Transform your bank account, learn to budget and flex those money muscles.
Five million copies of The Total Money Makeover have been sold since its release in 2003. This book which cemented Dave Ramsey’s reputation as America’s favorite money coach spent 500 weeks on the Wall Street Journal’s Best-Selling list.
It’s ranked 12th on the New York Time’s Hardcover Bestseller list.
In July 2017, Money Makeover has been ranked #4 on the best hardcover business list. Every year since 2003, approximately 400,000 readers purchase a copy of Money Makeover and change their financial makeups.
The success stories in the pages of this book called out to me. If not for my tenacity in trying to find the best online mentorship program that worked for me, Id be on the other end of the financial spectrum, sweating bullets when it’s time to pay the rent.
A lil’ bit about me. I was a curious 24-year-old fresh out of college, working in an auto parts company fulfilling shipping orders.
I was paid barely $35,000 a year and I tried to do my best to fit my budget within my paycheck. But it was so hard to budget when you have barely enough to stretch out.
Then I read about an online program that teaches students how to generate income via the internet using proven strategies, funneling customer leads to local small businesses.
I signed up and was blown away by how fast I conquered the learning curve. Within 3 months of enroling in the program, I built my own lead generation site and already found a business owner to take my leads.
It seemed so long ago now, and it seems like luck played a big part in my success. But before I landed that first lead-gen client, I was already paving the way towards a successful digital marketing career.
All those months reading books on business success and entrepreneurship paid off. I nurtured the kind of mindset that was receptive to new ideas and hungry for success.
It’s been the best investment of my life so far. I earned back in less than 1 month what I put in, building websites for local small businesses and optimizing their presence on search engines through simple marketing techniques.
About the Author:
Dave Ramsey is a world-renowned radio personality, businessman, inspirational speaker and author.
He hails from Antioch, Tennessee, an affluent suburb of Nashville.
Ramsey was deep into real estate investments in Tennessee back in the early 80’s, amassing a total portfolio worth $4 million at the end of 1986.
He was actually a millionaire at 26 years old.
However, he was knee-deep in debt due to the nature of his investments.
The bank that financed his investments merged into a bigger bank, which in turn insisted on total repayment of his loans ASAP.
Surprised and totally unprepared, Ramsey buckled. He couldn’t liquidate his real estate holdings fast enough and was forced to file for bankruptcy after that bank merger.
He lost everything. His millions were now worth nothing.
He started from scratch again, building up his portfolio but this time, he was more restrained.
He did an in-depth study about money, how it really works, what’s the best way to retain it. How to build a solid financial future through frugal living and smart everyday decisions.
He interviewed successful millionaires who retained their wealth despite ups and downs in the market and culled his learnings. From his research, he wrote and published 6 best-selling books about financial management and smart ways to plan for the future.
He established Ramsey Solutions in 1992 as a counseling service to help ordinary families avoids financial stress.
He started The Money Game, the radio show that gave birth to its current iteration, the Dave Ramsey Show.
His teachings have saved thousands of marriages and shored up the futures of millions of children whose parents were smart enough to follow Ramsey’s advice.
Today, Dave Ramsey is worth US$55 million. He continues to coach interested listeners about finances through his syndicated radio show, which is available via iHeartRadio podcasting services.
His weekly radio show has upwards of 13 million fervent followers and is broadcast on 585 radio stations or more.
The Dave Ramsey Show is also available via podcast platforms. The success of his shows has given way to a new word created by his fans: “Dave-bingeing.”
They listen to podcast after podcast and enjoy learning his teachings while doing their daily activities.
The Total Money Makeover – An Introduction
From the outset, Ramsey outlines his mission: to teach households about debt reduction and financial fitness to de-stress their lives and strengthen their futures.
He holds true to his mission and has made his book available to many more cash-strapped individuals, lowering the price to $10.00 per copy ( a huge discount from its original price of $24.99).
Total Money Makeover discusses techniques to hold on to your money.
It highlights an easy step-by-step process to eliminate debt forever, change your mindset about acquiring new debt and instead, switch to paying cash for every purchase.
In this way, you eliminate further debt entrapment and build a solid financial future. It builds up your stamina to resist taking out new debts, strategies to eliminate debt for the long-term by taking small steps so as not to overwhelm you, and build a brighter financial future you can enjoy.
How does the 7-step plan work? By targeting the problem at its root.
Dave Ramsey wants you to look in the mirror.
Look! See the person staring back at you? That person is usually the source of all your money problems: You.
Your mission after reading Total Money Makeover is to be able to:
- Calculate all your debt and design a doable plan to get rid of them all. .
- Spot the 10 most dangerous myths about money.
- Secure a robust emergency fund.
- Save enough for retirement.
- Change your money habits, change your life.
