Author Topic: Article on Dave Ramsey  (Read 20425 times)

Abe

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Article on Dave Ramsey
« on: November 10, 2013, 08:41:32 AM »
I'm not sure if this post belongs specifically in this forum, but I found this profile on Dave Ramsey in which the author is a bit anti-Mustachian. She criticizes Ramsey for being successful (though his gigantic house is a bit tacky), implies his advice does not work for ordinary people, and disagrees with his call for self-responsibility of finances. Finally, I don't like her criticism of "living off rice and beans" as I enjoy both very much.

http://www.psmag.com/business-economics/prophet-dave-ramsey-personal-finance-67269/

Last paragraph of the article:

"I am reminded of Tannie Ackley’s remark about what Ramsey offered: a way out. Ramsey appeals to people in financial trouble by offering what appears to be an easy-to-follow path to fiscal sanity and prosperity. If we can exercise self-control over our wallets, he says, the rest will take care of itself. But for all too many people in the United States of 2013, that’s not really true. Larger forces overwhelm their best efforts. And the sooner we admit that, the faster we can begin to address the real causes of our personal finance woes."

I don't have any opinion on Ramsey, as I've never listened to his show, but it seems that the author basically doesn't want to believe people can change their lives around by reducing spending & saving more.  What do you all think?

abhe8

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2013, 12:29:04 PM »
i think the lady's opinion is very common. most people do not WANT to take responsibility for their finances, be it the all too common consumer debt or lack of savings. they dont WANT to cut back their life style, stop driving fancy cars with payments or cook rice and beans at home. and when you don't want to make any changes, you find it much easier to blame someone else for your financial situation. its sad, but all too true. the thing i love most about DR is his ability to motivate people to change their spending and savings habits and to change their financial picture. (although i do agree that some of his investing advice is a little questionable).

ender

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2013, 12:56:34 PM »
An large percentage of the USA would be in a considerably better place financially if they adopted literally every single thing Dave Ramsey preaches on finances. Very few would be worse off.

This applies to literally everything he says, whether the order you pay off debts, the way you invest for retirement, or how much money you keep on hand. They aren't necessarily optimal. But it's a heck of a lot better choice than what most people otherwise do.

GreenGuava

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2013, 01:40:55 PM »
An large percentage of the USA would be in a considerably better place financially if they adopted literally every single thing Dave Ramsey preaches on finances. Very few would be worse off.

This applies to literally everything he says, whether the order you pay off debts, the way you invest for retirement, or how much money you keep on hand. They aren't necessarily optimal. But it's a heck of a lot better choice than what most people otherwise do.

I'll echo this.  While I hate the idea of paying a load on a mutual fund, being in 100% stocks, or paying a high expense ratio, I'm in that small category of people who would be worse for being with Dave Ramsey.

But the majority of his audience are people who spend at least as much as they make and don't save much (if anything) for retirement.  With the money they're spending on unnecessarily expensive investment options, if they weren't doing this, they'd just spend more on whatever they spent on previously or they'd sit in cash.  The Ramsey plan is a huge improvement on these bad choices.

mulescent

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2013, 01:49:13 PM »
I disagree with a lot of what the author has to say (viz. Mustachian practices), but I do think she makes some valid and thought-provoking points.  Increasing income inequality and disparity in wealth distribution really are huge issues driving many households underwater.  Could those households cut luxuries/extras and get through serial job losses, medical emergencies and tanking housing markets?  Of course.  However, if the trend of decreasing middle-wage incomes continue the vast majority of Americans will eventually having nothing left to cut.  Ramsey may make tactical suggestions that are helpful, but they don't address the real issues.  Worse, his political ideology will, if implemented, actually further degrade the chances of success for most of his followers.

Tyler

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2013, 01:58:54 PM »
I personally don't care for Ramsey's investing advice, but his message on saving and eliminating debt is spot on.  I feel one should be able to appreciate that message separately from their own personal views on "larger forces."  Not everything must be evaluated through a political lens.


OptimusFrugal

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2013, 02:10:35 PM »
The author of that article is just trying to sell her own book.

Deano

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2013, 03:45:28 PM »
The author of that article is just trying to sell her own book.

Yeah, what kind of person would do that? I mean, who would write articles, go on TV and have a free radio show to sell books?

Wait, who are we talking about here again?

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2013, 03:47:51 PM »
Most (all?) of Dave Ramsey's material is just marketing. Smart marketing, but marketing nonetheless. Heck, he even has churches pushing his product.

Main difference, is his product is encouraging you to be MORE financially secure, not less.

The impossible rates of return...possibly an outright lie. But if you're the average layperson, are you more likely to start investing if you hear "Hey, you might get 7% if you're lucky" or "Hey, you'll definitely get at least 12%...or maybe 20%...heck make it 50%!" Once you've caught on to the "real" rate of return, you probably have a decent stash, which is earning a decent bit of interest. Ok, so you're not quite as rich as you thought you'd be, and you'll have to work a few more years...but you've already got a good start, and are motivated to continue.

