Who is Dave Ramsey?
I came across Dave Ramsey when I first started to have thoughts about clearing our debts early. I went to YouTube to look up videos about budgeting and I came across a few American channels who were talking about Dave Ramsey and his baby steps. He is US based and has quite a large following in the US, however he is quite unknown here in the UK. However I find a lot of his advice and the baby steps also translate well to UK personal finance.
Now a lot of his advice is pretty basic and on the whole just good common sense, he won’t argue with that statement, he says it himself. But he has put it into an easy to follow step by step process which many people find easy to follow.
I am going to be honest and say that although I am following his baby steps to get my personal finances into order, he is not to every ones taste. I think for UK followers he is a little like Marmite. Some people will love him, others will dislike him.
One area some people struggle with Dave Ramsey is that he is very religious and a lot of his videos and talks are very faith based. Some may love this, others may not. I am not a religious person but I find it easy enough to just skim those parts.
Take his advice on board, but also weigh up your own thoughts.
While on the whole his advice is good. I have seen a couple of videos that have made me wince and where I really disagreed with his advice. There was one in particular (which funnily enough has since been removed from his YouTube channel) where some parents called in for advice as their 16 yr old didn’t want to ‘give’ (donate) any of their income. The advice Dave Ramsey gave was that as the daughter was under 18 then she is underage and her money is not hers and the parents were entitled to take every penny that she earned off of her. I disagree with this on a massive scale. She is 16 yes, but she went out and got a job, she has worked and earned that money. That is HER money and the parents have no right to take it all off her.
But on the most part the advice he gives in his video call in’s is very good. He doesn’t hold any punches and if someone is being stupid with their money he will tell them. It does make me re-think and evaluate my own ways with money.
I recently purchased his book on Kindle ‘Total Money Makeover’ which goes through in detail how to follow his plan, as well as true life examples from people who have been there and done it. even thought the investing and retirement section is US based it is still a really good read.
The basis of the whole plan is to set a budget and work intensively on throwing all you can at your debts. To ‘live like no-one else now so you can live like no-one else in the future’
My favourite Dave Ramsey YouTuber’s
As I mentioned I came across Dave Ramsey after coming across several YouTube channels made by Dave Ramsey followers. I absolutely love these channels and they all show the plan in action. I have 3 main channels that I follow. Each shows a different family (one a single lady) who have all followed the plan to become debt free. They are all so down to earth and honest. I love them.
First up is the original channel I came across and that is Angela from Our life on a budget. Angela is part of a Canadian family who are now debt free and has 2 teenage daughters (The cost of groceries in Canada makes me want to cry)
Next up we have Kristy from The Former Mrs Jones. Kristy is married with a young son. They are now debt free and have just moved into an amazing new house and have twin boys on the way.
Thirdly is Sarah from Budget Girl. She is a sassy single lady who has shown it is possible to clear debt on one salary. She is also debt free as of last month and has just moved states to start a new job to increase her income and start a new career.
What are the Dave Ramsey Baby steps
Become current with all your bills. If you have late payments or are in arrears then work to get these current first. Set up a Zero based budget. You can read my post – What is a zero based budget – How to create one in 5 easy steps to help you do this.
Save $1000 dollars for an emergency fund (Being UK based I saved £1000 for mine) This is for emergencies only, such as broken heating, the car needing fixing etc. Not for a new sofa that is on offer.
This is where the ‘Snowball’ comes in. You list all your debts and borrowing (minus the mortgage) with the smallest first going up to the largest.
You make minimum payments on all of then, but you throw all additional funds at the smallest debt until that is cleared. Then you go to the next smallest debt, continue making minimum payments on all others and pay everything extra, including what you were paying on the first debt at this second debt until that is gone.
As you move up the list the amount you can pay off each subsequent debt gets larger and large. Plus by starting with the smallest debts you get lots of quick wins early on which helps keep you motivated.
This is currently the step my partner and I are on. We have cleared are 2 credit cards and are working at clearing one of our 2 loans.
Now all the debts (except the mortgage) are gone now we save up a 3-6 month emergency fund.
This should be enough to cover all your basic bills should you suddenly drop to no income (basic bills only so things like the mortgage/ rent, water, gas, food, travel etc. Things like the gym and cable TV can be cancelled or put on hold if you are ever in the position of no income)
This is also the fund you would use if something drastic happened such as your boiler breaks and needs replacing. It is not for buying a new car (start a separate fund for that, these are called ‘sinking funds’ I will explain about those in another post soon) This should be in an easy to access account so you can get to it if ever you need to.
This is the buffer between you and the world so you never have to rely on taking out more debt if an emergency should happen.
We have no debts, we have a monthly budget set, we have our emergency fund. Now we use 15% of our pre-tax income to pay into retirement. This is where it starts to differ for UK followers. Dave Ramsey gives a lot of advice on where to put this 15%, but that doesn’t translate well for the UK. I have a workplace pension so I am planning to increase my contributions to that. But you may need to seek independent advice on where to place yours.
This is where you start saving for your kids college. The UK does have a different college system to the US so again this starts to differ for those of us following from the UK. However student debt is still a massive problem in the UK at the moment. So saving up to fund your kids Uni costs isn’t a bad thing and will help them to not have to rely on getting into debt for Uni. A friend at work told me recently his daughter just left Uni owing £50k in student loans. That is an astonishing amount for someone to be burdened with at the start of their career and adult life. We don’t have children so we will be skipping this step.
Pay off your home early. This is the step I am most looking forward to. I absolutely cannot wait to become mortgage free. If you are currently renting and want to buy your own home then Dave Ramsey recommends that you create a step 3b. So after saving your 3-6 month emergency fund. You then start saving for your house deposit (well he recommends saving to buy your house in cash. But there aren’t many places in the UK where house prices are low enough to be able to do that)
The final baby step to transforming your finances. This is to build wealth and donate generously. Dave Ramsey gives advice for how best to invest your spare cash when you get to this step. But again we have different types of accounts and finances in the UK compared to the US. So again I would recommend seeking independent advice when you reach this step.
The baby steps aren’t a temporary fix. They are guidelines to follow and live by for life. But as I mentioned at the start, they are quite basic and straight forward and they make a lot of sense.