Some time ago, I saw a post on Facebook about a Financial Peace University (FPU) class created by Dave Ramsey. I didn’t know much about Dave Ramsey except that one of my favorite girls in the world, Ang, thinks he’s awesome. So I decided I should learn more about him. Ang’s husband, Brian, said they’d read The Total Money Makeover first, so I checked it out from the library and was impressed.
I have to say, though, Dave Ramsey is like hanging out with a harsh, unapologetic personal trainer: “So my Total Money Makeover begins with a challenge. The challenge is you. You are the problem with your money. The financial channel or some tape sets aren’t your answer; you are.” He goes on to say, “Some of you are so immature that you are unwilling to delay pleasure for a greater result.” Ramsey’s “greater result” is being debt-free and saving/spending/giving LOTS of money.
Despite his somewhat off-putting arrogance, Ramsey does seem to have a good point if he has the following facts right:
- 90% of people in our culture buy things they can’t afford
- 70% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.
- 75% of the Forbes 400 (rich people)…said the best way to build wealth is to become and stay debt-free
Devin and I went on our own money-saving journey about two years ago, and I found that pretty much everything we were doing to successfully save money was addressed in his book. Devin took his cues from Warren Buffett and Mr. Money Mustache. But Ramsey has the same concept: save aggressively and spend passively.
Step 1: Save 1,000 FAST
Step 2: Debt snowball
Step 3: Finish the emergency fund
Step 4: Retirement
Step 5: College Funding
Step 6: Pay off mortgage
Step 7: Keep saving
After two years, we’re on step 7 and it’s working. These days we’re not as obsessive about saving every penny, but after two years, we’ve realized that:
- Spending means more time at work, so we all (including my 3- and 5-year-old girls) start to understand the concept of want and sacrifice and making a value choice.
- Time and money have tangible worth rather than just seeming limitless. I don’t want to trade time with my family for multiple pairs of pair fancy shoes (gourmet food though…that takes a lot more willpower).
- We are LESS STRESSED.
Overall, the book was a useful read and had some solid strategies to become debt-free (which ultimately means LESS STRESS). I’d definitely recommend you check it out from the library for free! 😉