Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lead Us Not Into Debt

Surprisingly positive review of Dave Ramsey:

The Atlantic (December 2009)
Dave Ramsey looks nothing like a televangelist. He’s a little on the short side, neither fat nor thin, and he wears jeans and a sports jacket, not a shiny suit and an oily smile. With his goatee and what’s left of his graying hair trimmed close to his head, he looks mostly like what he is—a well-groomed, middle- to upper-middle-class American professional. But when he runs out onstage and starts dispensing financial advice, you realize that he could have been a great preacher.

On a fine summer day at the end of August, I paid $220 for front-row seats on the floor of a minor-league hockey rink in Detroit, just to hear Ramsey talk for five hours. The ostensible topic: getting your financial life in order. Afterward, my fiancé, who grew up in the Bible Belt, called me to ask what I’d thought.

“I think I just attended my first prayer meeting,” I told him.

There was, of course, a great deal of talk about money, and what to do with it. But the format was more tent revival than accounting seminar, with the first 90 minutes or so mostly devoted to Ramsey’s personal story of ruin and redemption. We heard how, during the second half of the 1980s, a young Ramsey built up a multimillion-dollar real-estate empire—then lost it all as the bank got nervous and called his loans, ultimately forcing him and his wife into bankruptcy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, he is an evangelist of a different ilk. I wonder if, when he tells his story of riches when he was younger, people understand that the 'multi-million dollar real estate portfolio' was owned by the bank? Ramsey makes it sound as though HE was worth millions of dollars at the time. Not true. So he never lost millions of dollars, he lost millions of dollars worth of real estate that he didn't own. Big diff.