Do the ends justify the means? I dunno. I mean, a lot of people are doing much better thanks to him. It's hard to be angry at him.

And yeah, a lot of stuff is out of our direct control. But don't just throw your hands in the air and act like EVERYTHING is out of your control. That's just stupid.

Deano

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2013, 04:17:31 PM »
I think the most important thing to take away from Olen is the reminder that economic forces DO play a part in your financial well-being. You can always do better with your money, no doubt, but sometimes it just doesn't matter how freaking frugal you are.

We'd all do well to remember that on this forum. Most of us are well educated, well employed and doing ok, we just have some mistakes in our past. There is another America (and Canada!) that is less fortunate. It's fairly easy to get out of financial trouble if you're middle class and educated, it's another thing entirely if you are from one of the various underclasses of society.

She makes some pretty valid points in the article as well, such as the primary causes of bankruptcy for starters. I don't see her as anti-mustachian, I just think she possess that old-time journalism streak that seems to be the desire to point out charlatans. Is Ramsey a charlatan? Maybe that's too strong a word, huckster maybe....

gooki

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2013, 05:42:03 PM »
I think the most important thing to take away from Olen is the reminder that economic forces DO play a part in your financial well-being. You can always do better with your money, no doubt, but sometimes it just doesn't matter how freaking frugal you are.

I think she missed one of the most important insights. By taking care of your financial wealth you are able to deal with the economic forces. Her selected quotes mostly gloss over this as it's mostly relating to people or are just beginning their path.

Deano

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2013, 07:34:56 PM »
I think the most important thing to take away from Olen is the reminder that economic forces DO play a part in your financial well-being. You can always do better with your money, no doubt, but sometimes it just doesn't matter how freaking frugal you are.

I think she missed one of the most important insights. By taking care of your financial wealth you are able to deal with the economic forces. Her selected quotes mostly gloss over this as it's mostly relating to people or are just beginning their path.

We all have this very funny habit of thinking that the world is like us, or, failing that, it is very easy to be like us and perhaps very desirable. No, by taking care of your financial well-being you are not immune from economic forces. That is false. There were some very frugal people living on farms during the late 20's who became quite destitute in just a few years time. Economic forces can be vast and sweeping and if we don't directly experience them, we think anyone who has been effected is just doing something wrong. They sometimes are doing something wrong, but so very often they are not.

Should you be wise and take care of your financial well being, you will be better off when foul economic winds come your way, but not immune, that's fantasy land.

Olen (whom I've read) advocates for a fair state where economic forces are blunted so as to allow people to prosper. Merely suggesting that ALL financial situations are the result of the individual is Randian crap, I think this is the biggest beef she has with financial self-help gurus. I will totally agree with the assertion that for most middle class Americans (and Canadians and New Zealanders?), they screw it up for themselves, but the story doesn't end there.

vern

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2013, 10:15:25 PM »
A few years back a guy I work with (who's bad with money) talked about how he wanted to go to one of Ramsey's seminars.

I told him, "You don't have to pay somebody to tell you not to spend money.  I'll tell you that for free."


gooki

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2013, 11:57:41 PM »
Deano, I never said immune.

She may have some great ideas, but to be honest after reading that article I don't want to hear them. I'd feel she'd have more integrity if she simply said Dave's advice is not for everybody. And then shared her ideas for changing the world.

jdoolin

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2013, 06:09:43 AM »
Oh, I see it's written by Helaine "It's all hopeless, your financial problems aren't your fault and you can't do anything about them, so let's all just give up and bitch about external forces and complain about the government" Olen.

Nothing to see there.

Deano

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2013, 02:31:00 PM »
Oh, I see it's written by Helaine "It's all hopeless, your financial problems aren't your fault and you can't do anything about them, so let's all just give up and bitch about external forces and complain about the government" Olen.

Nothing to see there.

Lot's to see, you just choose not to see it. Simple.

lhamo

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2013, 03:07:28 PM »
I don't agree with much of DR's philosophy, but I do enjoy listening to his program.  It is quite inspirational to hear people who have turned their financial lives around.  He is also extremely compassionate with people who are suffering due to circumstances beyond their control.  He and his team seem to take very good care of women who call in with domestic violence situations in particular -- he seems to have a very well-attuned radar for those situations and will take the person off air and have his staff work with them to identify support organizations in their community. 

I don't think he presents himself/his approach as THE answer to everyone's problems.  It is AN answer that works for many people.  It has clearly worked very well for him.  And that rubs some people the wrong way -- just like MMM's success with this blog does.  Whatever.  He's a master marketer, very good at branding and product development.  Kind of like Ramit Sethi, but with a bible in hand.

