A few more Dave Ramsey thoughts
I mentioned the other day that I've been listening to the Podcasts (link) of Dave Ramsey (link). Wanted to throw out a few more thoughts on him.
- The approach he uses starts from a Biblical foundation. Most of the time, this barely comes through. On occasion though, it's very evident. By and large, the financial advice can be consumed completely independently and he's really not "preachy". So, if the Christian tilt bugs it should be pretty easy to just focus on the money handling part of the message.
- Dave is a salesman. The main product he sells are his "Financial Peace University" program and his "Total Money Makeover" book (which was a N.Y. Times best seller). I become instantly weary when someone tries to sell me something that has to do with money. The number of snake-oil salesmen out there with get rich quick schemes seems legion. And when you expand the thinking to include all the businesses that sell bad debt (credit card companies, crazy jumbo loans, payday advance, title loans, etc...) you really have to be on your guard.
I haven't read his book yet (I'm waiting for it at the library) or attended his program, but from what I've read on his web site and heard in his podcasts, he really is more like a teacher. In that way, the "University" part of his Financial Peace University name is probably pretty accurate. Not unlike college, he really seems to try to teach a skill. In this case, it's how to handle money and stay out of debt. If you can do that (which he tells you is almost certainly going to be difficult), the cost of his products is way
more than worth it.
What it comes down to is that he is making money by doing good works in the world. It's a little disconcerting to think about him having made millions. The fact that he has done so while significantly helping others is a wonderful counter balance to all the times you hear about other companies, business, or
people screwing folks out of their money.
- In the podcast, there are commercials where Dave endorses some products. Like most other people the do product commercials, he says that he wouldn't endorse it if he didn't believe in it. Based on the rest of his show, I would tend to believe that, but it grates on me every time one of the commercials comes on because it always feels like a higher pressure sales pitch that echos those of the sleazy element out there. The fact that he's selling his own product doesn't bother me, but the fact that he's hawking other peoples goods really doesn't sit well.
So, I just ignore those parts and focus on the rest of the program.
- The core of his idea is pretty simple. He calls them the Baby Steps. They are listed here: Baby Steps. If you are looking for a good way to go with your money, I think it's an excellent path.