The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness Third (3rd) Edition

by Dave Ramsey

Hardcover, 2009



"Ramsey offers a bold, no-nonsense approach to money matters, providing not only the how-to but also a grounded and uplifting hope for getting out of debt and achieving total financial health. Ramsey debunks the many myths of money (exposing the dangers of cash advance, rent-to-own, debt consolidation) and attacks the illusions and downright deceptions of the American dream, which encourages nothing but overspending and massive amounts of debt. "Don't even consider keeping up with the Joneses," Ramsey declares in his typically candid style. "They're broke!" This book isn't theory. It works every single time. It works because it is simple. It works because it gets to the heart of the money problems: you"--Publisher's description.

Media reviews

The bedrock of his system is simple: work hard, pay what you owe and stay out of debt. His main commandment is "Pay cash." He first exhorts the reader to take "baby steps," which are designed to build on each other: first, save $1,000 as an emergency fund; then, pay off all debts from smallest to largest; save a larger three-to-six-month emergency fund; finally, start to save for college and pay off your home mortgage. Ramsey understands the difficulty in putting these steps into action, and therefore packs his book with personal testimonials from everyday people who have used his system and have become debt free, with obvious struggles.

User reviews

LibraryThing member mdbstitch
This book changed my life and will eventually change my family tree. It is the single best gift I have ever received, because it keeps on giving, month after month, year after year. In today's uncertain economic times, Dave's plan seems even more applicable and more comforting to those of us trying to take control of our finances and "act our wage" for maybe the first time in our lives. Simple in theory, but transformative in practice, this book gives the reader everything he or she needs to learn how to win the game of personal finance.… (more)
LibraryThing member Macmom
Ramsey really is the best out there. He's bought a lot of peace to our marriage, and we've recommended him to family and friends. Though it's a harsh prescription for the modern, materialistic society to take... stop living beyond your means. Put relationships first, ahead of acquiring more "stuff." Grow up and stop entertaining yourself to death (and into debt!)… (more)
LibraryThing member adamallen
Total Money Makeover is a book written to assist people in getting out of debt and building wealth as a result of being debt free. It begins with a couple of chapters dedicated to debunking myths – the myths of debt and of money in general. It follows that with some comments on the failure of most people to get an education on managing money and the fallacy of “keeping up with the Joneses”. It then dedicates a chapter to each of the core steps of the program:

Step 1: Set aside $1000 for emergencies
Step 2: Use the “debt snowball” method to payoff debt as quickly as possible
Step 3: Finish the emergency fund (3 – 6 months worth)
Step 4: Maximize retirement investing
Step 5: Build the kids' college fund
Step 6: Payoff the house
Step 7: Build wealth like crazy

Mr. Ramsey refers frequently to his financial failures and his use of this system to get him back on track. He also discusses that debt is a relatively new phenomenon and is largely the result of marketing of retailers and the marketing of lenders. It's a two-pronged front on your financial sanity. You're sold on the fact that you need more “stuff” and the lenders sell you on the importance of leveraging, loans, and using credit. His points are both interesting and convincing.

As someone with a little debt to get rid of, I'm sold on Mr. Ramsey's model. I'm implementing it now and I've just begun reading his earlier book, Financial Peace, to see what else he has to teach.

This is a book well worth reading to see if it's the right thing for you.
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LibraryThing member lgfarlow
This is a very good discussion of how to handle money responsibly. My wife and I are implementing his approach and find it very helpful. Ramsey does bring in some Biblical concepts such as avoiding debt but I'd hesitate to call this a Christian approach to money management. What he basically does is promote a common sense view which should work well in any prosperous western culture. In my opinion, for something to be called a "Christian" approach it would have to be universally applicable to believers in all cultures and I simply don't feel that is the case with Ramsey's ideas. However, when applied in the context for which is is intended, its a good plan.… (more)
LibraryThing member nramos
A good reference to getting rid of debt. This book is filled with easy-to-follow, easy-to-understand steps, and details the reasoning behind each step. Each chapter is interspersed with true accounts of users of this book. A good book for simple steps to debt management.
LibraryThing member tjwilliams
Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover should be the first book on the reading list of anyone who is struggling with debt or, as the author says, is “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” In straightforward, simple, and rather blunt terms Ramsey walks his readers through the seven baby steps that will lead them out of debt and into financial peace.

