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The Money Answer Book: Quick Answers to Your Everyday Financial Questions

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This quick and simple, question and answer book is the perfect resource for equipping individuals with key information about everyday money matters. Questions and answers deal with 100+ of the most-asked questions from "The Dave Ramsey Show"-everything from budget planning to retirement planning or personal buying matters, to saving for college and charitable giving. This is Dave in his most popular format-ask a specific question, get a specific answer.

160 pages, Paperback

First published January 17, 2005

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About the author

Dave Ramsey

156 books2,010 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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5 stars
429 (29%)
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484 (33%)
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399 (27%)
2 stars
114 (7%)
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26 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 170 reviews
Profile Image for Steph.
255 reviews8 followers
July 6, 2017
There isn't much more that Dave Ramsey can write about on the world of conservative finances. "The Money Answer Book" is a condensed version of "The Total Money Makeover." While its title lends one to believe that the book actually answers questions, many of his responses are, "Just don't do it!", which doesn't actually answer the question being presented. I'm a huge fan of Dave Ramsey and his ultra-conservative, you-did-this-to-yourself approach to getting out of debt, but giving good, honest advice to "stupid" actions, would have been useful.

My biggest example of this is to the question, "What should I do if I win the lottery." His answer was, "Don't play the lottery. It's a waste of money. Just ask the woman who won $500,000 and was broke 3 years later." OK, but that doesn't answer the question. How do we avoid becoming that woman who lost it all if we really DO win the lottery? A better and more correct answer would have been, "First off, stop playing the lottery. Secondly, if you DO actually win, the first person you call shouldn't be your mother, partner or best friend. Find a lawyer immediately and start a trust." This will prevent you from having to turn down people who come out of the woodwork asking for money, "Sorry, it's locked up in a trust, and I can't get to it." A trust will also help curb your rush to spend it all on unnecessary items.

This is just one example of the frustrating lack of advice given in this book. So, read it if you don't have time to read "Total Money Makeover" or "Financial Peace Revisited," but skip it if you can.
Profile Image for Kim.
333 reviews11 followers
January 27, 2011
I you are a married, sexist, Christian father who is outrageously in debt and lacking common sense, this book might be helpful. Otherwise all but a few of the answers will be pretty useless.
Profile Image for Gina.
1,747 reviews55 followers
January 10, 2018
Short compilation book of the 100+ most asked questions from the Dave Ramsey Show with short, to the point answers for each. If you've listened to the show once, then you probably know all these already. It can be used as a quick reference guide for those already using the program to get out of debt, but I didn't think there was much new here. Also, with such succinct answers to the questions, a lot is left unexplained. Something for fans but not newbies.
Profile Image for Justin Tapp.
637 reviews65 followers
February 25, 2015
I checked out this book because I’m teaching Dave Ramsey’s FPU next month and have been working through the course material. This book is a FAQ for Dave Ramsey’s advice.
Each Q/A is a couple pages long and the book is a fast read. There is nothing in this book that you can’t learn by Googling for the information. The questions range from “what is a debit card?” to “My spouse and I have separated and I’m terrified he will bankrupt me. What do I do?”

All of the teaching points and anecdotes from Dave Ramsey’s course are in this book. If you’re teaching the course (and do so frequently) then look at buying a used copy of this book. Otherwise, you would do better to check this book or Total Money Makeover out from the library and use them instead of paying full price for his course. If you’re engaged or newlywed, check out Matt Bell’s Money & Marriage as it’s the same information and advice.

The thing I like least about Ramsey is his investment advice not including investing in index funds. Just signing up for a mutual fund, even a no-load fund, is going to result in higher fees and results that are repeatedly proven over time to be no better than an index fund. An index fund isn’t available, however, if you want to invest socially or avoid certain companies. This book does contain a couple of alternatives if that’s your thing.

He is also pretty nonchalant about finding a second job to make ends meet when trying to pay down the debt of past mistakes. There are quite a few people for whom it’s not that easy, and they don’t need the guilt trip.

My experience qualifying for a mortgage with no credit history also differs from what he claims is reality. The world is different than it was 10 years ago.

