Sunday, March 13, 2011

Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

Book:  Total Money Makeover 

Author:  Dave Ramsey 

Grade:  C+ 

Recommended To:  People in Financial Straits, Wealth Builders 

Dave Ramsey has a radio show/podcasts and had written several books about how to get rich and stay that way.  After reading this book, it seems that his main focus is getting out of debt, and then using all of that money towards wealth-building and investing.

The thing about this book, is that most of these concepts aren't new.  1.  Don't buy things you can't afford like new cars; 2. Don't accumulate credit card debt; 3. Pay off your debt first;  and 4.  Try to pay cash for big things so you aren't stuck with ridiculous interest. 

These concepts aren't novel and most of them feel like common sense.  It was interesting that Ramsey suggests that people in debt live as frugally as possible (and to hell with anyone that wants to make fun) and use every single extra cent to pay off debt.  In theory, this is a great idea and the book is full of true life stories about people who followed his steps to pay off ENORMOUS quantities of debt in something like 2 years.  

I did the math and in order to pay off my student loans in 3 years with a moderate salary, I would be living on 600 bucks a month.  Interesting, Dave, very interesting - and impossible, considering the cost of living in Chicago.  

The one real issue I had with this book is the serious lack of detailed helpful information.  Ramsey yells at you to make a budget, but gives no real tips on how to do this for people who have never made one before.  Plus, I had no idea that Ramsey was a Christian financial counselor, which I think might drive away a large subset of people who don't necessarily think that prayer will aid their financial decision-making. 

This book is a good reminder of the basic concepts of living frugally and saving as much as possible, but with the obvious flaws, I gave it at C+. 

Happy Reading!!

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