If you've ever turned on the radio and heard people screaming at the top of their lungs, "We're debt free!" then you've heard of Dave Ramsey. A financial professional and somewhat of a life coach, Dave Ramsey has been offering financial advice to people for years. You can hear him on the radio, read one of his books, watch a DVD or attend a seminar to learn his complete system for getting, and staying, out of debt. Ramsey is a no-nonsense kind of guy offering clear-cut advice on making sound financial decisions.
Financial Peace University
Dave's most popular class is called "Financial Peace University." Classes are offered all across the country, or you can take it online. Local churches, community education agencies, banks and non-profit agencies offer Financial Peace University classes on a regular basis. People who have studied and trained in Ramsey's methods teach classes. Instructors are often success stories, having taken the class for themselves in the first place. The results of the class speak for themselves, with families paying off thousands of dollars in debt and saving thousands more.
Classes include thirteen different lessons. They aim to explore money from a number of different angles, including how it affects relationships and personal behaviors, how to make a budget, how to pay off debt and save, recognizing spending habits and marketing ploys, and how to teach your kids to have a positive relationship with money. People often come away from classes with their eyes opened to a completely new attitude toward money. Classes give people the necessary tools to be able to achieve financial success, no matter how dire their situations.
Kids and Teenagers
We know that kids begin to notice their parents' attitudes about money and spending habits at a young age, simply by being around their parents. Families can work together to teach healthy spending and saving habits.
Financial Peace Junior is aimed at kids as young as 3 years old, up to 12 years old. Kids will meet and interact with "Junior," who teaches them all about saving, spending and giving.
Ramsey has also developed complete school curricula for high schools and colleges. The high school curriculum aims to entertain and inform teenagers about healthy spending and saving habits. Results have been positive, and teens are even bringing the information home to teach their parents. The college curriculum covers important topics that young adults can use for the rest of their lives, including insurance, investments, spending, saving, and more.
Ramsey has authored several best-selling books on financial health. His most popular book, "The Total Money Makeover," gives step-by-step instructions on how to get out of debt. The book is written in Dave's classic, down-to-earth manner that gives people the hope and confidence to turn their financial situations around.
In his next book, "Financial Peace Revisited," Dave tells his own story of wealth accumulation and loss and how he gained his fortune back with slow and steady measures. By telling his personal story, he hopes to teach others the lessons he learned firsthand. Dave's story gives people the hope they need to be able to take control of their lives, both financially and emotionally.
In "More Than Enough," Ramsey becomes more of an inspirational life coach. The book helps people see how financial troubles spill over into marital and family relationships. He speaks about living with values, setting goals and having patience and discipline in our lives to truly live a fulfilled life.
Seven Baby Steps
Dave recommends taking seven "baby steps" to get out of debt. Step 1 involves establishing a $1,000 emergency fund. Step 2 is the biggest step for many and involves prioritizing debt from smallest to largest and paying it off. Step 3 includes building a larger emergency fund by putting away another three to six months' living expenses. Step 4 includes steps for investing in IRAs. Step 5 is saving for college. Step 6 is paying off your mortgage early. In the final step, Dave encourages followers to keep building wealth, giving to charitable organizations, and establishing inheritances for future generations.
Not the Second Coming
So Dave Ramsey isn't the second coming. He has, however, gained the respect of many financial professionals and families who have benefited greatly from his advice. So next time you sit down to do your budget, take a minute to ask yourself, "What would Dave Ramsey do?"
Jessica Bosari is a freelance writer and blogger for various publications and her ownblog. You can read more of Jessica's work here. If you have any comments or questions about Billeater or about saving money, leave your comments in the form below or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!