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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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@DaveRamsey’s Custom College Guide Featuring @RachelCruze

Dave Ramsey is probably the most prominent conservative “teacher” in all of America. This was highlighted on the Dave Ramsey Facebook page yesterday, and we wanted to promote it a little bit.

Dave Ramsey’s Custom College Guide will show you how to go to college debt free! This customized book features the colleges you’ve chosen and lays out financial help you qualify for. It compares up to six of your top college choices. You’ll see the total cost of each school compared side-by-side so you can make the most informed decision.

It also teaches you the difference between the different types of financial aid—which ones to take advantage of (because they’re free money!) and which ones to stay away from (because you have to pay back loans!). We will help you understand exactly what you are signing up for.

Check it out here.


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Filed under College Education