave discusses. For example, "Living Almost Large" has written a lot of articles that we have found both enlightening and applicable to our unique situation.

There use to be a saying when I was growing up in Alabama, "..Don't throw the baby out with the bath water." I think that this also can be applied to Dave Ramsey or any other self-proclaimed financial expert.
Nor, did they put as much focus on the accumulation wealth.

** Comments Closed on this Post **

Thoughts on my personal finances, goals, experiences, motivations, and accomplishments (or lack thereof).

My financial life began turning around when I took responsibility for it.
— Dave Ramsey


Start (2005-12): ~$21,900
Currently: $0
[About Our Debt Paydown]


Savings Goal: $15,000
Currently: ~$15,115
[About Our Liquid Savings Goal]