home
RSS
What Dave Ramsey gets wrong about poverty
Financial advisor Dave Ramsey is also an evangelical Christian.
November 30th, 2013
09:59 AM ET

What Dave Ramsey gets wrong about poverty

Opinion by Rachel Held Evans, special to CNN 

(CNN)– Dave Ramsey is rich. And he makes his living telling other evangelical Christians how they can get rich, too.

Host of a nationally syndicated radio program and author of multiple best-selling books, Ramsey targets evangelical Christians with what he calls a “biblical” approach to financial planning, one that focuses primarily on the elimination of consumer debt. His for-profit Financial Peace University is billed as “a biblically based curriculum that teaches people how to handle money God's ways."

Much of what Ramsey teaches is sound, helpful advice, particularly for middle-class Americans struggling with mounting credit card bills. I have celebrated with friends as they’ve marked their first day of debt-free living, thanks in part to Dave Ramsey’s teachings and all those white envelopes of cash he urges his students to use instead of credit cards.

But while Ramsey may be a fine source of information on how to eliminate debt, his views on poverty are neither informed nor biblical.

Take, for example, a recent article by Tim Corley posted to Ramsey’s website. Entitled “20 Things the Rich Do Every Day,” the article presents some dubious statistics comparing the habits of the rich with the habits of the poor, including:

“70% of wealthy eat less than 300 junk food calories per day. 97% of poor people eat more than 300 junk food calories per day.”

“76% of wealthy exercise aerobically four days a week. 23% of poor do this.”

“63% of wealthy listen to audio books during commute to work vs. 5% of poor people.”

One need not be a student of logic to observe that Corley and Ramsey have confused correlation with causation here by suggesting that these habits make people rich or poor.

For example, a poor person might not exercise four days a week because, unlike a rich person, she cannot afford a gym membership. Or perhaps she has to work two jobs to earn a living wage, which leaves her little time and energy for jogging around the park.

A poor family may eat more junk food, not because they are lazy and undisciplined, but because they live in an economically disadvantaged, urban setting where health food stores are not as available: a so-called “food desert.”

Critics were swift to point out these discrepancies and among the critics were some of Ramsey’s fellow evangelical Christians who also noted that, though the book of Proverbs certainly heralds success as a common return on faithful labor, nowhere does the Bible guarantee that good habits lead to wealth.

The writer of Ecclesiastes observed that "under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to the skillful; but time and chance happen to them all."

And far from having contempt for the poor, Jesus surrounded himself with the needy and challenged the excesses of the rich. “Blessed are you who are poor,” he said, “for yours is the kingdom of God. … But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort” (Luke 6:24).

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle," Jesus famously said, "than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."

It’s hard for the wealthy to flourish in the kingdom that Jesus inaugurated because the economy of that kingdom runs so contrary to the economies of the world. It rewards the peacemakers over the powerful, the humble over the proud, the kind over the cruel, and those who hunger to do the right thing over those whose wealth has convinced them they already are.

Ramsey responded to the pushback with an addendum to the original post calling his critics “ignorant” and “immature” and instructing them to “grow up.”

“This list simply says your choices cause results,” he said, again committing the false cause fallacy. “You reap what you sow.”

The list, he said, applies only to people living in “first world” countries, where Ramsey believes economic injustices are essentially nonexistent. While the poor in developing countries are so as a result of external circumstances beyond their control, the poor in the United States have no one to blame but themselves.

“If you are broke or poor in the U.S. or a first-world economy, the only variable in the discussion you can personally control is YOU,” Ramsey says. “You can make better choices and have better results.”

America, he argues, has prospered as a direct result of its “understanding and application of biblical truths” which have led to “life-changing industry, inventions and a standard of living never known before on this planet.”

“There is a direct correlation,” he concludes, “between your habits, choices and character in Christ and your propensity to build wealth.”

For Christians, Ramsey’s perceived “direct correlation” between faith and wealth should be more troubling than his other confused correlations, for it flirts with what Christians refer to as the prosperity gospel, the teaching that God rewards faithfulness with wealth.

