This is the first book review of many to come over the next few weeks. I thought I start my book reviews with Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover since next week we’ll be discussing debt elimination and debt management.

What’s Total Money Make Over About?

Dave Ramsey is a big proponent of cash only no credit purchasing, he is very much anti debt everything should be paid cash, this theme is seen throughout the book and is what his philosophy is based on. He makes it very clear that he hates credit cards and thinks you should buy things only in cash, forget the cash back and rewards programs only use cash. He talks about “debt snowball” (which I will talk about in a future post) a different strategy than the normal advice of pay off your highest interest card first, the debt snowball is basically to pay of the card with the lowest balance first and forget the interest rates, Ramsey believes that the psychological impact of this strategy is stronger and will keep you motivated. The book is more of a motivational book with anecdotal evidence rather a logical and mathematical book, it has many real life stories in between chapters which can serve as a good motivator.

The book is well organized and Ramsey gives a step by step guide to get out of debt and build wealth, however most of his measures are pretty extreme his motto is “Live like no one else, so one day you can live like no one else” but he keeps reminding you that there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

The Total Money Makeover In a Nutshell

1. Save $1000 for emergency
2. Cut all expenses and pay off all your debt, debt snowball
4. Build six month worth of expenses for emergency fund
5. Start Investing and building wealth with no debt
6. Only use Cash for purchases NEVER USE CREDIT

What I like

  • The book is very simple to follow no financial jargon used.
  • He is upfront and direct about what his book is about and what its not.
  • Motivational.
  • Includes true life stories including his own.
  • Many worksheets included in the book.

What I don’t like

  • He seems to put an emphasis on mutual funds, although he does state that his book should not be treated as an investment book.
  • For all of his calculations he uses a 12% average rate of return which I believe is way to high; 7-9% would be more realistic.
  • Sometimes the biblical references get too much.

Who should read this book

  • Those who have large amounts of debt and have hit a rock bottom should definitely read this book.
  • If interested in a different view to money management.
  • If you have tried other debt elimination strategies unsuccessfully.


BUY. I think this is a fantastic book to read for everyone however the path Dave Ramsey is suggesting seems very extreme, but many have done it successfully so it is doable. His debt elimination techniques, although hard, are probably one of the most effective ways to get rid of your debt and build wealth. If you want to read a personal finance book focusing on investing and wealth building there are better books out there, but if you have hit rock bottom in your finances than The Total Money Makeover is a must!

I will be giving away a copy of Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover next week details will be posted on Friday. WIN YOUR FREE COPY OF “THE TOTAL MONEY MAKEOVER”!!


Financial Highway Rating: [rating =5]

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Ray is an ex-financial adviser and the founder of Financial Highway. Currently working in the financial industry and working towards completing his Chartered Financial Analyst, CFA, designation.