Tag Archives: Dave Ramsey

Book Review: SMART MONEY, SMART KIDS by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze

smartmoneyRating: 5/5

Suggested Audience: Every parent in America with a kid living at home

I have been a huge fan of Dave Ramsey for years. I actually think he may be one of the most important Americans alive today. In some ways, I consider Ramsey quite possibly the greatest economics “teacher” in America. The fact that he is an unabashed conservative is a nice bonus.

When you consider our wealth and success as a nation, there should be no excuse for the financial situation many Americans find themselves in.

“A recent survey from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling found that 64% of Americans couldn’t even cover a $1,000 emergency with cash. In real-life terms, that means they couldn’t pull together enough money for a single mortgage payment, or maybe even a month’s worth of groceries for their family, without borrowing money. Another study from Bankrate.com found that one in four Americans does not have a single penny saved.” p. 60

Ramsey has been waging a one-man war for the better part of the last 25 years to combat this. Asking people to live on a budget, cut-up credit cards, and live their salary, he has impacted close to 10 million people (according to his companies estimates) through his books, classes, live events, and radio show.

Building on his previous books and teachings, Ramsey and daughter Cruze, take the message of personal finance to parents. The message in this book is simple. Teach kids to handle money, so they can grow up and do the same with their families.

“Now you are that dad or mom. You don’t have to be perfect in your handling or understanding of money to teach these concepts to your children. There are no perfect parents. We all know that, so give yourself some grace. But be in the game. Be in the fight to win your child’s heart to money-smart principles.” p.246

For those that follow Ramsey, some of this book will be a review of his financial plan. Even if you are an avid follower of Ramsey, I think you will be able to get something new out of the book. Ramsey and Cruze adapt the principles well to children.

I really liked how the book was written. Ramsey and Cruze take turns giving their generational perspective on the various topics in the book. (This book reminded me a lot of Dan Miller’s Wisdom Meets Passion which I have failed to review here, but is very much worth the read! Miller and son Jared Angaza both trade off on the topic of career.)

Much of the early part of the book is Ramsey’s general philosophy as applied to children. Chapters two through six give parents a general framework for teaching kids about money from the age of three till they first enter into adulthood. Chapter eight focuses on college. Overall, I thought this chapter did a good job to dispel some of the cultural foolishness that is connected to college. College is not a right, and if you are planning on sending your child to college, you better be ready to combat the problem. And, no, you don’t have to take out loans to go to college! (I just wish I had found Ramsey before I made that financial mistake.)

As Ramsey often says, change your family tree. I’m proud to say that my wife and I have done this for our  family. Over the last three years we have paid off $75,000 in consumer and student loan debt. We look forward to teaching our child the principles in this book, so that he may continue building a legacy for successive generations.

As conservatives, one of our core principles is fiscal discipline. It’s my belief that if you self-identify as a conservative and don’t practice these principles in your own life you are a WALKING, TALKING CONTRADICTION. I greatly admire all that Mr. Ramsey has accomplished in his personal and professional life. As conservatives, and especially as teachers, we all should be aware of Mr. Ramsey’s products and mission. If you haven’t yet, buy this book!


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Filed under Book Reviews, College Education, Economics


file0002135280483I am a big fan of Dan Miller. For those that don’t know him, he is a career coach and author. He also has a podcast that I listen to every week. This is a recent post from his 48 Days Blog. I thought you might find it of some interest. More students need to be taught that education is so much more than just formal schooling. 

Do you need a college degree to get ahead today?  That’s one of the hottest topics out there and a continuing question I am being asked.  ( I’m including a new chapter in the revision of 48 Days to the Work You Love titled Yes, I Have an “Education.”)

I love the process of learning and have pursued that in multiple ways.  Yes, I did go to college and have both a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology.  I completed my doctoral studies but never turned in a dissertation. Instead of creating a document for four old guys to read I wrote a book that a whole lot of people have read – and paid for.  Today I write, speak and coach.  Along the way I’ve owned varied businesses and done everything from painting houses to selling cars.

Find Your Calling

So let’s look at some things you can do – right now – to get an education that matters.

Here are Ten Steps to Education – Things you can do this year to open the floodgates of new opportunity, and new wealth.  Companies will want you, you’ll see new things you can do on your own, and your income will start to grow in unexpected ways.

  1. Read (or listen to) at least 12 great books – I have an Amazon.com Prime membership with unlimited Free Two-Day Shipping – and buy books liberally – and encourage you to do the same.  However, if you feel you cannot invest even small dollars in your education then check them out of the library. (See complete list here – Dan’s Reading List)

I know of no way to more quickly change your level of success than to read good books.