I actually like his EntreLeadership stuff even more than the financial stuff -- though it sometimes gets a little God-heavy, the basic principles he and his guests espouse are really useful.  Was interesting to read the kerfluffle about Jon Acuff leaving his organization, though.  Kind of wonder what happened there.  Dave definitely seems to be a bit of a "my way or the highway" kind of guy, so it will be challenging for him to find someone who can succeed him as the head of the business. 

jdoolin

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2013, 05:43:46 PM »
Oh, I see it's written by Helaine "It's all hopeless, your financial problems aren't your fault and you can't do anything about them, so let's all just give up and bitch about external forces and complain about the government" Olen.

Nothing to see there.

Lot's to see, you just choose not to see it. Simple.

Maybe there is, but I don't care for the defeatist attitude it's all wrapped in.  That chick rubs me the wrong way, even if she does have valid arguments for a particular segment of America.

mpbaker22

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2013, 07:52:08 PM »
I wasn't going to comment, then I read this
Quote
His counsel even wards them away from a source of relief he himself once depended on: Before making his fortune as a self-help guru, Ramsey completed his own journey out of crushing debt by filing for bankruptcy in 1988.

I don't know a whole lot about Dave, but this just feels like a cheap shot.  I think there's a very good chance that his bankruptcy caused him to think quite a bit about his situation and probably led to his current thoughts on bankruptcy.  She sorta covers it later, but not a lot.

No Name Guy

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2013, 10:25:09 PM »
Helaine "you're doomed so why bother" Olsen reminds me on this Veterans Day of something my father (3 year combat vet, so he had a wee be of experience for this nugget) taught me:  A man in the foxhole who is convinced he is going to die no matter what he does will certainly find a way to fulfill his own prophecy.  In a similar manner, those that adopt her woe is me, forces bigger than me will always hold me down attitude will always find a way to fail with their finances.

She encompasses the piss poor attitude of those who are poor, and will always be poor.  Woe is me....look at how the man is holding me down (swipes credit card to buy yet more useless crap from Bed Bath and Beyond).....why, if that bastard my employer only paid me more (goes out to lunch for the 5th time this week, and grabs take out on the way home from work) I could just get ahead.  I mean, those SOB's at work have this crappy health plan with a $1,000 deductible, where am I going to get that kind of money (makes another payment on the crappy mileage truck bought new and financed last year)......hell, I almost managed to get out of debt, but instead of putting my kids into the free / practically no cost school sports, I had to put them in the obviously more expensive league (a laughable example Ms. Olsen used in the linked piece) and it drove me back into the hole.  Shit, this stupid economy and those damn politicians always giving out tax breaks to the rich, that's why I never get ahead....now where the hell did my new iPad and iPhone 5S go?

To those that bemoan outside forces - yes, you know what?  There's nothing you can do if the wings fall off the plane your on at 30,000 feet.  It's NOT ABOUT THAT.......it's about being able to survive the SURVIVABLE events IF you take precautions and harden your finances by living a frugal life, below your means, with savings, with prudence. 

Recently deceased at the Pearly Gates:  "By golly there St. Peter, I guess there was nothing I could have done in that car wreck to survive?" 
St. Peter:  "No my foolish Son....you could have worn your seat belt, and had you been driving the speed limit on that winding mountain road instead of being the lead foot Larry you were, you never would have gone over the cliff in the first place.  See that fellow over there - he couldn't have done anything, he was hit by a falling tree - wrong place at the wrong time....you on the other hand, did it to yourself."

Charlotte

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2013, 04:10:07 AM »
Dave Ramsey is great for those just starting to figure out the mess they are in and dig themselves out. He is great for those finally ready to stop being a "victim" and to take responsibility for themselves and their own financial house.

At some point, you hopefully graduate from DR. Maybe to MMM. ;) His advice is not for everyone, and most people on this board are way beyond DR. If nothing else, he reaches the masses and gets them started on a good path.

I'll admit that I didn't read the article because I am a huge believer in personal responsibility. Yes, there are outside forces that make life harder. No, I cannot do anything about them. All I can do is take care of myself and my family. I can limit the effect those outside forces have on my life.

My husband was unemployed for two years and now makes half of what he used to. At the same time my income dropped significantly (I'm self-employed). Meh, we were able to weather the storm with very little fallout because we took care of ourselves and didn't blame the world for our problems.

LalsConstant

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #21 on: November 12, 2013, 08:55:31 AM »
A few years back a guy I work with (who's bad with money) talked about how he wanted to go to one of Ramsey's seminars.

I told him, "You don't have to pay somebody to tell you not to spend money.  I'll tell you that for free."

But can you motivate him to actually change his behavior?  It's not for lack of factual knowledge that people get into debt.  It's much deeper than that.