Ramsey’s particular brand of prosperity gospel elevates the American dream as God’s reward for America’s faithfulness, the spoils of which are readily available to anyone who works hard enough to receive them.

But such a view glosses over the reality that America was not, in fact, founded upon purely Christian principles (unless one counts slavery, ethnic cleansing, gender inequity, and Jim Crow as Christian principles), so we should be careful of assuming our relative wealth reflects God’s favor. (The Roman Empire was wealthy, too, after all.)

It also glosses over the reality that economic injustice is not, in fact, limited to the developing world but plagues our own country as well.

When medical bills are the biggest cause of bankruptcy in the United States, there are systemic injustices at work.

When people working 40-hour weeks at minimum wage jobs still can’t earn enough to support their families, there are systemic injustices at work.

When approximately 1% of Americans hold 40% of the nation’s wealth, there are systemic injustices at work.

When the black unemployment rate has consistently been twice as high as the white unemployment rate for the past 50 years, there are systemic injustices at work.

And throughout Scripture, people of faith are called not simply to donate to charity, but to address such systemic injustices in substantive ways.

The 17-year-old girl who lives in a depressed neighborhood zoned for a failing school system who probably won’t graduate because her grades are suffering because she has to work part-time to help support her family needs more than a few audio books to turn things around.

People are poor for a lot of reasons, and choice is certainly a factor, but categorically blaming poverty on lack of faith or lack of initiative is not only uninformed, it’s unbiblical.

God does not divide the world into the deserving rich and the undeserving poor. In fact, the brother of Jesus wrote that God has “chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him” (James 2:5).

God does not bless people with money; God blesses people with the good and perfect gift of God’s presence, which is available to rich and poor alike.

And that’s good news.

Rachel Held Evans is the author of "Evolving in Monkey Town" and "A Year of Biblical Womanhood." She blogs at rachelheldevans.com. The views expressed in this column belong to Rachel Held Evans.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Business • Christianity • Ethics • evangelicals • Faith • Leaders • Money & Faith • Opinion

soundoff (2,294 Responses)
  1. rlindsl

    Dave Ramsey's opposition to the ACA is very un-Christ-like. Unless he believes that the current healthcare system is God's perfect will and this interferes with that, then he should reconsider his mean spirited opposition to expanding healthcare.

    I do not see Christ in him.

    December 1, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Poster

      You are conflating God's will with the will of a free market. Being against the ACA doesn't mean you are against reform of the healthcare system or that you deny its faults. It simply means you don't agree with THAT approach.

      December 1, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • WhatsThePoint

      I don't recall God / Christ endorsing the AC, healthcare reform, Dave Ramsey, or expanding subsidized healthcare or having any opinion at all

      December 1, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        That would be hard as there is no evidence that a god exists; however one of the main tenets of christianity is the care of the poor, sick, and needy. The healthcare system in this country needs to be improved and if ACA is the best that politicians can do then why would Ramsey object – I've not heard his plan to improve healthcare.

        December 2, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • ME II

      @rlindsl,
      It does seem a bit arrogant to presume to know that Jesus would support the ACA.

      December 1, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
  2. Alice

    "The 17-year-old girl who lives in a depressed neighborhood zoned for a failing school system who probably won’t graduate because her grades are suffering because she has to work part-time to help support her family needs more than a few audio books to turn things around."

    His point is: if that 17 year old listens to (helpful) audio books she can download from the library for free while commuting to her part time job RATHER than gangsta music or texting with friends, she can become a much more successful 18 year old.

    December 1, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • Jinx

      Preferably Dave Ramsey's books on tape purchased from her minimum wage job?

      Get over your rarified self, you bigoted thing, you.

      December 1, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
      • WhatsThePoint

        I listen to his radio program for free...

        December 1, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
      • JustLiberty

        She didn't say anything about preferably DR's stuff. You have no basis to call her bigoted.

