Book Review: The Total Money Makeover

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey is a personal finance book that I’ve seen referenced over and over and over again in blogs. I decided I should read it.

Nothing in the book is revolutionary, but all of it is logical and will work. I heard about debt snowballing from a completely different source several years ago and started working on it. This book is 2003 and I started hearing the term “snowballing” in 2000 or so. I don’t know which came first and I’m not going to get into that here.

He outlines a fairly simple plan for anyone to be debt free. The plan is simple, following is not. That’s why it’s called a “makeover.”

Step 1: Establish an emergency fund of $1000
Step 2: Debt Snowball and live below your means
Step 3: 3-6 months of living expenses in your emergency fund
Step 4: 15% into retirement funds
Step 5: College funds
Step 6: Pay off the mortgages
Step 7: Build wealth

Mr. Ramsey is a very personal writer and writes the way he speaks. He is motivational by nature and the book is therefore not bogged down by incredible numbers of charts and boring statistics. It’s all testimonials, instructions, and Bible verses.

There are a lot of inspirational stories included. (Letters from readers.) I read about half of them before I started skipping them. I’d rather read the blogs of the folks out there who have started implementing his technique. (They’re better written.)

Personally, I could do without the Christian slant, but that’s just my bias. I didn’t find his inclusion of them overly intrusive and it’s readable on a non-Christian basis. The information is sound and the psychology of it is perfect.

All in all, I think it’s a book that will help a lot of people. I just don’t think it’s something I need to run out and buy. If you’d like to, however, here’s his website. And here’s the Amazon link: The Total Money Makeover

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