He misunderstands giving 10% as a biblical mandate and rips some scripture out of context. He’s a (non-licensed?) financial adviser, not a theologian.

There are some nuggests of wisdom and factoids worth repeating:
“Only contentment brings peace.”

70% of households live paycheck to paycheck.

“Laziness is a sickness, and it will get you absolutely nowhere in life….You need to learn from your mistakes or you--and your children-- will be doomed to repeat the cycle.”

“The German root word for ‘debt’ is the same as for ‘guilt.’”

“Many a man has failed because he had his wishbone where his backbone should have been.” - Ronald Reagan

“A little bit of controlled pain when you’re six will change your life when you’re thirty-six.”

“A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” - John Maxwell

“We do make enough to save money; we just aren’t willing to quit spoiling ourselves...to have enough left to save...It just has to become a big enough priority for you.”

3 stars out of 5.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
557 reviews18 followers
September 8, 2015
This was my first Dave Ramsey book and it won't be my last. I really like his theories and ideas for paying off debt and gaining wealth. I am definitely trying to incorporate a lot of his ideas into my own life. I also really liked the set-up of the book with brief questions and answers, making it a fast read with some quick, easy advice and tips.

I have to say, I think this book is geared towards two kinds of people: people who are in major credit card and consumer debt and need help getting out of it, OR people who are wealthy enough to pay off their loans in full and have money to invest. I don't fall into either of these categories, so I didn't feel that everything in this book applied to me. I'd say I'm just your average person, trying to learn more about finances and get some advice for the future. Ramsey's advice doesn't always seem geared towards middle class or lower middle class people like myself, and he expects people to be able to quickly pay off student loans and mortgages in full. I definitely can't do that, but I can incorporate SOME of his ideas.

I should also mention that while I enjoy Ramsey's no-nonsense approach, it can sometimes seem a bit condescending.

All in all, I really did enjoy this book even if I can't use all of the advice. It made me think a lot and has pushed me to become even more financially responsible. I am going to try to implement some of his ideas and will be reading further books from him very soon.
Profile Image for The Voracious Bibliophile.
315 reviews17 followers
February 26, 2020
I’ve always approached Ramsey’s work as one does a snotty toddler. In the spirit of fairness, I decided to check out this slim volume. While there are some good pieces of financial advice contained herein, Ramsey’s worldview is based on the assumption that everyone is endowed with the same level of opportunity. His entire philosophy reeks of Prosperity Gospel malarkey. This is not to malign anyone who has been positively impacted by his works. After all, even a broken clock is right twice a day!
Profile Image for Matthew.
414 reviews
February 4, 2015
I mostly agree with Dave Ramsey, especially on the debt discussions. I work in the industry, and I think that the returns he says you can get on mutual funds are seriously inflated. With that being said, his message overall will help people who need it.

I am glad I didn't buy this book, I read it from my library, there is nothing new from Dave here. If you have read Total Money Makeover this book is not necessary or even very useful.
Profile Image for Mary Ellen.
15 reviews2 followers
August 22, 2015
This book is awesome, even for newbies at financial planning and managing money. It is easy to understand, and an interesting read. I dreaded reading this book for months, thinking it would be mind-numbingly boring and difficult to grasp, but I was very pleasantly surprised and found it encouraging and motivating.
Profile Image for Laura.
407 reviews
February 6, 2021
I'd heard a bit about Dave Ramsey before picking up this book, but I wanted to make my mind up for myself. I've recently read Bad With Money by Gaby Dunn, it has a section on these types of "financial gurus". She mentions Ramsey and Suze Orman by name, saying that they're deliberately vague because if they were specific and wrong, it'd effect the money they get from fans and followers. I'm big on forming my own opinions, so while my politics allign more with Gaby Dunn, I thought this Answer Book would be a good way to dip my toes into Dave Ramsey's work.