        December 1, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
  3. Adam

    Wow, I guess even the most generous people in the world will be criticized for something. If you read this article and have never heard of Dave Ramsey, I encourage you to listen to his show for 10 minutes or skim through one of his books. The testimonies of many who have changed their lives and their children's lives speak for themselves. I would hate for you to develop this negative perception of a wise, kind-hearted guy. If not for Dave Ramsey, I would have $100k in student loan debt hanging over my head today. Instead, my wife and I are nearing debt freedom!

    December 1, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
  4. Chris

    No one ever said that elevating a individual or family from the ranks of the poor would be easy – It takes hard work and sacrifice and that's where the problem lies. When you get home from a long day of work, do you go the extra mile or watch American Idol? In general, the poor don't want equal opportunity (which they have), they want equal outcomes. It's easier to point fingers than to look in the mirror.

    December 1, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • karen

      I agree with you Chris – Rachel doesn't appear to have spent much time with those families she is trying to defend. As a public school teacher, I have seen poor and challenged families do the right stuff far less than middle-income and successful families. Example: Successful families make sure their kids do all their homework far more often. Successful families limit screen time, and watch educational programs regularly, like those found on PBS (don't even need cable to get your local PBS channels).

      December 1, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
  5. aztekman

    Rachel is definitely showing her ignorance.
    " a poor person might not exercise four days a week because, unlike a rich person, she cannot afford a gym membership", I wonder what people did to get in shape prior to the invention of a gym membership?
    Or they must be working two jobs, "which leaves her little time and energy for jogging around the park.". Maybe she can go up and down stairs or walk/run around the block for 10-15 minutes four times a week. This is better exercise than most get at a gym.
    And Rachel, cherry-pick much to distort the premise of Dave's statements?
    People's habits do have a direct correlation to their "wealth". If one wait's for success to be handed to them, they will be waiting. If one wants success, they have a land of opportunity waiting for them. One can find opportunity at nearly every corner, if they really want.
    Yes, Rachel you do appear bitter and "full of yourself"

    December 1, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
  6. EJ

    Ms. Evens states that, "God does not bless people with money."
    Really? I find just the opposite in scripture. 1 Kings 3:11-13? Job 42:10?

    I encourage you to read Acts 17:11 and do the same when you see an article like this one.

    December 1, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Sam

      Maybe you should read the entire bible. None of you are following Jesus!

      December 1, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
  7. rino

    I never liked this Charlatan. He went broke and found out how to become rich by telling people how to become rich. Ramsey is the kind of people that is wrong with this country. When he was poor he was compassionate, when he become rich seems wallet override compassion now and he looks down at poor.

    December 1, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • WhatsThePoint

      Your claims are delusional. What is wrong with this country is that it is normal ot live in debt needless consumer debt for luxury items and Dave Ramsey thinks that is ridiculous. Tro say getting out of debt is what is wrong with the country shows how delusional you are. I also cannot find any validity to your claims that he was generous when he was poor vs not being generous now. You apparently are not aware of his charitable giving. His program is straight forward application of basic money management and the testimonials are proof his advice for financial stability works for most people who apply it. He does not promise people will get rich. He got out of dbet before he got rich. He explains how to get out of debt first which he did. Then he explains about how to build a nest egg and then building wealth in addition to advocating for charitable giving. THere is nothing flashy about his program. It is hard work and he makes it very clear it is hard work

      December 1, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
  8. Sheshie

    Hey Rachel, bitter much?

    December 1, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
  9. Sheshie

    Hey Rachel, bitter much"

    December 1, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
  10. robert

    Ramsey is nothing more than an non-ordained(?) evangelical preacher with a message of thrift and wise spending instead of the traditional Sunday-morning message. There's nothing complicated, let along magical, about his formula or his Financial Peace University. It's all simple, common-sense money management. He's a motivational speaker that found a niche, that's all.

    People who follow him do so as a flock follows a preacher. Whatever works for someone, great. Not my cup of tea.

