Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Book Review: The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey

I have not been an avid follower of Dave Ramsey like a lot of other people, but when I got a chance through Booksneeze to review this book, I jumped at the opportunity because I wanted to find out what advice Dave was giving people.

I have to say that after reading this book, I can agree with Dave's advice on almost everything. It is common sense, straight talk that will work to improve your financial health, if (and that is important) you are willing to make changes in how you spend money. Dave is no miracle worker and so if you continue to overspend, you will not be financially healthy, even if you subscribe to something like Dave's financial advice of the day. You will have to make changes if you want or need to improve your financial situation.

What I got out of this book is debt is bad. Avoid it, unless you have a mortgage. Mortgage is about the only debt you should have and even that should be kept manageable. I have never incurred debt in excess of what my assets were, so if needed I could pay off my mortgage by selling assets (and that does not include retirement savings - those I will not touch until I am retired!).

Credit cards can be used, if you pay them off every month. I keep a credit card for business travel and to pay bills online. That is it. Credit cards do not include a means to get credit to spend money I do not have. They are for convenience, buyer's protection and that is it. They do get paid off each month, no exception.
Cut back on expenses. I now pay mostly with cash, not debit or credit card because it shows me clearly how much money I am spending out of my self-imposed weekly allowance. I do return items at the cashiers, not because I can not afford them, but because they exceed my weekly budget for food. It is not embarrassing because in the end I know that I will be better off financially.

Get over the comparing yourself with neighbors. Not worth it and it is usually a bad move. Live within your means and you will be happier than if you can match your neighbor's new car and now have car payments. So while I will not go out buy now every book published by Dave. I find his approach to be common sense, widely applicable to middle income families and easy to implement. Intuitively, I lived according to most of his rules and will now call my mom who taught me sound financial practices Mom Dave!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book through booksneeze in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this post are solely my own and have not been influenced by booksneeze or any other third party.

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