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A Financial Plan That Actually Works: The Total Money Makeover

6 Minute Read

Before The Dave Ramsey Show joined the talk radio airwaves, Dave was counseling people one-on-one with his tried-and-true money principles. Seeing the need for a relatable and proven financial plan to get your money in shape, he wrote The Total Money Makeover, a follow-up to his first book, Financial Peace.

The Total Money Makeover is Dave’s how-to approach for living out the Baby Steps in everyday life, complete with shots of inspiration from people who have worked the plan and made it to the other side to scream, “We’re debt-free!”

What Is a Financial Plan?

Financial planning is simply the process of setting goals and thinking through the steps it will take you to reach them. Each person’s financial plan looks different, depending on their short-term and long-term financial goals.

But no matter what your goals look like, it’s important to think about where you want to be and how you can get there. To do that, you need a solid financial plan that’s easy to understand and follow, and that’s why Dave wrote The Total Money Makeover. In a no-nonsense kind of way, this book walks you through the steps you need to reach financial peace.

The Proven Plan to Reach Your Financial Goals

When The Total Money Makeover hit the shelves, it skyrocketed to #1 on The New York Times best seller’s list in its first week, and has continued to spend more than 200 weeks there. Today, over 6 million copies of the book have been sold worldwide, giving people the hope and strategy they need to create a financial plan and take on their own money makeover.

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The Total Money Makeover gives you a simple, straightforward plan for breaking bad money habits and beating debt—and it works! Here’s a sneak peek into what you can expect to find in Dave’s best seller.

The Seven Baby Steps

In The Total Money Makeover, Dave breaks down the 7 Baby Steps and walks you through each stage of the journey. Dave wouldn’t tell you to do anything he hasn’t already done himself—he fought his way out of debt and bankruptcy using this exact plan! Whether you’re trying to save money for retirement, invest or pay off debt with a plan that actually works, you’ll find out how to do it with the Baby Steps.

Baby Step 1: Save $1,000 in a Beginner Emergency Fund
Baby Step 2: Get Out of Debt Using the Debt Snowball
Baby Step 3: Save 3 to 6 Months of Expenses in a Fully Funded Emergency Fund
Baby Step 4: Invest 15% of Your Income for Retirement
Baby Step 5: Save for Your Children’s College
Baby Step 6: Pay Off Your Home
Baby Step 7: Build Wealth and Give

Dave’s Voice

Dave has a way of shooting straight when he talks on the radio, and you’ll find that same voice as you read through The Total Money Makeover. You’ll see phrases like, “financial goobers,” “amputate your lifestyle,” and “get with the program, people!”—the likes of which you’d be hard-pressed to find in any other financial advice book.

Dave has no problem telling you like it is. Why? Because he’s been there too.

Commonsense Advice Your Grandma Would Give You

The Total Money Makeover doesn’t list sophisticated or hypothetical tips that are hard to understand, and you don’t need a $150,000 income to use them either! These are simply the same nuggets of advice your grandparents followed. Do live within your means. Don’t mess around with credit. Do save for a rainy day. Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. These tips may seem obvious, but they stand the test of time.

Still, don’t mistake common sense for a lack of structure. The principles Dave outlines in the book are proven and trusted. It’s financial advice for anyone—not just those who wear three-piece suits and sit in corner offices.

Busting the Myths

It’s sad but true: Most of us have accepted money myths as gospel and use them as a standard for making financial decisions. Some myths we just grew up with, and some are societal norms we’ve completely bought into—hook, line and sinker.

Here are a few of the myths Dave calls out in The Total Money Makeover:

Myth: I’ll always have a car payment.
Truth: “Taking on a car payment is one of the dumbest things people do to destroy their chances of building wealth,” Dave said. “It steals more money from their income than virtually anything else.”

Myth: A credit score is the only way to show how great I am with managing money.
Truth: “Bankers, car dealers, and unknowledgeable mortgage lenders have told America for years to ‘build your credit,’” Dave said. “[The FICO score] is not a score that says you are winning with money or that you have a million dollars; it mathematically says you LOVE DEBT.”

Myth: Having a credit card will help me build wealth.
Truth: “When you play with snakes, you get bitten. I’ve heard all the bait out there to lure the unsuspecting into the pit,” Dave said. “Broke people use credit cards; rich people don’t.”

Myth: Debt is a tool.
Truth: “Debt adds considerable risk, most often doesn’t bring prosperity, and isn’t used by wealthy people nearly as much as we are led to believe,” Dave said.

Success Stories From Real People Who Have Been There

One of the most powerful takeaways you’ll find in the book are the 50 real-life stories of those who have been in debt, followed the plan, and completed their own total money makeover.

As you flip through the pages, you’ll follow the journeys of everyday people who have worked their way through the Baby Steps with dedication.

You’ll see stories from people like David and Tayelor, who used credit cards as their income and lived paycheck to paycheck. After reading and applying the values Dave teaches in The Total Money Makeover, they cut up their credit cards, became debt-free, and now live their lives without worrying about an uncertain future.

You’ll also see Autumn’s story of being a single parent while living off of $400 a month and drowning in $100,000 of credit card debt. She paid off her car loan, continues to pay off her debt, and even owns her own company!

These are stories from people who chipped away at mountains of debt, paid off their homes in record time, and are on the path to becoming millionaires. Each personal story is proof these Baby Steps Dave teaches actually work. They’ve been effective for millions of people, and if you apply them to your life, they can work for you too!

Are you ready to join the millions of people who chose to turn their finances around? Grab a copy of The Total Money Makeover and get started on your journey today!

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