    December 1, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
  11. Jennifer

    I feel like Dave Ramsey's comments have been taken completely out of context in this article. I have read his books (in their entirety), taken his course and heard him speak. I can understand if one is not a fan, but I have never, ever heard him say these things to mean what this author is implying.. He preaches financial responsibility so that you can be free to help others. Alot of what he spends his time on, is teaching about helping others. He is not a "prosperity" preacher at all. I feel like this article is resonating with those who want another excuse to dislike someone who has done well... and unfortunately, this article is circulating around as "truth". He never has claimed to tell someone how to get "rich" in terms of money, but how to be rich in generosity and relationships. I typically enjoy Rachel's writings, but here, she is way off base and unfortunately is spreading untruths about a someone who is trying to help people live within their means and find satisfaction in doing so. He's not perfect, he doesn't claim to be, but he's not the guy that is written about in this article. I am not sure she really knows what Dave Ramsey teaches, because it is certainly NOT what this article implies he does.

    December 1, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • WhatsThePoint

      Totally agree. The religious aspect of his program is minimal. He basically encourages people not to make bad financial decisions and to make a plan. He is more about how to get on sound footing financially. He definitely doesn't say if you do this or buy my book God will reward you with money. He basically says if you work hard and smart you can do well despite what you hear from (other) people in debt. And you should be generous fair and loving with your money when you are on sound footing

      December 1, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
  12. Randy

    For someone who purports to understand Christian principles, she completely misunderstands the Old Testament and God when she suggest that the Bible supports "slavery, ethnic cleansing, gender inequity, and Jim Crow." I hope people won't take her word that these are Biblical principles, but will go to the source and try to understand what it says. Too many stop at the surface and fail to ask the who, what, why, how.

    December 1, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • lizlayne

      Randy, read again:

      "But such a view glosses over the reality that America was not, in fact, founded upon purely Christian principles (unless one counts slavery, ethnic cleansing, gender inequity, and Jim Crow as Christian principles)"

      You completely misunderstood her point. These are some of the societal practices happening in America at the United States' founding. She's saying that colonial America wasn't really based on biblical principles UNLESS you count slavery, ethnic cleansing etc. as biblical suggestions).

      December 1, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
      • WhatsThePoint

        Where did Dave ramsey say it was founded on Christian principles and that it was 100% fair? His program simply applies after the fact that someone is poor and is tired of it. He provides advice and methods for modifying our behavior on what we can change to get out of debt, build a nest egg, even potentially build wealth and have money to give to charity He doesn't blame people for being poor or claim God is punishing them. Or that god favors rich people or picks good people to be rich. He simply tells people how to manage their money better so they can beat the odds

        December 1, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • JB

      Go back and re-read that paragraph. She is not suggesting that those were in the bible. She is clarifying the concept that many people believe this country was founded on Christian principles. Only if you consider slavery, ethnic cleansing, gender inequity, and Jim Crow as Christian principles, as they were very much a part of the original founding of this country. If you don't consider those Christian principles (I sure don't), then you now understand the misconception that people have of how this country was founded.

      December 1, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • Amy B

      I just want to know if Ms. Evans has actually sat through the 9 week Dave Ramsey course. Given her comments and complete misunderstanding of his teachings, I'm pretty sure the answer is no. I believe in informed journalism, and this is simply impossible if you do not fully inform yourself about the subject on which you are writing. Ms. Evens, I highly recommend that you attend the entire Dave Ramsey 9 week course and then write an article that is a bit more informed. I think that you will find you have completely missed the point of his teachings. Believe me his course is not a get rich class.

      One more side note: the Bible does not purport to say that you must be poor to be truly holy. Nor does it say that all who are rich will not be allowed in heaven. You may want to spend a bit more time studying the Bible as well.

      December 2, 2013 at 11:18 am |
  13. Keep it real

    A single person living in poverty in the United States, makes $11,170 per year not counting any government subsidies. That income alone makes a person richer than 84.95% of all the people on earth. When Jesus spoke of the poor, I don't think He was referring to 85% of the people on earth. If we are going to keep it real Ms. Evans, we need to acknowledge that almost none of "the poor" in the United States meet the "biblical standard" of poverty to which Jesus referred.

    December 1, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      So, if nobody starves, it's a darn good Christian nation.

