Meet Dave Ramsey: A Personal Finance Expert Worth Listening To

Here's One Place to Look When Searching for Sound Financial Advice

Dave Ramsey
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If you're looking for good, sound financial advice, but you can't afford a personal financial planner or are not interested in using one, where do you turn? While the Internet offers a wealth of information about personal finance, you have to be careful whose advice you listen to. It's sometimes difficult to know if the advice is legitimate since anybody can publish articles online.

Finding the Personal Finance Experts

Determining if a person is providing sound financial advice is not always easy to do and can be very time-consuming.

And if you knew what the sound advice was, you wouldn't be looking for it in the first place! In order to make a recommendation, I've checked out several leading personal finance experts by listening extensively to their radio or television programs and reading some of their books over a period of months or even several years. So far, the two personal finance experts have earned a space on my recommendations list: Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey. Their spots on this list doesn't mean I agree with every piece of advice they give, but it does mean that in general I believe they give good, sound, practical money advice for the average person.

For what I have to say about Suze Orman, be sure to check out the article, Suze Orman: One of America's Best Personal Finance Experts. This article will be dedicated to discussing Dave Ramsey.

Who is Dave Ramsey?

So, who is Dave Ramsey? Ramsey's biggest claim to fame is his radio talk show.

He appears on radio stations all over the country every weekday (and has since 1992!), taking calls from listeners and dispensing financial advice. As of 2004, The Dave Ramsey Show also joined with the Sirius XM radio's Talk Radio channel in addition to self-syndication to over 200 local radio stations across the nation.

As of 2008, The Dave Ramsey Show was one of the top 10 most listened to radio shows in the country.

With his fame as a radio personality and personal finance expert, Ramsey has also authored several personal finance books, including, but not limited to:

  • More Than Enough (1998)
  • The Financial Peace Planner (1998)
  • The Total Money Makeover (2003)
  • Financial Peace Revisited (2003)
  • The Money Answer Book (2004)
  • Smart Money, Smart Kids (2014)
  • Complete Guide to Money (2015)

Dave Ramsey's Personal Finance Philosophy

Among Ramsey's many philosophies, avoiding most kinds of debt is one of his primary personal finance principles. For years, Ramsey has urged his listeners and readers to avoid debt with the exception of certain types of mortgages. In relation to his dislike for debt, one of his go-to pieces of personal finance wisdom is what he calls "The Baby Steps." The Baby Steps are those first steps that anyone who is in debt and wants to get out should take to get started. The steps include:

  • Having $1,000 in the bank to start an emergency fund
  • Paying off all debt (but the mortgage) using the "Debt Snowball" method
  • Having three to six months of expenses in savings
  • Investing 15 percent of your household income in Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement accounts
  • Funding your kids' college educations
  • Paying off the mortgage on your home early
  • Building wealth, giving to others, and investing in mutual funds and real estate

Perhaps one of Ramsey's biggest differentiators among well-known personal finance experts and personalities is that he is also known as a Christian who uses the bible to inform some of his finance philosophy. Ramsey's Financial Peace University, perhaps one of his most famous online courses, is described as "a biblically-based curriculum that teaches people how to handle money God's ways" according to the website.

Ramsey's Financial Peace University

Today, Dave Ramsey has several books (in several editions), a radio show, and a growing archive of courses available in CDs, DVDs, and online. But his Financial Peace University remains his most popular course.

The curriculum covers a wide range of personal finance topics, including: 

In the end, like other famous personal finance personalities, Ramsey can get caught up in a one-size-fits-all approach to personal finance that may or may not fit your unique situation perfectly, but his no-nonsense approach to getting out of debt and staying out of debt is generally filled with sound ideas and advice. More importantly, his approach seems to motivate people not only to get started on a path, but to stick with it. To find a radio station near you that offers Dave's talk show, check out the Dave Ramsey Web site.