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The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness Hardcover – September 17, 2013
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From Publishers Weekly
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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Winning at money is 80 percent behavior and 20 percent head knowledge." So states Ramsey, author and radio show host, offering a comprehensive plan to get out of debt and achieve financial fitness. Our current financial position represents the sum total of the decisions we've made to this point, he tells us, and we must take personal responsibility for our financial problems. His seven-step plan includes paying off all debts except the home mortgage at an accelerated speed, creating a financial safety net that covers three to six months' expenses, investing 15 percent of income in a retirement fund, and saving for children's college expenses. He effectively shows how regular people can rid themselves of debt and grow their wealth using current income. While many of Ramsey's concepts are not new, his simple approach and client testimonials will resonate with a broad range of library patrons. This is important information in a society buried in debt, with unprecedented numbers of people facing bankruptcy. Mary Whaley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Who is this book for? Everyone can benefit from it, but it is great for married couples and those in their late 20s, 30s, and early 40s. Young adults could benefit tremendously from it, but I'm worried it might not be exciting or fun enough to hold their attention. It's not really meant for retirees.
--- The Good ---
* He says financial freedom is 80% behavior and 20% knowledge which is so important, and he emphasizes this by pointing out there are a lot of broke finance professors.
* There are many real-life success stories of real people which shows his method works, and they also provide inspiration.
* He lays out his seven Baby Steps and makes them simple to understand. He points out that living right financially is not complicated. It may be difficult, but it's not complicated.
* I really liked the quote, "If you worked for a company called YOU Inc. and you managed money at YOU Inc. the way you manage your own money now, would you fire you?"
* The book includes helpful budget forms and worksheet in the back of the book.
* He isn't all gloom and doom. He wants you to have fun and even approves of buying a $30,000 watch, but only after you reach step seven and can afford it.
--- The Not-So-Good ---
* He doesn't go into a lot of detail on how to increase your income. Dave Ramsey is rich because he is a business owner who can make money from his radio show, books, seminars, programs, etc. It would have been great to get his advice on that, but he probably didn't want to overwhelm the reader with too many topics.
* I feel his previous bad experience with debt (he was over-leveraged with his real estate investments) has made him overly zealous on not having any debt. College loans can be very appropriate for some people, business loans can be great in the right situation, and his statement that you should put money toward paying down debt rather than getting the company 401(k) match seemed too extreme to me.
* The book wasn't super entertaining. I found a few parts to be a little dry and repetitive. While it certainly wasn't boring, I wish more money management books would be like the new personal finance adventure novel, but I guess that isn't this book's purpose. Still, there were a couple parts that made me chuckle and he did have some interesting stories.
* He stressed putting 100% of your investments in stock-related mutual funds. First, I feel ETFs are probably better than mutual funds because they are cheaper and won't underperform the market. Second, recommending a 100% stock portfolio to everyone regardless of age, financial goals, or risk tolerance seems risky to me. Plus you wouldn't experience the diversification benefit of owning non-correlated asset classes.
* He doesn't talk about the benefits of setting S.M.A.R.T. goals or having an accountability partner, which have been shown to greatly help people achieve all kinds of dreams.
--- Conclusion ---
Overall it is a very good book with a lot of good advice and inspirational case studies. You certainly won't regret reading it.
BTW, I got this on Kindle. It is a little confusing, because the little "quote highlights" and the success story anecdotes are interspersed into the text without the formatting of the book. But you get the point pretty quick, as long as you're aware that's happening.