      December 1, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
      • WhatsThePoint

        What does that have to do with Dave Ramsey? All he does is tell you how to manage the money you have – whatever that is. I.e how to pay off debt, then save some money, then build retirement and if you get past that maybe build wealth. by simply applying a method of budgeting and not accepting debt as the normal course through life. He doesn't talk about the country being founded as a Christian nation, nor does it relate to his program.

        December 1, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Bachewy

      Oh please, $11k salary in the States does not equal $11k standard of living in other countries. In the Philippines the average salary is ~$400 a month ($2.8k a year). That Philippino has the same standard of living as the $11k person in the States, with both having a rundown home and having barely enough to eat with.

      December 1, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
      • outoftown

        The thing is this... $11k in the US isn't just 11k... you have countless options when your salary is that low, everything from housing subsidies and food stamps to free health care and babysitting. But in developing countries, where $11k would be an amazing salary, there are no such similar benefits for the poor. I live in Nicaragua, and there are no food stamps, no housing subsidies, and no free anything. Being poor in the US is a completely different thing than being poor elsewhere in the world. It just doesn't correlate at all.

        December 1, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
        • TNPatriot

          If you bothered to read the original post, you would see that the suggestion was a single person. In the US, a single person without children would not be eligible for food stamps, housing assistance or free medical (depending on the state). That $11k US in your country would be equal to about $25K cordobas a year. and your government provides free healthcare for everyone..

          December 1, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
      • WhatsThePoint

        What does that have to do with Dave Ramsey? All he does is tell you how to manage the money you have – whatever that is. I.e how to pay off debt, then save some money, then build retirement and if you get past that maybe build wealth. by simply applying a method of budgeting and not accepting debt as the normal course through life.

        December 1, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • sjdawson

      " A single person living in poverty in the United States, makes $11,170 per year not counting any government subsidies. That income alone makes a person richer than 84.95% of all the people on earth."

      I have an idea. What don't you try to live on $11,170/year in this country? It costs more to live here than in most of other countries.If you are going to make comparisons,they must be apple to apple, not apple to orange.

      December 1, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
      • WhatsThePoint

        What does that have to do with Dave Ramsey? All he does is tell you how to manage the money you have – whatever that is. I.e how to pay off debt, then save some money, then build retirement and if you get past that maybe build wealth. by simply applying a method of budgeting and not accepting debt as the normal course through life. He doesn't talk about the country being founded as a Christian nation, nor does it relate to his program...

        December 1, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • Sara

      ...and in those countries cost of living in twice less than living in the united states. $11, 000 would be a fortune but for america with a higher cost of living, it is the poverty line. If its so easy to live with $11,000 income, dare you to try it for a couple of months and maybe you will understand the reality of poverty versus your opinion and selfish perception of it.

      December 1, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
      • Jesse

        It would not be difficult as a single person to live in America on $11k per year – I've done it. – I've done it at times while makeing considerably more than that.. It can involve having a room mate, driving a vehicle that fits that income or using public transportation, not eating out and/or finding yourself in Starbucks but you can live reasonably.. It does involve choices people make including finding a way to live on what you make. Now of course if you CHOOSE to live alone, drive a $10k+ car, have cable, eat out, party with your friends, own a smart phone with unlimited plan, shop at Macy's, and . Oh and by the way – if you are single you can choose to work more than 40 hours per week. It is all about choices,...

        December 1, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
      • WhatsThePoint

        What does that have to do with Dave Ramsey? All he does is tell you how to manage the money you have – whatever that is. I.e how to pay off debt, then save some money, then build retirement and if you get past that maybe build wealth. by simply applying a method of budgeting and not accepting debt as the normal course through life. He doesn't talk about the country being founded as a Christian nation, nor does it relate to his program.

        December 1, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
      • Sara(swati)

        Well stated, Sara. These fools talking about living comfortably on $11,000/year clearly never got the memo that the average cost per person for healthcare in the US is $10,000 a year. Sure, as a single, healthy 18 year old you might get by fine, but that is not the reality for most people.