Now onto the book, wow just wow. This is going to be long so I apologise in advance. I don't even know where to start. I think the biggest thing that surprised me was the amount of religion in the book. God or biblical verses are mentioned in almost every answer that he gives. He even has a section dedicated to the church tithes. One of the questions is about pausing thithing if you're going through financial troubles: he basically says you won't go to hell over it but unselfish people put God first. He mentions some people have found that when they pause tithing, their finances actually get worse. That sounds like some prosperity gospel to me. I don't care that he's religious, but I feel as though it shapes his financial policies. It potentially limits who he can help if your faith and values don't allign with his. One of the companies he suggests using is Timothy Plan, a company that helps you invest in companies that match up to Christian beliefs, which includes: no abortion, purity so no porn or "adult themes" in anything from adverts to video games, family entertainment so no violence, bad language, sex or drugs, and  companies that believe marriage is a sacred bond between only a man and woman, no gambling, tobacco or alcohol.  One I agreed with was avoiding companies that violate human rights like human oppression, human trafficking, slave labour and terrorism. So I'll say that this pro-choice, pro-LGBT feminist will be staying far far away from Timothy Plan.
These values that he promotes shape his policies, for me it was especially seen in the relationships and money section. Here are a few:
- you shouldn't combine finances if you aren't married, after that your vows say you are one so you must combine your finances or you're setting yourself up for divorce (to me, it's up to you. Some people combine as its easier, others prefer their own. Some like the thought of having their own account to avoid financial abuse and leave if their partner is abusive)
- Never buy a house with someone you aren't married to, it will ruin you morally, legally, spiritually and financially (morally and spiritually? Oh please! While I agree it's a big step to buy a house, this is such a rigid view. Marriage rates are down, divorce rates are up, marriage isn't the only commitment. I've got a relative who married her boyfriend after 26 years together, you're telling me that at Year 25 you'd still say no to a house together?)
- I'll put this one verbatim "Husbands (if applicable) need to loosen up and quit using the budget as a whipping tool on their wives." Nope, nope, nope. It'd work so much better gender neutral- Don't use the budget as a whipping tool against your partner.

Some of his other policies are shaped by his own view of the world, not religion based but as his privileged positon as a rich, old, white man. The reason Gaby Dunn's point of view reasonates with me is that it shows institutions like the finance sector are rigged against minority groups. Ramsey's quite patronising to those that either disgree with him or people that are trying to rectify past financial mistakes. He likes to call these people stupid, saying phrases like "it's not rocket science". People can't afford the lawyers and document fees of a will? I quote "That is stupid. Get a will." Wow, problem solved there Ramsey! Financial experts who disagree with his stance on card cards? They must be stupid AND broke!
He says you shouldn't take out loans to go to university/college, that scholarships and money saved should be enough. This ignore the ridiculously high costs and constantly rising tuition fees of American universities. It ignores the fact that if everyone did this, most low economic, and minority groups would never be able to afford an education. Higher education would typically only be for rich white people. He recommends selling most of your possessions, including any car, and working three jobs to make ends meet. How does that sound sustainable at all?

Throughout this book, Ramsey says "Normal is broke." To be normal is to be broke. So apparently you're stupid if you fall prey to the capitalist society we live in, but rather than changing that broken system we should... ignore it? I keep referring to Gaby Dunn because she calls out Dave Ramsey as being part of that broken system. Gaby's choices are finding ways to work in system while also taking apart the bits that are built on prejudice and often racist beliefs. Ramsey chooses neither of those. I feel like this book is limited in who it can actually help. To reference the book The Financial Diet, you can't have the same financial call to action for a single mother with two jobs and $40,000 in debt, and a trust funder attending Princeton.

That being said, there are maybe three bits of the book I agree with:
1. I agree it's never too early or too late to start saving for retirement.
2. "Always use your brain when exploring new resources, because not everyone has the best intentions or the best information." I couldn't agree with you more there!
3. The Baby Steps riiiiiiight at the start of the book are actually alright, although I prefer the Financial Diet's.

Maybe it's a generational thing? Gaby Dunn and the Financial Diet are Millenials, and so are a lot of their audiences or younger. I just feel as though Dave Ramsey's philosophies of if you're in debt, you're stupid, sell everything you own and work three jobs just isn't helpful anymore.

