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Top Money Guru Results: Community Results

I want to thank everyone who voted in our Top Money Guru poll and sharing who they considered as their top money guru!

Before we get to the results, there were a few interesting voting patterns we noticed and we wanted to share that with you. One thing we discovered was that most people voted along “guru lines,” as in Clark Howard for everything (and Suze Orman for Least!). Or Dave Ramsey for everything and Robert Kiyosaki for Least Favorite.

Another trend we noticed was that a large number, 13%, did not vote for a least favorite. In not voting for a least favorite, most of those responses said something to the effect of “I just don’t listen/read/watch someone I don’t like.” You guys are too nice!

Without further delay, here are the result of the first annual Top Money Guru poll:

Here were the winners of each category:

2013 Top Money Guru: Dave Ramsey

I don’t think there’s much disagreement here – Dave Ramsey is Bargaineering’s 2013 Top Money Guru capturing almost every positive category and the overall favorite with over 25%, sometimes over 30%, of the vote.

In almost every category, he was followed by Clark Howard and, surprisingly, Suze Orman. Those three would collectively get approximately 70% of the voting in every positive category except the least favorite category.

I’m not surprised Dave Ramsey took first place in almost everything, I bet you aren’t either. He’s often mentioned in personal finance circles for his idea of a debt snowball [3] and he’s helped a lot of people get out of debt.

Honorable Mention: Honorable mention has to go to Clark Howard who trailed Dave Ramsey in every category by just a few percentage points. Clark Howard, like Dave Ramsey, has a huge national following and is nearly a household name for folks who use personal finance guru names in their home. It’s a testament to him and his great team.

2013 Top Money Guru Caboose: Robert Kiyosaki

This was a tricky one to score, given our rigorous (ha!) rubric, because while Suze Orman garnered the most votes for least favorite, she was consistently in the top three for the five superlative categories. She was also third for Overall Favorite, which makes it difficult to argue she is deserving of this award. You may not like her but plenty of you find her entertaining, helpful, and trustworthy.

The caboose award must then be given to Robert Kiyosaki, who came in a close 2nd for least favorite, middle of the pack for every other category. I’ll leave you with this quote from a voter, one of the several hundred who responded: “It’s hard to listen to a guru who is more interested in helping his own bank account than helping you.” Hmmm…

Versus Personal Finance Blogger Results

We did a poll with readers (you all) and with bloggers [4] because we wanted to see how the two differed. Bloggers tend to spend more of their time reading and being involved in personal finance on a daily basis (this is a gross generalization, I admit) and we wanted to see how their opinions differed from the more casual personal finance aficionado. What did not surprise me was that Liz Weston and Ramit Sethi won all of the favorable categories because they’re the two gurus most involved in the personal finance community. They are both the “closest” to bloggers themselves, as neither has radio or television shows.

I was also surprised to learn that Suze Orman was the least favorite among readers. Her style can be abrasive but tough love works, which is why she was also up there for many of the other positive categories. (She also took third in overall favorite!) I knew she’d be disliked by bloggers, given the spat over her prepaid cards, but the fact that so many readers disliked her a minor shock. My guess was that Robert Kiyosaki would’ve taken the least favorite guru, but he was edged out.


I wanted to call out a few names that were frequently seen as write-in responses. The first is Jim Cramer. We debated putting Jim Cramer into the poll but we felt he was close to an investing guru/prognosticator and less of a personal finance guru. You could argue the same for Robert Kiyosaki but at least Kiyosaki’s original Rich Dad Poor Dad was more personal finance than real estate investing.

Another name we saw was Ric Edelman and to be perfectly honest, I didn’t know who he was when we were picking names for the guru poll. He may make it into next year’s poll since he meets all of the qualifications.

Thanks again for voting in the poll, I’d be curious to hear what you thought about the results!