Book Review: Total Money Make Over by Dave Ramsey

No matter who you are, money can either be a blessing or a curse depending on how you manage it. As a young college graduate in my mid-twenties, I am now realizing how little I know about money.

Plus, I have student loans to pay back and a wedding coming up soon. This gives me even more reason to stay on top of my finances.

A friend of mine recommended I read “Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey, a book written to help people stay financially fit by following proven steps that have worked for thousands of people around the world.

The good news? This book is not a “get rich quick” type of book. In fact, there is no such thing as “get rich quick,” especially if you want to earn money while still maintaining your integrity. Ramsey teaches about money by using biblical principles, examples from personal experience, and tips learned from studying the habits of wealthy people.

The book provides “Seven baby steps” to help you get in shape financially. Here they are:

  1. Save $1000 for emergency fund
  2. Pay off debt by creating a debt snowball
  3. Finish saving for emergency fund (3-6 months of living expenses)
  4. Invest 15% of your household income into retirement
  5. Start saving for college
  6. Pay off your home
  7. Build wealth and give generously

I won’t go into details with these steps. I’ll let you explore them further if you decide to read the book. However, I will shed some light on some of the reasons people experience financial turmoil throughout their lives.

Denial

Some of us would rather pretend that our financial issues don’t exist. We shove it to the back of our minds and try to forget about it, but your credit card bill is not something you can’t just forget about or shove to the back of your mind.

Being honest about your financial situation is the first step towards identifying the problem. Once you move past denial, you’ll be in a better place to start making necessary changes toward financial freedom.

Ignorance

Ignorance is not an issue of denial,  but a lack of understanding of how money works. No one is born with an innate ability to understand money.

It’s something you learn.

Credit cards, interest rates, student loans, RRSPs, mutual finds, mortgages, you name it. Some of these may sound like jargon to you, but these are financial terms you’ll hear about often as you journey through life.

You don’t have to be a financial analyst to manage your money wisely. A basic understanding on how to save, budget, pay off debt, and invest, can help you to make better financial decisions.

Approval

The need for approval is one of the biggest reasons people experience financial turmoil. It’s the idea of “keeping up with the Jones’.” This desire to keep up with your friends, coworkers and even family, can lead you to living a lifestyle that you simply can’t afford.

Just because your neighbour bought a BMW doesn’t mean you have to buy one too. Wealth is not measured by material possessions. Be wise with your money and live below your means today, so you can reap the benefits tomorrow.

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