And wow did this article miss the point.

I have read The Total Money Makeover, although it's been a few years.  That article is way too long and it really misses the point of what Dave Ramsay is selling.

And yes I used the word selling on purpose.  I've said it before and I'll say it again: Dave Ramsay is a man with a very niche talent.  He has a way of motivating stubborn people to get out of debt.  In a sane, rational society where the average person wasn't up in debt to his eyeballs his talent would not be marketable.  But we live in Crazy World and in Crazy World, his niche skill is very valuable.

As a former debtor I'm not even saying the article is wrong per se, there are larger forces at work that put the masses, of which I am a part, into bad financial positions.  I believe it's as much culture as economy however; I think we're conditioned to spend.  But that's another topic.

But here's the thing to remember: I can't control the economy, I can't control the fact salaries are shrinking or not growing, I can't control health care, I can't control anything on a macro scale.

I'm left with two choices.  I can either wring my hands and throw little self pity parties day in and day out that those big bad powerful politicians and corporations and Democrats/Republicans and executives and whatever are crushing me, or I can focus on what I can do with what I've got.

While Ramsay does comment on the bigger picture of the US and the mess we're in, his opinion on that doesn't matter too much if you're considering his financial self help products, which focus on the latter exclusively.

And of course they do, Ramsay does say a lot of things that are just factually wrong, but the one thing he understands is the thing that's hard to measure objectively: he understands how people in debt think and he understands how to get them to change.  The man certainly doesn't understand market returns and investing or things like that, but motivation he gets.

I think he thinks he's smarter than he is to tell the truth because as a guru he's surrounded by yes men, but when I look at him I see someone who's very emotionally in tune with other human beings at the expense of being as dry and analytical as others might be.  Like anything else in life this has good and bad points.

I won't lie, Ramsay's book past a certain point is garbage, but the first 2/3 or so about how to get yourself to actually stop being in debt is pure gold to someone who needs to hear it.  And he does emphasize over and over again that YOU, yes YOU, need to do something.  He's right on the mark there.  That material actually did help me get out of debt by showing me it's right to get your emotions into it, you really have to want it.  When you put both lobes of your brain into something, you're more likely to accomplish it.

I understand the criticism of the man, I always read multiple sides of an issue so I quickly realized his investment advice is terrible, but what he's good at he's really good at.  But back to the point:

Look maybe big macro forces do act in such a way to crush the average person.  I don't know.  The hell are they supposed to do about it?

I pretty much do what Dave says (besides investing advice, I don't invest in any way remotely similar to his method), except I use a credit card which I pay off every month.  But to get to the point I could do that, I had to stop using a card for a couple of years and get in the habit of spending only cash.  Once I got that down I was responsible enough to use a credit card again.

I actually do agree with Dave Ramsay's analogy for this, he calls it playing with vipers.  He's exactly right, that's exactly what it is, it's like milking a poisonous snake for its venom to use a credit card.  Just because people do it every day doesn't mean it's not dangerous.  But I could cut my card up and throw it away and see no real life changes.  I wouldn't get my $50 a year or so from it but that's not going to be a huge impact.

Owning your own shit is hard and it sucks and you can't always find the strength to do it.  Sometimes you don't know how.  For me it's my weight, I'm still struggling to find a handle on it.  So I empathize with the idea society shouldn't pressure people into bad decisions to begin with.  But again what am I to do, cry about it or try to find a way?  No I accept it's my own fault I'm fat.  That's the only reason why maybe someday I won't be fat.

When it all lines up and you can own your problem, it's the greatest thing in the world.  For the first time in a long time I see ways I could be free someday.  I actually have money when things happen.  My modem broke.  I was able to deal with it.  I had to replace a car battery and get some repairs done last week.  No big deal, I had money to cover it.  A few years ago these small events would have crippled me.  That's a quality of life I didn't have before.

While I'm not FI and am not on course to be for some time yet, the fact is by having no debt and using the very simple financial principals of "I am going to save $X before I do anything else with this money" and "I don't get to spend any more than what's left of my paycheck", I am financially hardened against many catastrophes.  Is it as good as being rich?  No of course not, but being on an even keel isn't the worst place to be if the economy gets even worse.

I guess it sucks I don't have the house, picket fence, second car, wife and 2.5 kids or other things like that but at the same time, I don't have those things to lose if everything goes Mad Max either.

This article is terrible.  It's really not about Dave Ramsay at all, he's just a target for a ridiculous tirade about how people can't be trusted to live their own lives.

Also, as far as I'm concerned, living debt free to the greatest extent you can is the single best middle finger you can shoot to a consumerist society run amok.  Be the change you want to see in the world.

I love being what the credit industry calls a "deadbeat".

