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Dave Ramsey and My Take on the Debt Snowball



Today is going to be a great day, because any day is a great day when you're taking steps to eliminate debt. Whatever those steps may be and mean to you. We're diving into my personal take on Dave Ramsey's methods and the debt snowball

I've heard about these methods for as long as I can remember since I've started talking to a wide variety of people about money everybody recommends taking a look at Dave Ramsey. I always recall saying "who's Dave Ramsey?", "Why is everybody SO obsessed with Dave Ramsey?". His name kept coming up over and over again, basically a household icon at this point. I had to get to the bottom of this.


Who is Dave Ramsey?

This man is a very dynamic individual. He started in real estate investing and lost it all. During the 80's a popular method for building wealth was selling ownership in overleveraged properties to people looking for a tax haven. Eventually the government caught up and adjusted the tax code. This turned the real estate world on its head and put Dave Ramsey seriously under water. 

Since then he's dedicated himself to getting out of debt and staying out of debt with an emphasis on helping your regular everyday joe achieve the same comfort and security. He has a highly visible website, daveramsey.com, a blog, podcast, books and more that can be scoured for weeks that all tell you getting out of debt and staying out of debt is the best way to live life.


Advantages and Shortfalls of having debt

Debt free sounds like a nice way to live on the surface, and it really is for the average person. 

  • Having a free and clear car while putting your previous loan payment toward maintaining your everlasting ride. 
  • Aggressively paying down your mortgage to avoid living with 95% of your monthly fees going to interest.
  • Wiping out credit card debt so you're not being sunk by ever rising APRs
  • Having a healthy emergency fund for any small repairs that come up.
This is a very stress free way of living life. The problem with this is it only addresses one side of the coin when it comes to managing your finances. Not only do you need to lower your expenses in life(paying down debt), you also need to increase your income. Getting raises at a job can generally only take you so far. People who want to get ahead in life or who come from an impoverished background need a little help from others to do it, and that typically involves other peoples money.
  • Starting a business generally requires a small business loan.
  • Investing in real estate could take an entire lifetime without a little leverage.
  • An inventory fund is usually required when opening a store.
Getting ahead in life can be very expensive and it generally is. Every move you make to do something outside the norm generally requires a startup fund. Of course this can be done by hopping on the various business funding website and hoping someone just gives you the money, but generally this comes in the form of investors and stock options. Those ideas sound powerful and forward looking right? They pretty all mean the same thing. I owe a lot of people a bunch of money. Also known as debt. 

Again, for the average person going zero debt and living out your life that's perfectly fine, but as an investor I see debt as a professional tool to accomplishing goals to improve my financial situation.


The Debt Snowball


Honestly, it's hard to argue with the debt snowball and I really like Dave's approach to accomplishing a debt free lifestyle. The emphasis he puts on the debt snowball isn't necessarily paying off the debt so much faster than previously thought possible, which he absolutely does, but it's more about getting average people out of the trap

There are plenty of people out there who take advantage of people who simply don't know better. They're the people advertising payday loans and boasting about consolidating debt for a lower monthly payment and lower interest. The lower payment means you'll be paying on that debt much longer than you originally planned and paying much MORE, but many people have a hard time getting past the lower monthly payment

Dave convinced people to get more aggressive about paying down debt. Using your current monthly payments to fight for you in your battle against debt especially since you're already used to spending that money. It's all about changing your mind about debt putting yourself ahead in your own life. If you're interested in more information on this fight I recommend exploring an alternate plan that might work better coming out of 2020.


Conclusion


I say all of this to let you know that one way of looking at finances doesn't apply to everybody. Each situation is different and there can't be a blanket answer to all of the problems going on in the world. I support Dave and the Debt Snowball, but in my opinion a reassessment needs to happen. Too many people are stuck in the baby steps, and forget the next step is to get up and walk, then run. They see the baby steps as the road map to life and forget that you need to start investing and improving yourself once you're in the black. They hone into that zero debt mentality and don't purse anything that could change that prospective. Don't forget to educate yourself and keep growing everybody. Happy Spending!

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