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Solid advice for those trapped in the credit/debt spiral...

  • Mar 6, 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; The Debt Snowball; Finish the Emergency Fund; Maximize Retirement Investing; College Funding; Pay Off The Home Mortgage; Build Wealth Like Crazy; Live Like No One Else; More Total Money Makeover Stories; Budgeting Forms

The thing I appreciate most about this book is that Ramsey doesn't try to present some "buy my 10 step program for $500" pitch nor does he promise that getting out of debt is easy and painless. If it was, most of us wouldn't have a problem. What he does do is lay out a series of "baby steps" that if followed with "gazelle intensity", will work to get you out of the mess you might be in today. The first step is to get an initial emergency fund of $1000. Do whatever it takes... second job, garage sales, you name it. Just get a cash buffer so that you can get yourself off the credit card trap. Once that's done, you list all your debts and start putting as much as possible towards paying off the first one. Once that's done, then you roll that amount plus whatever else you can afford to the second. This "snowball" effect can quickly whittle down the number of creditors you have, as well as the amount you owe. Couple this with a budget and a hard look at things that have gotten you in debt (like that third car or the boat), and you're well on your way to reducing the financial stress in your life. Or as he puts it... "Live like no one else now, so you can live like no one else later". Each of the following steps builds upon the work you've already done, and it's a very logical progression. The book is also liberally sprinkled with a number of stories from real people who have followed these steps and eliminated incredible amounts of debt... Totals that are truly jaw-dropping...

Fortunately, I'm in much better shape than most everyone highlighted in the book. But it wouldn't take much to make it all go south. And I could be doing so much better from "finishing the emergency fund" on... My wife will be reading this next, and then I hope to make some definite changes to make sure that money and lenders don't become my master... A recommended read...

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More The Total Money Makeover: A Pr... reviews
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 . March 07, 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 …
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 …
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Thomas Duff ()
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Thomas Duff, aka "Duffbert", is a long-time member of the Lotus community. He's primarily focused on the development side of the Notes/Domino environment, currently working for a large insurance … 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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