Are you a Ramsey fan or critic?
Dave Ramsey seems to attract quite a few critics these days. I have heard him being criticized for everything from being over-simplified to allowing people to use debit cards to buy his products.
It is interesting to me how some people can find anything to criticize. Some people see the world with rose-colored glasses and think everything is perfect and others will never be happy with anything and therefore criticize everything. Most people are somewhere in between. But I guess after it is all said and done, we are all critics in one way or another.
Personally, I like Dave Ramsey. I think he has an excellent program that helps a LOT of people. It is a very basic and simple way of doing things, but it works for most people. I assume that is why he designed it that way. He wanted to help as many people as possible, knowing that he couldn’t please them all.
Experts are often the critics of simple tools and systems. Most times these experts are more advanced than the product they are criticizing and most of the time what they are criticizing was not intended to be used by them.
The iPod and Dave Ramsey
Let’s take Apple as an example. There were dozens of MP3 players on the market before the iPod came out. Apple just took the existing technology and made it so simple and easy to operate that your grandma could use it. They did not seek to satisfy the “techies” who were already using MP3 players. They were going after a market that wouldn’t have bought one unless it was simple.
Dave Ramsey is like the iPod of the financial gurus. While so many of the other financial guys are arguing and debating about trivial issues that are over most people’s heads, Dave was figuring out a way to boil all these financial principles down to a 5th grade level. He succeeded.
Dave’s books and seminars are designed for beginners and not for the people who have mastery over their finances. It is not perfect advice for everyone, but it is great advice for most people and is exactly what millions of people need.
Everyone is a critic
That said, just like all the other Dave Ramsey critics, I don’t agree with everything he preaches, but I think I understand why he says what he says.
- I haven’t cut up all of my credit cards, but if I were trying to help someone who didn’t have much financial discipline, I would probably suggest cutting them up.
- Mathematically, paying off the highest interest rate credit cards first would be a better idea. But, I understand the necessity for motivators on the journey to financial freedom. This is why Dave suggests paying off the smallest balances first, regardless of the interest rate. Getting a quick success under your belt is a much needed motivator for most people.
- I chose to save for retirement WHILE paying off my debt. Dave would suggest not saving for retirement until the debt is paid off. I know that I am not going to quit on the way towards my goal, but for some people knocking out the debt first is probably a good idea.
Although I do some things differently than Dave suggests, I understand why he is doing what he is doing. I am not his target market. Knowing this, I want to help him reach those people who he can help. So, I will just keep applauding him as he ignores the critics and keeps helping people break out of debt.