Old Classics like

    • Think and Grow Rich
    • The Magic of Thinking Big
    • How to Win Friends and Influence People
    • The Strangest Secret

Timeless Greats

    • Thou Shall Propser
    • A Whole New Mind
    • How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci
    • The Success Principles

More recent titles

    • Trust Agents
    • Linchpin
    • The Compound Effect
    • The Art of Non-Conformity

“The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” – Mark Twain

2.  Attend 3 or 4 seminars

Chose what you’d like – but go with an open mind.  I attend a lot of seminars each year.  My goal is not to change my life with any ONE seminar, but to learn at least one great idea that I can use.

“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

48 Days Innov48 Live Event

3.  Subscribe to at least two great magazines

You can get any magazine on line if you prefer.  I still enjoy holding the magazine, turning the pages and returning to them again and again. Here are some of my favorites

“Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.”  ~Chinese Proverb

4.  Listen to 3 or 4 informational on-demand radio shows  & read 3 or 4 blogs each week

You may be an audio or print learner.  No right or wrong – just select what works for you.  The free information is priceless.  

5.  Get involved in a community like 48Days.net

 Find a couple where you can identify with the group – then get involved.  Contribute, ask questions and give advice.  You’ll find your center of influence will grow rapidly.  

6.  Work on improving your Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the ability to use and manage your emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.  Your skill in this area will allow you to form healthier relationships, achieve greater success at work, and lead a more fulfilling life. 

“Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.”  ~Chinese Proverb

7.  Acquire at least one new skill this year

Each year I select an area of interest – having nothing to do with business or making money.  Purely for the “education.”  Imagine that.

    • Photography
    • Martial arts
    • Astronomy
    • Our Spiritual heritage
    • Learn a new language
    • Take the Drawing from the right side of the brain class.
    • Start a book discussion  or Mastermind group
    • Get a vocational degree in something you can use immediately

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.”  ~Henry Ford

8.  Become comfortable with your presentation skills

No matter what your career or business you must be comfortable presenting your ideas.  It will do wonders for your confidence and self-esteem.  You will find it easier to complete a sales transaction, have conversations with family and friends, and find success in your career. 

9. Take 2 or 3 courses in areas of interest.  

You don’t have to be “accepted” or lock in thousands of dollars in tuition.   Just explore the many courses that can give you marketable skills on sites like:

These sites have thousands of professional video courses covering almost every topic imaginable. And you can access to all courses on the site for a small monthly fee or a small fee for the individual course.  Many of these courses have certificates of completion to show adequate preparation for work in that area. More and more employers are accepting these certificates as proof of training. 

10.  Plan two trips this year

Many people think they cannot afford to travel.  Joanne and I have continued to travel even through our toughest times financially.  I’ve been treating her to Christmastime in Chicago for over 20 years now.  Direct flights from Nashville used to be $69 round trip (a little more now).  And few people travel on business the week of Christmas so 4-star hotels are cheap and easy to get.  Typically I have used PriceLine to put in my bid of about $79 a night.  But just do something that excites you.  Be creative.  Joanne and I often go downtown Nashville and just pretend we’re tourists.  We walk through the classic cathedrals, over the unique pedestrian bridges, and visit the art displays.  

Vacation Rentals by Owner   http://www.vrbo.com/

I’m sure you could probably add more examples of experiences in your life that have helped you get an “education.”  With today’s technology you can listen to your smart phone while cleaning the house or driving your car.

So where do you think I got my “education?”  If I depended on my academic degrees, would I really be qualified to write, speak and coach?

What life experiences have been part of your “education?”

If you are interested in purchasing any of Dan Miller’s products, would you please go through our affiliate link?



Filed under Educational Articles, Guest Post

BOOK REVIEW: The New School by Glenn Harlan Reynolds

TheNewSchoolRating: 4/5 Stars

Suggested Audience: High school students who are contemplating college and feel that something is wrong, parents of high school students who are contemplating college and feel that something is wrong, every person in America that is concerned about education.

I recently won a copy of The New School on Twitter from TheBlaze Books (and, by the way, if you are a reader, you are truly missing out if you are not following what they are doing).

Glenn Harlan Reynolds is the Beauchamp Brogan Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee. You can check out his blog over at InstaPundit.com.

Reynolds’ basic premise in this book is that American education system, both the K-12 public system and college, is due for a revolution brought on by both market forces and improving technologies. One of the things I really like about this book is that it’s short and concise, yet quite profound in the point it is making.

