The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition by Dave Ramsey
  • Title: The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition
  • Subtitle: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness
  • Author(s): Dave Ramsey
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson
  • Year: 2013-09-17
  • ISBN-10: 1595555285
  • ISBN-13: 9781595555281


The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition” by Dave Ramsey is a practical and empowering personal finance guide that aims to lead readers towards financial freedom. Ramsey, renowned author and radio host, presents a step-by-step plan to eliminate debt, build wealth, and secure a stable financial future. With clear and straightforward language, he emphasizes the importance of a total money makeover, advocating for a complete overhaul of one’s financial habits and attitudes.

Ramsey’s book offers a comprehensive approach to managing money that focuses on creating a budget, paying off debts using his “debt snowball” method, establishing an emergency fund, investing wisely, and planning for retirement and college funding. Providing real-life examples and success stories from his own radio show, Ramsey motivates readers to take control of their finances by providing practical advice and strategies. With its simple and actionable steps, “The Total Money Makeover” offers a roadmap for improving financial well-being and achieving financial peace of mind.

Book Review

In his book “The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition,” Dave Ramsey provides readers with a practical and empowering way to take control of their finances and achieve lasting financial freedom. Ramsey, a highly acclaimed author and radio host, presents a step-by-step plan that guides readers towards eliminating debt, building wealth, and securing a stable financial future.

One of the standout features of this book is Ramsey’s clear and straightforward writing style, making complex financial concepts easily understandable to readers of all backgrounds. He breaks down his advice into seven simple steps, providing readers with a roadmap to follow on their journey to financial success.

Ramsey’s first step is to create an emergency fund, which acts as a financial safety net and helps break the cycle of relying on credit cards or loans during unexpected expenses. He emphasizes the importance of having at least $1,000 in this fund, and shares relatable stories of individuals who were able to overcome financial emergencies through careful planning and saving. This enables readers to better grasp the practicality and importance of having an emergency fund.

The second step focuses on the “debt snowball” method, a strategy that involves paying off debts starting from the smallest balance to the largest. Ramsey argues that this approach provides a psychological boost as individuals see progress sooner, motivating them to continue their debt repayment journey. He uses examples of people who were drowning in debt but managed to become debt-free by prioritizing and tackling their smallest debts first.

Throughout the book, Ramsey emphasizes the significance of creating and sticking to a budget. He provides practical tips for creating a budget that works for individual lifestyles and circumstances, ensuring that every dollar has a purpose and is allocated towards savings, debts, and expenses. He encourages readers to cut unnecessary expenses and live within their means, sharing inspiring stories of individuals who managed to transform their financial situation purely by budgeting effectively.

Another key aspect of Ramsey’s advice is investing. While he acknowledges that investing can be intimidating for many, he simplifies the process and provides straightforward guidance on how to make smart investment decisions. He introduces the concept of compound interest and the benefits of long-term investing, urging readers to start saving for retirement early on. Ramsey’s focus on long-term wealth-building strategies ensures that readers understand the importance of investing for their financial future.

Furthermore, throughout the book, Ramsey emphasizes the significance of changing one’s mindset and attitude towards money. He stresses the importance of taking responsibility for one’s financial situation and learning from past mistakes. By adopting a “debt is dumb” mindset, readers are encouraged to avoid future debt and embrace a more financially disciplined lifestyle.

What sets “The Total Money Makeover” apart from other personal finance books is Ramsey’s inclusion of real-life success stories from his radio show. These stories reinforce the practicality of his strategies and provide readers with relatable role models. Readers can draw inspiration from individuals who successfully implemented Ramsey’s principles and achieved financial peace of mind.

In conclusion, “The Total Money Makeover” is an exceptionally valuable resource for anyone seeking to take charge of their financial life. Dave Ramsey’s clear and straightforward writing style, along with his step-by-step plan, empowers readers to eliminate debt, build wealth, and secure a stable financial future. With relatable examples and practical advice, Ramsey motivates and guides readers towards lasting financial freedom. This book is a must-read for anyone who wishes to transform their financial habits and achieve financial peace of mind.

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Key Ideas

The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition” by Dave Ramsey is a popular personal finance book that offers a step-by-step plan for achieving financial fitness and living a debt-free life. Here are the key ideas from the book:

  1. The Seven Baby Steps Ramsey outlines a series of seven steps, which he calls the “baby steps,” to guide readers towards financial peace and stability.