No Name Guy

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #22 on: November 12, 2013, 01:14:12 PM »
A few more things: 

1)  What ever DR's other faults are he does get the foundation right IMO.  Its pretty darn difficult to get ahead if you spend more than what you make, period.  He seems to beat that point pretty hard.

2)  What DR offers is, IMO, grade school or at most, middle school, level finance education.  That's exactly what the financially illiterate / innumerate bulk of sukka's out there need.  ERE / Jacob & MMM PhD level badassity would just fly over their heads.  So he simplifies it?  So what.  Do you explain to a small child the concept of a sonic boom / explosive local heating of the atmosphere when a lightning bolt causes thunder, or just say (if it's a religious household) that it's merely God clapping his hands?  Chances are the child will understand the latter, even if it isn't correct, and learn not to worry about thunder a whole lot better than with the former explanation.

3)  I'd also say that MMM's recent article on locus of control applies.  To hell with Ms. Olsen's "you can't make it", "they" are out to crush you bullshit.  You can't control what other people do, only what you do.  The world, simply put, is what it is.  Deal with it, as it is, in the here and now.  What you CAN control is how much (or how little) crap you buy, how hard you work, how hard you study / improve your skills, what you eat, how much you exercise, what you set the thermostat at, driving style and when to drive, what (if any) vehicle you choose, etc.  Worry about changing the world later.

Abe

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #23 on: November 12, 2013, 07:27:28 PM »
I'm glad to know you all share my concern about the author's defeatist attitude.  Everyone in the news seems to go on about how it is "nearly impossible" to live in the current economy. There is a percentage of people who are in truly desperate situations, but I don't think that applies to the vast majority of people in the US. The country I was born in and visit frequently has real, severe poverty and I guess my reference is skewed because of that. In the US, there has been a drop in living standards due to the recession, but did we ever really have that standard without the borrowing artificially propping it up? In addition, aren't a lot of the new expenses compared to the 1970s for luxuries that aren't essential? I'm just trying to understand the disconnect from these reports compared to my daily life.

mpbaker22

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #24 on: November 13, 2013, 10:25:39 AM »
I'm glad to know you all share my concern about the author's defeatist attitude.  Everyone in the news seems to go on about how it is "nearly impossible" to live in the current economy. There is a percentage of people who are in truly desperate situations, but I don't think that applies to the vast majority of people in the US. The country I was born in and visit frequently has real, severe poverty and I guess my reference is skewed because of that. In the US, there has been a drop in living standards due to the recession, but did we ever really have that standard without the borrowing artificially propping it up? In addition, aren't a lot of the new expenses compared to the 1970s for luxuries that aren't essential? I'm just trying to understand the disconnect from these reports compared to my daily life.

Yes, like people who try to argue for minimum wage increases by stating how impossible it is to live on minimum wage.  I'm neither in agreement with nor opposed to increasing minimum wages, but don't tell me it's impossible to live on minimum wage.
As a single person, I do it just fine, by choice!  Even if you have kids, things will be tighter, but I believe it's possible if you only have one or two.  That's especially true if you account for SNAP, Secetion 8, etc.

I consider my standard of living to be just as high as the next person, but I don't pay for the bullshit.  I wear the wool sweater and set the temperature to 55-58.  I drive very little, but I did (mostly) wuss out on the biking. Etc.

kyleaaa

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #25 on: November 13, 2013, 11:01:44 AM »
If you want to understand the thrust of Helaine's argument, I recommend you read her book "Pound Foolish." It's quite good and no, she isn't making the argument that people can't change their situation for the better and she isn't saying that all your money troubles aren't your fault. She's just saying that sometimes, shit happens and there's nothing you can do about it because the system is broken. And she's right.

kyleaaa

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #26 on: November 13, 2013, 11:11:57 AM »
Deano, I never said immune.

She may have some great ideas, but to be honest after reading that article I don't want to hear them. I'd feel she'd have more integrity if she simply said Dave's advice is not for everybody. And then shared her ideas for changing the world.

I have never understood this attitude, the attitude that "well if you don't have a better idea, keep your mouth shut." This is HORRIBLE advice. The world needs people to stand up and scream "this is crap." Doesn't matter whether or not they have a better idea. She's right, and she's right whether or not she has ideas for changing the world or not. If something is crap, it's crap, and it deserves to be called crap.

kyleaaa

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #27 on: November 13, 2013, 11:15:42 AM »
Maybe there is, but I don't care for the defeatist attitude it's all wrapped in.  That chick rubs me the wrong way, even if she does have valid arguments for a particular segment of America.