Many people hesitate to take the advice of financial experts because it is difficult to know if their advice works. Ramsey’s advice, however, has been field tested. Dave Ramsey has seen both the highs and lows of financial life. By the age of 26 he had created a rental real estate portfolio worth more than $4 million. His entire net worth had been built on debt, however, and when the banks came calling he was forced into bankruptcy. Since then, Ramsey has eschewed debt and has rebuilt his fortune many times over.

I am not going to go over every single step in the book. Instead, I will discuss the main themes of the book. Ramsey is an ardent believer in personal responsibility. Consider him the AA of personal finance. Until you are able to admit that your debt is the result of your actions and that only you can get yourself out of it, nothing else will work. The key, in Ramsey’s opinion, is the written budget. Everything he teaches begins there. You must know exactly where every dollar you make is going, before you even earn it. If you don’t plan this out, you will never be able to take control of your finances and take control of your life.

This book is not for advanced investors. Ramsey does not discuss specific investments much at all. This is a book about the theory and emotions of personal finance and is a simple and honest plan for taking control of your financial life. Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member prozacstan
Dave Ramsey is the guru of money makeovers. Common sense material. A very nice read.

The book makes a great gift for family and friends.
LibraryThing member ctwilliams
This book is a must read if you want to turn yourself around financially. Dave speaks from his heart and his experience. Really, this book has changed my life and the way I think and spend money. It's not easy, but Dave makes you feel good and arms you with the tools and knowledge you need to be debt free. In less than 3 months we will be out of all debt except for our mortgage.… (more)
LibraryThing member Steve777
Helpful, highly motivating book. Other books have sound advice to get ones finances in order. This book really gets you to get going and get the hard work done.
LibraryThing member anagel76
Unreal. This has changed our perspective on saving and getting out of debt. We are now determined to be debt free. Fantastic!
LibraryThing member knipfty
Here is a book that provides you with a life plan that is easy to understand AND implement. You are required to follow a plan that gets you out of debt, build an emergency fund, plan for the future, and build wealth.

This is not a get rich quick scheme, but a build wealth scheme over time. For those will to follow Dave's principles, you are encourage to cut up and close you credit cards, live on cash. Debit cards are fine to use as well. For many, this will seem foreign or impossible. For those that take the journey, you will be rewarded.

This book belongs on everyone's book shelf right along side the Millionaire Next Door!
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LibraryThing member ssd7
I bought this book used at the advice of a well-meaning family member. I can only hope the "update and revised" editions are better. To be completely honest, I began to skim the text after the author displayed a fairly fundamental misunderstanding of the banking system and used "intellectual" and "academic" as insults. The "folksy" tone and constant use of Bible verses was also off-putting.

This book has very little to offer anyone who is using their credit responsibly and are not already drowning in debt. The behavioral changes he recommends are likely very helpful for those who have irresponsibly over extended themselves already. A large portion of his advice seems like good advice; however, it doesn't really extend beyond common sense.

Perhaps my biggest complaint is simply a nit pick. The author translates the "college experience" into "they want to party" when discussing why there is no reason to not work during college. Since the author uses "intellectual" as an insult, I guess I shouldn't expect him to understand the many intellectual benefits of not having to work during college. I worked during my 3rd and 4th years; however, I worked far fewer hours than he seems to be suggesting. Not working during college gives one the ability to go to interesting lectures and seminars taking place in other departments, grapple with difficult material, read books and articles outside the required material, and attend art and cultural events. Obviously, not working (or working only a few hours) is not an option for everyone, but there are benefits to the "college experience" that were well worth taking on a bit of debt for. To claim that the "college experience" only consists of "partying" seems to underscore the author's singular focus on a portion of the population with severely misaligned priorities.

