The Total Money Makeover, by Dave Ramsey

June 1, 2019


I’ve given away over 100 copies of this book.

Dave is everywhere, and that’s 99% fortunate and 1% unfortunate. It’s 1% unfortunate because people think he’s just about being anti-debt. But that’s only one rule from his 7 “Baby Steps.” There are 6 other steps! And a lot more! Reducing Dave to one idea is like reducing the idea of fitness to being skinny.

What Dave Ramsey really does is: he understands people, loves them, and gives them 100% down-to-earth practical advice as to how they can better their situation, find peace, and bless their families and communities.

If you just go to him for straightforward advice—“Should I buy this new Chevy, Dave?”—you’ll get it. He’s fast with good sense. He’s like that grandparent that some of us had—and all of us wish we had: humble, nearly always right, and dedicated to our well-being.

But if you also want a Big Picture for your life’s finances—from teenager to centenarian, and/or from Deep Debts to Big Bank—he’s got that, too. Dave can help you retire with $2,200,000+.

How’d he get so smart?!?!?!?

Four ways:

1) He screwed up, went bankrupt, got burned, nearly lost his marriage, and was humble enough to learn from his mistakes.

2) He interviewed old people who started with nothing, prospered, led admirable lives, and kept their fortunes even as practiced daily charity. He asked them to mentor him.

3) Starting with the Bible, he read nonstop.

4) Then he got out of his head an experimented.

Of all Dave’s books, I’ll be honest. Instead of reading ten different titles, I would just read The Total Money Makeover ten times.

That’s why I gave away so many copies: I internalized it to the point where I could quote from it, and I hoped others would, too.

I aimed for mastery, not overload.

It’s too bad that people think this book is just anti-debt. That’s because this book is:

* Pro-investment: it gives fantastic advice that will uncomplicated your life and make you great money.

* Dispel almost all of your money stress.

* Improve all of your relationships. Did you know that the #1 cause of divorce is money fights & money problems? (Even if that’s the #2 or #3 cause, imagine removing money as a stressor!)
* Convince you that not only are generous people happier—they are also more prosperous.

Yes, the book is excellent on practical advice questions—questions about houses, investments, college tuition, cars, insurance, entertainment, and the like.   But The Total Money Makeover gets into your heart.

So many people have self-destructive money beliefs—and they don’t even know it! Essentially, their beliefs operate a subconscious level.

Take me, for example. As a college student, I wasn’t even aware that I thought: Money is bad. Rich people are bad. All politicians are bad. Money = anxiety. Deep down, I don’t really like money, so I think I’ll always turn it down. And yet, I also worry that I’ll never have enough.

(I wasn’t this way as a kid. I actually shoveled snow and mowed lawns for the neighbors starting at age 5, had a paper-route for seven years, did a lot of farm work, and had several thousand in the bank by age 18. Then I went to college, majored in English, admired my radical professors who were awesome when it came to literature and terrible in their understanding of human freedom, and soon found myself deep in debt. But that’s another story.)

I hope you don’t have any of those beliefs. But if you’re like me, perhaps you originally thought that money was just numbers. Before Dave Ramsey, money was stressing me out—but I didn’t have an excellent plan. Dave gave me one.

So, what are the 7 Baby Steps? Here they are, plus two more that he discusses throughout. In fact, I wish he would retitle his program “The 9 Baby Steps.”

  1. Save $1,000 in an Emergency Fund.
  2. Pay off your debts from the smallest dollar amount to the largest one using a technique he entitled, “The Debt Snowball.”
  3. Create an Emergency Fund of 3 to 6 months’ living expenses (in case you get fired, or hit with a disaster).

3b. Save for major purchases like a newer car or a down-payment on a house.

Steps 4 to 6 happen simultaneously.

  1. Pay off your house early.
  2. Fund the kids’ college.
  3. Save 15% of your income toward retirement.
  4. Save, invest, and give like no one else.

I would have added, as two preliminary steps:

  1. Create a monthly Spending Plan; also called a budget. I demand that you make it simple, like one page long; overcomplicating things is a good way to quit doing them. No budget? Well, no hope. You need honest information so you can make informed decisions.
  2. Work with family with love, trust, and open communication. If you’re not working together, you won’t get very far (if you even stay together).

But while these “9 Baby Steps” are the skeleton of the program, the true core of the book, as Dave says, is this: “The Total Money Makeover is in your heart.”

News You Can Use.

Save time: Time equals money.

Save money: You’d think that this is Dave’s #1 point, but as he says, “The Total Money Makeover is in your heart.” There are many kinds of prosperity, and Dave helps you grow wise.

Reduce stress: His program is called Financial Peace. The peace is equally important.

I never thought a money book could bring out the best in me. I thought money was just numbers. In fact, as an English major and religious person, I think I originally thought money was dirty—something only manipulative people accumulated. Little did I realize what good you can do with money, and how if you aren’t worried about it throughout the day, you are so much more free, and able to bless others.

What a powerful book. I should give away another 100 copies.


link to The Total Money Makeover.


Little Green Book is a newsletter written by Tim Wuebker.  Once a week, Tim describes an astonishing book, a real game changer, and/or a riveting read.  Not only are these books thrilling, sometime they save you time, save you money, and increase your peace. 

No author paid to receive a review.  Tim wrote this for free because he loves these books. 

The greatest compliments you can give Little Green Book and Tim is to subscribe to this newsletter, and then share it with anyone whom you think would find it fun or useful.  

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