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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 (2,299 Responses)
  1. Chris

    Wow, this article is so off-base it is not even funny. First of all, Dave Ramsey does not try to make people rich his whole concept is teaching people how to manage money and being debt free. Of course, the better you learn how to manage and invest your money the end result is being able to give back. That is the key to his teachings, everything full circle. He does give generously. He was also broke at one time too, so as far as being rich, he worked hard to be where he is at. I also want to add that i am not religious (I am an atheist) and I am also liberal and I would assume that there are a lot of people out there that listen to him who are just like me. The writer is making an assumption that Dave is targeting the Christian population... so far from the truth that it is not even funny. Anybody can listen too, read or relate to his no nonsense approach to finances. You do not have to be Christian. Wealth is not "evil" and poor people do spend money differently than wealthy people. This is a fact, that is why lottery tickets sell out in poor neighborhoods. As far as gym memberships, wow that is really stupid. So poor people can't work out because they can't afford a membership? Oh brother, what about putting on a cheap pair of sneakers and going for a walk! Ok... off my soapbox

    December 3, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      He does offer investment advice and recommends brokers who are paid commissions. If you research you will find that typically such brokers sell mutual funds with front-end sales charges and typically choose those that pay them the best commission. It makes sense that the return on the investment will be severely impacted by such practices and as such the industry does not consider that optimal advice – nor does common sense.

      December 3, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
      • Wayne Brice

        For people who want to invest, Ramsey does offer a list of what he thinks are good investment advisers. But his goal is not to make people rich….it's to make people be responsible stewards of what they have, whether it's a lot of a little.

        December 3, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          "But his goal is not to make people rich….it's to make people be responsible stewards of what they have, whether it's a lot of a little."

          Wayne we're all not financial geniuses. Some of us do need help with finances. Some of those people turned to Bernie Madoff. They were trying to be "responsible stewards of what they have, whether it's a lot of a little." And how did it work out for them?

          Some of them because of "financial adivice" from people like Ramsey, ended up losing everything. So poverty isn't a "choice" people make. Sometimes it's bad luck or criminal.

          December 3, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
      • FreeThinking

        Ramsey is an idiot. 20 years in banking and lending, I can assure you most of what he says is BS and is a result of key financial relationships he has created for himself to benefit from i.e. who he recommends. He does make recommendations for brokers who make excessive fees, not great advise. This all coming from a self appointed christian based deceiver of the people. WHy would anyone trust his advise, he has bankrupted himself. Ramsey is a complet fraud people!

        December 3, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
        • jessi

          Free think, I understand how you may look at Ramsey as just another person trying to make a profit off of others. Ramsey is trying to be a teacher to others that may have not been taught to be good stewards of their money. Yes, Ramsey has been one of the many to have filed bankruptcy, but so have I and I will forever live my life from here on out as someone who can be a positive example for someone that may be struggling financially due to not being properly taught. He too is doing the same! If one persons failure can help another one from falling, teach on.
          Another topic that Ramsey speaks of is how important it is to save and to plan ahead for tough times; these are important skills everyone needs to be reminded of several times a year. Because you're in the banking industry, you should know how saving is important. Why are you so against this? Has your personal business slowed down because of Ramsey?

          December 4, 2013 at 11:52 am |
  2. Caleb Gordon

    Here is my response:
    http://calebgordon.com/what-dave-ramsey-gets-wrong-about-poverty-a-response

    December 3, 2013 at 11:30 am |
  3. Sheba

    A man has no idea what faith is until he practices it faithfully in poverty. And any gospel that cannot be preached in Haiti, Laos, or Somalia is not the Gospel of Christ.

    December 3, 2013 at 9:20 am |
  4. Timothy J. McSwain (@tmcswain)

    I see the writer of this article making some of the same fallacies of which she accuses Ramsey. She looks at several statistics and presumes the cause is due to 'systematic injustices.' I disagree and see no proof in this article to back her claims. Much of what she lists is based on multiple criteria and cannot be blamed on society as a whole.

