Dave Ramsey

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For the actor, see David Ramsey.
Dave Ramsey
Born David L. Ramsey III
(1960-09-03) September 3, 1960 (age 54)
Antioch, Tennessee
Occupation Author, Radio host
Nationality American
Subject Finance

David L. "Dave" Ramsey III (born September 3, 1960) is an American financial author, radio host, television personality, and motivational speaker. His show and writings strongly focus on encouraging people to get out of debt.

Ramsey's syndicated radio program, The Dave Ramsey Show, is heard on more than 500 radio stations throughout the United States and Canada, in podcast format, on IHeartRadio, a dedicated iOS application, as well as live audio and video on DaveRamsey.com.[1][2] He has written numerous books including five New York Times bestsellers. His books and broadcasts often feature a Christian perspective that reflects Ramsey's religious beliefs. Ramsey was named the 2009 Marconi Award winner for Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year.[3]

Ramsey's company, The Lampo Group, Inc., headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee, oversees six divisions geared toward financial education.[citation needed]

Ramsey has been featured on many media outlets including The Oprah Winfrey Show, 60 Minutes, and The Early Show on CBS. He recorded a pilot and six unaired episodes of The Dave Ramsey Project[4] for CBS. He was the host of The Dave Ramsey Show, which aired at 8 p.m. ET and repeated weekdays on the Fox Business Network until June 2010.[5]


Ramsey was born and raised in Antioch, Tennessee. He was a 1982 graduate of the College of Business Administration at University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a degree in Finance and Real Estate.[6] At the age of 26, through his brokerage firm Ramsey Investments, Inc., he built a rental real estate portfolio worth more than $4 million and became one of Tennessee's youngest brokers to be admitted to the Graduate Realtors Institute.[7]

Ramsey's success soon came to an end as the Tax Reform Act of 1986 began to have a negative impact on the real estate business. One of Ramsey's largest creditors was sold to a larger bank, which began to take a harder look at Ramsey's borrowing habits. The bank demanded he pay $1.2 million worth of short-term notes within 90 days, forcing him to file for bankruptcy relief.[7]

Ramsey then began counseling couples at his local church. Soon after offering private counseling services, Ramsey began attending every workshop and seminar on consumer financial problems that he could find. He developed a simple set of lessons and materials based partially on his own experience and on works and teachings by Larry Burkett, Ron Blue and Art Williams of A.L. Williams company now called Primerica.[8] In 1992, after many requests from his clients, he wrote his first book, Financial Peace.[7]

Ramsey has been married to his wife, Sharon, for over 30 years. They have three children: Denise, Rachel, and Daniel. The family resides in Franklin, Tennessee.[7]

The Dave Ramsey Show[edit]

Ramsey started his radio career by co-hosting the show The Money Game with Roy Matlock of Primerica on June 15, 1992. It is currently known as The Dave Ramsey Show. Originally based locally, it is now syndicated across the country. In 2007, the Fox Business Network launched a television show under the same title, but canceled the show in June 2010. In August 2013, the Dave Ramsey Show began transmitting a live video feed featuring the live three-hour call-in show, as well as other special video content.[9]

Dave identifies himself as a devout born-again Christian. Many churches have hosted and promoted Dave Ramsey workshops.

Related companies[edit]

The Lampo Group, Inc.[edit]

Ramsey founded his company, The Lampo Group, Inc., in 1992,[10] initially helping people one-on-one who were struggling with financial issues. In 1994, he hired Russ Carroll, Ramsey's lead financial counselor, and together they began teaching the first Financial Peace University classes on overhead projectors.[10] Between 1999 and 2004, The Lampo Group grew from 18 to 105 team members. There are currently over 400 team members.[11]

Ramsey runs his business completely debt-free, an accomplishment he states was critical to the success of his company.[12]

Financial Peace University[edit]

Ramsey is also the creator of Financial Peace University, a biblically based training series for adults that integrates video teaching, class discussions, and small group activities. The video series lasted for 13 weeks until August 2012 when it was relaunched as a 9-week program. Some topics covered in the series are cash flow planning, investing, saving, credit, retirement, and giving.[13]

Share It![edit]

"Share It!" is a foundation created by Dave and Sharon Ramsey for the purpose of working with other non-profit organizations, such as housing initiatives, work to success projects, domestic violence shelters, drug and alcohol recovery programs, crisis pregnancy centers, youth outreaches, and high schools, to help others become financially literate.[14]


The word EntreLeadership describes the responsibilities of a small business owner as an entrepreneur (Entre) and as a leader (Leadership). EntreLeadership is also the name of a small business conference developed by Dave Ramsey. The principles presented at EntreLeadership seminars are the core principles of how Ramsey grew his company debt-free. EntreLeadership is available to small-business owners in two forms; a one-day abbreviated seminar; and a five-day master series located at a resort destination. The small business conference is taught by Ramsey and his leadership team. Ramsey also released the book titled EntreLeadership in 2011. The book rose to the New York Times Bestseller's list nearly overnight. EntreLeadership marked the fourth time Dave Ramsey has been listed on the New York Times Bestseller's list.[15]

