“If broke people are making fun of your financial plan, you are on the right track.” ~Dave Ramsey
Let me get some serious butt kissing out of the way right off the bat. Dave Ramsey has had a major, positive impact on my life. His book The Total Money Makeover was the swift kick in the butt I needed to get my financial life together. I remember listening to it while I was out on a walk and couldn’t wait to get home to cut up my credit card. Five months later, I was no longer $38,000 in debt.
The Total Money Makeover was just the start. I started listening to his podcast, went to Financial Peace University, and read Entreleadership, and Smart Money Smart Kids. I also inquired about going through his financial coaching program and becoming a coordinator for his military version of Financial Peace University. I have bought several copies of The Total Money Makeover and given them as gifts to everyone in my, as well as my father’s, company. So yeah, you can say I am a Dave Ramsey fan.
All this being said, I have to say that over the years I have developed my own opinion about some of the things he says. There are three things in particular that I just flat out disagree on. I plan to someday shake his hand and thank him for all that he has done for me. I hope these next few paragraphs don’t ruin any chance of that.
1) It’s God’s money.
Dave says that money belongs to God and that we are just stewards of God’s money. It is our duty to look after God’s money and to do good with it. I don’t disagree that we should use money to do good. Who would disagree with that? I do disagree that it’s God’s money.
Money is man made. God made the mountains and the seas, right? Why the heck would he make pieces of paper and give them a value? And, did he create bitcoin?! I just don’t see how the creator of the universe would bother creating something that people would use to buy diamonds or land, the very things he is responsible for making. Also, if God is the creator of all things why would he even need money. What the heck does he need to buy? I mean, according to intellectual property law, he owns everything. I would hate to have to be his Secret Santa.
Dave says that, according to the Bible, Christians should give 10% of their income to the church. It doesn’t. The number 10% comes from the old testament, which has zero Christians in it. In fact, tithe means tenth in Hebrew. You know who spoke Hebrew back then, Jews!
I believe in giving. Give to the homeless. Give to third world countries to fight malaria. Give to help orphans. Give to help wounded veterans. Give to whoever you want, even if it is a corporation that doesn’t have to pay income tax on the money you give them, like the church. I am not disagreeing that you should give to your church. I am disagreeing that the Bible says you have to give 10% of your hard earned income to the church.
The Bible does mention giving.
“Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away” Mathew 5:42
“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
But, It says nothing about giving a tenth of your income to the church. Not one word.
3) Beans and rice, Rice and beans.
No! No! No! No! No! If you didn’t know, I am the author of The Complete Guide to Primitive Eating. In it, I outline a process to adopt a LEGUME and GRAIN (Beans and Rice) free diet so, of course, I disagree with him here. Dave is essentially saying in order to get out of debt, you have to make some sacrifices. No eating out, no going to the movies, and driving a piece of crap car are some of the suggested sacrifices, and I agree with him on these. Where we differ is sacrificing your health.
Your number one priority should be your health— not your career, income, business, reputation, spouse, or children. Yeah, I know these things are important and your children are your world. Blah blah blah! If your career is so important wouldn’t you want to have a sharp and clear mind in order to stay on top and produce the best results possible? If your spouse is so important wouldn’t you want to be in the greatest of moods when you are with them? Most of all, your children deserve the healthiest you possible. When you sacrifice your health, you are actually sacrificing all those things that think are so important. If you are overweight, sick, and depressed all the time, are you really giving 100% to your career or your children?
Obviously, when you are trying to get out of debt, you need to spend as little as possible. This means cheap food, right? Not quite cheap food is bad for you. (I know this is kind of a blanket statement but I don’t have time to cover WHY right now.) Not only is cheap food bad for you but it’s unsatisfying so, you tend to eat more of it or eat again soon which means you’ll have to buy more of it.
When I went through Dave’s baby step 2, I was in a relationship, and together we managed to pay off $50,000 in five months without having to adopt a beans and rice diet. We were able to feed our little family of three, meat and vegetables on $20 a day. We did make sacrifices, but they didn’t have to do with us eating unhealthy food. We would go to multiple stores to grocery shop, looking for the best deals. We bought the cuts of meat no one liked, which were cheaper. We ate a lot of leftovers. I even managed to harvest a deer. With the exception of the loins, I got the entire deer ground and put into one pound packages. We ate a lot of deer burgers, deer meatloaf, deer chili, and deer meatballs.
The best part about not sacrificing my health, when I sold my car and was officially out of debt, I was in good health. I didn’t have to bounce back and get back into shape. I didn’t have to try to lower my triglycerides or improve my blood sugar levels. I was in good health AND debt-free.
Part of living primitively is living debt free.
In fact, I feel living debt free and eating healthy whole foods are the foundations to living a happy and successful life. If you are ready to get out of debt and build wealth, I highly recommend The Total Money Makeover. If you are ready to get regain your health, well, I highly recommend my books!!