    I will use myself as an example. I am not wealthy but I still have choices. If wealth were my priority I could move to another part of the country, take a different job or learn a new skill. My lack of income is not the result of a systematic injustice but the result of decisions based upon many differing factors. I am not wealthy but I am happy.

    I think she has misrepresented Dave Ramsey in her article and has not made a strong argument for her case. I must confess that I do disagree with the idea of a 'prosperity gospel' but I don't see that as Dave Ramsey's point. I think he is saying more about how our decisions effect our lives and that is something I agree with. We in America can make better lives with the decisions we make and I know this first hand because I have spent time in third world countries and seen the difference.

    We can blame the system for our problems or we can look for solutions, and I think Dave Ramsey is simply trying to kick us into gear and convince us to stop crying about everything and do something with our lives. It seems Ms. Evans has done just that. Her opinion has been posted on a CNN site. It seems to me that she agrees with Ramsey more than she knows.

    December 3, 2013 at 8:56 am |
    • Les

      I am in agreement with Timothy. I am responding here because I haven't determined how I can respond directly to Ms. Evans.

      Let’s set some things straight, Rachel.

      Money is not the root of all evil—it’s the love of it that is (I Tim. 6: [10] For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows (KJV).

      From what I’ve seen in Dave Ramsey books, and hear on his radio broadcasts, is someone that points people away from the ways of covetousness—to wit, a person who, when asked how he’s doing, responds, “Better than I deserve”—a reflection of the grace that he understands he’s been delivered by. This is someone whose radio show introduction includes verbiage to the effect that, “the paid-off mortgage has become the new status symbol over the BMW in the driveway”.

      No, Ms. Evans, money itself is not evil—to the contrary, consider this passage from Deuteronomy 8: [18] But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day (KJV).

      What I read and hear in Dave’s teaching is consistent with the “wealth” expressed in Romans 13 ([8] Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law)—KJV.

      A careful examination of the context of the Greek in Luke 6:24 will alert one to Jesus’ referring especially to those that are poor in spirit (As stated in Matthew 5: [3] Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.)—KJV
      And, when you look in context at what Jesus said about the “eye of the needle”, that was (and is) an actual, physical location, where a camel had to get down on its knees, be loosed of its burden, and have the burden placed back on it after it shimmied through this narrow passageway. In other words, when man gives up his lust for stuff in this life he will see himself rewarded in the next—not necessarily with more stuff, but with that which is incorruptible.

      You speak in your article of systemic failures, and I would agree that the Church has allowed for one huge systemic failure, and that is allowing government to provide for those in need, when it should have been the Church’s responsibility all along—that indeed has caused problems, prompting dependence on government and independence from God—it should be the other way around.

      And so, Rachel, I rejoice with you for all your friends that have now been able to scream that they’re ‘debt free’, and sorry for those that only scream about those that are free of their debts.

      Rev. Les

      December 3, 2013 at 11:07 am |
      • John Woodward

        This is extremely poor journalism and extreme "reaching" to attribute completely an article by Tim Corley linked on a website but any success that is gained from following Dave Ramsey's principles as "...thanks in part to Dave Ramsey’s teachings..." I would also say that, with just a little bit of research you'd find that most of the folks you reference as "rich" are giving more charitably to assist the poor than folks who are NOT following Dave Ramsey's program. Again, this is targeted, biased journalism which I have come to expect from anyone associated with CNN.

        December 3, 2013 at 11:30 am |
        • JC

          It's not journalism. It's an opinion piece.

          December 3, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
      • Say What?

        Could not agree more. Such extreme irresponsible reaching.

        December 3, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
  5. Reality # 2

    Why would Ryan or Ramsey's god allow the following:

    Strong circ-umstantial evidence that there is no god (or did they all die as martyrs?)

    Number of god's creations who died horrible deaths from the following diseases:

    1. 300,000,000 approx.
    Smallpox

    2. 200,000,000 ?
    Measles

    3. 100,000,000 approx.
    Black Death

    4. 80,000,000–250,000,000
    Malaria

    5. 50,000,000–100,000,000
    Spanish Flu

    6. 40,000,000–100,000,000
    Plague of Justinian

    7. 40,000,000–100,000,000
    Tuberculosis

    8. 30,000,000[13]
    AIDS pandemic

    9. 12,000,000 ?
    Third Pandemic of Bubonic Plague

    10. 5,000,000
    Antonine Plague

    11. 4,000,000
    Asian Flu

    12. 250,000 or more annually Seasonal influenza

    December 3, 2013 at 8:29 am |
    • Jason

      God – Crucifixion.

