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The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness Audio CD – Bargain Price, February 6, 2007
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About the Author
Dave Ramsey, a personal money management expert, is an extremely popular national radio personality, and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Total Money Makeover, EntreLeadership, Financial Peace, and More Than Enough.
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Save $1000 emergency fund
Pay off debts using the Debt Snowball: Make a list of your debts, smallest to largest (excluding mortgage) and focus all of your financial effort on one debt at a time (making only the minimum payments on all others), working your way down, with gazelle intensity. Once you cross one off, you divert all the money you were paying on that debt to the next, with the payment size growing at each step.
Save 3-6 months expenses
Put 15% toward retirement
Save for kids’ college
Pay off mortgage
Build wealth by investing
“We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”
The "makeover" is a set of 7 baby steps, but before the steps comes the cornerstone of the whole program: a written budget and a cash envelope system. The book covers why you need a written budget, and boy, it was true for us. Sure, I had a mental idea of what our bills were. But writing everything out let me see ALL the little things I tend to forget about, and how quickly they add up. The book helped us make a "zero based" budget, meaning we earmarked every dollar coming in for a specific purpose (rent, groceries, gasoline, etc.) Then comes the cash envelope system, which helped us make an immediate 180-degree turnaround on our spending. The book covers why cash is better than plastic (debit as well as credit), as well as how to create cash envelopes for each spending category and stuff them with the budgeted amounts. No more accidental overspending!
The rest of the book goes over the baby steps, a systematic, do-these-in-order money tasks to kill debt and build wealth. Each step's chapter also includes personal success stories. Honestly, you can learn the steps without this book either from the Dave Ramsey website, or even better, from watching the metric TON of YouTube videos on his channel. He does a daily show where people call in with money problems, and he uses this method to solve them. That practical, real-world advice has taught me a lot about this system. But I like having this book handy on my Kindle as a reference, plus the info given about each individual step goes more in-depth than the website.
To sum up, if you own Financial Peace University, Dave's other money books, or are a die-hard YouTube viewer, there's likely nothing new here. But if you're new to the system or want a written reference to go along with his videos, this might well be the one to get in order to cover the basics. I was desperate and at wit's end, terrified of the retirement future staring me in the fact in the next decade or so. Now, I can see a bright financial future ahead, and we have a plan. I can't say enough about this program!
His statements on debt are also questionable, especially student debt. The message is “don’t do it!”. This might make economic sense for an arts major, but for an engineering/STEM major, debt truly is an instrument. Your increase in salary for the first few years post-graduation alone makes it economical.
Top international reviews
The techniques are easy to pick up and impliment. The stories within the book give some motivation though I had a tendancy to glaze over them as I was not there for the stories but was there mainly for the tips and tricks.
Would reccommend for anyone looking to become debt free
One dislike about the book is that there is a lot of 'filler' in by there are testimonial stories from people who have had a total money makeover. I felt this may have been done to give the reader reassurance they are not alone; however, I do think it acts as a way of diluting down the real content of the book.
Dave does talk about Financial Peace and I think this book probably covers a lot of the content covered in that book. If you haven't heard of Dave Ramsey in the UK, he's kind of the US equivalent to Martin Lewis. I like Dave's 'no frills' approach and the book isn't designed as a shortcut to wealth. The fastest way to wealth is to avoid debt like the plague, and I think Dave really addresses this.
If you're wanting to improve your basic financial approach and want to think of money in a different way, then this book is for you, but do be prepared to do some homework if you're a non-US reader to find equivalency to some of the concepts I.E. pensions etc. in your home country.
ALWAYS speak to a good financial advisor too! :)
If you have a handle on your money it might still be worth reading it, it would help to structure your approach and get you thinking about budgets and things like pensions!
It’s easy to read and very accessible and I will be buying copies for those close to me.
As other reviews mentioned this book has a US focus for example for particular pension advice. But the same concept can be applied easily from a UK perspective. In addition there are a lot of bible reference as Dave himself is very religious.