Have you read her book? Her attitude isn't defeatist at all. She reiterates MANY times how common sense frugality and education can serve you well and help you avoid a lot of trouble. Her point is that for a much larger portion of the population than anybody seems willing to admit, such actions are useless because their ability to save for the future is overwhelmed by external factors. You can't save for the future or pay down debt when you're supporting 3 children on your own with minimum wage. I don't care what you do, you aren't going to dig yourself out of that hole without a healthy dose of blind luck. She's not talking about the indebted middle class here who spend too much money on plasma TVs, she's talking about people who can't afford clothes at Wal-mart of healthy food. Those people already aren't wasting their money at The Gap.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2013, 11:18:17 AM by kyleaaa »

mpbaker22

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #28 on: November 13, 2013, 11:18:05 AM »
Maybe there is, but I don't care for the defeatist attitude it's all wrapped in.  That chick rubs me the wrong way, even if she does have valid arguments for a particular segment of America.

Have you read her book? Her attitude isn't defeatist at all. She reiterates MANY times how common sense frugality and education can serve you well and help you avoid a lot of trouble. Her point is that for a much larger portion of the population than anybody seems willing to admit, such actions are useless because their ability to save for the future is overwhelmed by external factors.

Except, as users of this forum have shown, that last statement isn't true.

kyleaaa

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #29 on: November 13, 2013, 11:18:45 AM »
Maybe there is, but I don't care for the defeatist attitude it's all wrapped in.  That chick rubs me the wrong way, even if she does have valid arguments for a particular segment of America.

Have you read her book? Her attitude isn't defeatist at all. She reiterates MANY times how common sense frugality and education can serve you well and help you avoid a lot of trouble. Her point is that for a much larger portion of the population than anybody seems willing to admit, such actions are useless because their ability to save for the future is overwhelmed by external factors.

Except, as users of this forum have shown, that last statement isn't true.

In absolutely no way have users of this forum shown the last statement isn't true.

mpbaker22

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #30 on: November 13, 2013, 11:25:13 AM »
Maybe there is, but I don't care for the defeatist attitude it's all wrapped in.  That chick rubs me the wrong way, even if she does have valid arguments for a particular segment of America.

Have you read her book? Her attitude isn't defeatist at all. She reiterates MANY times how common sense frugality and education can serve you well and help you avoid a lot of trouble. Her point is that for a much larger portion of the population than anybody seems willing to admit, such actions are useless because their ability to save for the future is overwhelmed by external factors.

Except, as users of this forum have shown, that last statement isn't true.

In absolutely no way have users of this forum shown the last statement isn't true.

Unless you have literally refused to read any personal stories on the rest of this forum, it is most definitely true.

Albert

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #31 on: November 13, 2013, 11:44:08 AM »
It seems to me that this is again one of those threads were we collectively demonstrate a bit too much arrogance for my liking. It has been clearly demonstrated by numerous surveys here that this community is significantly higher income and perhaps more importantly higher eduction than average. MMM himself doesn't hide the fact that his advice works best for middle and upper middle class people. I personally find it difficult to imagine lives of lower class people and I think that is true for quite a few of us here. Difference is that I tend to be more careful about being judgmental about things I don't have a personal experience with...

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #32 on: November 13, 2013, 01:05:02 PM »
In absolutely no way have users of this forum shown the last statement isn't true.

How about, at least one forum user has shown that the last statement is not always true?

I crunched the numbers once, and our family of four could live on about $12k/yr. This would cut out virtually all extravagant spending (no vacation, no going out to eat, lots of staying at home). But it'd be doable. US minimum wage is $7.25, 40hrs a week, 52 weeks a year...$15,080. At that low of an income for a family of four, you'll be getting more back in taxes than you're paying in. Now, this assumes several things; you have a paid for home with low taxes (ours is about $25k with property taxes a whopping $110/yr or so), you can easily find a minimum wage job offering 40 hours a week, no debt, etc. All that could be possible if, say, both partners work a minimum wage job before having kids, or if one person can make over minimum wage for a while. And of course, you gotta deal with living in the middle of nowhere (sorry, bikes may be fun to ride in the field, but you're probably not going to bike to work where we live).

A lot of people struggle where we're from, and many are making more than minimum wage. They also have newer cars, flashier phones, name brand toothpaste, etc. So yeah...it can be hard, but it's not always impossible.

kyleaaa

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #33 on: November 13, 2013, 01:09:02 PM »
In absolutely no way have users of this forum shown the last statement isn't true.

How about, at least one forum user has shown that the last statement is not always true?

I crunched the numbers once, and our family of four could live on about $12k/yr. This would cut out virtually all extravagant spending (no vacation, no going out to eat, lots of staying at home). But it'd be doable. US minimum wage is $7.25, 40hrs a week, 52 weeks a year...$15,080. At that low of an income for a family of four, you'll be getting more back in taxes than you're paying in. Now, this assumes several things; you have a paid for home with low taxes (ours is about $25k with property taxes a whopping $110/yr or so), you can easily find a minimum wage job offering 40 hours a week, no debt, etc. All that could be possible if, say, both partners work a minimum wage job before having kids, or if one person can make over minimum wage for a while. And of course, you gotta deal with living in the middle of nowhere (sorry, bikes may be fun to ride in the field, but you're probably not going to bike to work where we live).

