Dave Ramsey.....Good, bad?

Mo Trooper

Confused about dryer sheets
Aug 16, 2007
I've read his books and listen to his show. He is a great entertainer and has built up a great enterprise.

I agree with most of what he says, but would like to hear what other have to say about his plans, good and bad......
whats not to like.

debt bad, savings good. Who could disagree with that ?
His advise is basic and good for those undisciplined and with a good financial knowlege base.

But don't forget - he is selling product here and he is adding some religious aspects.
I listen to the show on my iPod, I like the personal responsibility message, which he preaches hard-core. I'm not bothered by the religious stuff, but then again, I'm not easily offended, as long as no one actually tries to (as we say in the South) "witness" me. :)

Listening to Dave Ramsey is part of what got us started down this path to FIRE, and for that I am extremely grateful. It is like how I feel about Your Money or Your Life--I was profoundly affected by the message, but I wouldn't want to take Joe's investment advice. Take what you need, and leave the other stuff behind.
I've listened in the past, I find him kind of like Rush Limbaugh. He can be entertaining at times but most of the time he is too abrasive to listen to. Basic financial info but needed by a lot of people, myself included.
I've listened to his program a few times on Sirius, and he sounded OK to me. I have several friends that swear by him. And FWIW, I haven't heard any real negative feedback.
As has been mentioned a number of times before here and other places, Dave has a great idea about getting out of debt and using CC sparingly. I do not agree with his idea of no CC, but it you do not repay the balance monthly, that is a pretty good idea.

He tends to direct folks to actively managed load funds rather than no load index funds which I find suspect.
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He's a demagogue....probably works great for the masses without self control....and there are a few...
I enjoy listening to his show. I started listening a little over two years ago and ponied up $20 for his Total Money Makeover book. I would say that is the best investment I ever made. In just over two years I paid off over $54,000 in debt leaving a mortgage as my only remaining debt, maxed out Roths and 401k's went on several nice vacations and improved my standard of living. I don't think we had an extravagant lifestyle before but with an actual written budget and my wife and I working together it really was quite amazing how much we could squeeze out of our income. We didn't sell any major assets and my income actually fell by more than $10,000 during year 1. You get lots of good ideas when you are actually focused. I did buy more books from him when they sold for $10 and give them as gifts. He has many items for sale, but I thought the book covered things nicely so I couldn't see spending more money. Many of the products he sells can be purchased for less elsewhere. I think his debt reduction, budgeting and personal responsibilty advice is stronger than his investment advice. On the whole finding his show and book has had a very positive affect on my Net worth and stress level. This board has helped tremendously especially with respect to an AA strategy and using Vanguard where I used to be all load funds.
my wife and I working together

Congrats on the debt reduction.

I think the working together was one of the best outcome too.
I like his approach for getting out of debt. And I think he gives generally good advice.

He has a closing tag line that suggests the only way to true financial peace is through Jesus, which makes me mad every time I hear it.

His basic message about debt and saving seems OK. I cannot comment on his other views because I have not listened to his show much.
I don't listen to him a lot but when I do he almost always manages to make me feel good about the way that I handle our finances. It's nice to get a reinforcing pep talk every so often.
Both of my kids and their spouses took his course at church sponsored program. I think they use the envelope system to keep spending under control. Seems to be working well for them. They even started paying me back money that they owed.
Praise the Lord :)
Rating: Good

He is abrasive but I think it is the only thing that will get through to some people.

As others have stated I don't agree with his stance on credit cards now however if I would have heard him 15 years ago when we had major debt issues it would have been the best thing for us.

As others have also commented he is much better at giving advice on being debt free then what he says about investing but for his audience which is people that are learning and suffering I think he hits the mark. Personally he degrades a particular investment that I've done well in however, again, for the audience he is appealing to I understand why he takes the stance he does.

All-in-all for someone that is in the early stages of becoming debt free or someone who does better with a personal coach he might be the right fit. As Sarah in SC said he was the start of our journey towards becoming debt free and his abrasive style is what got me interested, couldn't believe the way he talked to people and listened more to see what the deal was.
He's better then most of the "gurus" out there. That being said nothing he says (or writes) is really that groundbreaking though.You could probably browse the web and put it together yourself if you were starting out.

I still don't agree with his advice on mutual funds. Front-End,Back-end,high MER = yuck. Maybe if he started talking about index funds i would get more interested. Oh and the credit card thing. I guess it's for the undisciplined.
Better than average for personal financial pundits. I agree with some of what he does and says, disagree with other parts.

If you're a person who is in a mess because of poor financial habits, then Dave Ramsey's message is for you -- without all the wares he's selling including religion.

If you're a person who has handled your finances adequately, then you can subtract his message about ultimately not using credit at all. But if you're this person, you don't need to listen to Dave Ramsey at all.
I listen to his show on podcast on my daily walks. I enjoy his show mainly because I like the people who call and their personal financial stories. I don't follow his ridgid formula, but I am debt free except for 9 years left on my 15 year 4.875 mortgage. I do use cc and pay them off monthly and I do not intend on paying off mortgage early. Also I save more than 15% for retirement.
I love Dave Ramsey :) I went to one of his speeches when he came to my town a long time ago.
I guess there's a market for what Ramsey's selling and he's welcome to it. IIRC he managed to burn through a million himself before age 30 and I suspect he's still working off the trauma through occupational therapy.

I saw his "money makeover" segment during an Oprah show a year or two back. Apparently it was part of a publicity campaign for his latest book. His financial advice was good but at one point he stepped over the line to lecture two parents about their moral treatment of their children. Oprah's fangs flew out and she stuffed him back into his financial-advice box pretty quickly. Later there was a rumor that he was one of the very few Oprah book-flogging guests who didn't bring free copies for the studio audience.

He has part of the Dollar Stretcher's newsletters. The stories are always entertaining but definitely at a different level of financial sophistication than the average Stretcher reader...
For those who listen to Dave, I just got the call from the producer that they are calling us at 4 pm Eastern time today to take our "we're debt free" story live. Hope I don't sound like an idiot! :)

I know not everyone agrees with being debt free, but it sure makes us simplistic Southern folks happy to know that we aren't making those payments!
Sarah in SC, congrats. Make sure to ask if they can email you a mp3 of your portion of the show to keep. If so you can post it here.
Sarah, congrats! And the heck with what people think. It's what you think that counts.

Yep, you've got to post your scream for us. :)

they are calling us at 4 pm Eastern time today to take our "we're debt free" story live
So did your "appearance" come off as scheduled? Nothing on Dave's website about yesterday's program yet.

And I think being debt free is great, but don't take it to extremes. Paid off my mortgage 3 years ago, and other than credit card charges which I pay off when the bill comes, I am debt free.
I was pretty nervous, but it went off without a hitch. They record for the next day's broadcast, I'm pretty sure. So I think it will be on on Monday or Tuesday, I guess. The producer said she'd send me an mp3 of the call. We were on hold for about 30 minutes and then got to talk to Dave. We yelled pretty good, I think! :)
I'll post it as soon as I get the email from her. Fun stuff!
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