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Dave Ramsey's Complete Guide To Money

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Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money offers the ultra-practical way to learn how money works. If you’re looking for practical information to answer all your “How?” “What?” and “Why?” questions about money, this book is for you. Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money covers the A to Z of Dave’s money teachings, including how to budget, save, dump debt and invest. You’ll also learn all about insurance, mortgage options, marketing, bargain hunting and the most important element of all―giving. Because this is the handbook for Financial Peace University , you won’t find much new information here if you’ve already taken the nine-week class. It also covers the Baby Steps Dave wrote about in The Total Money Makeover , and trust us―the Baby Steps haven’t changed a bit. So, if you’ve already memorized everything Dave’s ever said about money, you probably don’t need this book. But if you’re new to this stuff or just want the all-in-one resource for your bookshelf, this is it!      

331 pages, Hardcover

First published December 1, 2011

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About the author

Dave Ramsey

200 books2,043 followers
Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He’s a #1 National bestselling author and host of The Ramsey Show, heard by more than 18 million listeners each week. Dave’s eight national bestselling books include The Total Money Makeover, Baby Steps Millionaires, and EntreLeadership. Since 1992, Dave has helped people take control of their money, build wealth, and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO of Ramsey Solutions.

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Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,819 followers
March 9, 2018
I am guessing that a lot of people have heard of Dave Ramsey and his Financial Peace University. If you have not, the basic idea is that he provides you with a series of tips, tools, suggestions, etc. to help you get out of debt and start saving so that your life is not driven by the stresses of money. The course itself is 9 weeks, but this book gives a basic outline of how it is all done – and I am not sure how easy it is to get this book if you don’t sign up for the course??

A few years ago, my wife and I had heard about Dave Ramsey and his ideas, but we didn’t officially take the course. We Googled the basics and started a budget so we could begin chipping away at our debt. We did do a pretty good job – we managed to get rid of our credit cards years ago and we have never looked back. However, my college debt was hanging over us like a grey cloud when I got a notice that my payoff date would be in 2032 – I will be in my mid 50s! At that point, we figured it wouldn’t hurt to get a little more info by doing the University.

For anyone stressed by money and willing to focus your energies on improving your financial situation, this is a great book and course to take. I say willing, because you have to break your spending habits and make big changes to how you plan to use your money going forward. I imagine this is not an easy thing for everyone. However, the book is written in an easy to follow manner with well divided sections, bullet point lists, and forms/tip sheets in the back to help you along the way.

I highly recommend this book if you are ready for that financial change. Don’t let money control you, you should control your money!
Profile Image for M.E. Kinkade.
Author 2 books19 followers
March 5, 2017
If you're unsure about how to manage money, or have already made some big mistakes and are trying to recover, or just want to brush up on some obscure things, this book will likely help you out.

HOWEVER...it has its flaws, despite the enthusiastic baying of many of Ramsey's constituents.

I received this book as a very well-intentioned gift to help my new husband and I get our marriage started on the right foot. I'm already persnickety about how I manage my money, so I may not be the ideal audience for this book, but as much as I read about personal finance, I figure there is always room for a little more knowledge.

I did find it practical. Ramsey uses folksy analogies and down-to-earth language to explain the sometimes high-falutin' financial language that can be a barrier. His strategies are fundamentally simple: don't be in debt, save money before you buy something. He has undoubtedly helped many people find a workable strategy to put themselves on a path to financial security, and that is to be commended.

But I found parts of the book deeply distasteful. My concerns:

It's Self-Serving.
You've probably heard of Dave Ramsey by now. He has a radio show, a whole series of classes and DVDs, and several books. This book aims to make sure you know who he is--the appearance of his name TWICE on the front cover, as well as the plug-in for his class "Financial Peace University," is just another way to build his personal brand.

Now, that may be unavoidable--it is a self-help book, after all--but the repeated references back to Ramsey's personal products, other books, and stuff he's selling started to make me feel like I was at a flea market (want this? How about this? No? Well, you definitely need one of these!). Ramsey's a smart marketer; if he can get his hooks into you with this book, he hopes you'll buy everything he's ever made.

He Doesn't Think Much of Women
I'm sure if you spoke to Ramsey--and he seems like a very affable and likeable guy--he would insist that he loves women and that I'm crazy for suggesting this, but his own book would be great evidence against him. Ramsey may like women well enough, but the book repeatedly takes a "that's nice, little lady" tone. Women are called out repeatedly based on negative female stereotypes--"stop shopping ladies!"--and reminded that they are best in the home with the kids, whereas men are repeatedly held up as the providers, the "real men" who "take care of their families," the ones who are the responsible ones.