A lot of people struggle where we're from, and many are making more than minimum wage. They also have newer cars, flashier phones, name brand toothpaste, etc. So yeah...it can be hard, but it's not always impossible.

I think you're missing the point. What is your education level? What is your family background (along with your parents' education levels)? What was your family's level of wealth growing up? The fact that you can live on $12k per year NOW in absolutely no way demonstrates the last statement is not true.

And what if you get sick? You're screwed.

Albert

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #34 on: November 13, 2013, 01:13:37 PM »
People here don't seem to understand that living on 20k/year and only earning that much with little prospects of more is a big difference.

mpbaker22

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #35 on: November 13, 2013, 01:23:13 PM »
Have you read her book? Her attitude isn't defeatist at all. She reiterates MANY times how common sense frugality and education can serve you well and help you avoid a lot of trouble. Her point is that for a much larger portion of the population than anybody seems willing to admit, such actions are useless because their ability to save for the future is overwhelmed by external factors. You can't save for the future or pay down debt when you're supporting 3 children on your own with minimum wage. I don't care what you do, you aren't going to dig yourself out of that hole without a healthy dose of blind luck. She's not talking about the indebted middle class here who spend too much money on plasma TVs, she's talking about people who can't afford clothes at Wal-mart of healthy food. Those people already aren't wasting their money at The Gap.

Whoa, that's a completely different argument than your later post:
I think you're missing the point. What is your education level? What is your family background (along with your parents' education levels)? What was your family's level of wealth growing up? The fact that you can live on $12k per year NOW in absolutely no way demonstrates the last statement is not true.

And what if you get sick? You're screwed.

It seems to me that this is again one of those threads were we collectively demonstrate a bit too much arrogance for my liking. It has been clearly demonstrated by numerous surveys here that this community is significantly higher income and perhaps more importantly higher eduction than average. MMM himself doesn't hide the fact that his advice works best for middle and upper middle class people. I personally find it difficult to imagine lives of lower class people and I think that is true for quite a few of us here. Difference is that I tend to be more careful about being judgmental about things I don't have a personal experience with...
This is another incorrect post.  There are more high income earners than low income earners on this forum.  However, there are several people making below the poverty line who manage to save 50% of their income.  The advice works for people of all classes.  The savings accumulates higher in dollar terms for those in the middle and upper middle class.  But saving 50% of a salary

People here don't seem to understand that living on 20k/year and only earning that much with little prospects of more is a big difference.
I live on much less than 20K/year.  How is it different?  Yes, if you reduced my income to the minimum level of my expenses, I would no longer have savings.  But if you reduced it to minimum wage, I'd still be saving ~20% of my paycheck, even more after accounting for food stamps, section 8 etc.  That means, for every year I worked I'd have .2 years worth of income to fall back on (or use to pay potential medical bills).  However, if I was in that situation, I'd immediately sell my car, stop eating out, and save even more money.

No Name Guy

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #36 on: November 13, 2013, 01:24:58 PM »
You can't save for the future or pay down debt when you're supporting 3 children on your own with minimum wage. I don't care what you do, you aren't going to dig yourself out of that hole without a healthy dose of blind luck. She's not talking about the indebted middle class here who spend too much money on plasma TVs, she's talking about people who can't afford clothes at Wal-mart of healthy food. Those people already aren't wasting their money at The Gap.

I'm sorry, kyleaaa, but anyone old enough to have 3 kids should have enough skills to be able to be working for more than minimum wage.  Minimum wage is a starting wage, until you develop skills and work ethic and have the time to demonstrate to an employer that you're worth more.  Hell, it took me only a few months after entering the paycheck workforce at 16 to earn a raise.  It's not hard for those willing to work hard and willing to learn. 

Oh, and healthy food is as cheap as (if not cheaper than) crap fast so-called-food, unless you're totally ignorant.  I just finished off a batch of red beans (cooked from dry) and brown rice, with sauteed onions and a bit of diced left over meat and some hot sauce at lunch yesterday.  Cost?  Less than a buck per serving, all in.

Albert - not all of us here have always been wealthy.  Some of us, in our lives (either as kids or adults), have in fact lived anywhere from outright poverty to at best, lower middle class.  In any event, that we the readers of MMM, collectively, have higher education and income is likely one product of the fact that instead of wallowing in said poverty or lower middle class circumstances, many here choose to get the hell out of there by a dint of hard work and hard studying / skill development.  I've lived the lower middle class life before - fuck that shit, that's why I busted my ass in school and at my teenage jobs - to get the hell ahead, and that's why I'll continue to bust my ass (and control my expenses), so I never go back to that shitty life.   It's not arrogance if you bootstrap your butt up out of poverty or the lower middle class then tell others they can do it as well.

kyleaaa

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #37 on: November 13, 2013, 01:41:54 PM »
Whoa, that's a completely different argument than your later post:

No it isn't. It's exactly the same argument.

