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Solid financial advice to get you financially fit

  • Mar 7, 2010
Dave Ramsey calls his book "The Total Money Makeover" "A Proven Plan for financial Fitness" and that's exactly what it is. The book is simple, straightforward, and full of sound financial advice accompanied with motivating stories of people who followed Ramsey's advice and achieved financial success. Some have achieved greatness, while others are still on their way, but all are in much better shape than they had been, and all give credit to Ramsey and his common sense approach to getting out of debt and then building wealth.

This book is about getting out of debt first, and then building wealth through basic investments. That's it. I told you it was simple and straightforward. Right in the introduction, Ramsey says the book is not sophisticated or complicated. He also says it's not something that has never been said. Very true, you can find similar advice elsewhere. But I do think Ramsey does a very good job at providing the advice in an interesting and motivating manner.

The beginning of the book outlines the problem with debt and money than many people face. Ramsey encourages you to take stock of your personal situation and don't be in denial. He then discusses many debt and money myths that hold people back from achieving what he calls financial fitness. Besides these myths, he outlines two more hurdles that people need to overcome to reach their financial goals; you must get over ignorance and quit trying to keep up with the Joneses. He then tackles the ignorance problem with his plan of "baby steps."

First, he wants you to do everything you can to build up a $1,000 emergency fund as quick as you can. Then you will start on what he calls the debt snowball. This same method is found in other plans from other resources, and basically calls for a systematic way of paying off your smallest debts and rolling over the payments into the next debt until they are all paid off. Ramsey does a good job of explaining the plan, and provides a lot of examples for motivation. Once out of debt, he provides solid advice on building wealth, paying off your last debt, the mortgage, and then to live like no one else because you are financially able to.

Again, there is nothing earth shattering in this book. It is simple, solid advice. But guess what? Basics work! Simple works! Now remember, and Ramsey says this in the book too, it's simple but not easy. The concepts are simple to understand, but not easy to implement if you are in the habit of overspending and using debt for everything. It takes discipline.

Personally, I am not anti-debt as Ramsey is. I understand his position, and I agree with him on most of his points. However, I am one of those that does use the air miles I accumulate with my credit cards, and I always pay off the entire balance each and every month. I've also purchased items with 12 or 18 months zero interest and ensured that I paid them off before the period ended and the company zapped me with all that back interest. I say this, because I do believe you can implement Ramsey's principles and still not be totally anti-credit as he is. However, with the alarming statistics that he provides, for many people the best course of action would be to follow this book to the letter, 100%. In fact, some of the side bars of "Dum Math & Stupid Tax" examples were very eye opening, as well as little things to make you go "hmmmm."

Bottom line, if you are in debt and don't know where to turn because you pay checks just don't seem to be covering your bills, this book has some advice to help you get back on track and become financial fit. Read this book, and more importantly, follow its advice.

Reviewed by Alain Burrese, J.D., author of Hard-Won Wisdom From the School of Hard Knocks and the dvds: Hapkido Hoshinsul, Streetfighting Essentials, Hapkido Cane, the Lock On Joint Locking Essentials series and articles including a regular column on negotiation for The Montana Lawyer. Alain Also wrote a series of articles called Lessons From The Apprentice.

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review by . July 07, 2010
How to Be a Millionaire...Shhh... It really works!
This is the first book I've read that thows away the fancy models, throws out all of the silly advice your broke friends have given you, and simplifies financing down to easy, understandable concepts. This book isn't for people looking to get rich quick. If you're looking for a high-risk big payback scheme, move on. If you're looking to build a financial future based on solid, time-tested concepts, this book will change your life. It shows you a clear path to financial success based …
review by . July 14, 2010
I am so tired of counseling people who ask me questions such as "how do I finance this car?" or "should I refinance my mortgage so I can have more money each month?" Debt is a bad deal. All of it. And you can live life without it if you are willing to not be as flashy as your debt ridden neighbors for a season as you put yourself on financial track. These are the core principles of Dave Ramsey...using common sense combined with patience resulting in good cash accumulation and …
review by . July 12, 2010
This book changed my financial destiny.  Dave Ramsey is doing a great service to humanity.  This book has a clear cut plan for getting out of debt and building wealth.  Americans have bought into the whole debt thing hook line and sinker and it is a shame.  Dave has some really nice success stories throughout this book from people who have followed his advice and gotten their financial lives back on track.  Dave Ramsey is America's most trusted Money Man and you will …
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
Dave Ramsey is my "financial guru." His baby steps program really works. I've read several of his books and I highly recommend them to anyone and everyone. Go Dave.
Quick Tip by . July 08, 2010
This was a very good book but I found that the information only works if you have money to work with. For example, you have money but are just living beyond your means. But if you are already broke, you will find it very difficult to apply these to your life. That is my opinion.
review by . July 17, 2009
You won't find anything Earth shattering in this book. It's a very formulaic approach to paying off your debt and saving for retirement and college. On a personal note, my husband and I are pretty lucky, we don't have any credit card debt. We only have one little credit card that we pay off every two weeks. We have other debt, of course, but well... let's just say that we learned our lesson early in our marriage - did you know that bars in Hawaii take credit cards? Or that you shouldn't finance …
review by . April 24, 2009
Like many Americans, I was caught up in the trap of managing debt instead of managing money. Treading water and wondering why I wasn't getting ahead I mostly tried to forget about my debt issues and just get on with things. I had a feeling something wasn't right, but I dismissed it so's not to deal with it.  A friend showed me TTMM over lunch one day. I read part of the introduction and a few of the testimonials inside and I was hooked. I bought the book that day, sat down with my wife …
review by . March 06, 2006
I earn more than my parents *ever* did, and more than I ever dreamed possible growing up. But when I look at the bank accounts and bills, it certainly doesn't seem that way. I had the opportunity to read The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey. No gimmicks, no tricks, and it may be just what I need to get things in order...    Contents: The Total Money Makeover Challenge; Denial; Debt Myths; Money Myths; Two More Hurdles; Save $1000 Fast; …
About the reviewer
Alain B. Burrese ()
Ranked #340
Alain Burrese, J.D., is a writer, speaker and mediator. He delivers a powerful keynote called Discover Your Warrior's Edge which is a motivational presentation on making things happen with honor and … more
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About this book


Radio talk-show host and bestselling author Ramsey (Financial Peace) is less a financial analyst and more of a preacher, which explains both his popularity and the appeal of this book, which just might gain a wide audience. The bedrock of his system is simple: work hard, pay what you owe and stay out of debt. His main commandment is "Pay cash." He first exhorts the reader to take "baby steps," which are designed to build on each other: first, save $1,000 as an emergency fund; then, pay off all debts from smallest to largest; save a larger three-to-six-month emergency fund; finally, start to save for college and pay off your home mortgage. Ramsey understands the difficulty in putting these steps into action, and therefore packs his book with personal testimonials from everyday people who have used his system and have become debt free, with obvious struggles. The key is what Ramsey calls "Gazelle intensity," which is to live a financial life the way a gazelle saves itself from an attacking cheetah-"outmaneuver the enemy and run for your life." While Ramsey provides some helpful charts and graphs so readers can keep track of their efforts to follow his steps, the strength of this book is that it is a straightforward motivational tool. He provides the brutally direct truth about the hard work it takes to become free of debt, and his directness is a great part of the book's charm.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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ISBN-10: 0785263268
ISBN-13: 978-0785263265
Author: Dave Ramsey
Genre: Business & Investing
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
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