Even when he praises women (mostly via his wife) he is slighting them with more aw-shucks patronizing: following an apocryphal tale of President George H.W. Bush wherein Barbara supposedly gets the upper hand, Ramsey discusses the way decisions are made in his family--he makes decisions and "if I'm not careful, I'll just roll right over her when it's time to make a decision. It's not that she doesn't want to contribute..."

Let me finish the line for him: it's that he's already made up his mind and his wife's vote isn't as important.

This is further shown in his advice, including that married couples have one bank account and one only. That may work out very well for some people, and the more power to them, but having one bank account and no money of their own is one of the most common ways women end up poor: husband leaves, takes all the money and there is nothing in her name (or, she wants to leave, husband takes all the money, etc.). I feel strongly that both spouses need some way to access at least some money without involving the other.

Ramsey does a good job of talking to the reader as if you are just like him. Which is great, and is a sign of excellent persuasive writing! Except. Ramsey is an evangelical Christian, and you may want to avoid this book if you aren't as well.

Even though I'm a Christian, I must not be the same variety as Ramsey. I felt that I was being beaten over the head with the Bible every other page for awhile there.

And while I am happy that folks have a spiritual life they can tend and enrich themselves with, Ramsey doesn't even cater to the idea that you may not be the same. The chapter on giving never mentions how to give to charity except through your church. Further, his example about giving exorbitant tips to waitresses on Christmas Eve fell flat with me. He says the only reason a waitress might work that day is because she really needs the money. Well, Dave, I came up with a few other reasons:
-Her boss won't let her have the day off, and while she doesn't need the money so much this month, she needs long-term job security, and that means she doesn't get to pick.
-She's Jewish/Muslim/Buddhist/FSM-ist and doesn't celebrate Christmas.
-She's Christian, but is celebrating Christmas in two weeks because that's when her family can all get together.
-She thinks she'll get extra tips from the travelers desperate for a meal on Christmas Eve. And besides, it's generally quiet.

Four reasons I just thought off on the spot! Not everyone is the same as you, man.

Additionally, as an intellectual-type person, it is useless to me when he provides a Bible verse as the reason why I should do something. Sorry, I want evidence. History has shown that Bible verses can be made to fit just about any situation.

Anathema to Debt or Help
This is tricky, because I almost agree with him here, but he takes it to extremes that I find uncomfortable. Ramsey repeatedly insinuates that money should not come to people from the government, and further suggests that putting "burdens" on wealthy people will "make the golden eggs dry up." I see your Trickle-Down Economics at work, sir. Let's just say I disagree and found his mixing of politics with finances when it isn't needed.

But further than that, he is completely 100% opposed to debt. On paper, I agree with him: debt is not a positive, and, particularly for people struggling under a mountain of debt problems, his strategies will be effective. But I think it's short-sighted.

Debt, in my opinion, is like a pit bull: Sure, it can be awful, but it can also be useful tool when used properly. Much like a pit bull can be one of the meanest fighting dogs out there in the hands of an abusive animal, debt can turn on you quick. But a pit bull well cared-for and attended to will be the sweetest dog in the neighborhood.

I think his "no debt at all" view is problematic in particular for young people. Ramsey's quite a bit older than me, so perhaps he doesn't remember, but having zero credit history (yes, that means zero history of debt) will make it hard to get: an apartment to rent; a job (they sometimes check the scores); a car; and, eventually, a mortgage on a house. Zero credit history is treated the same as bad credit history, and refusing to teach people how to handle credit responsibly means young people who end up in a bad spot. Additionally, his "pay cash for everything" strategy is an effective way to get him something else he rails against: kids coming back after college.

One of the things that most upset me in this book was a story from a reader about how her son was going to school, the Dave Ramsey way! It is featured as an example of doing things right, and it hit me like a brick. In this story, a boy works hard in school, gets several scholarships, and his parents have saved money for some of his tuition for college...but it's not enough. Because they are following Ramsey's preachings, they don't get a loan of any kind, but instead pull their son out of college. He was already accepted, but he is forced to withdraw (wiping out, by the way, all that prepaid tuition money).

He goes to community college (which has a drop-out rate of well over 50% right now) and then...drops out after one semester and joins the Navy. The story was submitted before the boy finished, but supposedly he was working on college classes while he was in the Navy. (This story is on page 251.)

This story just breaks my heart. It's not a triumph. This kid was on a path to go to a good school in his state, but his parents dropped him rather than let him take on a loan. As a result, he is working on a ship somewhere far from home. I have a dear friend who went to the Navy, and...it's not easy. It wasn't this kid's real choice. He learned that his parents won't support him in his future. I feel sorry for him.

The mom says "saying no to college was hard, but it turned out to be a good thing." Yeah. A good thing FOR HER.

