In this book review, I will be discussing The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. In The Total Money Makeover, Ramsey outlines 7 baby steps that you can follow to get out of debt and achieve financial freedom. If you are serious about changing your financial situation and reaching heights of personal financial freedom that you never thought possible on a moderate income, read on to find out more.
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Book Review: The Total Money Makeover – Dave Ramsey
Are you in debt? One paycheck away from broke? Are you constantly counting down the days until payday? Always wondering where all your money has gone? Would you like to improve your financial situation? If you answered yes to any of the above questions then this post is for you.
If you’re into financial education or have done any research into getting out of debt, then you’ve probably come across the name Dave Ramsey. Dave Ramsey is an American radio show host, author, and businessman. He’s also a Christian with strong views and teachings on the principals of money from a biblical perspective.
In this blog post, I will be reviewing The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. In The Total Money Makeover, Ramsey outlines 7 baby steps that you can follow to get out of debt and achieve financial freedom. If you are serious about changing your financial situation and reaching heights of personal financial freedom that you never thought possible on a moderate income, I recommend that you read this blog post.
Why You Need A Total Money Makeover
At the start of the book, Ramsey shares his own financial freedom journey. He tells the story of how he was first a millionaire in his early 20’s, and then became bankrupt and lost it all. He was able to become a millionaire again for the second time and this time he didn’t lose it. In the book, he shares how he was able to become a millionaire for the second time and what he did differently to ensure he didn’t lose his wealth again.
Autopilot is how most people live their lives until they have to make a tough choice e.g. the choice between buying children their school uniform or paying the week’s rent. Some people think that their financial situation can’t improve and that they are supposed to live this way because that’s what everyone else does. Ramsey explains that we’re often our own worst enemies when it comes to our finances and we have to take a good hard look in the mirror. Living paycheck to paycheck is easy an that’s why the average person lives this way. You’re probably in the financial position you’re in today because of inattentiveness and following the crowd. Live like no one else now, so you can live like no one else later.
Denial is the worst state to be in because you don’t actually realise that you have a problem. The sad thing is you won’t actually realise it until you get closer to retirement. Don’t wait until retirement to discover you haven’t saved enough to maintain your lifestyle after you retire. Ramsey believes that you CAN take control of your money and shows you how you can using seven simple baby steps.
Baby Step Zero – Create A Monthly Budget
Figure out who is getting all your money. Who are you paying? Why are you paying them? How much are you paying them? Once you’ve figured all of this out, figure out how much you’re paying yourself. Are you losing money? Are you just about staying afloat? Go back to the list of all the people you’re paying and make some cutbacks on those expenses. Look for cheaper alternatives or totally eliminate the unnecessary expenses altogether. You need to know where your money is going each month, you work hard for it so it needs to work hard for you. Reduce your expenses so that you’re spending less than you earn. Once you’ve reached this stage and your budget is set, you are ready to progress to the first baby step.
The seven baby steps are simple and practical steps that literally anyone can follow.
Baby Step 1 – Save Emergency Fund Of $1000
This step needs to be completed as quickly as possible. Whether it’s by selling stuff you don’t use or working overtime, get it done. The emergency fund is to cover those unexpected events in life you can’t plan for.
Baby Step 2- Pay Off All Debt Using The Debt Snowball
List all debts in order of size and start paying off the smallest first. Set the others to minimum payment until the smallest is paid off. Once cleared, move on to the next and send all extra payments to the second debt until its paid off. Repeat until all debts excluding your mortgage are paid off.
Baby Step 3 – 3-6 Months Expenses In Savings
Once steps 1 and 2 have been completed, you have great momentum and can save the money you were using to pay off the debt to build a 3-6 months emergency fund.
Baby Step 4 – Save Towards Retirement
Invest 15% of your income in retirement savings.
Baby Step 5 – Save For Your Children’s College
This baby step comes with some assumptions. It assumes that you have children and that they’re going to college.
Baby Step 6 – Pay Home Off Early
This step is where you become completely debt-free by paying off your home early. If you have a mortgage its probably your largest debt that will take the longest to pay. That’s why instead of including it with the other, smaller debts, Ramsey gives it it’s own step.
Baby Step 7 – Build Wealth
This final step is where you’ll start to build wealth and give generously!
Things I Liked About The Total Money Makeover
1) Ramsey shares his own story and practices what he preaches. His honesty and transparancy is refreshing and makes him more relatable.
2) Proven tried and tested formula. I know people that have managed to get out of debt by following Ramsey’s baby steps.
3) Real life examples and testimonials throughout the book from people that have followed his baby steps to get out of debt and achieve financial freedom.
4) Ramsey doesn’t sell you a dream. This isn’t your typical get rich quick scheme and he doesn’t set unrealistic expectations. While the steps may be simplistic in explanation, they will require a lot of work over years and years in order to see results.
Things I Didn’t Like About The Total Money Makeover
1) Ramsey is quite blunt and abrasive in his speech. If you are not quite ready to accept that you need a total money makeover, you may be put off by the way he talks. He states the obvious in a way that you may find rude and makes you feel silly about the financial decisions you’ve made in the past. You’ll have many “duhhh” moments reading this book.
2) As the baby steps are very simple, Ramsey makes his point quickly at the beginning of each chapter. He then spends the rest of the chapter hammering home the point. So just in case, you didn’t grasp it at the beginning of the chapter, you will by the end.
3) Not all the baby steps apply in the U.K. For example, while baby step 4 tells you to pay off your student loans, in the UK the interest rates are very low and get cleared after 30 years. It may not make sense paying off your student loan before investing and paying off your mortgage early.
To conclude, if you’re ready for a total money makeover, this book is definitely worth a read. While all the baby steps do not apply precisely to UK residents, I can’t dismiss or deny that his formula makes sense. If you do read the book, try not to take his style of writing to heart, receive it with the passion intended.
Have you read The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness? What did you think of Ramsey’s 7 baby steps? Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts on the book? Let me know in the comments section below! Are there any other books on personal finance that you’d recommend? Next on my reading list is The Richest Man in Babylon, so watch this space for my next book review.
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