The book is split up into five chapters. Reynolds’ starts off with a brief history of education in America. Basically, we imported a 19th century Prussian education model. For many years, this system worked quite well for America, but its usefulness is starting to wain.

I definitely agree with that point of view. As someone who has two traditional university degrees and works inside of the belly of the K-12 beast, I am starting to see large indicators that the old model needs to change.

In the second chapter, Reynolds takes a look at higher education. His overarching argument is that college is a “bursting bubble.”  I was impressed with his honest assessment of the system that he works inside of and agreed with many of his conclusions.

I thought this chapter was quite refreshing. Finally, someone is saying something that I keep thinking. College is overpriced and overvalued, and all we do as a society is continue to tell all students that it is worth their time and money. Sadly, college is often purchased with significant chunks of future time and money in the form of debt payments. I am a big Dave Ramsey fan. He often jokes that we tell kids that if they want to go get a BA in German polka dancing history, or some equally worthless degree, it is okay because college debt is “good debt.”


As Reynolds points out, American student loan debt has surpassed the trillion-dollar mark. The number of student-loan debtors actually equals the number of people with college degrees. This is a big problem (and a gigantic debt bubble), and it worries me that it is going to have a negative impact on the economy as a whole.

So what happens when the bubble bursts? According to Reynolds, administrators will first do what administrators do best, deny and try to protect the status quo. (I was especially taken aback at the discussion of how administrator laden many colleges are in this country. Nationally, administrators are coming to outnumber faculty!) Administrators will try to create more revenue by raising tuition, but eventually there will be market forces that cause things to move in the other direction. Expect colleges to begin discounting tuition, and once that begins, expect destruction to begin. Reynolds anticipates a race to the bottom. Some colleges will be forced to close their doors, but overall, you should see cheaper college rates as the system begins to normalize.

What to do? First, and I couldn’t agree more, don’t go into debt for college. If you are still going to go to college, consider lower cost colleges. You may want to even reconsider the whole idea of attending college. Apprenticeships may be a viable alternative. He gives evidence that there may be a growing trend here.

With regards to reform of the college system itself, Reynolds encourages universities to not go on spending binges. Colleges have to think about curriculum and delivery reform (i.e. better use of web based classes). He also thinks colleges need to raise their level of rigor. Another thought, and one that I thought was a great idea, encourage budget transparency of both public and private universities. I’d love to see the books ripped open in my state colleges for all to see. One other intriguing suggestion was to make college loans bankruptable after 10 years and make the institutions that got the loan money responsible for a small percentage of the loss. As Reynolds states, our current system puts all the risks of the loans on the student and taxpayer. That is not right, and I agree it should change.

Finally, Reynolds closes the chapter with a look at the politics of the issue. He also takes a look at some future scenarios of how this all plays out. The common thread that runs through them is that higher education will not be as well off as it has been in the past.

The next chapter of the book focused on lower education in America. I was not as impressed with this part of the book. I found Reynolds’ research lacking. When I say this, I’m not saying Reynolds is completely wrong. As mentioned above, I am a public educator, and I can see it from inside the system. The traditional K-12 system has to change to become better, but I’m not sure there is enough political pressure to get it to change.

Politically and culturally the traditional model of K-12 education is entrenched in this society. Survey research conducted by Gallup has shown for some time now (and see this) that Americans view something wrong with the K-12 system as a whole, but when asked about their school system they often respond with more favorable results. Ask them about their child’s school and they are even happier.

I’m not confident that there is enough parents that actually want the K-12 system to change. I about fell out of my seat with this statement, “with changing societal attitudes toward parenting, many of today’s parents are more involved and interested in their kid’s education.”

Ummm….uhhhhh….yeah, right….come spend a couple weeks with me in my classroom. I have been in a couple different districts in my short tenure in public schools. Parents are so not involved it’s startling at times. If anything, the movement in this country among the mass populace is towards less involvement in their child’s life. Those parents that are involved tend to do what Reynolds’ acknowledges, vote with their feet. Of course, that just usually just involves moving to another school district they like more.

I am hopeful that the political chaos that Common Core is causing may be a catalyst for change. I also think that the implosion of the Code Red monetary policies in the next 5-10 years may force some reform as well. When money starts to get tight again, many public districts are going to be up a creek without a paddle.

Despite my qualms with his chapter on K-12, this is an excellent book and well worth the read. It’s a discussion more people need to be having. If you have an interest in education, I think this book is a must-read for you.



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Filed under Book Reviews, College Education, Economics, Education Reform