I found copy editing mistakes a few times, which always makes me leery, but then I found a glaring error of fact, which scares me more--a book is a big investment, so the time should be put in accordingly. When it isn't, it makes me worry about the rest of the content. (The mistake is this: Ramsey cites the New King James Bible as the "first in the English language." It wasn't. It's the third, and was created not as a way for folks to access scripture but as a political move to consolidate a divided country.)

In Sum...
This book has exceptionally good advice to help people get out of debt and establish new patterns. It's written for those who don't know much of anything about financial planning or organization. The basics are sound, and I found the chapters on insurance and investing basics to be the most informative and helpful. I also like that it comes with budget worksheets in the back.

That said, this book is not for everyone. And I would say that it--and all the rest of the Ramsey brand--absolutely should not be the exclusive place you get advice.

It comes down to what you value. My impression is Ramsey values money (the having, and the dispensing of it) above all else. In order to have money, he advocates sacrificing time, personal interests, sleep, a diverse diet, and educational opportunities for your children. Me? My values are a little different than his. Take his advice, therefore, with a grain of salt.
Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,826 reviews29k followers
March 4, 2020
Dave Ramsey is a very polarizing figure in the financial advice community. Not everyone agrees with his platforms and stances on certain subject, e.g., the use of credit cards; but, I personally find his plan to be very helpful in that it focuses on behavior and not just math.

That said, my husband and I consider ourselves to be Dave-ish in that we don't follow his plan to the T by any means - regardless, I do enjoy his books and podcasts as I find they keep me motivated and remind me of what I am trying to achieve.

That said, I didn't love this as much as The Total Money Makeover, but that was my first Dave book and thus probably felt more...impactful as a result.

Also, as with anything coming from Dave Ramsey, there is a heavy religious element. I personally don't mind it whatsoever, but I know a lot of people are/will be turned off by that. So just be aware of that going into it.

Otherwise, all in all, I enjoyed this and will definitely be referring to it in the future.
Profile Image for Margo Mandrillo.
105 reviews1 follower
June 27, 2017
5 stars... begrudgingly. Everything he said to do (so far) has worked. Paid off our debt, except the car in 2 and a half months. Learned how to easily feed my family on $100 a week. Sometimes less. Felt like we got a raise, even though we didn't. Blah, blah, blah. It is that stupid power of "no" thing. Yes, saying no to a lot has paid of our debt quickly. And continuing to say no will get our car paid off fast. Like the big fat "no" to our Grand Canyon road trip this summer. And all the big fat "no's" until the car is paid off. And the big fat "no" until we are putting down between 30% and 100% on a house.
No sucks.
I wanna go to Disneyland.

100% debt free and are now speaking with Dave Ramsey endorsed ELP's as we prepare to buy our first house.
His system works. The only negative that comes from reading his books and listening to his podcasts is that you really start to see dangerous financial situations and choices that everyone else makes. Multilevel Marketing/Pyramid schemes being a big thing right now.
Profile Image for Lindsey Riley.
195 reviews16 followers
April 16, 2014
I hate money. Well, no, that's not true. I love to SPEND money; I just hate MANAGING money.

No one told me that being a responsible grown up would be so boring and difficult and unpleasant, and the most obnoxious and stressful adult task, I've found, is setting up and sticking to a budget.

Ugh. Budget. It's anything BUT a sexy topic. Nevertheless, it's an important subject to research, and implementing some sort of financial plan is vital in order to be dependable and successful.

One way I have tackled this disagreeable job is to GET INFORMED. The best guy out there on the issue of personal finance, in my opinion, is DAVE RAMSEY.

Now, this isn't just the money guru your parents listen to on the radio. He is the real deal. Having faced financial ruin himself, he knows what it's like to come from nothing and try to build yourself up to something. He's honest, practical, funny, and smart on money matters.

Recently, I checked out the book that goes along with his financial advising seminar, Dave Ramsey's Complete Guide to Money.

Most of what he had to say wasn't rocket science. It was common sense information, but packaged and explained in a way that made it compelling. For me, I KNOW what I should be doing, I just have trouble actually DOING it. Dave agrees- "Personal finance is only 20 percent head knowledge. The other 80 percent- the bulk of the issue- is behavior." (Page 6)

Even though Dave goes in-depth on a variety of topics- savings, getting out of debt, budgeting, manipulative marketing, insurance, college and retirement planning, etc., I found the review of his Financial Roadmap for Success to be especially helpful. He has seven baby steps that will get you to where you need to go:

Baby Step 1: Put $1,000 in a beginner emergency fund ($500 if your income is under $20,000 per year.
Baby Step 2: Pay off all debt using the debt snowball.
Baby Step 3: Put three to six months of expenses into a savings account as a full emergency fund.
Baby Step 4: Invest 15 percent of your household income into Roth IRAs and pretax retirement plans.
Baby Step 5: Begin college funding for your kids.
Baby Step 6: Pay off your home early.
Baby Step 7: Build wealth and give.
(Page 9)

Now granted, not all of these steps are entirely applicable to me as an unmarried twenty-something living at home with my parents while I just start off my professional career. Begin college funding for your kids? I'm still deciding if I'M going back to college. I don't HAVE kids.