        December 2, 2013 at 10:21 am |
  14. WhatsThePoint

    @tony
    I don't know where Dave Ramsey said getting sick or injured in the US is a result of being sinful

    December 1, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
  15. tony

    I think the Pope just wrote a similar paper.

    December 1, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Science Works

      tony

      Here is what Dolan says. all about marketing = money no god(s) required.

      Catholic Church Has Been 'Outmarketed' On Gay Marriage, Says New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/30/gay-marriage-timothy-dolan_n_4363690.html

      December 1, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
  16. SuzyQ

    Ms. Evans, Kudos to a well written article. You spoke the truth on many levels. I don't care for Dave Ramsey. I pick up negative vibes from him.

    December 1, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      I think you're sensing his elitist philosophy. He does not address issues that cannot be solved by cutting extra spending or acquiring more streams of revenue--something many people can do nothing about.

      December 1, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
      • WhatsThePoint

        People call in all the time who are ill and he tells them that they need to forget about debt or getting out of debt and worry about finances later. Survival is more important.
        But as far ac the christian aspect he never says people are poor because God wanted it that way or they are rich becasue God wanted it that way, or if they do X God will make them rich.
        Dave Ramsey doesn't deny that there are societal factors that influence poverty. Nor does he deny that some people defy stereotypes or get out of debt, build a nest egg, or get rich. No financial advisor could do their job or have any impact if they believed that no one can get ahead and didn't show people how to make the most out of their particular situation.
        If you listen to his show he walks through peoples situation and points out what they can control and addresses clear ways they can improve their situation. He never promises it will be easy, he just encourages people to work extra hard in the short term so they can have a better lifestyle later – and be generous

        December 1, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
  17. Tom

    I have never perceived Mr. Ramsey's ideology to imply that one would get rich financially by applying his advice. I've always understood it to mean that one can put their money to better use by getting out of debt and being more self-controlled with spending. I never thought I would get rich just by listening to him. He has also stated that "life happens" referring to the hospital visits, car accidents, household woes that sometimes strap us financially. Thus, he tries to prepare one to have the finances necessary to address these types of events. This author appears to be perceiving another understanding.

    December 1, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • tony

      Unless extremely wealthy beforehand, it's commonly impossible to weather extreme or multiple family health issues. Med insurance doesn't cover loss of income, and that drops your SS tax payments, which then ruins your future retirement.

      December 1, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
      • WhatsThePoint

        Where did Dave Ramsey say that people can control disability or life threatening illness and become rich? He has people call in in every episode with such cases. i.e they are in Chemo treatment or live on disability income. All he does is show them compassion, tell them to worry about medical bills later and then tells them some tips for managing their spiritual and financial situation the best he can.

        December 1, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • WhatsThePoint

      I agree. I listened to his program for years when I first started a family and he just spoke about common sense that we fail to apply to our financial matter and his religious stuff was always pretty light. I wasn't very religious at all and I listened to his program without being offended at all. He wasn't talking about fire and brim stone and the chosen and chosen kind of stuff at all. He would even say I believe X but that is me if you don't agree that is fine. Or I can tell you what I would do based on my beliefs... His religious aspect is not the forefront of his program. He also doesn't promise wealth or riches as a reward.

      December 1, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
  18. OMGPLZGRL

    Exercise is free, no gym pass required. Walking, jogging or running around a park or neighborhood is free and people have time. People always say they don't have time. If you are working two 40 hour jobs a week, maybe. However, a lunch hour is the perfect time to get a brisk walk in.

    Also, you don't need to live next to a Whole Foods to NOT eat junk food. It is just as simple and economical to buy a bag of carrots as it is to buy a bag of potato chips and from any market. I've never seen a more laughable comment than the one made in the article. Also, in the summer time it is super easy and cheap to eat healthy, farmer's markets!

    Listening to or reading books? Libraries are FREE! Get a library card and use it.

    December 1, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      I will be sure to pass that advice along to the mother of three who is dying of a genetic disease, working three jobs, and changing her parents' diapers several times a day because they are both dying. I am sure she has time for that. Great advice! Thanks.

