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The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness Hardcover – Deluxe Edition, September 9, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 3,558 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.

From Booklist

"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

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; First Edition edition (September 9, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785263268
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688092603
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,558 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I enjoy discussions about my finances about as much as I enjoy talking about my weight. I certainly need to work on both, but I'd prefer to avoid the topics if at all possible, thank you very much. Can I get an "amen"?
Dave Ramsey, radio talk show host, author and all-around financial guru, is no stranger to this ostrich routine. After his own bankruptcy he came to the conclusion that the key to financial (and physical) fitness isn't knowing all the tricks of the money trade; it's being honest with yourself. "If I can control the guy in the mirror, I can be skinny and rich," he says in his new book THE TOTAL MONEY MAKEOVER.
In other words, you have to get your head out of the sand. Okay, I have to get my head out of the sand.
Leaving the skinny to other books, Ramsey is a prophet to those who want to be rich but would settle for being financially stable. It's clear that this is a large group, given the popularity of Ramsey's radio show and books. After reading THE TOTAL MONEY MAKEOVER, I can see why they flock to him for advice.
Ramsey's principles are simple and straightforward. Pay cash. Pay off debts from smallest to largest. Create an emergency fund. He provides easy-to-understand answers to many seemingly complex questions about budgeting, retirement funds, saving for college education, and more.
Large pullout quotes scattered throughout the book offer bite-sized financial advice and factoids in Ramsey's typically direct manner:
"A new $28,000 car will lose about $17,000 of value in the first four years you own it. To get the same result, you could toss a $100 bill out the window once a week during your commute."
"Looking to spend $100 per month on life insurance?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read dozens of finance books and this is one of the best. I would put it up there with Automatic Millionaire, Rich Dad Poor Dad, and Pirates of Financial Freedom. It isn't perfect though which I will talk about later.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"The Total Money Makeover" by Dave Ramsey, is the 3rd Edition of his popular book outlining personal finance advice and his "Baby Steps" method of righting your financial ship. I'm assuming that if you actively searched here under his name, you already know who Ramsey is - he and Suze Orman are probably the two most prominent personal-finance show hosts in the US. They have somewhat different styles - both can be pretty blunt to their callers when needed, but Ramsey tends to lean toward advising people to take more-drastic measures to get their debt down (`beans and rice, rice and beans' and his mantra of `Live like no one else, so you can someday Live like no one else') as opposed to Orman's "People first, then money, then things". She's a bit more empathic, but maybe he's a bit more hard-line because, at least from what I've seen (and I've watched both for several years), his audience generally seems to get themselves into bigger financial messes in the first place. If you think you've got it bad, tune into his show (on Fox Business Channel on cable) and you'll hear some REALLY bad stories of situations people have gotten themselves into, that will probably make you feel better about your own finances. Many of the `true stories' contained in the book are of people who got themselves in trouble by: 1) getting married/divorced too young, to/from someone who was as equally inept at handling money; 2) having lots of kids at a very early age (they're expensive, big surprise); and 3) appearing to have no education beyond high school, or majoring in something that is unlikely to yield a living income.Read more ›
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