That being said, I KNOW Dave's plan is important, wherever you're at in life. A couple months back, I had a severe neck injury that prevented me from working for almost a month. And with no savings plan, no emergency fund, and suddenly no source of income, I was in deep trouble! Now, three months later, I'm STILL trying to recover financially. I wish I had taken Dave's advice seriously and implemented it sooner.

"The emergency fund is your protection against life's unexpected events, and you are going to have a lot of them throughout your lifetime. They're not really "unexpected" if you think about it. You know they're coming; you just don't know when, what, or how much. But you can still be ready." (Page 11)

Saving is hard! There are so many things I'd rather be doing with my money than just sticking it in a savings account. I want to do something FUN with my money! Even though I struggle with this concept, I think Dave makes so much sense- "Today, my motto is, 'If you live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.' " (Page 22)

One illustration Dave gave blew me away. It's one thing to think conceptually about saving consistently over time, but Dave actually calculated out what it would look like if a little bit of discipline and sacrifice is made:

"What if you squeezed an extra $100 out of your budget every month? If you saved just $100 a month, every month, from age twenty-five to age sixty five (your working lifetime) at the stock market average return of 12 percent, you'd retire with more than 1.1 million! You'd be a millionaire with just $100 a month! But is it easy to do that every month like clockwork for forty years? No!... Something else will sneak in and try to take away that money. It takes discipline to stick to your goals, but that little bit of discipline will take you a long way." (Page 17)

Holy crap on a cracker! I can retire as a millionaire with only $100 a month?! That's actually DOABLE!

All throughout the book, Dave gives super practical ideas about how to deal with money, and many illustrations of how this actually pans out in real life, just like the example above.

I know money stuff is hardly glamorous. I get how reading an entire book on budgeting and saving and planning might make your eyes glaze over like a dead fish. Let me tell you, the information and suggestions in this book are WORTH IT.

Be a little nerdy. Ditch the light chick lit and pick up this personal finance book. Your life will change for the better.

Happy reading, folks!
Profile Image for Brooke Nelson.
Author 5 books149 followers
January 21, 2022
Nonfiction book reviews are really not my thing, but this is an absolute must-read.

If you're a young adult, just starting out managing your own finances, or if you're well into your adult years but find yourself stuck in a bit (or a lot) or debt, or even if you're still supported by your parents but you want a surefire way to feel prepared when you go out on your own: read this book.

Honestly I cannot explain how good this made me feel about my future. Not only does Dave Ramsey tell you the steps to get out of debt and/or stay out of debt, but he gives you exact amounts (meaning percentages of your income) to put in different places so you'll never again end up in a terrible place with your finances.

Whether you're on the higher or lower end of the income chain, and regardless of your age, this is the book for you. It's a fairly quick read, and it's 100% worth the time.

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Profile Image for C.
1,100 reviews1,047 followers
November 20, 2018
Decent personal finance advice. The content is very similar to The Total Money Makeover and Financial Peace. I liked this book more than those; maybe because it's more comprehensive, or maybe because I knew to expect debt-bashing so it didn't bother me as much (though I still disagree with it). The book is irritatingly littered with far too many testimonials, which were especially distracting in the ebook format I read, where it's hard to distinguish them from the main text.

7 Baby Steps
1. Put $1,000 in beginner emergency fund.
2. Pay off all debt using debt snowball.
3. Put 3-6 months worth of expenses into savings as a full emergency fund.
4. Invest 15% of household income into Roths IRAs and pretax retirement plans.
5. Begin college funding for kids.
6. Pay off home early.
7. Build wealth and give.

Relating With Money
Couples who can agree on 4 major issues have a much higher probability of a successful marriage: religion, in-laws (boundaries, influence, etc.), parenting, money.

Pay kids commissions, not allowances, so they feel an emotional connection between work and money. Kids should still do some unpaid work around the house as a matter of respect and participation.

For kids under 6, don't require percentage-based, systematic giving. Let it be spontaneous and fun. Model spontaneous giving.

When kids are 6-12, give a few simple chores (Ramsey gave 5) and pay a commission to do them (Ramsey did $1 per chore).

Have kids divide money they earn into 3 envelopes: giving, spending, saving.

Around age 13, offer to match kids' savings. Give them their own bank accounts and debit (not credit) cards. Make chores harder and commissions higher. Stop paying for clothes, sports fees, etc.; instead, put that money into their accounts and let them manage it.

