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  • The Total Money Makeover

  • A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness
  • Written by: Dave Ramsey
  • Narrated by: Dave Ramsey
  • Length: 3 hrs and 41 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (1,006 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Okay, folks, do you want to turn those fat and flabby expenses into a well-toned budget? Do you want to transform your sad and skinny little bank account into a bulked-up cash machine? Then get with the program, people. There's one sure way to whip your finances into shape, and that's with The Total Money Makeover. It's the simplest, most straight-forward game plan for completely making over your money habits. And it's based on results, not pie-in-the-sky fantasies.

Where Financial Peace gave you the solid saving and investing principles, this book puts those principles into practice. You'll be exercising your financial strength every day and quickly freeing yourself of worry, stress, and debt. And that's a beautiful feeling.

©2003 Dave Ramsey (P)2003 Thomas Nelson Publishers

What the critics say

"The strength of this book is that it is a straightforward motivational tool. He provides the brutally direct truth about the hard work it takes to become free of debt, and his directness is a great part of the book's charm." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about The Total Money Makeover

Average Customer Ratings
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Horrible book and bad advice

My mind is blown away how this book has such good reviews and people consider this a "must read". It is not. This book is written for someone that is financially irresponsible and cannot handle their spending, not for someone trying to become financially literate. This book will not make you rich and it will not make you retire earlier. This book is summarized by 2 main points:

1) ALL debt is bad. Get out of debt and STAY out of debt (WRONG)
2) Be frugal, especially early in life, like owning a $4000 car instead of a $20,000 car. (fair point, but common sense!!!)

Okay, so here are some of the dumb things this person says in this book which are a bunch of BS:

- Pay off smallest debts before larger debts, regardless of interest rates (doesn't make financial sense).
- Never use credit cards, lines of credit, etc. (very subjective to reason and not correct)
- Never go into debt except for a mortgage (also very stupid if you plan to ever retire rich without a high paying job)
- Claims that successful businesses like Microsoft don't use debt (completely false, every major corporation utilizes debt to grow profits and equity)
- Consolidating debt is always bad and only has "cons" (consolidation is common in the corporate world and is only a tool to reduce interest rates on debts, but apparently ALL debts are bad, according to this idiot).


This man speaks from a view of once being bankrupt and scared to ever go into debt. His interpretation of financial literacy is really about financial responsibility (not overspending on objects like cars, gadgets, and clothes). This book might give you perspective to spend less and be more financially responsible, but this isn't a "money makeover" and it certainly won't help you get rich one day or help you retire. This book also has religious references and ridiculous, juvenile voice impressions that don't add any value to the points he is trying to make. This book is TERRIBLE. DON'T BUY IT. Wish I could get a refund for this radio host's opinion.


Some books that are MUCH more valuable reads are: Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, 4-Hour work week by Timothy Ferris, The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley, Learn to Earn by Peter Lynch, and The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. Those 4 books are fantastic reads for beginners aiming for financial freedom and early retirement.


20 people found this helpful

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Great content but Ramsay is a TERRIBLE reader.

Ramsay yells in ALL CAPS at all times. What he has to say is worth listening to, but you have to suffer through being yelled at relentlessly. Wish he would hire a professional reader.

13 people found this helpful

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Changed my life

First read book 3 years ago. Eversince i have paid off car and credit cards worth 60K ... After also emegency funds savings and investing i will be paying off my mortgage in 4 years.

9 people found this helpful

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Childish yelling

Very childish oration. People don't need to be yelled at. Thought it would be a good book to confirm habits and maybe learn some tweaks. I don’t respond well to loud people trying to belittle others.

5 people found this helpful

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Great! funny! and brutally honest

I love dave. he is very brutally honest but not in an offensive way. makes total sense and easy to follow plan.

I'm excited to get started on my money makeover.

