Why I Don’t Like Dave Ramsey

First things first, I don’t hate Dave Ramsey. I’m also not looking to bash him. I’m just not a big fan of him. Frankly, he kind of rubs me the wrong way. And if he has helped you that’s awesome I’m really happy for you but I’ve got some issues with him, which means I don’t like Dave Ramsey.

Now I’m not going to say that he’s not good at what he does, he obviously is. He creates very simple to follow steps when it comes to managing your finances and getting a handle on your money. However, I also think he kind of underestimates certain things. It bothers me a little bit. I’m also not the biggest fan of his slightly injecting religion into his methods.

Inserting religion into money management is not for me. If it works for you and you like that again, great, glad it’s working for you. But it’s just not my thing.  I’m not particularly religious, so it is just one of the things he does that rubs me the wrong way. Here are couple other things that make me the wrong way.

I Think He Underestimates and Understates Student Loan Debt

Look I get that the average graduate has $37,000 debt. Fortunately, the economy has bounced back so there’s some jobs available so they can, if they focus and work hard, pay off their debt in a reasonable time. However there’s  a lost class of people that got screwed.

They took on more debt with higher degrees, because with the recession, getting a job that paid worth a damn was nearly impossible. They took on the debt with higher the interest rates and still a very low availability of jobs and a lower starting income than those degrees usually commanded.

There is a Lost Class or Two That Got Screwed

Where you start out income wise after you graduate, also has an impact on how much you make in the future. It’s not to say that something can’t be done to fix that, but it means starting at a disadvantage.

At the time, it was understood that going to grad school or law school was still a really good idea. I have a ton of debt from law school and I the two jobs I worked after graduating was two  retail jobs. I was underemployed to say the least and frankly the highest I ever got paid since graduating with something like $65,000 a year.

Related: How Smart People End Up Crushed by Debt

$65,000 sounds like a lot, but when you have what has now ballooned to over a quarter million dollars of debt at an average 8% interest rate for student loans, $65,000 a year is not that much.

I Don’t Think it’s Stupid to Pursue a Higher Degree

This means that the gazelle like intensity of focusing on your debt and not doing anything else until your debt is paid off, suggested by Dave Ramsey, is kind of bullshit. And understates what people with that kind of debt deal with, he’s even gone so far as to say that people are stupid for pursuing those degrees. As if we could have predicted the recession. As if we were the ones raising the cost of these degrees by astronomical rates. Or as if we were the ones telling us that college was necessary our entire lives.


It’s not to say I don’t take responsibility for my debt, I do, but there are a lot of other factors that lead to the amount of debt I find myself in from school. And I find Dave Ramsey’s attitude to be completely condescending when it comes to the topic. I don’t think he really realizes what it is like to have that kind of student debt burden.

Gazelle Like Intensity Isn’t Always Possible

This kind of debt isn’t going to be paid off in a year or two or possibly even five. It can literally take a decade or even 20 to 25 years to pay off this debt depending on your situation. And I’m sorry, but gazelle like intensity cannot be maintained the entire time.

Seriously I don’t think even Yoda  could do it. Because while short bursts of gazelle like intensity can be great, it is not sustainable over decades. We are all human and we did not sign up for spending on her life just focus on paying off debt and sacrificing everything else. So I like to kick gazelle like intensity to the curb every now and then.

If He Helps You, Great, He’s Just Not For Me

As I mentioned earlier, I’m really not here to try and bash Dave Ramsey. If he helps you awesome! You got to do what works for you and I commend you for following his baby steps and keep going if that works for you. But if like me, Dave Ramsey rubs you the wrong way, you’re not alone and it’s not blasphemous to say so.

Everyone is different which means who people are going find most helpful is going to be different too. Now I’ve found that most financial gurus or teachers or whatever, don’t take into account the massive student debt situation that I am in or that others experience as well, but there are a few that do.

There is a  Personal Finance Resource Out There for Everyone

Which is why I’ve turned to other sources and personal-finance blogs and people who do get it. Those that have been in that much debt and who had to focus to pay it off but didn’t totally sacrifice having any sort of life to do it. They’ve been there.

