This past semester, I’ve spent a lot of time navigating Dave Ramsey’s financial advice as a reporter. I don’t have anything big against him, I don’t think he’s giving out bad advice, but there are a few things that bug me.
First of all, I can’t stand to watch the same lesson of Financial Peace University twice. The jokes become lame and the advice kind of redundant. But that’s a personal foible.
Second, the lack of citation of his statistics scare me. As a journalist, I am told to attribute, attribute, attribute. And then I listen to him at his Town Hall for Hope and he said that he had looked this information up earlier that day and that 60 percent of home foreclosures where happening in six states, without telling me where he got that information. Statistics are notoriously easy to manipulate and I want sources.
Third, I want to see how much money he’s making off of Financial Peace University, his books, and the people that pay him to recommend them to his class attendees. He’s making enough to go to Italy for a second honeymoon, but I want to see where most of that money is coming from.
That being said, I don’t think its a bad program. A lot of the people going through it don’t have a financial background and I think he gives them some important information. I don’t think he should be their sole source of info, but its a nice start.
Frank Curmundgeon at Bad Money Advice argues that he’s a one size fits all kind of guy, which is true, but at the same time, I haven’t found a single participant who agrees with him 100 percent and not adapted his program to fit them. One guy who coordinates the class has gone so far as to re-work Ramsey’s budgeting system. Another person disagrees with his ideas about insurance from personal experience. One has bought a house, even though he and his wife haven’t reached that baby step.
For the article on Financial Peace University, click here.
The people I’ve spoken with use as a base and change the plan to fit them. I think that’s good. I’m also excited to see some people really question his motives behind recommending financial advisers and insurance agents. It shows critical thinking and thinking of him as a human being with something to gain versus the demi-god that some people think of him as.I also wrote about Ramsey’s Town Hall for Hope, which it seems people were a little disappointed in. One coordinator expected him to delve a little more into a political stance and talk a lot more about “not participating in the recession.” Another woman was expecting him to talk more and take fewer questions, since that’s what he does on his radio show. One woman felt that the sole purpose was to reassure people about the economy and didn’t really get anything out of it. I thought that seemed interesting because its one thing of his that people weren’t falling in love with. It shows that he’s fallible, which is nice.
To read that article, click here.
Overall, I think Ramsey’s strength is helping people discover a base to start with their finance system. His advice isn’t to terribly different from everyone else’s, but he gives people a step by step guide that people feel they can do. That’s more than some people. Most of the people attending his classes either need a system so they can save because of their financial circumstances or they’ve been so comfortable that its not something they’ve really worried about. Either way, they don’t have the background to begin taking care of their finances, and Ramsey gives that to them. I think that’s the benefit of Dave Ramsey.
For more blog posts by me on Dave Ramsey, visit faithinfocus.wordpress.com.