  2. Debt Snowball Ramsey’s debt snowball method advocates for paying off all debts, except for the mortgage, from smallest to largest, regardless of interest rates. He argues that this approach provides quick wins and builds momentum.

  3. Emergency Fund The first baby step is to save $1,000 in an emergency fund. This fund is crucial for handling unexpected expenses without relying on credit.

  4. Debt Freedom The subsequent baby steps focus on paying off all non-mortgage debts as quickly as possible. This includes credit card debt, car loans, student loans, and personal loans.

  5. Building a Fully Funded Emergency Fund Once debt is eliminated, the goal is to build a fully funded emergency fund covering three to six months’ worth of living expenses. This fund provides financial security.

  6. Investing Ramsey recommends investing 15% of your income in retirement accounts, such as a 401(k) or Roth IRA. He advises using mutual funds with a long-term perspective.

  7. Paying Off the Mortgage The next step is to pay off your mortgage early. Ramsey suggests using any extra funds to achieve this goal, which can significantly reduce your long-term housing costs.

  8. College Funding Ramsey encourages saving for your children’s college education through education savings accounts or 529 plans. However, he emphasizes that retirement savings should take priority.

  9. Giving Back Ramsey promotes the idea of giving generously to charities and causes that align with your values once you are financially secure.

  10. Living Like No One Else Ramsey’s motto is “Live like no one else now, so you can live like no one else later.” This means making short-term sacrifices for long-term financial freedom.

  11. Avoiding Debt and Credit Ramsey advises against using credit cards and taking on new debts. He promotes paying for everything in cash and avoiding debt as a lifestyle choice.

  12. Financial Counseling Ramsey recommends seeking professional financial counseling, such as through his Financial Peace University, to gain accountability and guidance on your financial journey.

  13. Budgeting Ramsey emphasizes the importance of creating and following a detailed budget to track income and expenses.

  14. The Envelope System To control spending, Ramsey suggests using an envelope system where you allocate cash for different spending categories. Once the cash is gone from an envelope, you stop spending in that category for the month.

  15. Financial Independence Ramsey’s ultimate goal is to help individuals and families achieve financial independence, which he defines as having enough money to retire comfortably and give generously.

“The Total Money Makeover” provides a practical and motivational framework for individuals and families to take control of their finances, eliminate debt, and build wealth. Ramsey’s focus on discipline, debt reduction, and living below one’s means has resonated with many readers seeking financial stability and security.

Target Audience

The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition” by Dave Ramsey is targeted at individuals who are ready to take control of their financial lives and make lasting changes to their money habits. The book is recommended reading for the following audiences:

  • Individuals in Debt “The Total Money Makeover” offers a practical roadmap for those struggling with debt. Ramsey’s “debt snowball” method and emphasis on budgeting provide effective strategies for paying off debts and gaining financial independence. This book provides hope and motivation for individuals looking to break free from the burden of debt.

  • Young Adults and College Graduates This book is an excellent resource for young adults who are just starting their financial journey. It provides essential guidance on building a solid foundation from the beginning and avoiding the pitfalls of debt. Ramsey’s advice on budgeting, saving, and investing gives young adults the tools they need to make wise financial decisions early on.

  • Couples and Families “The Total Money Makeover” is highly recommended for couples and families who want to improve their financial well-being together. Ramsey’s emphasis on open communication and shared financial goals will help couples align their spending habits and work towards a common financial future. This book provides practical strategies for navigating financial challenges as a team.

  • Individuals Seeking Financial Independence Whether dreaming of an early retirement or simply wanting to be financially secure, this book is a valuable resource for individuals seeking financial independence. Ramsey’s approach to investing for the long term and setting clear financial goals can help individuals create a path towards reaching financial freedom.

  • Those Looking for Practical Financial Advice The book offers clear and actionable steps to manage money effectively, create a budget, and save for emergencies. Ramsey’s practical advice and real-life examples make complex financial concepts understandable and applicable to everyday life.

In conclusion, “The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition” is recommended reading for individuals in debt, young adults, couples, individuals seeking financial independence, and those looking for practical financial advice. As an approachable and empowering guide, it offers practical strategies and real-life examples to inspire and guide readers on their path toward financial freedom.