I've done it for years paying of debt. then life happens and end up back where I started

4 people found this helpful

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Realistic

- This is very practical and the author doesn't over due talking about himself.
- if this was mandatory in 1st year university is plant seeds of the concepts.
- Recommend this to teenagers and young adults.
- 20 years ago this would've helped +++
- Still very applicable although I'm in later adulthood
- a workbook to get through the steps is my next move, because I keep falling back into bad habits

3 people found this helpful

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Not sure

Not sure what all the hype/review for this book, I am sad I purchased it

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

lifestyle challenge

if you want to live a life that impacts others be sure to read. Hopefully I can implement the plan

1 person found this helpful

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Great teaching, highly recommended.

I wish I could have received these teachings 30 years ago. But I thank God I got them now.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ty
  • 2018-04-24

good book.

good book, challenged my belief that debt was a tool and credit cards could be beneficial to me. I like quotes from the Bible but it was over done with God this god that. only reason for the star lost.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Alexandra
  • 2014-02-11

This guy makes sense

I have business degrees from Wharton (BS) and Stanford (MBA), but like most Americans from middle class backgrounds, I never got much training in personal finance and always felt bewildered by it. I recently listed to The Total Money Makeover for the third time and it clicked. The first two times, I was still in school and had no income, so felt powerless to act on its lessons. Now, with a steady income (and some monstrous student loans) the lessons are relevant, actionable, and empowering.

Before, I always felt at a loss when it came to budgeting. After re-listening to The Total Money Makeover, I got a second savings account to hold my emergency fund and long-term savings, making it easier to separate between current accounts and short-term savings. Now, I have an Excel spreadsheet with a separate column for each upcoming pay check. I know how much of each paycheck will get immediately transferred into long-term savings (e.g. for a wedding in the fall), how much will go to short-term savings (e.g. for next month's rent), and how much disposable income I have in my current checking account.

Furthermore, I have a better plan for paying down my debts. If I were to approach this according to the pure net present value financial principles taught in school, I would start with my big student loan (highest interest rate), then my smaller student loan, then my car loan (lowest interest rate). After listening to Ramsey, I'm going to do it in the opposite order. Although that will cost me some in NPV, it means I can pay off my car loan in a few months (freeing up $250 per month in cash flow), and can pay off my smaller student loan in a few years. My larger student loan is the size and duration of a mortgage, and I'll treat it like it's one. If I tried to pay it off first, I wouldn't see any impact on my cash flow for probably 14 years, making it discouraging to try to find extra dollars to put towards paying down debt. Trying this the Ramsey way, I already feel like I'm making progress and am motivated to do more.

Dave Ramsey is an inspiring speaker. Although his message may come across as simple, in my opinion it does a far better job taking into account human nature than any of the sophisticated financial and economic models I spent so much money learning. I can't recommend this book enough.

533 people found this helpful

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  • Nurse Rob
  • 2012-07-15

Short and Easy Steps

Where does The Total Money Makeover rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I would give a B-. Gets to the point, gives good metaphors and easy to follow.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Total Money Makeover?

Metaphors used to describe steps or missteps are very memorable and applicable to most people.

What about Dave Ramsey’s performance did you like?

Voice and diction were probably best compared to what I have listened. Would expect good performance from professional speaker. Have heard some "funny" start/stops or paragraph breaks on other books. Probably start of new session or after break. Did not hear in Ramsey's performance, however this book is shorter than most. 3+ hours

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No crying, definitely a few laughs. Mostly found myself quoting excerpts to others.

Any additional comments?

Religious overtones and bible quotes throughout book. However quotes in nature of "Saving" money and neither borrowing or lending; giving money OK. People describe me as Agnostic and this did not bother me. All in all good book, great performance. Enjoy

160 people found this helpful

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  • Steve
  • 2005-02-22

Brash

Content is simple. The author be-littles other advice books and authors, talks to you like you are a child, and tries to bully you into saving money. He sounds like a guy full of rage, stuck in traffic. If his advice was great, would he really need the attitude and tone to help sell you on it?
Don't spend money now, and you'll have a great life later. That's the story.
Take the $14 and put it in the bank instead of buying this book. That will be a great start to your "Money makeover".

139 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Cynthia
  • 2008-08-30

Recommended read, not listen

The narration/reading of this book made me wonder if it was written in all capitals and italics. While I appreciated the information/ideas shared by the author, I didn't appreciate him yelling at me. I understand he's trying to motivate, but the intensity of his voice was just too much.