      December 3, 2013 at 10:48 am |
      • Reality # 2

        Some god was crucified? Give us a break !!!

        December 3, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • Brian

      How do these numbers change what Ramsey is saying? Live within a budget (hard, I know) and work hard to improve your station in life, also hard if not harder than the budget?

      Nothing he preaches isn't equally of value to any person on the planet. They have the choice.

      December 3, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
      • Reality # 2

        Ramsey is simply another Christian con man. Enough said.

        December 3, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
  6. Draki

    While Ms. Evans article may bring a lot of traffic today, this is going to turn away many readers off CNN. Ms. Evans is obviously immature and did not thoroughly research Mr. Ramsey's messages. I listen to his radio show once a week. To say that Ramsey says following God's principles always leads to wealth is a lie. Ramsey routinely states that "life happens" and God's principles lead to financial peace and a great life not abundant wealth and riches. Oh well, I wouldn't really expect performance or professionalism out of CNN anyway.

    December 3, 2013 at 8:09 am |
  7. Josh

    This author clearly had some traumatic childhood experience. She's so far into victim and blame territory it makes her viewpoints and ultimately her writings inaccurate and weak. She's pulling horrible examples from an article Ramsey shared and uses it as a foundation for her blog. This is typical "non-believer talk", someone who believes they can slowly poke holes in the gospel and leaders Christians look to and all just to "inform the public"; well it's actually demonic, and Evans has some demons in her which are tainting her and keeping her in a poverty, victim state of mind.

    December 3, 2013 at 7:24 am |
  8. Mark

    This article does make sense with the perspective and biblical scriptures.
    I only have a few thoughts:
    1. Ramsey puts himself out there to be judged like most Christians do not.
    2. He has helped so many people just that I know, its hard to fathom how many people he has influenced.
    3. We do live in a country that has more riches than ot knows what to do with, and have opportunities much of the world does not.
    4. For much of the poor in the world and US, it is the neighbor's(person who crosses paths) to lend a helping hand. If someone knows of a poor person who needs help then your heart should lead you to help.
    5. Nice job putting this article out there but when someone like Ramsey starts quoting the bible and finds success, there will be people challenging values and authenticity. If we could all could positively effect a small percentage of lives the way Ramsey does thr world would be a better place.

    December 3, 2013 at 6:35 am |
  9. kevinscottbailey

    Ramsey makes some logical errors, sure. In the main, he's right about probably 95% of what he says, though he does have some correlation/causation issues. But Evans logic is MUCH weaker, and you can basically boil the crux of her argument down to this:

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

    She doesn't understand how capitalism works, or that equality of opportunity does not always result in equality of results. She cherry-picks statistics that support her (implied) push for redistribution of wealth, and ignores anything that mitigates against it.

    December 3, 2013 at 2:15 am |
    • breakingbad21

      I agree. This article seems to focus on the small factual errors that Ramsey and his company may have made unintentionally (or perhaps they really do believe in the causation/correlation statistics Evans accused them of, which is obviously wrong); either way, this is making mountains out of molehills.

      Ramsey is not being unbiblical – he's trying to help the American people get out of debt and into financial security. There's no concrete causation between riches and audiobooks/diet/fitness, only a weak correlation. Still, this issue isn't strong enough to make the point Evans is attempting to make.

      December 3, 2013 at 3:35 am |
  10. Crystal

    Where do I begin.
    Welp- There is nothing factual to focus on which is why motive is considered. All we have are assumptions. She references a few bits and pieces of peripheral quotes to try and make sweeping observations on the views of another...contriving a story that she wants to tell rather than what is really there.

