Personal Finance 

Want to be a Guru? Start Insulting People!

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You’re going to be poor forever, you suck at life, and you’re a terrible father/mother/brother/sister/husband/wife/whatever. Okay, now worship every single word I say because I just gave you a wake up call. You didn’t know that you were going to be poor forever, but since I have a microphone, you have to listen to me. You didn’t know you sucked at life either, but thankfully I was here to clue you in because I am the expert on people who suck at life, right? Worship me!

Who the hell is Dave Ramsey? When I read his quote on Money Musings about car payments:

Car payments are the mantra of the middle class. As long as you keep a car payment, you’re going to be mediocre in your finances. It’s just stupid. Avoid that. Pay cash. Save up and pay for whatever you do.

Car payments are stupid! Don’t get a car that will get you to your job, just walk there or ride the bus until you’ve saved enough money to pay for the whole thing on cash. Ignore the 0% financing for 5 year offers because taking on debt is stupid. This is the same guy who said pay off the smaller debts first because that will give you a psychological boost in your fight against debt. Ignore the numbers you moron, just pay off the smaller one so you can feel better about your miserable self!

Everytime, I see Suze Orman on TV when I flip through channels and her bleached blond hair (so she could fit in with the younger crowd?) chastising someone for being irresponsible, it irks me (because I don’t want to use stronger language). People don’t need to be talked to like children, they don’t need to be scolded by someone who looks down upon debt but then stars in Buick (I think) commercials and 0% financing just to make a buck. Her popularity is akin to Judge Judy’s popularity, but at least the people Judge Judy scolds like children actually broke a law (or were unfortunately both the defendant and male).

That’s probably why I’ll never be on TV, I’m not incendiary enough or downright disrespectful enough to convince people addicted to schadenfreude to watch me flip out on people.

{ 17 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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17 Responses to “Want to be a Guru? Start Insulting People!”

  1. Tim says:

    unfortunately, both suffer from the dr. phil syndrome.

  2. alex says:

    I would really like a car payments post, maybe as a devil’s advocate post? It would be interesting to know how getting promotional low car loan rates stacks up versus avoiding the 30% first year depreciation by buying a used car.

  3. Ronnie says:

    I listen to Dave Ramsey several time a week, he woke me up about 5 years ago, now I have no debt and money saved and in the market. What he is saying about car payments is this: For those that are in debt or have little money, buy a cheap $5,000 Toyota or Honda that you can pay cash for, or almost pay cash for, instead of buying a new $30,000 car and making huge payments each month.

  4. Moneymonk says:

    I see nothing wrong with car payments. It’s the years of financing it that I hate. If you are going to finance, try to keep the term under 4 years. Have it paid off in 2-3 years, if you can.

    Actually I remember Dave Ramsey said if you are going to have a car, make sure it is worth no more than half of your annual salary. Example: if you make $30K a year, you should purchase a car that is 15K or less.

  5. Cap says:

    You know what’s stupid? Financial blogs are stupid!

    Instead of spending time on personal finance blogs, learning better money skills, you should be putting in double time at work to earn more money!


  6. the Wizard says:

    I drove by Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Plaza yesterday just south of downtown Nashville in the high dollar Brentwood/Franklin Area. The place is HUGE!! and VERY fancy.

    He must be doing something right because he is making beaucoup bucks.

    I’ve been listening to Dave for 12+ years since the Money Game days with Roy Matlock. Way before he went national.

    I don’t agree with everything he says but at least it gets people thinking about their finances and getting out of debt to get ahead.

    He does give people hope. If your reading Fatwallet or other financial blogs you probably don’t need Dave Ramsey, but there are sure people out there that do.



  7. D says:

    Ha Ha, good topic! Most people in the US, as evidenced by the countless studies on Americans’ lack of savings, negative net worth, etc. are just too plain dumb/lazy to manage their money (my younger self included, by the way.) Insults from a guru might break through to a few additional ones, though.

    Car payments suck… buy a car you can afford, even if it is only a $500 beater to get to work with, until you can save up for something better that more truly expresses your ego. And yes, pass up the promotional “0%” financing. You can almost always demand a further discount for forgoing this “free” money, if you really think a new car is a necessity, or you have so much money saved up that the depreciation is a non issue for you over the car’s useful life (to you.) It seems that the best financing perks, rebates, etc. are offered on the cars that are the hardest to sell because of their repair records, gas consumption, huge markup, etc. You do not see that stuff, to the same extent at least, on Camry’s and Accords.

    Reading Fatwallet is probably more useful than all the guru’s combined, if you stay out of the “hot deals” section!



  8. mbhunter says:

    You convinced me, man. I was all set to tune into your show. This might be your opportunity to think a little bigger. Schadenfreude is extremely profitable!

    PF blogs give a lot more diverse opinions than MSM anyway. No need to water everything down to traditional wisdom.