Cash Flow Planning
Use a zero-based budget (allocate your income down to zero). Write income at top of page, then every single expense for the month under it, including giving and saving. At bottom of page, income minus expenses should equal zero.

Dumping Debt
Leasing is most expensive way to operate a car.

Don't get a 30-year mortgage and plan to pay it off early. Almost no one does, because something else always seems more important.

Pay cash for your house. If you must get a mortgage, never get more than a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, and never get a payment more than 25% of take-home pay.

A debit card with Visa or MasterCard logo has same protections as credit card.

Your largest wealth-building tool is your income. Using it to make payments towards debts is robbing yourself of future wealth.

Clause and Effect
Always get at least $500K in liability coverage.

Consider dropping collision coverage on an older car if you can buy a replacement car out of pocket. Do a break-even analysis to see how many years you'd need to go without a wreck.

Get an umbrella policy if you're starting to build wealth in retirement accounts, make good money, have a paid-for home or at least good equity, and have other quality assets.

If you're under 35, you have a 33% chance of becoming disabled for at least 6 months during your career.

Try to buy occupational, or own-occ, disability coverage (it pays if you can't perform the job you were educated or trained to do). It can be expensive, so you may only be able to buy a couple years' worth of coverage, but that will give you time to transition to a new line of work.

Stay away from short-term disability that covers less than 5 years. Get only long-term disability (covers anything over 5 years).

Buy disability in 60-65% range (if you're disabled, insurance will pay that percentage of your regular income). Ramsey likes 65% because that's about how much of your salary you bring home.

Long-term care insurance is for nurshing home, assisted living facilities, in-home care. Get it as soon as you turn 60.

69% of those turning 65 today will need some form of long-term care.

Last 6 months of life are often the most expensive, possibly more expensive than any previous decade.

If someone steals your identity, taking care of that will be a full-time, 40-hour-per-week job for 10-15 weeks. Get ID theft protection. Don't choose a company that just offers basic credit report monitoring. Look for coverage that provides restoration services.

Once you're out of debt with a full emergency fund and investments, you don't need life insurance.

Never use an insurance plan as an investment. Returns on cash value insurance are historically low (generally 2-7%).

Don't buy extra insurance or warranties on electronics or other items. Self-insure instead.

Get life insurance worth 10x your income.

To figure out size of policy you need for stay-at-home spouse, calculate how much nanny or other child care would cost per year and multiply by 10.

That's Not Good Enough!
Sellers are more willing to negotiate if you have cash.

When negotiating, after seller says price, look at them without saying a word. Seller will often improve offer to avoid awkward silence.

When negotiating, after seller says price, look them in eye and say, "That's not good enough." Wait for them to speak. Seller will often improve offer.

Once you negotiate as low as you think seller will go, say, "OK, if I take it for that price, you need to throw in X," or, "If I take the house for Y, you'll have to cover closing costs."

The Pinnacle Point
Ramsey's team has hand-picked financial advisors (Endorsed Local Providers) at daveramsey.com

Inflation has averaged 4.2% over last 70 years. If you're not earning at least that, you're losing money. Once you factor in taxes on growth, you really need to earn at least 6% to beat inflation.

Put money that you need in 3-5 years in a money market account.

Ramsey doesn't like bonds because they're based on debt and bond-based portfolios perform poorly.

Put 25% of investments in each of 4 types of mutual funds: growth (mid-cap; equity), growth and income, aggressive growth, international.

Make sure mutual fund has a good track record over at least 5 years, preferably 10+. Look for those with a record of averaging at least 12%.

The only annuities Ramsey likes are variable.

After you max out tax-favored plans such as 401(k) and Roth IRA, a variable annuity might make sense.

Don't buy an annuity with an investment that is already tax-protected.

From Fruition to Tuition
Invest 15% of pre-tax gross income annually toward retirement. Don't do more, because you need some income for paying off home early and saving for college.

Roth IRA is Ramsey's favorite way to invest.

Consider SEP if you're self-employed.

How to invest that 15% of income
1. Use 401(k) or other company plan up to match (if there is one).
2. Above 401(k) match, fund Roth IRA.
3. Complete 15% by putting more in 401(k) or other company plan.

If you want to save more than $2,000/yr for college, or don't meet income limits for ESA, consider a 529 plan.

If you've already done an ESA and 529, or if you make too much to qualify for ESA, consider UTMA/UGMA plan.

Real Estate and Mortgages
3 reasons home ownership is a great investment
1. It's a forced savings plan. Even if home doesn't appreciate, you still forced yourself to save the money you put into the mortgage. The money isn't gone; it's in the house. As a bonus, you've lived in the house all that time.
2. It's an inflation hedge.
3. It grows virtually tax free.

Get title insurance. Bad titles happen all the time.

