For the last few months, I’ve tuned into Dave Ramsey’s radio show via podcast. There’s a lot to like about his simple method of getting and staying out of debt. America would be a better place if more people did something to get a better handle on debt. Henry David Thoreau made a similar point about signing one’s life away, and lamented how most men led lives of quiet desperation.
But I’ve decided that despite Dave’s strength as a teacher, the human interest of the people who call into the show, and the clarity of Dave’s ‘baby steps,’ aspects of the show trouble me enough that I have a hard time listening any further.
The things that bother me are:
- The endless promotion of his network of financial advisers, insurance agents, and staged appearances
- His rejection of DIY passive investing (the kind you can learn about on Bogleheads.org), which is a good option for individual investors who hope to avoid being ripped off
- The clear relationship between the first and second points above
- And then personally, the references to collecting guns as a hobby. I kind of enjoy his political rants, even through I usually disagree with them, because I can learn more about the perspective of the religious right. Collecting guns for fun, though, just reminds me of America’s tragic problem with guns.
So while I am grateful to Dave for constructing a good system to think about debt, I’m not about to become his customer.
The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius coached himself to “waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” That was about 1,845 years ago. His words, and those of Thoreau, echo through time. Easy to say, hard to achieve.