Greg's Reviews > The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
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's review
Aug 25, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: health-and-fitness, personal-development, thought-provoking
Read from August 17 to 25, 2012

Every young person starting life away from home ought to read and put into practice the principles explained in The Total Money Makeover! Twenty years ago, I began living by most of these principles, without knowing about Dave Ramsey, but with a strong desire to become debt-free and to provide for my future and that of my family. It works.

I don't do everything he says, but I do most of it. For example, because my job involves some travel, I have been blessed to build up frequent flyer miles. Unlike a majority of people who, as Ramsey points out, don't use their frequent flyer miles or reward points, we do. They have enabled my children to go to and from college with minimal cost, and for my wife and I to take occasional trips without paying for airfare. Reward points have allowed us to skip paying for most of our vacation hotel rooms over he last twenty years. However, also unlike most people, we pay off our credit card every month without fail, tack our expenditures carefully, live well within our means, and so forth. I suspect that, for many people, that would be difficult, and so they would be better off without any credit cards. Having done so previously, I know that it would be relatively easy for me to cut it up if the need ever arose.

Frugality is an attitude and a way of life, not just something one does occasionally to deal with a momentary problem. And delayed gratification is an important part of a frugal mindset. I have learned not to buy things unless I can do so without debt, and very often, delaying the purchase (even for a few days) results in the realization that I really don't need or want the thing after all. Money is time, and I have learned to ask the question "how much of my life am I willing to give to purchase this thing"? Often enough, the answer is "less than it costs."

Ramsey's way of ramping up, from most important needs (emergency savings and becoming debt-free) to longer term financial goals (such as a comfortable retirement) is inspired. Accomplishing short-term, relatively easy (denial is actually easy once you bite the bullet) goals dramatically increases ones motivation to persist in accomplishing the longer term goals.

Even for those who are in good shape financially or who don't have serious financial problems, get the book and read will undoubtedly learn something new, and if nothing else, you can give the book to someone in greater need when you have finished reading it. But follow Ramsey's principles -- borrow it from a library or buy it at a used bookstore!

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