Would I recommend this book? Nope. I'll admit it took me a while to write this review, it was hard to cohesively put my thoughts together when every page I read just kept adding to the general thought of "What is this guy even going on about?"
Will I read another Dave Ramsey book? No-one wants that. I'm not glutton for punishment. There's no point in me reading another book knowing I'll probably give another 1 star rating because our values are so different.
Profile Image for Majesta.
219 reviews4 followers
December 16, 2020
This book is weird. For someone who has coached so many on finances it is odd that it would be full of such outdated advice. You absolutely should get a prenup if you have large amounts of money or business holdings, you absolutely need credit to do anything significant in the US including buying a home or working in the finance industry, and carrying cash around with you rather than using the much more convenient and safer method of a debit card should not be advised - debit cards are easily replaced, cash is not.
There are some good points made such as avoiding the slippery slope of "stuffitis", but for the most part take the advice in this novel with a grain of salt or avoid it altogether.
Profile Image for Christine Hill.
194 reviews
January 14, 2017
This book review is also on my blog: www.loveserially.wordpress.com
Please look under the "outside the genre" section of the blog.

Quick Summary: Dave Ramsey is best known for his snowball method of paying off debt. In this book he explains his method through a straightforward question and answer format. It covers topics like budget planning, retirement and college savings. At 176 pages, it’s a quick and easy way to get some financial advice.

Like most financial advisors, Dave Ramsey advocates living debt free. However, he even goes a step farther than other advisors in saying that you should pay cash for buying cars and for paying for college. He also advocates tithing and would come under the general umbrella of a Christian financial planner.

I wanted to read this book because his method is all over Pinterest. After browsing through the books available from the library, this one was the most accessible and currently available to borrow (the other books had wait lists). I knew going into it that he would be advocating a debt free lifestyle, after all what financial advisor tells you to say in debt?, and I also knew he had a religious inclination. I was surprised by his college advice, since going to community college is not ALWAYS the cheapest option (I say this as someone who worked in college admissions for three years so you can take this with a grain of salt).

I’m really glad I read the book because reading financial management books always remind me to be grateful for what I have and to try and find contentment. I can’t say that Ramsey’s advice in particular is all that groundbreaking, but it sparked a discussion between my husband and I about selling our second car, putting off home improvement projects, and even scrutinizing our stance on Christmas gifts (gasp!).

His most controversial tip, the snowball method of paying off debt, seems like a good one. Pay off the smallest debt first to gain momentum and then add the amount you were paying on that debt to the next lowest debt until you pay off everything. It helps to free up some space in the monthly budget since a $50 minimum payment gets paid off quicker than a $200 minimum payment. He also warns against credit cards with rewards because most people start off paying the card off every month, but slowly wind up building a balance. Since I’ve done this a few times, I can vouch for that and know I need to change my approach. All in all, some common sense reminders to handling household funds.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $5.99)

If you really believe in this method it might be worth buying so that you can consult it again when you are ready to invest in college savings funds and retirement. Otherwise, just borrow it from the library like I did, read the relevant questions. There’s no sense in overwhelming yourself with information you don’t need right now.

Something else you might enjoy:

I personally love Suze Orman. She is a straight talker and I’ve learned so much from her over the years. Plus she supports public television, which I love! Her 9 Steps to Financial Freedom is great because it addresses the psychological and emotional aspects of money along with the numbers.
Profile Image for ChapterOne.
95 reviews2 followers
September 24, 2016
A quick read. Not in depth financial advice (he's got other books for that). This one's good for a quick reminder of the basics.
Profile Image for Rob.
9 reviews
September 25, 2019
Dave Ramsey definitely has a loyal fan base. I think his fans are so loyal because he says just about everything with supreme confidence, as if no sensible person could have a different opinion. Much of what he says is common sense, but not everything. I disagree with Ramsey on two major points:

1. Ramsey is against using credit cards. I don't think cutting up all of your credit cards is a good idea. Do you have car insurance or homeowners insurance? Those guys are checking your credit. Have you applied for a job? Those people are probably checking your credit. In both cases, they’re assigning rates and deciding whether to hire you based, in part, on your credit score. Simply chopping them all up and closing all credit card accounts does more harm than good.