If you must get a mortgage, only get a 15-yr, fixed-rate conventional mortgage with at least 10% down anda payment no more than 25% of take-home pay.

Give Like No One Else
Tithe should go to local church, which provides same function as Old Testament storehouse.

Bible says to give tithe of first fruits, so we should give 10% off top. An offering is a separate gift, above tithe. It should be in line with your budget.

Tithe no matter where you are in Baby Steps.
Profile Image for John Brown.
Author 19 books113 followers
June 14, 2012
If you’re like 70% of America, you are living paycheck to paycheck, which means that if you or your spouse (assuming you have one) were laid off, you would probably have difficulties meeting your mortgage the next month. If you didn’t go into default on the house, you certainly would on other payments and bills.

You also have very little retirement.

You probably have around $7,000 in credit card debt. Maybe a lot more.

You also have a car payment or two. Or, heaven forbid, a lease.

You might be house poor—the house payment is so large you can’t seem to do anything else.

You might have creditors hounding you.

You might be one of those folks throwing their money away on the lotto instead of investing it.

Did you know that if you invested $50 a month, an average of what many lotto players spend, in the stock market for 40 years, you’d very likely end up with $316,000 in the bank (over the last 40 years of ups and downs, the annualized return of the market was almost 10%). You would have put in only $24,000 over that time period, which means you would have made $292,203! But instead, if you’re a lotto player, you just throw all that out the window. (No, you’re not going to win; not even maybe in your dreams.)

You probably think your kids will have to take out loans to go to college. And you think that’s a good idea. In fact, you probably think it’s a good idea to have a credit card just in case there’s an emergency because you don’t have any savings to cover any emergencies.

The list goes on. The sad part of this is that our finances cause us average Americans a lot of stress in our lives and marriages and families (even if we’re in denial) and very often heartbreak.

I know that a lot of us look at our financial chains and throw our hands up in despair—what can I do? The mountain of debt and bills are just too high. Besides, this is how everybody lives.

But it’s not.

There is a way out. And it doesn’t matter how old you are, it’s not too late.

Dave Ramsey has written his hands-down best book ever, which will take you step-by-step through the process of turning a financial mess into financial peace. He’ll do it in a down-to-earth easy-to-read style. No confusing ten dollar words that make your head spin.

Ramsey himself went through financial hell. He was the guy that made all the mistakes with his money. Lost everything. Had collection agencies coming after him. Didn’t know how he was going to feed the family. He turned that all around. Yes, he’s a millionaire, but more importantly, he has been working for the last twenty years to teach regular people with regular jobs the simple principles that lead to financial peace. They’re becoming debt free and working their way towards huge net-worth.

You want a step-by-step plan? You want to educate yourself about money and family finances from one of the nation’s leading experts? Then go and purchase Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money today and start reading it. You will not regret it. If you already have his Total Money Makeover and don’t think this will be worth it, think again. This goes into all sorts of things the Total Money Makeover doesn’t.

Be free, people. Be free.

Profile Image for Zach.
178 reviews8 followers
September 9, 2021
This book has a lot of the same info, advice, and thoughts as Ramsey’s other book I have read “The Total Money Makeover”. I would say that the latter is the more enjoyable read. The Complete Guide to Money has excellent budgeting/getting out of debt advice but is much wordier and boring than the other Dave Ramsey book I mentioned.

If you are struggling financially I would highly suggest reading one of these books or looking up Dave Ramsey’s website or YouTube Channel. You might be surprised with how much you learn.
Profile Image for Leah.
647 reviews87 followers
January 7, 2020
This book is a great way to learn a little about a lot of financial topics, great for beginners or for people with financial issues. It simplifies things into layman terms so that the average Joe would be able to understand.

Marriage counselors tell us that couples who can agree on four major issues have a much higher probability of a successful marriage.
Those 4 things are religion (shared household faith), in-laws (boundaries, influence, etc.), parenting, and money.

Diversify a little further by spreading your investments out over four different kinds of mutual funds. I tell people to put 25% in each of these four types:
1. growth
2. growth and income
3. aggressive growth
4. international

