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Dave Ramsey

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Dr. Ramsey performing "plastic surgery."
Parroting squawkbox
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And a dirty dozen more

David Lawrence “Dave” Ramsey III (1960–) is a so-called financial "guru" and radio pundit who is also an evangelical Christian. His radio show consists of callers who are in great amounts of debt, and wish to get out of debt. Ramsey prescribes a plan, which often includes paying off all debts using a "snowball method." This is when you tackle debts from smallest to largest, without considering the interest rates on them. Purely for psychological effect, this is intended to lead the person to become more motivated by receiving a morale boost from eliminating individual debts.[1]

Ramsey advises against any and all consumer debt, aside from a mortgage, and considers credit cards to be of the Devil.[2] [3] Given his religious background, he often paraphrases part of the Proverbs 22:7, "The debtor is slave to the lender," which in the King James Version reads, "The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender." He also went on Fox News once and justified the idea of amassing large amounts of wealth as being "a steward of God's wealth," attempting to address criticisms about his entire premise of building wealth going against the very faith he claims to adhere to. [4]

While Ramsey may have some good advice regarding paying off debt, his other financial advice can be rather dodgy. He has been criticized by investment experts for his shoddy advice on making investments.[5]

Radio show[edit]

The Dave Ramsey Show is broadcast via radio, and simulcasts of episodes are available on sites such as YouTube. The show airs five days a week and is three hours in length. The format of the show involves Ramsey taking calls from people with financial problems, and Ramsey giving advice to callers consistent with his philosophies regarding money and religion. "Dave Rants" (as they are called on his YouTube channel) are soapbox-style rants Ramsey goes on, which relate to personal finance, politics, or both.[6]

Religious views[edit]

Ramsey believes that people should tithe ten percent of their gross income, as opposed to net income,[7] due to a tenth being recommended in the Old Testament.[8] He often asks people who call into his show where they go to church, and advises them to go to a pastor for marriage or other counseling needs, as many people use religion as part of their support group.[9] Ramsey believes that giving money to the pastor so he can get the biggest baddest car on the lot the Lord is a better idea than saving that tenth of one's income in a savings/retirement account.

Despite his strong religious beliefs, he regularly states that you don't have to be a "believer" to follow his plan, pay off debt, or build wealth. However, his “Financial Peace University” classes take place in churches, and depending on the church, could potentially be used as a vehicle for proselytizing.[10]

Ramsey’s company enforces a Christian based moral code for employees, what Ramsey calls “godly living.” The company has fired twelve employees for premarital and extramarital sex, determined in at least one case by an expectant unmarried mother requesting maternity leave, citing the Christian values system the company has in place. Due to Tennessee, where the company is located, being an “at-will” employment state, this is perfectly legal. [11] Popular host and potential Ramsey successor Chris Hogan was also fired in 2021 by Ramsey’s company for admitting to having affairs with different women, including one who was a Ramsey employee. [12]

Political views[edit]

Ramsey is a staunch conservative, and called Obamacare socialism[13] and the Democratic Party and its policy proposals "communist".[14] He is against tuition-free college, and has lambasted the tuition free community college program in his home state of Tennessee.

Investment advice[edit]

Ramsey uses a twelve percent value prediction for annual growth of investments.[15] A more conservative and realistic lifetime estimate for growth would be seven to eight percent, which would water down Ramsey's claims that following his retirement advice will allow one to retire a multimillionaire. Ramsey also believes that one should be able to dip into more of one's own retirement funds per year in retirement than would leave one enough funds to last throughout those years, provided one retires at age sixty-five and lives to at least the average life expectancy in the United States. [16]

Written works[edit]

Personal finance[edit]

  • Financial Peace: Restoring Financial Hope to You and Your Family (1997)
  • The Financial Peace Planner: A step-by step guide to restoring your family's financial health (1998)
  • How to Have More than Enough: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Abundance (2000)
  • More than Enough: The Ten Keys to Changing Your Financial Destiny (2002)
  • Financial Peace Revisited (2002)
  • The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan For Financial Fitness (2003)
  • Total Money Makeover Workbook (2004)
  • The Money Answer Book: Quick Answers to Everyday Financial Questions (2005)
  • Priceless: Straight-Shooting, No-Frills Financial Wisdom (2006)
  • EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (2011)
  • Dave Ramsey's Complete Guide To Money: The Handbook of Financial Peace University (2012)
  • Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win With Money (2014) (co-authored by Ramsey's daughter Rachel Cruze)
  • The Legacy Journey: A Radical View of Biblical Wealth and Generosity (2014)

Kids' books[edit]

  • The Super Red Racer: Junior Discovers Work (2003)
  • Careless At The Carnival: Junior Discovers Spending (2003)
  • The Big Birthday Surprise: Junior Discovers Giving (2003)
  • My Fantastic Fieldtrip: Junior Discovers Saving (2003)
  • A Special Thank You: Junior Discovers Integrity (2005)
  • Battle of the Chores: Junior Discovers Debt (2005)

Spanish translations[edit]

The Total Money Makeover, Financial Peace Revisited, and More than Enough have been translated into Spanish.

See also[edit]