2. Ramsey thinks it's best to pay off your lowest balance credit card first - then move to the next lowest. This doesn't make sense when you do the math. The best way is to make a list of your credit cards, ranking them in order from highest to lowest interest rate. Then, pay off the credit card with the highest interest rate first by making high lump sum payments to that card each month. Once you pay off the credit card with the highest interest rate, move on to the card with the next highest interest rate and so on, until all the credit cards have been paid off. This would be the method to apply if saving money on interest is more important than paying off something quickly.

Ramsey in an anti-debt financial advisor, but he oversimplifies things by treating all debt as if it is the same. Paying 20% interest on your credit cards would be a dumb thing to do. Paying 5% on a 30 year fixed-rate mortgage is not dumb at all, especially when you can earn more than 5% in the stock market and your home is very likely to increase in value. If you are a little more sophisticated about finances, or are willing to learn, some of Ramsey's advice can safely be kicked to the curb.
Profile Image for Cj Sime.
303 reviews25 followers
October 16, 2014
This would be good as a precursor to FPU, but having read several other of Dave's books, this book didn't add anything to my understanding.
Profile Image for Kristina Setka.
55 reviews1 follower
August 12, 2020
If you can get past his scary conservative world view and religious propaganda, there is some financial advice. Easy to skim. Not worth buying, look for it at your library.

This book is very restrictive. Ramsey’s vibe is sacrifice at all cost in the name of ending debt, or becoming financially sound. This may work for some people. Sure debt can get you into deep and deeper holes.

Ramsey misses the mark big time by ignoring all the complex emotional connections and weight that money carries. Everyone has a unique and complex relationship with money. It’s very personal and intimate.

Dave Ramsey’s method is VERY old school, his view on money, spending, saving, and sharing is all based off a white, man’s Christian perspective.

This book is not relevant for millennials.
This book is not relevant for BIPOC.
This book is not relevant for a single parent trying to juggle the complexities of life.
This book is not relevant for anyone with a liberal or progressive mindset.
This book is not relevant if you are working three jobs, trying to figure out how or which student loans to pay down while making sure you take care of yourself.

David Ramsey persists a putative view on wellness and self care. Other financial experts see spending $200 on a gym membership that you USE as an INVESTMENT in your health, longevity, mental health, and ultimate YOIR WEALTH.

There is more to wealth than the bottom line $.

This book will not TEACH you anything about being financially literate.
Profile Image for Geoffrey.
273 reviews6 followers
May 28, 2019
This book was a 2 for me, but gave it a 3 - from the perspective that this is a better book for someone that is financially illiterate. Dave Ramsey kind of drives me crazy. His financial lessons are 100% defensive and do not promote wealth building. He preaches no debt/no credit cards/conservative investing/etc. This is all great for those that struggle with their basic personal finances and many lessons are to be had by this - as the average person in the US is a disaster financially. That said, if you are on your way to becoming wealthy or already are, this book is a complete waste of your time. Wealthy individuals use credit cards for their perks and pay the balance in full monthly, use debt on their real estate investments, keep a mortgage on their home ($750K or below) for the interest deduction (and invest their home equity elsewhere), etc. Dave Ramsey is Step 1 if you are a money moron, but he will not lead you to the promised land. The 2 sections that are worth reading for those of you that are financially literate are the insurance section and the automobiles section.
83 reviews
January 15, 2018
I really liked this book. My husband and I are really wanting to get out of debt, build credit and buy a house. We also want to start saving for our children's college funds, missions (for church), and marriages. We have had all of Dave Ramsey's books mentioned to us to read and follow his plan. This is the first one I read all the way through. It was a quick and easy read. It gave a quick overview of Dave Ramsey's financial plans. It makes me excited to read his other books and get our finances under control. Now my husband needs to read it.
Profile Image for Harshdeep Gupta.
19 reviews
January 14, 2019
"The baby step system is the money saving system of God and Grandma." Oh man, give me a break. With the references to bible and the author essentially assuming that everyone reading the book is essentially illiterate, it is a cringe-worthy read. With statements like "Responsible use of credit cards doesn't exist", I wonder what type of clients come to him for their counselling, because most of his advice is based on the type of cases he has encountered. The book can be a little useful if you want to get a Bird's eye view of Ramsey's work.
Profile Image for Lorraine Wronski.
19 reviews1 follower
February 26, 2020
My first exposure to this money guru whose name is revered, especially among the Christian crowd. I wanted to at least give him a fair chance.