Because it’s easy from the top of the personal finance empire to say oh yeah just use gazelle like intensity to pay off your hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. However, actually doing it it’s a hell of a lot harder.

Some of my favorite personal finance resources include:

Wrapping it Up with a Bow on Top

When it comes to personal finance, to each their own. But personally, I don’t like Dave Ramsey. It’s not that anything he says is wrong, I just don’t appreciate his attitude towards dealing with student loan debt or the fact that he injects religion into his message. It’ not my slice of pie.

If it’s yours, awesome, more power to you. But if it’s not, you’re not alone. Keep looking to find the people whose stories and ideas motivate and inspire you to take control of your money.

Related: Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps: How They Could Be Hurting Your Finances & What to Do Instead

I don't like dave ramsey | personal finance | money management | millennial money tips

11 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Like Dave Ramsey”

  1. I agree with these 100%! He does have some really good, easy to follow points, but he isn’t my cup of tea. He’s always preaching how “easy” it is to be debt free and how “anyone” can be rich. That’s just not how life works. Plus, he has like a million dollar home and stuff while preaching a frugal life? Pft! And sadly, prayer isn’t going to get you out of debt and grow your bank account. I wish it was that simple!

    • Exactly! If someone finds him helpful awesome. But if you’re tired of his book being suggested to you because it’s not your cup of tea that is ok too.

  2. I appreciate this post. As someone who’s a pastor, Ramsey is hugely popular in my circles. And sure, he says some good things but I think his overall approach is impractical for most people. I think he also treats debt reduction like that needs to be the number 1 priority in a person’s life until they’re debt free.

    Like you, I graduated during the downturn (2008) and have a masters degree. It’s definitely a lot of debt but I don’t think he considers the value of being enabled to pursue what you want. I think he acts as though the only way someone can truly pursue happiness in life is if they’re first debt free. I don’t agree with the Spartan lifestyle he tells people to live while they’re paying things down (no restaurants, no vacation, work 70-80 hours a week).

    I think about wanting to have kids soon, and ask “what’s more important? sacrificing everything to get out of debt ASAP no matter how much work it takes? Or knowing it’ll cost more in the long run but prioritizing being more present?” To me, the latter seems like common sense.

    Sorry for the rant.

    • Agree. Life is too short to give up everything to pay off debt. I think short spurts of that can be great to make progress, but it’s not sustainable and I wouldn’t want to sustain it.

  3. I have never ever heard Dave Ramsey say it’s easy to be debt free. He says it’s hard because It requires a change in a person’s mindset when it comes to money. He says that a lot of people don’t have it in them to be that forcused to get out of debt. He does understand how crushing debt is and in particular student loan debt.
    He encourages people to “pay as you go” for their education and not to use the money to “party on” or to shop with, to get a job no matter how little it pays to “live off” of instead of the borrowed money.
    Yes, higher education is very expensive and that it’s made more so by borrowing more money than needed to live off of which isn’t used for the actual class, books, etc. Dave Ramsey is not against higher education. He is very much for higher education. He just doesn’t want people to end up like you, being crushed by the weight of that debt.
    I’ve never had student loan debt. I worked my way through school, paid out of pocket. That includes graduate school. Ireceived scholarships and grants undergraduate and completely cash flowed graduate courses. I did not party my way through school especially since I knew the bill was due every semester, not in some distance future.
    I am not a religious person either, however, I did look up several of his quotes. They are in the Bible. Whether a person is religious or not, those quotes make very good sense.
    For those who no longer want to be “slave to the lender”, I applaud you. For those who don’t mind being in debt up to their eyeballs, I pray for you. I personally think it’s better to work hard for 5 years to get out debt and be free than to be enslaved for 20-25 years having that sword hanging over my head.