Perhaps I was simply hoping for a book that would go over the nuts and bolts of creating wealth.
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LibraryThing member nita1112
Excellent book to help someone get control of debt and finances.
LibraryThing member kristenn
I recently asked friends and coworkers for advice on personal finance guides and this one came up several times. Some very solid advice. But it was a bit of a slog because it wasn't really written for me. I'm trying to be proactive rather than already being in an emergency situation. The first half debunks a lot of money myths that I have trouble believing many people fall for in the first place, although some of that may just be his awkward wording, especially when he goes for metaphors. And in what part of the country are people mocked for avoiding debt? The Debt Snowball makes a lot of sense, although I couldn't figure out the tracking form. I'm sure there are filled-out examples online that make it clear, but it would have been nice to see one in the book. He's good about regularly reminding readers that this book is not the only one they need and what topics still need to be covered elsewhere. And no arguments with the 'college myths' chapter. Many segments of the population who won't feel this speaks to them and their situation (there's very little diversity in the success story example families), but I found pieces I can use.… (more)
LibraryThing member rizeandshine
Well, I've read the book, but I certainly haven't gone through all the steps yet. Dave has some very sound advice that sounds a lot like my Grandfather. Live within your means, pay cash for everything, save for a rainy day, etc. but with a bit more of a plan to it all for those of us who have already gotten into some kind of debt. ;-) I just bought a new, energy efficient car in October. According to Dave I should sell it and get rid of that debt right away, but I can't help thinking that it was still a good purchase, even if I shouldn't have bought it new. I have a o% loan, service milestones are free and I can go twice as long without filling up as I did with my last car. Since the car is virtually the only debt I have I'm thinking I may just suck it up and try to pay off the loan as quickly as possible. We'll see if I can still "run with the intensity of a gazelle" while keeping the car to get around.… (more)
LibraryThing member Ps91Family
Dave Ramsey knows how to talk to hard-headed Americans about changing their finances from the inside out. He first deals with the underlying attitudes and "demons" that many people battle. Then he tackles the key underlying financial principles that we need to also understand. Everyone needs to read this book and read it to/with their children, so that the next generation can do a better job than we have done.… (more)
LibraryThing member david7466
Pretty good advice, but a little too "folksy" for me at times. Just as weight management is all about calories in vs calories out, debt management is all about spend vs income. We all have to get real about how much we spend, it can be crazy when you think about it. How much do we spend on cell phone bills and cable bills and eating out and transportation and entertainment? Take inventory and give up what you can.… (more)
LibraryThing member ChrisoftheHagens
I give a five star rating for life changing helpfulness. We let ourselves slip into thousands of dollars of credit card debt and following Ramsey's plan got us out of debt within a year or so, while at the same time taking a pay cut. We are still following his plan getting ready to pay off a second mortgage and build up a 3 month emergency fund. My business coach originally recommended the book to me - it's great!… (more)
LibraryThing member krystalsbooks
This book was great. I read it in one day. I can't wait to complete the activities and start off the new year on the right foot.
LibraryThing member JamesT
Motivating and Inspiring! The best book on the market when it comes to getting your financial house in order.
LibraryThing member Brandie
Another good book. A bit different from Financial Peace - enough was different but there were parts where I thought yep, I just read that in the other book LOL!
Oh well, repitition is a good thing and reading the real people's letters was very helpful as well!
LibraryThing member m.wilson55
Informative and practical.
LibraryThing member Greg_Nickerson
Inspiring. The best personal finance book I have ever read. Clear advice and stories from people who have made the mistakes with money you did or are doing right now. Dave spells out the issues that cause you to be normal, meaning broke. The car section alone is worth the money for the book price. Forget Suze Orman, and Robert Kiyosaki. Dave does a better job at getting you on the path to financial wisdom and wealth.… (more)
LibraryThing member sassafras
Good ideas. I just don't care for the attitude. I also could do without the reiteration of a point over and over. Make your point and move on. Let's get down to the nitty gritty of this thing.
LibraryThing member debs4jc
Ramsey takes you through his steps to financial freedom with down to earth advice on things like how to handle debt collectors and how to raise the money to establish an emergency fund. It is very practical and I like the way it is organized better than Financial Peace. Get it, follow it with "gazelle like intensity", and change your life for the better!… (more)


3rd Edition (2009)


Original publication date


Physical description

9.3 inches


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