He lost me about five pages in when he made a snide and ignorant comment about Prozac, a medication that keeps me alive. The misogyny and his extremely outdated ideas about gender roles did not help matters either. There was a tone of scolding and shaking throughout the book.

The book was an easy and quick read, and it met the goal of exposing me to this writer’s mindset.

I’m going to stick with YNAB, where I don’t get spoken to like I am a child.
Profile Image for Michael.
32 reviews5 followers
June 28, 2022
I liked this much better than several people whose rating I saw. I would say 3 1/2 stars or 3 3/4?! Some of the answers to some of the questions are short and May leave you guessing what to do but overall a good read. I would still recommend Total Money Makeover, Financial Peace Revisited, and Baby Steps Millionaires. But this is a good pretty quick read. Total Money Makeover totally changed our lives for the better. It’s a little more detailed and explicit on how to work the baby steps and why it’s not smart to be in debt, etc., but you can get a lot of that from this book.
Profile Image for Susan Quenneville.
367 reviews1 follower
February 13, 2018
Dave gives excellent advice on how to get out of debt. I wish I had read this book when I was much younger! It’s certainly all about making conscious careful choices and always living within your means! I also loved the many quotes!! There are some suggestions that I will definitely put into use! Looking forward to reading more of his books! BTW, this is especially useful for newlyweds and families with young children!
Profile Image for Binh Nguyen.
8 reviews
March 2, 2021
One Disagreement - Prenuptial

Solid book. I agree with 99% of the content. I disagree with his view on prenuptial and separate finance (though I'm okay with joint account on Daily utilities).

The assumption Mr Ramsey makes is prenuptial is a symptom of "love of money". That's not necessary true. It's to ensure that if a marriage comes to an end (ex: infidelity, and the kids are not his), each party can move on as quickly, peacefully and rationally as possible.
Profile Image for Jeanette.
47 reviews
August 13, 2018
Since this book was written in 2010, it feels outdated to modern times. Somethings never change. The order in which you should be saving and paying off debt makes sense regardless of the time period but thats about it. Also, the answers to most of the questions are redundant if you already read the other Dave Ramsey book. This one is too shallow to offer any in-depth solution.
Profile Image for Michael Tildsley.
Author 2 books8 followers
September 10, 2018
A lot of great practical advice can be found here. I think now after an initial reading, this will become a quick reference guide for future financial dilemmas and situations. I can say for sure that since I have discovered Dave Ramsey's baby steps and other financial advice, my own finances have improved, though I still have a ways to go. Don't we all?
2 reviews
December 30, 2018
An excellent book for giving quick and faster understanding about personal financial planning. The part what i liked is every chapter has nice motivating quotes. Always hits to the point to hive useful information. I would recommend every one to read this book part of year end reading list. Also this can be used a reference guide to improve personal finance.
Profile Image for Gerald Thomson.
Author 1 book9 followers
May 19, 2019
Not one of Dave's best, but still some decent information. It is set up as a reference book where the reader can look at certain questions and see Dave's answer. I found the responses to be less in-depth that I would want. He does have a great explanation for the benefits of tithing. Overall, stick with Dave's other book offerings.
Profile Image for Rachel Brewer.
148 reviews1 follower
October 9, 2022
Meh. This really doesn’t have anything new or different from total money makeover. But I wouldn’t recommend it instead because it is so brief and doesn’t get into the details of the “baby steps.” Just read total money makeover and don’t waste your time with this. Without context into the Dave Ramsey method I’m not sure this book would even make much sense.
11 reviews
February 23, 2017
It's a quick read with specific answers to different money questions. If you listen to Dave Ramsey often, you will probably know most of the answers but it's nice to have a bit more details to certain things that he may not be able to cover on the radio show.
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