- Growth stock mutual funds are sometimes called mid-cap or equity funds. Mid-cap refers to the fund’s capitalization, or money. So, a mid-cap fund is a medium-sized company. These are companies that are still in the growth stage; that’s why it’s called a growth stock fund. - Growth and income mutual funds are the calmest funds of the bunch. These are sometimes called large-cap funds, because they include large, well-established companies. These funds usually don’t have wildly fluctuating values. That’s good and bad; they won’t shoot up as much when the market’s up, but they also won’t fall as much when the market’s down. These are basically slow-moving, lumbering dinosaurs.
- Aggressive growth mutual funds are the exciting wild child of mutual funds. They represent small companies (so they’re often called small-cap funds), and these are active, emerging, exciting companies. This is the roller coaster of mutual funds. There will be really high highs, and probably some really low lows. I had one back in the 1990s that had a 105 percent rate of return one year, then lost it all the next year. You absolutely don’t want to put all your money here, but you need some aggressive funds in your plan.
- International mutual funds are sometimes called overseas funds, and they represent companies outside the United States. I recommend putting a fourth of your investments in international funds for two reasons. First, you get to participate in the growth of some foreign products that you probably already enjoy; and second, it adds another layer of diversification just in case something weird and unexpected happens to the U.S. stock market.
Profile Image for Donna Craig.
907 reviews39 followers
March 17, 2023
Dave Ramsey’s “baby steps” to financial success are well-known and widely respected. Although they are not new to us, my husband and I have experienced a series of unfortunate financial events this past year. We decided to go back to the basics. This book is filled with practical, useable advice for people who are anywhere along the financial journey. We’re so grateful for Mr. Ramsey’s wisdom.
Profile Image for Michelle.
Author 41 books402 followers
November 8, 2015
I wish I had read this book two years ago. I would have been much smarter about my spending if that had been the case. But moving forward, I believe the things I have learned from the class and from this book will last me a lifetime. I can still change my future. One of the most impacting statements for me was this - You tell your money where you want it to go. Then it doesn't just disappear and you have little to nothing to show for your hard work. Create a budget and follow it.

Dave Ramsey's Complete Guide to Money is an empowering book. Not to mention that the author's writing style is very conversational so it's like he's talking to you when he writes each chapter. The discussion questions at the end of each chapter are also provocative and designed to engage the reader in group discussion. But they are still beneficial if you are reading this alone and just looking for some wisdom/good advice on how to get out of debt and make your money work for you.

This complete guide to money is a keeper and I'd recommend it to everyone who has spent money and wondered where it had all gone. I am now budgeting and not borrowing. No more credit cards. This book has changed my approach on how I view money and I'm grateful for the lessons Dave shared in the book. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Nicholas Maulucci.
473 reviews8 followers
October 1, 2014
excellent. just financial common sense fleshed out into a book. excited about teaching our children these principles. excited about handling our money correctly. if we cannot take care of the least riches, how do we expect God to trust us with the true riches. revival awaits the stewardship of the least in order to usher in the true riches. recommended for all. a top 10 book out of the last 100 I've read. read it or remain a credit card paying, car payment paying sheep. two thumbs up!
Profile Image for Nick Hepler.
2 reviews1 follower
February 10, 2014
If you have read the Total Money Makeover and are looking for the nuts and bolts details of the Baby Steps this book is an excellent choice. This would also be an excellent selection for someone interested in taking the Financial Peace University class, but doesn't have the time or money to take it; or just doesn't like the idea of going to a church to a class. Much of the material in the book is almost verbatim what you will hear in the FPU classes. The dust jacket indicates this is the handbook of FPU so it makes sense. The book is actually broken into 13 sections that mirror the old 13-week FPU curriculum. The book covers a wide variety of topics including communicating about money with your spouse, budgeting, tips on buying and negotiating, insurance, retirement and college saving and even finding work that hits your personality.
244 reviews
November 5, 2017
Started this one over 2 years ago and then life got busy. Pushed my way through it lately. A lot of good advice if you can push through and stick with it. I am keeping it in mind but not yet ready to dive into it full force.
Profile Image for Michael Galdamez.
165 reviews11 followers
April 25, 2017
I started this book last year when I and my family took Dave Ramsey's Finacial Peace University. It was a very helpful supplement and a great little book overall! I would recommend this and the whole FPU course to anyone, whether or not they think their finances are in order.
14 reviews
March 16, 2020
Haylie and I are really working on our finances this year (though if the end times are upon us, that may be a wasted effort). I started listening to this Ramsey stuff that I used to make fun of and it’s actually been helping quite a bit. The information in this book about the 7 “baby steps,” misconceptions about debt and wealth-building, the simple ins and outs of investing and typical budget shortfalls, and the straightforward approach to financial security is invaluable, if delivered with a religious tinge and in a plain writing style. I give this four stars rather than five simply because most of the information can be found on his daily podcast, which is much more timely and relevant if slightly less in-depth. A special shoutout to a teacher at my school, Ms. Bond, for lending me this book!
Profile Image for Ntombezinhle Nzama.
138 reviews42 followers
June 16, 2020
Informative and inspiring