    Asserting that someone's views on poverty are misinformed and unbiblical is a bold allegation–one should be prepared the thoroughly support that point. And, Ms. Evans fails to deliver anything that even remotely supports her argument. Every point is based on a contrived leap of an assumption...twisted quotes. There is no full quote, transcript or video that can be reasonably tied to her assumptions.

    -She references the Corley article on the identifies habits of rich people. So what? It doesn't say that those habits will make people wealthy. Where is the confusion between causation and correlation within the article? People find it interesting to know the habits of successful people- no matter the type of success.. I found the interesting and I also have the capacity to understand (as most people do) which habits would be a product of having money vs a product of helping to save/generate money.
    -“There is a direct correlation,” he concludes, “between your habits, choices and character in Christ and your propensity to build wealth.” This is the statement where Evans ties Dave Ramsey to the " faith prosperity gospel". Are you kidding me? He doesn't say that these are the ONLY factors. These are the factors he is discussing at this time. The ones within our control. How is that unbiblical?
    Next.
    – She asserts that the "prosperity gospel" she dubbed that he preaches elevates the "American dream." Ummm... WHAT? Can someone not reference the hard work and good things that went into building our Country that contributed to it's prosperity without bringing up the dark part of our history in the same breath? And Ramsey is viewed as considering slavery etc... in line with Christian Principles? Outrageous and so far off! That is someone who is picking apart every word and twisting it to find contrary meanings. Who has time for that?! Someone who wants to sell an article? OR a book perhaps? Furthermore. The carrot he dangles to his audience is not the "American Dream." It is the ability to be able to Glorify God with your finances by taking care of His people. Money is not the ONLY blessing, but it is one of many forms of blessings and a provision from God. And giving money to help those in need is one of many ways to honor God.
    -"And throughout Scripture, people of faith are called not simply to donate to charity, but to address such systemic injustices in substantive ways." What does addressing systematic injustices look like- Must it be an ornery blog post or a political statement? How does she know that Dave doesn't do so on a personal level in his every day life? Donating is equally important. I would be curious to know who has donated more time and money to those in need (percentage-wise) Evans or Ramsey? Don't understand her point here.

    If you're looking for a public figure who takes on all social and economic injustices in a political way, you're looking at the wrong man and you'll undoubtedly have a skewed perception of the value and impact of his teachings. His talent addresses a specific issue in America, as we each have talents that serve different purposes. Some people work with children, serve in the military, or save lives in an operating room. Dave Ramsey addresses a very BIG issue that is relevant to many Americans.

    That said, his core focus around building financial stability and wealth IS caring for those less fortunate and using money as one way to take action and show such compassion and care.

    I take issue with those who would slander his mission so carelessly with no factual basis.

    Which brings me full circle to my post earlier. The only part I agree with Evans on is that injustice is real and bringing awareness to it is a positive thing so that conversations can be had and solutions brainstormed. Not brainstorming WITHIN this article – but posing actionable ideas that can be conversation starters. Not as selacious as slander, but authentic.

    December 3, 2013 at 2:10 am |
  11. Say What?

    Better choices = better chances
    Not a guarantee.
    Not rocket science.
    Yet- still empowering.

    December 3, 2013 at 12:13 am |
    • KC

      Correct. I did all the right things - education at top college/grad school, daily exercise, good diet, don't smoke/drink/drugs - and nonetheless ended up in poverty due to a medical crisis that all the good health habits in the world couldn't prevent. When you're unable to work, State Disability covers only about 1/3 of your salary, enough to pay your rent and nothing more. Even if you have a private disability policy, you will still be getting a lot less than your paycheck ... at a time when you have huge medical bills in addition to your usual living expenses. The combination of medical insurance premiums and medical bills exceeded my income.

      There's been too much emphasis on "personal responsibility", such that we've lost sight of the fact that "accidents happen" - innocent people out for their health-improving after-dinner walk get hit by drunk drivers who careen around blind corners or jump the curb to mow down pedestrians on the sidewalk.

      I have a number of after-effects from sports injuries which wouldn't have happened if I'd been a couch potato.

