My Relationship with Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey.

For those of you who haven't heard of him, Dave is a life advisor. He focuses on Financial Issues, but his advice will change your life. He's got a talk radio show in just about every major city in this great nation of ours. His book is on the New York Times Best Seller list. He's helped over a million people solve their financial problems. And if you have debt, you need Dave Ramsey.

Dave tells it as it is, which is why I love him. If you borrowed money, you paid a "stupid tax". He doesn't tell people that what they've done is "ok". He slaps you senseless and sets you on the straight and narrow to financial freedom.

I started on Dave Ramsey's financial plan about 2½ years ago. I had $10,000 in credit card debt. I had financed a motorcycle for $12,000 (and wrecked it, without enough insurance, leaving me owing $4500). I had two car (f)lease payments for $660 / month, a $25,000 home equity loan, a home improvement loan for $3500, and enough stress to push an endangered species to extinction. Dave Ramsey would say I was a selfish, immature brat, who thought he could borrow his way through life. Amazon.com was my daily shopping spree.

Fast forward to today. My credit cards are paid off, the motorcycle was paid off and sold, both leases are gone, Home improvement loan...gone. We're down to two debts. The home equity loan, and my wife's car.

Wait, did I just say wife's car? Yes, I financed a car while working the baby steps. That was stupid, and I regret it. I didn't follow his plan perfectly, which is why I'm not already out of debt. I added $12k to that big pile of stupid. Let me sum this up for you. I paid off nearly $30,000 in 2½, without changing my salary. And that was without the serious budgeting that Dave recommends.

Creating a budget is the heart of Dave Ramsey's baby step program, and my wife and I couldn't do it without breaking into a fight. Until last week.

We've got our first budget for September locked down. We're in agreement, we're not fighting, we're working together. This last $23,000 of debt (not including the primary mortgage) should be paid off within 6 months.

We don't eat out anymore, we don't go to the movies, I even cancelled my hunting trip this year (which I live for). I'm selling my toys, and we are going "Gazelle Intense" until this problem is taken care of. Anybody need anything I own? It's for sale.

What are our goals?

Those of you that know me, know that I don't like my house. We bought this house when we were broke, and we bought a cheap, fixer-upper. There's no basement, no garage, and nearly no land. 

I'm 30 years old as of this writing. By the time I'm 50, we want to be in a house we love, and have it paid off. That's 20 19 (yikes, I turn 31 in 2 months) years from now. I've got 4 years to get this house above water and take out a 15 year (not 30) fixed interest loan on that house (while putting 20% down). I couldn't do that without Dave Ramsey, and for that reason, he's my hero.

If you are in debt (even if you don't know you're in debt), you should get a little bit crazy, and check out his show. Even if you can't afford his book, you can listen to his show for free. After you've been listening for a while, you'll understand the process. I'm to the point where I can listen to the callers, and answer their questions before Dave does. 

If you can afford the book, go get a copy of the Total Money Makeover. It will change your life. 

Thanks Dave!