The Money Answer Book by Dave Ramsey
Overall Rating: 3.5
Quick Summary: Dave Ramsey is best known for his snowball method of paying off debt. In this book he explains his method through a straightforward question and answer format. It covers topics like budget planning, retirement and college savings. At 176 pages, it’s a quick and easy way to get some financial advice.
Like most financial advisors, Dave Ramsey advocates living debt free. However, he even goes a step farther than other advisors in saying that you should pay cash for buying cars and for paying for college. He also advocates tithing and would come under the general umbrella of a Christian financial planner.
I wanted to read this book because his method is all over Pinterest. After browsing through the books available from the library, this one was the most accessible and currently available to borrow (the other books had wait lists). I knew going into it that he would be advocating a debt free lifestyle, after all what financial advisor tells you to say in debt?, and I also knew he had a religious inclination. I was surprised by his college advice, since going to community college is not ALWAYS the cheapest option (I say this as someone who worked in college admissions for three years so you can take this with a grain of salt).
I’m really glad I read the book because reading financial management books always remind me to be grateful for what I have and to try and find contentment. I can’t say that Ramsey’s advice in particular is all that groundbreaking, but it sparked a discussion between my husband and I about selling our second car, putting off home improvement projects, and even scrutinizing our stance on Christmas gifts (gasp!).
His most controversial tip, the snowball method of paying off debt, seems like a good one. Pay off the smallest debt first to gain momentum and then add the amount you were paying on that debt to the next lowest debt until you pay off everything. It helps to free up some space in the monthly budget since a $50 minimum payment gets paid off quicker than a $200 minimum payment. He also warns against credit cards with rewards because most people start off paying the card off every month, but slowly wind up building a balance. Since I’ve done this a few times, I can vouch for that and know I need to change my approach. All in all, some common sense reminders to handling household funds.
Is it worth buying? (Kindle $5.99)
If you really believe in this method it might be worth buying so that you can consult it again when you are ready to invest in college savings funds and retirement. Otherwise, just borrow it from the library like I did, read the relevant questions. There’s no sense in overwhelming yourself with information you don’t need right now.
Something else you might enjoy:
I personally love Suze Orman. She is a straight talker and I’ve learned so much from her over the years. Plus she supports public television, which I love! Her 9 Steps to Financial Freedom is great because it addresses the psychological and emotional aspects of money along with the numbers.