  9. Beth says:

    For a little bit on the other side, there are people in the world who do need to be treated like children. Some people spend recklessly simply because they’re still living like a child–doing what they want and taking no responsibility for it. A child will say, “Woohoo! I have $5. I’m going to buy this…now I have $.50 left. I’ll buy a can of pop!” An adult acting like a child will say, “I’ve still got credit left on my card. I can afford this trip to the spa!”

    Not that I agree with treating adults like chlidren, but that’s the rationale behind it.

  10. Michael says:

    Here’s the thing: I’ll beat on Dave for certain things (expecting 12 percent per year from growth mutual funds, for instance) but I cannot give him a hard time for his occasionally “insulting” advice.

    The people Dave tries to reach are those who likely won’t listen until Life has smacked them in the face — or at least, until the Backhand of Life is well into its wind-up. If Dave’s “smack” gets through to the listener or caller, then it was effective medicine.

    Dave wasn’t the only voice responsibile for my personal Money Renaissance, but he WAS in the top three or four. Like a whole lot of my peers, I needed to hear what he had to say. And the manner in which he said it was what carried the most weight with me.

  11. Chris says:

    Dave is sometime ‘disrespectful’ but hey, that brings in the ratings! I listen to him for 30% information and 70% entertainment. I also think some people do need a swift kick to get them on track. Personally, I intend to never finance a car again. Dealerships may offer 0%, but only on new cars. I’d rather buy one a few years old and save a TON of money; new cars depreciate so bad I consider it a ripoff to buy one. It’d be hard to find a used car loan under 5%. And when you walk in with the intention of buying that day with cash, you can sometimes negotiate a better deal on the car.

  12. Mike says:

    I’ve been listening to the Dave Ramsey podcast recently, and I’ve read his book The Total Money Makeover. I don’t really need most of his advice since I was long ago debt free other than my home mortgage, but I would take issue with your criticism of him being insulting.

    He is generally very supportive and encouraging to people on his radio show. He will call a spade a spade and tell someone when he thinks they are being stupid, but I think he’s genuinely trying to dish out some “tough love” when he does that. I think you’d also probably agree with his assessment. The typical caller in these cases is over their head in high interest credit card debt, and is way upside down on one or more car loans with payments way too high for their income.

    Car debt IS stupid, IMO. You’re paying interest on a depreciating asset, and you often owe more than the (now used) car is worth–you can do the math on that. Leases are even worse. So many people buy cars not based on the price or the interest rate, but on the status (ooh, shiny!) and the monthly payment. They do the same thing with credit card spending, adding monthly payments until there’s no paycheck left or a financial tragedy strikes, at which point the house of cards collapses.

    Dave doesn’t tell you to walk to work. He’s actually a big car guy. But if you’ve bought a car you can’t afford and it’s nowhere near being paid off, he tells you to sell it and buy a used one for cash to get out of the hole you’ve dug yourself into. Once you’re out of debt he tells you to save your money and trade up to a better used car when you can afford to pay cash for it.

    Zero percent financing deals? He’d suggest negotiating a cash discount instead, and most car dealers will give you one, probably giving you greater savings in the process, and eliminating the risk of something bad happening to your finances and then not being able to keep up with the car loan terms.

    I haven’t had a car payment in 9 years, and man it sure feels good. We have a 10 year old Accord and a 7 year old Odyssey, and when one of them breaks down to the point it’s not worth repairing (no mechanical problems so far), we’ll buy another 2-3 year old car for cash. Not having payments makes it easy to have the savings for that and then some.

  13. I see a lot of people driving luxury cars to show off to other people. Some may think that having a good car is some kind of “social status” symbol. Brand new cars maybe the worst investment you can ever have because it depreciates in value immediately the moment you walk out of the car dealerships. We need a car to get us to point A to point B and a used car can serve that same purpose.

  14. i don’t have the same punch me in the gut reaction you have to dave ramsey or suze orman, but i understand completely what you are talking about. they push very specific solutions (debt free, pay down your mortgage, etc) on a broad range of issues — they promote a one size fits all type solution.

    anyway, they generally have some decent things to say, but you have to filter them through your personal experiences.

    what gets me is that it’s usually pretty obvious to me what they are going to tell their call-in listeners . . . but i guess those people just need to hear it for themselves.

  15. A man woken up by Dave Ramsey's ministry says:

    Seems like Jim Wang obviously doesn’t understand that Dave’s teachings have helped hundreds of thousands of people get out of debt, by offering sound financial information. Since being smart with money is 20% knowledge and 80% behaviour, I think Dave’s teachings are bang on. If Jim had even researched Dave’s teachings, he would know that Dave obviously knows mathematically, paying the highest interest loans first is better mathematically, but seeing as his business have helped HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE get out of debt, he knows that most people need the small psychological victories to keep motivated.

    Jim, nice grab for attention using Dave’s name to generate views on this post. Seems like you banged this off in 10 minutes with no research. This post = FAIL

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