The Total Money Makeover teaches you to use Dave Ramsey’s 7 baby steps to get out of debt and win with money. In the book, Dave lays out a case for why all debt is bad and how anyone can live debt free. This is not a get-rich-quick book and it doesn’t try to upsell you on seminars and courses. It gives you the exact plan for your financial health!

Breaking The Myths Of Debt And Money

The Total Money Makeover begins with Dave Ramsey describing his own story of financial problems when he was younger. Dave had made a lot of money at a young age but he failed to manage it properly and it led him to bankruptcy. He challenges you to acknowledge that you are the problem and that financial success is 80% behavior and 20% knowledge. If you live like no one else now, later you can live and give like no one else. Dave tells us how many people are in denial about their financial well-being. How many people do you know that say things like “I’m debt free – except for that one credit card?” Dave also breaks myths around debt and money. He does a great job of laying out these myths with detailed examples. These first few chapters will change your thoughts about what being financially fit really means.

The 7 Baby Steps

In the rest of the book, Dave teaches you how to get out of debt and into a total money makeover using the 7 baby steps:

  • Save $1000 in a beginner emergency fund.
  • Pay off all debt except the house using the debt snowball.
  • Increase your emergency fund to include three to six months of expenses.
  • Invest 15% of your household income into retirement.
  • Start saving for college.
  • Pay off your home early.
  • Build wealth and give generously!

This is a well laid out plan that has led millions of people to financial freedom. It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme. You won’t have to leverage the secrets of the stock market told by a magic genie. Dave lays out simple steps that anyone can follow. If you follow the 7 baby steps laid out in The Total Money Makeover, you will change your life!

It’s Time To Win With Money

The seven baby steps are simple but they are not easy. Becoming financially healthy is a behavior change which can be difficult to accomplish but millions of people have done it thanks to Dave Ramsey’s teachings. You can find additional motivation by listening to The Dave Ramsey Show and listening to the stories of those who are winning with money doing their debt free screams every single day. I recommend this book to anyone that has any interaction with money. It’s that informative. Even if you’re debt free, you will learn something in the material presented in The Total Money Makeover.

8 thoughts on “The Total Money Makeover Review: Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps

  1. I know I would need to read his book to get everything it has to offer, but do you know what kind of wealth building strategies he recommends?

    1. Hi Steve,

      Dave recommends first paying off debt if you have any in order to free up your income which is your most valuable wealth building tool, until you get to the point where your investments earn more than you do. If that is taken care of and you have a fully funded emergency fund in place, he recommends investing 15{47e3385c4d261834eff019a132287167e77e363b295190a87f6fc3b0364032ae} of your income into a matching company 401k and Roth IRA. He recommends an even distribution across growth, aggressive growth, growth and income, and international mutual funds. This should provide a nice retirement over time.

      Outside of the book, Dave Ramsey is also a real estate guy but he doesn’t recommend it as part of your retirement planning. That type of investing he encourages you to do once you are in baby step 7. At this step, you have no mortgage and your retirement and kids college funding is secured. This is the point where he wants you to focus on building wealth.

  2. I love Dave Ramsey and his teaching on how to manage money! Very straight-forward teaching with God’s principles of Money always bring me back to how we are supposed to handle money God provided us.

    I love he says money management is 20{47e3385c4d261834eff019a132287167e77e363b295190a87f6fc3b0364032ae} knowledge and 80{47e3385c4d261834eff019a132287167e77e363b295190a87f6fc3b0364032ae} attitude! If we have “I’m ok with being broke” attitude, we will never win no matter how much you “know” about personal finance. We have to be serious about becoming financial free if we so desire – up to the point of cutting up all credit cards!

    Thank you for your review on this great book! I do also highly recommend it.

    1. Hey Kyoko,

      Very true! Dave’s 7 baby steps are simple and they work. Many people know how to handle money but they don’t handle it properly because they don’t have the right attitude about it. My fiancĂ© and I recently completed Financial Peace University and many people in the class were hesitant to cut up their credit cards in the beginning but that changed towards the end of the course. It was great to see the change in how people viewed debt in a few weeks!

  3. I couldn’t agree with you more…
    I have a dear mother who is not a millionaire but knows how to manage her money to a T. She is also a very generous giver to her local church.

    I have learnt from her, especially learning to leave my debit card at home when window= shopping. I also try not to get cash out from the till and prefer going to the counter to speak to a cashier. I have yet to learn how to save an amount that amounts to anything, but I am working on it.

    A cousin of mine once said his mother could make $100 out of $5 and knew how to save and invest. We could all learn from the tips you have mentioned here. It is not all about spend, spend, spend!

    1. Hi Stella,

      You don’t need to be a millionaire to be generous. It sounds like she understands how to manage her money which allows her the opportunity to bless others. You are lucky to have such great examples in your life of how to manage money!

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