In this article, we take a look at the books authored by personal financial guru Dave Ramsey. In other articles, we examine Ramsey’s viewpoints and recommendations concerning specifics products – life insurance and disability insurance. For the most part, we appreciate and applaud Dave’s accomplishments. However, we also pointed out areas where we disagree with Mr. Ramsey.
This article will be very positive and we will underscore the best aspects of Dave Ramsey’s writings. Perhaps you have heard Dave on the radio and want some quick pointers on which books are his best.
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If you want to read about one of our main areas of disagreement (regarding life insurance) you can check that out here. If you’re looking for other areas where we disagree with Dave, you won’t find much of that in this article. Again, we want to put the spotlight on Dave Ramsey’s successful books, not highlight the negative.
The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness
We’ll start with Dave’s most popular book. The Total Money Maker was published in 2003, but has been updated several times since then. This book has 3,477 reviews on Amazon and has an average of 4 1/2 stars (as of 9/2016). In this book, Dave Ramsey lays out 7 steps to financial freedom.
Countless people have been helped by Ramsey’s bulldog approach to tackling debt and starting a budget. He provides many practical tips to help people feeling overwhelmed by their debt and out-of-control spending. Not only does this book help people eliminate debt, but it teaches financial discipline. The “proven plan for financial fitness” subtitle is appropriate. Not only does Ramsey provide practical advice for eliminating debt, but he helps people develop habits to stay debt-free.
Of course, eliminating debt (including your mortgage) is just one aspect of Ramsey’s book. The book lays out strategies for everything from saving and investing to insurance and college funding.
The Total Money Makeover is anything but dry, boring financial planning advice. Ramsey uses many inspirational and instructional stories to educate and motivate readers.
Plenty of readers disagree with the advice in this book. Some of Ramsey’s strategies are unorthodox and controversial. Just check out the 280 critical reviews on Amazon. We also take issue with some of Ramsey’s advice related to term life and whole life insurance. However, we agree with the overwhelming majority of readers who have found this book to be extremely helpful. When you think of a “makeover” you think of radical change. This radical money makeover has radically changed the lives of thousands of people.
Other Dave Ramsey Books
Financial Peace Revisited
This is the updated version of the original Financial Peace book. It is designed to be used in the Financial Peace University (FPU) offered through many churches. Ramsey is a Christian and many of he uses biblical references in his books.
According to the Amazon blurb:
Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money covers the A to Z of Dave’s money teaching, including how to budget, save, dump debt, and invest. If you’re looking for practical information to answer all your “How?” “What?” and “Why?” questions about money, this book is for you.
Financial Peace Revisited is designed to be hands-on and used with a workbook. This isn’t just theory, but Ramsey stresses the hard work that is required to eliminate debt, create a budget, and build wealth.
Financial Peace Revisited doesn’t have much new material. In fact, Ramsey says that his financial principles are nothing new. He just has a refreshing and inspirational way of communicating these time-tested principles. He also employs some strategies that are a little less conventional. Cutting up credit cards is one example of his unconventional methods.
Some folks have complained that this book is just rehashing the same material is Total Money Makeover. However, we think that folks looking to make radical changes need all the help they can get. Loading up on debt is usually the result of long-term spending habits. The more ammunition to attack bad habits, the better!
Complete Guide to Money: The Handbook to Financial Peace University
This book is designed to go along with the FPU book. With Ramsey’s books, it is important to use a “workbook” since his books require work and action. This is where the rubber meets the road. There’s not much else to say about his workbook other than it works for people who use it. Ramsey’s personal story and accounts of others provides needed motivation for those looking to make tough choices.
Dave Ramsey’s book on Leadership
Dave Ramsey’s book, EntreLeadership, is a little different than his other books. This book is geared towards business owners. Ramsey casts a wide net, so anyone from a CEO of a large business or a small home-based business owner can benefit from this book. According to Ramsey,
EntreLeadership provides the practical, step-by-step guidance to grow your business where you want it to go.
Ramsey’s own story is quite inspirational. Furthermore, the fact that he failed miserably in his first business endeavor, gives him a lot of credibility. He learned the hard way how to overcome challenges and build a successful business.
The reviews of this book are mostly positive, but many readers say the book isn’t necessarily the best one for the new entrepreneur.
Dave Ramsey’s Children’s Book
Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money
Ramsey coauthors a book with his daughter, Rachel Cruze, entitled, Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money. This book has 550 reviews on Amazon. We think it’s a great idea to teach your kids about money and Dave Ramsey has a proven track record with his own kids. The reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Many parents have questions about allowance (is it good or not?) and other money matters about saving and giving. This book provides clear and practical direction to parents looking for guidance.
Dave Ramsey Books – Summary
If you need help tackling your debt or feel that your finances are out of control, then Ramsey’s books will be a great resource. Additionally, if you need some help, then there courses you can take. The FPU books and workbook are usually a part of the course fee.
It can be a little confusing looking through the assortment of Dave Ramsey’s books, workbooks, and planners. Much of Ramsey’s material has been updated, so it’s best to visit his website (rather than Amazon) to see the top 5 books he recommends.
As insurance experts, we read through Ramsey’s materials with a different lens than most. While we think his advice can be a tremendous help, we also caution readers not to follow all of his advice regarding life and disability insurance. Our articles referenced above will help you understand why we, like Ramsey, feel strongly about helping you save money and make smart financial decisions.
Please call us for a free consultation.