      December 1, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
      • igaftr

        Reminds me of those who do not know what poor is,
        like Goerge W ""You work three jobs? ... Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that." –to a divorced mother of three, Omaha, Nebraska, Feb. 4, 2005

        Clearly doesn't get what poverty really means.

        December 1, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
        • Maddy

          Bush. Lmao.

          December 1, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
      • Tim

        Yes. Bring your hypothetical hysteria into the equation. Like this is the standard for our country. Is this one of the straw men you referred to?

        December 1, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
      • Cameron

        If she is working three jobs while dying of disease, I am pretty freaking impressed!

        Meanwhile, your sad straw-man argument didn't seem to impress anybody.

        December 1, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
      • WhatsThePoint

        Excercise is free but I don't know where he ever made any disrespectful comments to anyone with a disease or who was overweight. Where did Dave Ramsey say that people can control disability or life threatening illness and become rich? He has people call in in every episode with such cases. i.e they are in Chemo treatment or live on disability income. All he does is show them compassion, tell them to worry about medical bills later and then tells them some tips for managing their spiritual and financial situation the best he can.

        December 1, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • Bachewy

      I was pretty poor as a young man. The grocery store was over 25 miles away. 7-11 was two minutes away. That's a serious gas savings by not driving those 25 miles to buy a cheap bag of carrots. So, getting a 25-cent Little Debbie kept me from starving. I'm not saying it's right but it was the best option for me at the time.

      December 1, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • Sara

      Well move over Jesus we have someone that knows how to completely solve poverty. Get over yourself and with that free library card, maybe you should go check out books about poverty, economics, social history, history and theology books about the real Christ.

      December 1, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
  19. Jack

    The only issue I've had with Ramsey is his using of religion for finical gain, and really not so much as the gain but more or less if you talk the talk you must walk the walk. By this I mean when he filed bankruptcy and people and business's lost money, now that he is a multimillionaire, has he repaid those he harmed. Seems to me the correct religious thing to do would to be make good on his short comings. Now maybe he has and if so this is a moot point but again this is really the only issue I have with him.

    December 1, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Lisa in Seattle

      Jack, I've been a Dave Ramsey listener for many years. He's very honest about his early bankruptcy and often talks about the fact that his faith was the reason for his decision to go back once he was financially able and repay all of the debts that were discharged through his bankruptcy. I would agree with many other posters, Ramsey is a man of faith and character. I've never heard him say or do anything that is not congruent with biblical teachings (although sometimes I do think he can be harsh in voicing his opinions–but he's always clear that they are just that, his opinions!) The whole point of his Financial Peace University is to become debt-free so you can be in a position to GIVE more to others. I think this blogger's opinion is based on a lot of assumptions instead of really LISTENING to Ramsey's message and even how it is delivered. I've yet to be able to find fault with his teachings–and I'm a former banker. Americans need more straight talk and common sense when it comes to money management. His programs are just that–they have nothing to do with "prosperity doctorine" and the blogger should not misled her readers in that way.

      December 1, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
      • deborahcsanders

        Well put Lisa! Thank you. I have tasted poverty briefly. But we made it (with pre-schoolers) and an economy that was horrible. And those little envelopes helped along with Ramsey's suggestions. Debt Free. Remember where mortgage comes from? Mort – death.

        December 2, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • WhatsThePoint

      Dave Ramsey has paid his bankruptcy debts. Typical accusation without facts

      December 1, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
  20. WhatsThePoint

    Wow what a great innovative article... Let mess if I got the main points
    1) You agree Dave Ramsey gives good financial advice.
    BUT..
    2) He shouldn't teach people that if they work hard and stop making excuses because that is a lie, it never worked for anyone, and life is inherently unfair and there is no way to beat the odds with hard work and dedication. ***He should teach that there is no way to get ahead because life is unfair.***
    3) He should tell people it is unchristian to have any comfort in life so they will burn in h@ll if they get out of debt or have enough money to retire on,

    The person who wrote the article doesn't really believe any of what they are saying nor do they live by such "philosophical" garbage. As if anyone on here doesn't want to be debt free or have enough money to retire on. Or anyone on here doesn't work hard because they think the world is unfair.

