QUICK HIT: Similar in message to Ramsey’s cornerstone content, The Total Money Makeover, this book – Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money – takes a bit more of an in-depth look at the Baby Steps and serves as a primer for Financial Peace University.
For the few of you who don’t know, Dave Ramsey is the host of the eponymous Dave Ramsey Show, the #3 talk radio show in the country. Dave’s no-nonsense guide to getting out of debt has helped millions and, while he’s not without his detractors, there can be no doubting Ramsey’s success. At the foundational core of Ramsey’s philosophy is the Seven Baby Steps.
- Save $1,000 in a beginner emergency fund ($500 if your income is <$20k).
- Pay off all debts beginning with the smallest.
- Save 3-6 months of expenses as a full emergency fund.
- Invest 15% of your income into Roth IRAs and pretax retirement plans.
- Begin college funding for your children.
- Pay off your mortgage.
- Build wealth and give.
It’s under that paradigm that all Dave Ramsey advice flows. Disagree with any of the above and you’ll not be agreeing with much else he has to say. The first couple of chapters deal with your relationship to money: both in terms of dealing with budgeting and working with your spouse to create that budget. That’s quickly followed by a chapter on getting rid of debt, which is, of course, the foundation of Dave Ramsey philosophy.
I was excited that a lot of the book focused on what to do in steps 4-7. Listening to his radio show, the majority of people calling in are in the process of getting out of debt. I love hearing their stories and his answers, but I personally find myself past that process. I’m interested in understanding investments, real estate, insurance, how to buy a bargain, and things along that line. (Sidenote: Although it didn’t play to me and hopefully never will, the chapter on dealing with credit bureaus and collections agencies was super informative.) This is where I hadn’t heard Dave talk as much and it was great to see his philosophy on paper and fleshed out.
I wish that the chapter on investing had more meat to it, although I do realize that Dave has a pretty bare bones investing philosophy. It’s definitely my own personal weak point and where I’m most interesting in learning more.
The appendices in the back of the book include all the budgeting forms put out by Financial Peace, which is, in itself, an invaluable resource. Overall, Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money is Dave Ramsey philosophy to a T. Same conversational style, same humor, same tried-and-true philosophy.