7 Steps to Financial Freedom (Ramsey Baby Steps)
- Baby Step 1 – Set aside $1,000 as an emergency fund
- Baby Step 2 – Use the Debt Snowball to wipe out all debt
- Baby Step 3 – Polish your emergency fund and save enough for 3-6 months worth of expenses.
- Baby Step 4 – Invest 15% of your earnings into a Roth IRA account and pre-tax retirement
- Baby Step 5 – Fund your kids’ college tuition accounts.
- Baby Step 6 – Pay off your mortgage completely.
- Baby Step 7 – Build your net worth and donate to the less fortunate.
1. Save $1000:
Life is unpredictable. No matter how much you structure your life to where every curve ball thrown at you is pretty much covered, there will still be surprises requiring out-of-the-box thinking.
In this very popular Facebook group The Ramsey Baby Steps Community, the most common dilemma is how to afford repairs on an old car that won’t run because the car owner doesn’t have even $1K saved up for events like this.
In a Yahoo Finance article published on December 21, 2018, a survey of American households revealed that 58% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings.
The main obstacle to having enough savings to gain traction for most American families is bad money decisions, foremost of which is buying non-essential items.
Splurging on Starbucks coffee or new fashion threads may seem harmless, but the expenses add up. Additionally, you can never save up enough to breach that $1K amount if you splurge on non-necessities.
Stick to the budget so you know where each dollar goes.
That’s why Dave Ramsey’s first baby step to building financial health is to put away $1,000 for an emergency fund.
If you shoe an iota of discipline with the ability to store $1,000 and not be tempted to touch it, then you can proceed with the rest of Ramsey’s baby steps.
2. Eliminate Debt
Dave Ramsey espouses the debt snowball approach as it shows the most results and spurs people to continue the journey through “psychic rewards.”
Debt snowballing is a technique where you pay off your debt with the smallest amount first and work from there.
Only pay the minimum amount on the debts that you owe the most on.
It’s not mathematically sound but what Ramsey wants is that sense of accomplishment a person feels when he crosses off another credit card from his list because he paid it off completely.
It also speeds up behavior modification. If a person sees credit card after credit card getting crossed off, paid in full and eliminated, it gives a feeling of accomplishment that he’s making a dent in his list of liabilities.
The debt snowball is also the fastest way to show results. Paying off the smallest debt first gives “quick wins.”
There will be time to focus on the debts with the highest interest rates when the person feels extremely motivated in his journey.
It’s not easy to stay laser focused, but once you eliminate one credit card, you can then divert all the money you were paying on that debt to the next, with the amount gradually growing at each step.
3. Enough Savings for 3-6 Months of Expenses
After you polish off your debt snowball and can scream “I’m debt-free” from your rooftops, it’s now time to save enough money to cover at least 3-6 months’ worth of expenses.
This is not goofy survivalist thinking. Let’s face it: companies going under are a stark reality of life.
Losing your job is another harsh reality we shouldn’t ignore. In case this hits you out of left field, you need enough reserves to get through the tough times.
Ramsey advises his listeners that if they work in risky jobs like law enforcement, oil rig laborer, firefighting, the closer to 6 months of expenses you should save up.
In this crazy world, we just don’t know what’s going to happen next. Build up a semi-nest egg that will act as a buffer between you and bankruptcy or homelessness.
4. 15% of Your Income Goes to Retirement
Dave Ramsey encourages his listeners to save 15% of their gross income towards retirement.
This is after they’ve paid off all their debts and stocked up on emergency fund (Baby Steps 1-3).
He says this quote again and again: “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”
Sacrifice your current creature comforts, get away from the bondage land of Mastercard and Visa Slavery, get rid of the gas-guzzling behemoth in your driveway and trade it in for a simple used vehicle that will get you from Point A to Point B.
Get a second job, heck get a third job if you have the tenacity and work ethic and funnel your extra salary towards retirement.
If you earn $50K a year, that means saving up $600 a month towards your retirement account.
If you start at age 30 and keep doing this month in and month out with just $50K yearly salary, then you’ll end up with $7-8 million by the time you reach retirement age.
5. College Fund
Start saving for your kids’ college as soon as you’re able to. This goal should motivate you to speed through Baby Steps 1-4 with the intention to ensure your kids’ future by saving up for their higher education.
It’s really important to be financially prepared as college is getting more expensive as the years go by.
Student loan debt statistics reveal that 71% of all college graduates are saddled with debt levels averaging out to $29,400 per person, both private and federal debts.
With this much pressure on young graduates, is it even worth going to college if you are saddled with 5 to 6-figure debt before you even land a job or earn a salary?
College may not be the golden ticket any longer, but graduating with a practical degree still gives more stability career-wise.
U.S. Dept. of Education stats reveal that college degree holders earn an average of $48,500 a year, while high school grads take home only $23,900.
When the parents prepare for their kids’ high education expenses, such crippling debt can be avoided.
