Advice to Congress: go listen to Dave Ramsey for an hour.

What an hour that would be.

I had the priviledge to listen to Ramsey as he gave a 90 minute financial pep talk to service members and spouses last week. If you’ve ever heard Ramsey’s radio show, it shouldn’t come as surprise that he’s even better in person. The folksy wit, wisdom and ever-flowing humor go a long way to salve the stupid money decisions of the past. Instapundit linked to this today: Dave Ramsey on the 5 Basics of Personal Finance.

Too many folks live like our government, except they don’t have access to a printing press. Ramsey writes:

Money’s fun—if you’ve got some. But the problem is a lot of people aren’t having fun. About 70 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. That means if you count 10 houses on your street, seven of those families have too much month left at the end of the money. They’re broke—and stressed out.

Ouch. No wonder the divorce rate is so high. Oddly enough, the one thing he didn’t mention last week was an observation pjHusband made a while back: the number one thing you can do to preserve your wealth is stay married. Go figure, eh? We’ve seen divorce ravage a number of friends emotionally–and financially. And in all honesty, the financial recovery takes longer.

The first Ramsey recommendation is a no-brainer (that’s why it’s too complicated for our government): Get out of debt!

What a concept, right? Cut up those credit cards. Or stop the presses.

Second: Act your wage.  Translation: don’t spend more than you make. Again, it doesn’t take a team of Ivy League government bureaucrats to … oh, wait. They don’t get it. Especially when it’s not their money.

Third: Get on a budget. A real one, no less. Hey, Democrats–it ain’t your money to spend! And you don’t have much of it. So how about spending like the rest of us have to–on a budget? Just in case you Democrats and RINOs don’t understand what a real budget means, here’s some solid Ramsey advice:

Just write out the month’s expected income minus planned expenses on paper, on purpose, before the month begins–and then stick to the plan.

I know how difficult this must sound, y’all, but really, once you get the hang of it, it’s not so bad! Tip: make sure it’s real money. Not imaginary. Not freshly printed. Not borrowed from China. Cut until you can pay for those expenses!

Four: Save and invest.  Ramsey:

We save money for three things: an emergency fund (3–6 months of expenses set aside for emergencies), purchases and wealth building. Once you’re out of debt and have a full emergency fund, there’s no reason why you can’t put 15 percent of your income into retirement

Plan your own retirement. I will never see a dime of Social Security. Neither will most folks like me under 40. The money doesn’t exist.

Last on the Ramsey plan: Give money away. Tithe. Gift with joy. Give where it’s needed most. To any random Congress member reading: you can’t give money away when you’ve got to print it. Just sayin’.

On a related giving note, I was incredibly impressed that Ramsey gifted his time to the soldiers and families present. He does this at bases across the country while he’s on tour. Pretty cool, huh? His new book is on my wish list.

There’s no quick-fix to money problems when you’re in the hole. Paying off debt isn’t fun. But it must be done. We’re ready for the pain because we want our kids to have a fighting chance, just like we did. So bring it on, Republicans.

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4 Responses

  1. Thanks for posting this! We’ve been all over this issue on Common Cents…

    Steve
    Common Cents
    http://www.commoncts.blogspot.com

  2. Obama does need a lecture on personal finance.
    IIRC, Obamas dipped into their 401K twice before Barack became President. First time when they simply wanted money, and had no way of getting it. Second time when they already were millionaires, and didn’t need the 401K. Basically, he lucked out. His country might not be so lucky.

  3. Congress on a Dave Ramsey debt snowball! I love it!!

    The entire country would start sleeping better, immediately.

    Instead of delivering pizzas for extra income, let’s drill, baby, drill!

    • ; ) maybe we should start requiring Congress to attend Financial Peace University.

      I agree re drill, baby, drill. Just think: we might be able to *export* some crude after meeting our own needs. What a turnaround that would be.

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