    It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

    ― Theodore Roosevelt

    December 1, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      I admit that I only read your post twice, but it seems like an extremely poorly constructed strawman with no real objection. What does the article get wrong? Where does Evans put forth something that isn't true?

      December 1, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
      • WhatsThePoint

        Let mess if I got the main points
        1) You agree Dave Ramsey gives good financial advice.
        BUT..
        2) He should teach that there is no way to get ahead because life is unfair
        3) He should tell people it is unchristian to have any comfort in life so they will burn in h@ll if they get out of debt or have enough money to retire on,

        After reading the article tell me if you disagree with the points

        December 1, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Evans says absolutely nothing like your points 2 and 3. What the fvck is obscuring your vision as you read news articles on your computer screen. You've just proved yourself to be a rash fool.

          December 1, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
        • tony

          I thought Jesus taught that becoming sick or injured was not a result of being sinful. But it's usually financially crippling here in the US, despite not having credit card or other debt.

          Dismissing that blatant fact is as sinful as it gets.

          December 1, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
      • WhatsThePoint

        what she got wrong is that 1 the bible actually has varying opinions on wealth and prosperity. Which she only presents one side (read about debt in the bible) and not using the correct historical context of the rich man with the camel through an eye of the needle.
        No one reading or writing the article is willing to give up their home and retirement and food and clothing whether they are christian or not. Nor does the bible consistently say that hey should.
        She provides example of how life isn't fair. (straw man) Black unemployment is twice white peoples. Did he say it wasn't? No. There is really no point to motivational speaking on financial matters if you don't believe people can get ahead. No one including the author really believes there is no way to get ahead in life. She even starts out the article saying he gives good financial advice and she has friends who celebrated being debt free in part to his program.

        December 1, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
        • Andrew

          You really have to slow down. Try reading it again.

          She didn't take 'eye of the needle' out of context. The idea that that it's some 'difficult but not impossible task,' as if it were a gate, is a myth. That's an expression that was used by Jews during Jesus time to refer to something that is impossible. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_of_a_needle#Christianity

          I actually know many people that have liquidated their retirement accounts, given away homes, and all they own for the sake of the Gospel. You are right to note that not everyone is called to that. Jesus is consistent though: those who have wealth that is horded or used on self, while others suffer, are in for a rough time. That's not just Jesus, either. That's the most consistent Biblical theme. There is no deviation from that. I know you want to claim there's a varied opinion, but there's not. Scripture is very unfriendly toward the wealthy. It

          The glimpse of 'it's good to be rich' comes about with David, and Solomon, and a few others, sure. Look what happened to them though.

          Then just to back up, if you haven't yet realized the error in your other posts: Ms. Evans didn't claim anyone was going to hell. She pointed out ACCURATELY that you can give good financial advice (consolidate to lower interest rates, don't use CCs, etc) and still have bad theology. I actually am having a hard time imagining how you or anyone might conflate the two.

          Her point was Ramsey blames the victim. He says the poor are poor by their own choices. He is wrong. The fact that he claims the Bible's on its side when its message is VERY contrary (again, consistently), is the reason she'd write such a thing.

          December 1, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
        • WhatsThePoint

          @Poster
          but again she is implying he said the system is far and he never said that. He just doesn't accept making excuses and focusing on what we can control to build financial stability – whatever our situation is

          December 1, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
      • WhatsThePoint

        If points 2 & 3 are wrong, what is her point?

        December 1, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          NOW, you're starting to ask the right questions. What might be her point if her motives are not what you previously assumed? Isn't that an interesting question? I'd like to read your ideas!

          December 1, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
        • WhatsThePoint

          You already read my points.. I am interested in what yours are if you are saying they arent the points...

          December 1, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
        • Poster

          Its a loss of energy and time to try and argue with someone who hates the very idea that any system produces losers. The only rebuttal to your assessment of the author's intentions has been that the system IS unfair and that she isnt saying that Ramsey's approach isnt without merits.

          December 1, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.