      December 3, 2013 at 2:43 am |
  12. Crystal

    Injustices are real in the world we live in, and bringing awareness to them and brainstorming solutions to help is a positive thing.
    Too bad this article fails at doing that.

    This author loses all credibility for attempting to slander a good name just to gain notoriety and readership.

    Author's ego vs. genuine desire to inspire change. Her ego won by a long shot.

    December 3, 2013 at 12:01 am |
    • vivdrummer

      Wait, so you're saying that Ms. Evans doesn't have any valid points? Look, brainstorming solutions probably would have extended the article to 10 pages more than allowed. There is nothing wrong with pointing out this guy's flawed teachings. And as anyone who knows anything about solving national problems will tell you, one solution in Oregon might not work in Texas. The problem solving is best left to those on the local level. I think you assume too much about Ms. Evans' motives for writing this article. Rather than making assumptions about her motives, how about focusing on whether it was factual.

      December 3, 2013 at 12:33 am |
  13. Brettany Renée Blatchley

    Excellent article and points. Evangelicalism is plagued with Ramsey's sorts of simplistic cause-and-effect beliefs. God is NOT a formula to be manipulated, and life is very unfair, even to the people we think hold all the cards. Being wise and responsible with what God has given you (even if you worked for it), is a good thing, but looking down on people because they are not being blessed as you are is the one of the blocks the religious people of Jesus' time tripped over.

    December 2, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
    • Say What?

      Please post transcripts or footage of instances where Dave Ramsey "looks down" on those who have less. I have yet to find one.

      Surely you have that kind of concrete evidence (not just contrived stories based on bits and pieces of quotes as found in this article) in order to make that severe of allegation on a fellow Christian.

      December 3, 2013 at 12:10 am |
  14. Economic Thoughts

    People who have problems with things do not like to hear that they are part of the problem. It makes people angry to think that they may actually be the reason why they are having difficulties. Advisors like Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman tell advise people to not be their own worst enemy. Yes, the economy is bad. Yes wages are not keeping up with inflation but that has been the case since before 2008. Have people really changed the way that they save, earn, and spend money? Unfortunately, no. If this were the case, there would be absolutely no market for smart phones, hdtvs and other piece of tech that became trash in about 1 or 2 years. People are willing to purchase cell phones for $400 and pay close to $100 per month for cellphone plans. There are families that I know that are spending close to $300-$450 per month on cell phones, internet and cable. Do the math. We are fine with paying tons of money for rather useless items but we are not willing or somehow able to save money for retirement. If you are making minimum wage for over 5 years, you need to go back to school and get job skills that will put you over the minimum wage. I am not talking about going back to school to be a police officer or iron chef. Skills like linemen. Skills like plumbing. Skills that actually require effort and have real earnings potential. It may mean that you have to do something that you might not like at first. You might have to live at home for a while and save your money. No cell phone. Small car. No extras.

    We are a country that is waiting for Superman. Guess what – he ain't coming. Jesus did not come with his checkbook either.

    December 2, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
  15. Deacon Hayes

    I understand why you feel the way that you do, but these are just statistics that give people who want to be wealthy some good habits that will help them get there. If you eat healthy and exercise, it is likely that you will have energy to do more than the average person. If you listen to audiobooks, especially biographies of successful people, you can learn what made them successful. Although this does not guarantee wealth, it does help people live better lives and there is nothing wrong with that.

    December 2, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
  16. phil

    Wow! Please don't throw the baby out with the bath water. I have attended a 13-week Dave Ramsey class and I have facilitated a 9-week class. His teaching has helped millions of folks improve their financial situation. In addition, I do not believe any of us (including me) are perfect. So please start looking at (and focusing on) the “good” that Dave Ramsey has done.

    December 2, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
  17. Diane K

    Rachel, I work two jobs, am enrolled in school and still manage to find time to jog around the park. A gym membership is not necessary to participate in exercise. To me, he is advocating a get up off the couch and DO SOMETHING philosophy which is a big part of earning money.

    December 2, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
    • Steve

      Diane, what kind of upbringing did you have? Middle class? Urban poor? Are you supporting a family with your jobs? Are they part-time jobs?

      December 3, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
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