The Legacy Journey[edit]

In 2013, Ramsey and the Lampo Group launched the followup to Financial Peace University, The Legacy Journey. This course is a biblically based training series for adults lasting seven weeks focused on "what's next?" after getting out of debt and, like Financial Peace University, integrates video teaching, class discussions, and small group activities. Some topics covered in this series are a deeper look into investing, basic estate planning, purposeful living, safeguarding your legacy, and discovering the keys to generational wealth and true generosity.[16]

Criticism and countercriticism[edit]

Debt-management criticism[edit]

Ramsey supports the debt snowball method, where debtors pay off their lowest balance debt first instead of paying off their highest interest rate debt first. This is criticized by other financial planners, such as Suze Orman and NerdWallet.com, for, if the debt with the highest interest rate were to be paid off first, the individual pays less interest over time.[17][18] However, a Kellogg School of Management research with over 6,000 participants, conducted by professors Gal and McShane, found that the debt snowball method was more effective. The article stated that the small victories gave the debtors motivation.[19][20][21][22]

Ramsey is criticized for his advice to stop retirement contributions while getting out of debt and building an emergency fund, even to the point of rejecting an employer match.[23]

Investment criticism[edit]

Ramsey states that investors can get a 12% average annual return and this is the number he uses in financial analyses.[24] Critics state that using an average annual return rate is misleading for the compound annual growth rate is a better measurement when planning investments.[25] Most individuals are unaware of this difference though.[26] Critics also state that a 12% return is unrealistic.[27] Following Ramsey's calculations could cause individuals to be seriously under-invested for retirement.[28]

Ramsey recommends investors to hold all their investments in stock mutual funds, with no bonds. This advice is very optimistic and a recession towards an individual's retirement can quickly diminish their retirement.[29] Bonds are often held in a portfolio to lower volatility and having no bonds pose great risk to investors.[30][31]

In addition to that, he recommends that retirees withdraw 8% of their retirement each year.[32] This is much higher than the 3% to 5% recommended by academics.[33] Withdrawing at 8% can result in a retiree outliving his/her retirement savings.[34]

Ramsey recommends individuals buy term life insurance instead of cash value insurance or return of premium life insurance and invest the savings.[35][36] This has caused many individuals to be stuck paying high insurance premiums forever for their premium is much higher at retirement then when they first joined.[37] Ramsey recommends Zander Insurance, a sponsor of his show, and he is criticized for having this relationship.[35][38]

Christian criticism[edit]

The Nashville Scene has reported that Ramsey occasionally receives emails and letters containing the red-letter Bible verse: "And again I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:24) Ramsey interprets such communications as a rebuke of his own wealth and a call for poverty, dismissing these letters as “doctrinal nitpicking.”[4] He instead points to Matthew 25:13-30 and the good Samaritan as examples of being a good steward of money. That is why he states he is unashamedly in favor of building wealth,[39] asking rhetorically how broke people can help the poor.

In November 2013, Ramsey received significant criticism from other Christians over social media after posting an article by Tim Corley to his website, titled 20 Things the Rich Do Every Day.[40][41][42]


Financial advice[edit]

  • Financial Peace: Restoring Financial Hope to You and Your Family (1997) ISBN 0-670-87361-6
  • The Financial Peace Planner: A step-by step guide to restoring your family's financial health (1998) ISBN 0-14-026468-X
  • How to Have More than Enough: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Abundance (2000) ISBN 0-14-028193-2
  • More than Enough: The Ten Keys to Changing Your Financial Destiny (2002) ISBN 0-14-200047-7
  • Financial Peace Revisited (2002) ISBN 0-670-03208-5
  • The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan For Financial Fitness (2003) ISBN 0-7852-6326-8
  • Total Money Makeover Workbook (2004) ISBN 0-7852-6327-6
  • The Money Answer Book: Quick Answers to Everyday Financial Questions (2005) ISBN 0-8499-9619-8
  • Priceless: Straight-Shooting, No-Frills Financial Wisdom (2006) ISBN 0-9774895-9-0
  • EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (2011) ISBN 978-1-4516-1785-6
  • Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win With Money (2014) ISBN 1937077632 (co-authored by Ramsey's daughter Rachel Cruze)

Kids' books[edit]


  • 48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller, Foreword by Dave Ramsey (2005) ISBN 0-8054-3188-8

Spanish translations[edit]