118 people found this helpful

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  • Leala
  • 2017-04-02

Information available online

Total Money Makeover doesn't give any information that isn't already available on Ramsey's website. it just adds anecdotes about people succeeding with the method.

107 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Rebecca Willson
  • 2009-10-29

This is a Really Tough Listen

The content seems good but I am only 31 minutes in and already tearing the earplugs out! Don't Preach at me. Just tell me. He goes over every point relentlessly and in such a condescending manner. I don't know if I can keep listening!

107 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Matthew
  • 2005-03-25

Brash? Yes. Honest? Absolutely.

Some people have remarked that they don't like the tone of this book. If the author seems a bit "brash", it's only because he's attempting to highlight the level of insanity with which most people approach personal finance. Take a look around you. The guy you work with who just bought a new Hummer. Your sisters' friend who just moved into a $800,000 home. They must be doing great, right? WRONG.

The truth is, they're most likely broke. They're high-income, low-net-worth people who are teetering on the edge of complete financial ruin. Rich people, don't do these things!! Well, that is unless they're really really rich.

This book will change the way you think about money. When I see the guy in the new Mercedes now, I think, "Man, that guy has nothing in the bank". This book will make you proud of your old jalopy. After all, it's better to ACTUALLY BE RICH.

Most Americans WISH for financial security and DO everything they can to make sure it NEVER happens. I think this is a level of insanity that warrants a brash tone.

If your ready to get real about your finances, this is the only book you need to read.

106 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Saul
  • 2010-06-25

mixed emotions

A GREAT BOOK TO GET OUT OF DEBT! Dave nails it and provides a means to get out of debt FAST and take financial control of ones life. What is dissapointing is that Dave still believes in the Fed and Wallstreet. He bashes Gold, Silver, insurance and Foreign Investments when these investments have proven to be more safe and profitable than US Stocks in the last decade. The True financial problem is right at home in Wallstreet. The debt part and Mortgage part is Great! The rest I believe does not apply for a Post 2010 Era.

81 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Louise
  • 2008-06-07

Don't Bother

This is a complte waste of time for anyone who isn't wasting money like a drunken sailor.

I also am not interested in the Christian lectures.

73 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Jason
  • 2005-03-14

Irritating and unenlightening

If Dave Ramsey is going to tell me that I'm an idiot, he ought to at least have something remotely intelligent to teach me. He doesn't. He babbles on-and-on about nonesense and, when he finally gets to the meat of his ideas, they're trite and unenlightening (get out of debt, save money). Save the $14 and put it toward your next credit card bill. You'll be better off financially and less irritated intellectually.

73 people found this helpful

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  • Sekiyi
  • 2018-03-08

Pas complet

Pour des raisons que j’ignore ce livre est la version super allégée du livre u même titre.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Marc Le Roux
  • 2021-02-25

Philosophi intéressant mais pas adapté à la France

si vous connaissez Dave et ses vidéos sur YouTube, ce n'est pas forcément nécessaire d'acheter ce livre. parcontrz, si vous voulez avoir un seul endroit ou trouver les principes de Dave Ramsey, ce livre peut etre intéressant. Le philosophie est intéressant et cela donne un autre point de vu sur les crédits et les investissements.

j'adhère aux principes entièrement.

cela sera bien d'avoir une version du livre qui est adapté aux particularités de la France.

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  • Myriam TOLA
  • 2020-01-23

great book

I loved it!! i learnt a lot and it is really motivational!!! I recommend it!

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  • jina
  • 2018-05-26

Excellent

Excellent livre.Je recommande à toute personne qui souhaite sortir des problèmes financiers. vous ne regretterez pas votre achat.

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  • Jalil H.
  • 2018-05-07

Helps clearing/ understanding money problems

Helps clearing/ understanding money problems
You should give it a read .
Dave is good guy ! You can trust him (15 words done )

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  • dyanna7
  • 2017-09-15

Très bon livre

Narré par Dave lui même ! Excellent guide sur comment gérer une vie financière, quoi faire avec l'argent et comment vivre une vie financière en paix !