Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Book 9: The Total Money Makeover

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey is not the most interesting book I’ve read lately but it’s definitely the most practical. Basically it’s a book about reinforcing the good habits that people need to have in order to be financially fit. I loved that part but I did not love this book. There were too many testimonials and advertising for his other books/programs that it felt like I was getting an infomercial form of the money makeover.

            So I’m not always into financial books but I’m always looking for ways to improve my living circumstances. I do things to help myself: use coupons, do things on Swagbucks (which is a great site where you can earn giftcards just by taking polls, watch video clips, and even play games-so I highly recommend joining this site), and work two jobs so I don’t rack up massive debt. I am known to stay in a lot.  In all honesty, it’s probably good thing that R. sent me this book as a Christmas gift since I don’t always read a lot of financial books even though I read the different blogs and the subject interests me.  Cause if I have a few dollars (or lately an Amazon giftcard), I tend to choose books that fall into my pet genres (memoirs, history from the 1700s to now, and a lot of occult/fantasy/sci-fi).

            Dave Ramsey doesn’t preach a lot of hard facts or new ideas for the most part. It’s more about living within your means, giving up the credit cards all together, paying off debt, and then starting to enjoy the future. It’s just sound economically theory.  The biggest things that I’m unsure about: is giving up credit cards all together. I get perks for using the credit cards especially my Target card-the key is paying off the cards each and every month. I still have to live in my budget and make sure when I’m in Target or any other store, I’m sticking to my budget.  The other thing I’m not sure about although I can understand where he’s coming from, is to pay only the minimum on some credit cards as you put all extra income into the lowest balance so you get rid of that debt first. I just hate the idea of paying the minimum on credit cards since that doesn’t help tackle the interest too much at all. But if you are paying off all your cards in turn and finding ways to generate extra income, then you will be tackling the interest soon enough on the cards.

            But I hate how this book just felt like an advertising program. It was like reading an infomercial on why the Total Money Makeover is great and why you should also think about the Financial Peace University books.  Sorry but this detracts from the book big time. In many cases you hear about the baby steps in the testimonials before actually hearing about the baby steps in the book itself. It’s as if he’s trying to prove too hard that he has a good idea rather then letting it speak for itself first and then letting the testimonials back up the facts.

            Another thing I disliked was how he repeated himself a lot. I know he’s a radio guy so you have to reiterate yourself in case a listener didn’t catch the first part of the show. But this is a book. We don’t need to be seeing an inset about the dangers of leasing cars in the chapter talking about student loans. Just like the shocking stats about the high level of college students applying for bankruptcy in the chapter about building wealth.  Bring those inserts in the correct chapter or in the concluding chapter.

            In the end, I do feel motivated by The Total Money Makeover and I will use modified forms from the book as a way to keep myself on track. But I hate how the book felt like a giant advertising platform for his other books and radio show rather than really focusing on the Money Makeover.

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