The Total Money Makeover, Financial Peace Revisited, and More than Enough have been translated into Spanish.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Axia Interview with Blake Thompson, producer of The Dave Ramsey Show". www.axiaaudio.com. Retrieved 2006-12-03. 
  2. ^ "Watch and Listen to the Dave Ramsey Show". daveramsey.com. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  4. ^ a b Drury, Susan (May 31, 2007). "The Gospel According to Dave". Nashville Scene. Retrieved 2007-07-16. 
  5. ^ Fox Business Network Names Radio Show Personality Dave Ramsey As Primetime Host
  6. ^ "Who is Dave Ramsey?". Dave Ramsey. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c d Ramsey, Dave; Sharon Ramsey (2003). Financial Peace Revisited. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Viking Penguin. p. 325. 0-670-03208-5. 
  8. ^ Focus on the Family (Dr. James Dobson) - Broadcast Archives
  9. ^ "The Dave Ramsey Show Videocast". daveramsey.com. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  10. ^ a b Dave Ramsey (2006). "Our Company History". daveramsey.com. Archived from the original on 2006-10-18. Retrieved 2006-12-03. 
  11. ^ DaveRamsey.com https://www.daveramsey.com/pr/fact-sheet/. Retrieved 2014-07-17.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ Mike Kinosian (2005). "The Inside Story with Mike Kinosian: Behind The Dave Ramsey Show" (PDF). InsideRadio.com. Retrieved 2006-12-03. 
  13. ^ Beth Tallent (2007). "THOUSANDS OF STUDENTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY LEARN LIFES FINANCIAL LESSONS FROM DAVE RAMSEY". DaveRamsey.com. Archived from the original on 2007-05-15. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  14. ^ "About Us". shareittoday.org. Retrieved 2006-12-03. 
  15. ^ "EntreLeadership". daveramsey.com. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  16. ^ "The Legacy Journey by Dave Ramsey". daveramsey.com. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
  17. ^ "Why Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball is Bad Financial Advice". NerdWallet.com. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  18. ^ "Suze Orman Smacks Down Dave Ramsey". Free By 50. April 14, 2011. Retrieved October 23, 2014. 
  19. ^ Tuttle, Brad (August 16, 2012). "Paying Off Credit Card Debt: What is the Best Approach? | Moneyland | TIME.com". Moneyland.time.com. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  20. ^ doi: 10.1509/jmr.11.0272
  21. ^ Boyer, Ray. "The ‘snowball approach’ to debt". Northwestern University. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  22. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". daveramsey.com. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Examining Dave Ramsey's Advice: Stop Saving for Retirement While Paying Off Debt?". Pennywise2Pennyworth. February 5, 2011. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  24. ^ Ramsey, Dave. "The 12% Reality: Can you really get a 12% return on your mutual fund investments?". Dave Ramsey. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  25. ^ Carrns, Ann. "Dave Ramsey’s 12% Solution". New York Times. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  26. ^ Ludwig, Larry. "Why Dave Ramsey’s 12% Return Isn’t Reality". Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  27. ^ Korn, Morgan. "Don’t Get Your Money Advice from Suze Orman, Dave Ramsey: Pound Foolish Author". Yahoo Finance. Retrieved 23 October 2014. Equities are extremely volatile and rarely provide the 12% annual return that Orman and Dave Ramsey tout for people looking to quadruple their income, Olen adds. 
  28. ^ Stoffel, Brian. "Dangerous Retirement Planning Advice From Financial Guru Dave Ramsey". The Motley Fool. Retrieved 23 October 2014. Let's take the case of a 25-year-old who is going to start saving today, and wants to retire when he's 65 with $1 million -- just as Ramsey mentioned on his Twitter page. If that investor assumes he'll make a 12% return per year on his investments, he'll need to save $97 per month. If, however, he assumes his return will be 6.7% -- the S&P 500's CAGR while factoring in inflation, which Ramsey claims to do -- that number jumps to $422 per month. Think about that: $97 per month versus $422. That's an enormous difference! For the hapless investor who saved $97 per month but experienced a more-normal 6.7% return per year, he will be over $770,000 -- or 77% -- short of his investment goal. I'm not sure why Ramsey harps on this 12% figure while not offering any solid numbers to back it up. His followers would be well served to dial down their assumptions before adjusting their retirement planning process. 
  29. ^ Salmon, Felix; Poppick, Susie. "Save like Dave Ramsey… Just Don’t Invest Like Him". Time. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  30. ^ "Asset allocation". Bogleheads. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  31. ^ http://www.daveramsey.com/article/daves-investing-philosophy/lifeandmoney_investing/
  32. ^ Ramsey, Dave. "How to Wreck Your Nest Egg at Retirement: Things you should and shouldn’t do once you retire". Dave Ramsey. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  33. ^ Dahle, Jim. "How Dave Ramsey May Be Leading You Astray". Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  34. ^ "Trinity Study, Retirement Withdrawal Rates and the Chance for Success, Updated Through 2009". Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  35. ^ a b Root, Jeff. "ZANDER INSURANCE REVIEW". RootFin. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  36. ^ Ramsey, Dave. "The Truth About Life Insurance". Dave Ramsey. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  37. ^ Yellen, Pamela. "An Unexpected 'Orman-Ramsey Vise' Now Squeezes Millions of Aging Americans". Huffington Post. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  38. ^ Ramsey, Dave. "A Letter From Dave Ramsey". Zander Insurance. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  39. ^ {The Total Money Makeover, Thomas Nelson Publishers 2009, Dave Ramsey. P. 213}
  40. ^ Held Evans, Rachel. What Dave Ramsey Gets Wrong About Poverty. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
  41. ^ Rivadeneira, Caryn. Things Broke People Do. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
  42. ^ Yancey, Preston. Conversation with Dave Ramsey. Retrieved November 30, 2013.

Further Reading

External links[edit]