6. Pay off Mortgage
Ramsey recommends buying your next house in cash or stick with a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage.
Retaining your mortgage when you have the ability to pay it off completely because you want the tax deduction is not very smart.
Never keep a mortgage just to avail of the tax deduction as it’s like trading a dollar for a quarter.
Paying cash when buying a house eliminates the need to pay interest on the loan. Another advantage is wiping out or decreasing any closing costs.
A realtor will be able to close the transaction faster if the buyer pays in cash since there’s less paperwork to go through.
7. Build Wealth and Give
Dave Ramsey invites his followers/listeners who’ve reached this step to scream out “I’m debt free!” live on air during his radio show.
This is the reward for all their years of hard work and sacrifice.
There’s a certain kind of peaceful feeling that comes out when a former serial debtor cleans up his debts and with dedication and focus, finally reaches financial independence.
He has to keep following his budget and max out his retirement contributions so he doesn’t regress a step.
When you reach your financial goals, help another debt-saddled individual too by sending him on the path to Dave Ramsey 7 steps to financial freedom.
This is a very good book to read, eye-opening and intensely personal. It was born out of Ramsey’s own financial heartaches. Out of the depths of his despair when he lost all the millions he owned back in 1986, he rallied and came out wiser.
This book resulted from his passion to educate families to never make the same mistakes he did back when he was a “paper millionaire.”
This book could benefit people of all ages. Kids in their teens would have killer retirements if they get exposed even to the first 4 Baby Steps in Ramsey’s framework.
The financial teachings within are influenced by Christian tenets. His teachings make sense. He actually calls his books part of his ministry.
Ramsey has gained a lot of critics for supporting the debt snowball approach when it’s not very financially savvy.
Financial gurus advice tackling the biggest debt with the highest interest rate first, while Ramsey advocates the opposite.
However, researchers from the Kellogg School of Management shared data analytics that show Ramsey’s snowball method more effective as debtors gain small victories along the way.
The credit cards they cross out one by one give them motivation.
Harvard Business School also shared results of a study they conducted in 2016 that found that people who used the snowball method to pay off their smallest account first succeeded more than those who used alternative methods.
Critics also attacked Ramsey’s teachings that investors place their $$ in stock mutual funds. But analysts worry that this financial vehicle are too volatile and risky compared to bonds.
Ramsey essentially lives his life in the public eye, that’s why when he built a huge mansion in 2010, people questioned his devotion to his own teachings with the purchase of a lavish residence.
Thousands accused him of being a hypocrite.
The discussion got so ugly that people questioned Ramsey’s ethics and morality.
How can he buy such a huge residence when he doesn’t need it?
How can truly he be Christ’s witness if he possesses so much wealth?
But Ramsey defended himself saying the home was paid in cash and was to be the site of numerous future fundraising activities and community social gatherings.
“What Skills did I Use to Generate $50+K Per Month Passive Income, Funneling Customer Leads to my Clients in 2021?”
If you build it, they will come.
You may have heard this quote before from that classic baseball movie Field of Dreams which starred Kevin Costner.
It’s the same in this digital marketing business I’ve cultivated. If you build the lead-gen websites, money will sure to come.
I’ve been blessed with a no-nonsense practicality which propelled me to sign up for the elite lead generation coaching program that’s been the answer to all my dreams of gaining financial independence.
Look at my first lead-gen site, my baby. I couldn’t imagine earning over $9,000 per year for this site.
It’s made me more than $36,000 now since I launched it 4 plus years ago.
I took massive action in 2014, sacrificing my precious leisure time from my day job to hunker down in my command center (literally a rolling chair and desk with a laptop), building site after site, link after link, then spending my weekends optimizing the websites like I was taught to until I landed a client who was willing to pay me $750 to get the exclusive leads that came in through my sites.
My goal was to live like no one else today so that in the future, I can live like no one else. I took advantage of my youthful enthusiasm and dedicated mentors to carve a future like no other.
I’m completely debt free, have my own condo unit in downtown Detroit paid in full, building my wealth, and just turned 30.
How did I do this?
I joined an online program and essentially hired a mentor to teach me 1-on-1 on how to build websites, optimizing and ranking them then finding clients to take the business leads that came my way.
No up-sells, no tricky hidden charges, no money business. 100% valuable education from the get-go. Right from the beginning, my mentor clarified with me that he wasn’t gonna waste time in no disinterested young punk whose eyes will glaze over after 30 minutes into the training.
I paid attention, and now I’m getting paid. My clients are getting paid.
My leads are getting the prompt service they were looking for when they logged on to google and executed a search query.
Everybody wins in this line of work. After building more than 50 lead-gen sites, I now rake in more than $50,000 a month, sometimes more.
How did I learn to do this?
Was it a super-secret club of digital ninjas who keep their knowledge to themselves, fearful competition?
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