    • I would love to know where in this post I said, Dave Ramsey said it was easy to pay off debt, because I definitely didn’t. I’d also be curious to know when you graduated from college, because if it was in the last decade, then congratulations, you’re one of the few. Dave Ramsey did in fact say people pursuing certain degrees are stupid, I linked to where he said it. I actually worked multiple jobs throughout the school year as well as during the summers, I also had scholarships, it was not even close to enough to cover tuition, never mind living expenses, books, and other fees. And it’s pretty much impossible for the average college student to earn enough to pay their way through school by working, I’ve done the math. I did not party my way through school, though in law school I did borrow money to help cover living expenses, because as a rule when I was in law school, full time students at ABA approved schools were not allowed to work more than 20 hours a week ( and that isn’t until after you reach a certain point in your first year of study. And yes, I did work the 20 hours a week at a law firm once I was allowed. There is, as you can see, a difference in going to law school and graduate school but the exponentially increasing tuition rates applies to both and those rates are not the fault of the students seeking the degrees. And this is where I think DR has failed, what he preached about higher education was very applicable in the past, but with the current reality of the cost of higher education, it no longer is for the vast majority of people, I think he needs to update his thinking and what he teaches, hence the post. As I said, if what he has said works for you, that’s great, it’s just not for me. I have a math degree and a law degree, I’m a numbers and facts person, and the numbers just don’t add up to support all of what he says. I dig into more, where I talk about how some of his baby steps might actually hurt someones finances here: Also, saying “I pray for you” makes you seem rather religious for someone who claims not to be religious. Just something to think about.

    • My husband and I worked our way through college in the 80s. In the last decade helping four of our own kids through school they all had to take out some loans. We are not wealthy and all our kids had scholarships and jobs going through school. A textbook can be up to $500. My kids bought used and rented but some books just aren’t available especially if they are a new edition. You have to have a good working computer to be in school these days and the class fees related to technology are insane. My husband and I went to school living on $800 a month with grants and scholarships and part-time jobs and driving cars that we prayed would get us through. That is nowhere possible these days. What bothers me about the Dave Ramsey cult members is the lack of empathy and willing to look outside of “what Dave says.” Which is really sad. Dave can be extremely mean to his callers and his groupies emulate him and are often just as brutal and scathing in their advice. We followed Dave’s plan for a long time but a long-term catastrophic illness decimated our family. Dave’s plan has nothing for people in this situation and his followers have no compassion either. Hence we are: Done with Dave.

  4. Im a Christian, and for this reason I think I’m all the more bothered by his attitude. He demands cult-like submission, and his most devoted followers act as if he were God in the flesh . The real kicker for me was listening to his response to an email where he told this couple that they were arrogant fools for using a credit card and paying it off every month. The irony is he sounded extremely arrogant in his response.

  5. I quit listening to him. I’m not a Christian and I really don’t like the fact he pushes religion on everybody. I’m not in church. He also really pisses me off when he pushes everybody to get married if they are living together. A lady called in for debt help, said she was engaged, and Dave said she needs to get married that weekend. That is none of his business and she didn’t ask for that advice.

    His investing advice is bad. He claims his mutual funds consistently give a 12% return. None are that good every year. Also, he only ever recommends mutual funds. There are plenty of other good investments available.

    I subscribed to the newsletter and was getting daily emails trying to sell books. Every single day an extended sale, percentage off, something, constantly selling to me. I finally unsubscribed I was so tired of it.

    Completely disagree with his FICO score advice. Some apartments require a certain score to rent, my job did a credit check, banks use it to determine a car or mortgage interest rate, and insurance companies use it to determine your payments. He has said a FICO score is an “I love debt” and means you have paid thousands of dollars in interest. Bullshit. No it doesn’t. Not everybody carries a monthly balance.

    Overall, his getting out of debt advice is pretty good, but he gives bad investment advice. His wealth comes from books, financial kits, and seminars, not investing.

  6. When will this guy wake up still on the radio hawking public gatherings I guess the dave Ramsey money machine never stops along with cruise. Good cooperation Dave
    With the rest of the world.

  7. It’s ironic how much Ramsey rails against all debt…pretty much says the only way to get rich is to eliminate all debt, no matter what type and no matter what the interest rate. No exceptions and no investing until all debt is gone. BUT then once you’re out of debt you need to invest in mutual funds….okay, but all the companies in those funds have debt themselves. So he’s recommending investing in companies…companies who, pretty much by definition, have debt.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.