I'm so glad I read this book. It expands on the concepts and the baby steps outlined in the TMMO book. Gives me hope that I can get out of debt and create wealth by following this plan.
159 reviews
February 26, 2021
For someone writing for the common masses Dave Ramsey sure uses a lot of business lingo, but I was pleasantly surprised at how I didn’t hate this book.
Profile Image for Benjamin Ask.
58 reviews
August 15, 2022
A really solid beginners guide to personal finance. A little fanatical about debt avoidance but otherwise I learned a ton of tips and tools that I’m certain to implement in my money journey.
Profile Image for Brooks Lemmon.
105 reviews2 followers
April 1, 2020
Hands down incredible book on finances. No matter how educated you think you might be in the area I advise you to read it!
Profile Image for Tamra.
502 reviews8 followers
March 28, 2013
This book is a major step up from Financial Peace Revisited. It spells things out without any unneccessary extras. To the point, helpful, and straightforward. All of Dave's books are easy-to-read and light, even though the subject matter is pretty dense and daunting. Dave is funny and enthusiastic and inspiring, and his books are delightful. You walk away thinking, "I can do this!"

If you're wanting to read one of Dave Ramsey's books, I recommend Total Money Makeover. I think it's the best over-all book. Complete Guide to Money assumes that you're in Financial Peace University classes.
Profile Image for Kaity.
263 reviews
March 1, 2013
This book is the beginner's guide for Finance Dummies who are looking to get themselves the heck out of debt. Dave Ramsey's writing is so easy to read- even in subjects of insurance, mortgages and 401(k)'s. I read this book in conjunction with the course, Financial Peace University and am feeling ready to tackle my student loan debt! With Ramsey's arsenal of budget-friendly, money-saving tactics we should be able to be debt-free in just a couple years.
Profile Image for Sarah.
107 reviews1 follower
April 3, 2017
Great book for getting your finances on track. I read it along with the class lessons we were doing so it explained more of what was going over in class. The questions at the end of each chapter really help me think about what we wanted our plan of action to be.
If you ever get the chance to take the Financial Peace classes, do so, it is life changing.
Profile Image for Nicole Starner.
81 reviews8 followers
November 8, 2016
I would highly recommend this book to any person of any age and any income level who wants to take control of their finances and their future. I've made some significant changes to my money after reading this book and feel as though I have gained a wealth of knowledge. Now I must follow through!
Profile Image for Logan Markle.
57 reviews
May 12, 2021
I’ve heard my mom, other friends’ parents and a variety of adults recommend going through this book in order to learn how to manage money well. I am grateful to have read it and do believe I learned a bit. I simply gave the book three stars because I don’t like how Ramsey promotes his opinions with few statistics (especially for the things he doesn’t like), how much he tries to talk to you as if you were friends and how much he slips Christianity into the narrative.

I wrestled with how to review this since I understand his Christian identity feeds into his view of finances, so how could he write a book and not include such a worldview? I think it mostly comes out through his certainty of his own answers. It lacks nuance and individualism because he believes his approach can shape any lazy, broke or reckless individual or couple into financial success. I really valued him explaining certain terminology but he oversimplifies to make the book understandable to anyone, rather than writing in my preferred method which involves the hard work of introducing all readers to content at a higher level of difficulty because it can’t be dumbed down!

I do think this helped frame my perspective on how to save and invest and think about purchasing a house and will help me in the long run. But I believe I’m missing the other side of the conversation from people who disagree with Ramsey’s views. He makes a lot of the world seem like they want to rip you off so if you just follow his (perfect) plan, you’ll become super wealthy. I feel immense tension in seeing some solid practical advice in this book along with a Christian-like sense of having lived around dogma for decades and loved it so he can no longer tell when he’s biased and spouting truisms from blind eyes.
Profile Image for StarMan.
633 reviews17 followers
March 15, 2020
REVIEW: Good to very good financial advice for the masses. Half of it is basic stuff your parents or high school should have taught you, but didn't.

VERDICT: 3 stars for me but I'm giving it 4; this book is 4 to 5 stars if you are deeply in debt, or a moron financially naïve person.

AWARD: Most Unnecessary Exclamation Marks On Every Page. I don't think I've ever seen this many ! in a book -- ever.


CAUTION: Dave's advice is mostly sound -- but it does not fit everyone in every situation. Pick and choose if you need to, but don't ignore his basic concepts:

FYI: You can also get much of Dave's helpful advice for free on his YouTube channel, which is more entertaining than you might think.

ALSO CONSIDER: Personal Finance for Dummies , another great starter book for the financially uneducated.
19 reviews
December 30, 2019
So the advice that is related to managing your finances is pretty good, and Dave provides some helpful tips and easy explanations for common money concepts which is also good. However, Dave really hates poor people. He calls them "broke people" and it seems like a lazy shorthand for people who are struggling to make ends meet. Like sure there are people who have unhealthy spending habits who can just fix that and suddenly be making enough money to be doing everything in the book, but there are plenty of folks who cannot make simple adjustments and see tremendous results. The philosophical hand-waving makes the book less palatable, but like I said there are some useful tips I suppose.
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