This is another incorrect post.  There are more high income earners than low income earners on this forum.  However, there are several people making below the poverty line who manage to save 50% of their income.  The advice works for people of all classes.  The savings accumulates higher in dollar terms for those in the middle and upper middle class.  But saving 50% of a salary

It's not an incorrect post because it's about far more than just income level. Those with a decent education, average-or-better intelligence, and a good upbringing coupled with good role models have a huge advantage over somebody with an identical income but none of those traits. Income level is just one of the variables, and not even really the most important one. By virtue of the fact that you're on the internet actively discussing the issue, you are NOT one of the people Helaine is talking about.

I live on much less than 20K/year.  How is it different?  Yes, if you reduced my income to the minimum level of my expenses, I would no longer have savings.  But if you reduced it to minimum wage, I'd still be saving ~20% of my paycheck, even more after accounting for food stamps, section 8 etc.  That means, for every year I worked I'd have .2 years worth of income to fall back on (or use to pay potential medical bills).  However, if I was in that situation, I'd immediately sell my car, stop eating out, and save even more money.

Do you also have to support three children by yourself as well as an elderly relative while going through periodic bouts of sickness (since you can't afford insurance)? I doubt it, and that's Helaine's point: you are very, very, very lucky and don't even realize it. Besides, saving 20% of minimum wage wouldn't cut it even if you just broke your arm, much less came down with cancer. You'd be drowning in debt in an instant and wouldn't have a viable way to dig yourself out, not even via bankruptcy in many cases.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2013, 01:48:25 PM by kyleaaa »

kyleaaa

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #38 on: November 13, 2013, 01:46:16 PM »
I'm sorry, kyleaaa, but anyone old enough to have 3 kids should have enough skills to be able to be working for more than minimum wage.  Minimum wage is a starting wage, until you develop skills and work ethic and have the time to demonstrate to an employer that you're worth more.  Hell, it took me only a few months after entering the paycheck workforce at 16 to earn a raise.  It's not hard for those willing to work hard and willing to learn.

This has absolutely no basis in reality. Maybe for people raised in middle-class households with a high school diploma it's mostly true, but not for the truly poor or uneducated.

Quote from: No Name Guy
Oh, and healthy food is as cheap as (if not cheaper than) crap fast so-called-food, unless you're totally ignorant.  I just finished off a batch of red beans (cooked from dry) and brown rice, with sauteed onions and a bit of diced left over meat and some hot sauce at lunch yesterday.  Cost?  Less than a buck per serving, all in.

Totally depends on where you live. Do you think there are stores in the ghetto selling dry red beans, brown rice, and onions? Of course there aren't. If you think there are, I urge you to go look.

Quote from: No Name Guy
Albert - not all of us here have always been wealthy.  Some of us, in our lives (either as kids or adults), have in fact lived anywhere from outright poverty to at best, lower middle class.  In any event, that we the readers of MMM, collectively, have higher education and income is likely one product of the fact that instead of wallowing in said poverty or lower middle class circumstances, many here choose to get the hell out of there by a dint of hard work and hard studying / skill development.

Perhaps, but the exponentially more likely explanation is that you're here is a direct result of already having higher education and income.

Quote from: No Name Guy
I've lived the lower middle class life before - fuck that shit, that's why I busted my ass in school and at my teenage jobs - to get the hell ahead, and that's why I'll continue to bust my ass (and control my expenses), so I never go back to that shitty life.   It's not arrogance if you bootstrap your butt up out of poverty or the lower middle class then tell others they can do it as well.

Good for you. But not everybody even has the option of busting their ass in school and at teenage jobs. Count yourself fortunate.

mpbaker22

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #39 on: November 13, 2013, 01:55:52 PM »
Whoa, that's a completely different argument than your later post:

No it isn't. It's exactly the same argument.

Quote from: kyleaaa
It's not an incorrect post because it's about far more than just income level. Those with a decent education, average-or-better intelligence, and a good upbringing coupled with good role models have a huge advantage over somebody with an identical income but none of those traits. Income level is just one of the variables, and not even really the most important one. By virtue of the fact that you're on the internet actively discussing the issue, you are NOT one of the people Helaine is talking about.

That's not your original argument.  You made a statement.  I argued against that statement.  You chose a different statement to defend.  I'm not even sure what you're trying to defend now.  Are you saying that I'm at an advantage because I'm an educated person who makes above the poverty line?  There's a reason I got an education, and btw, until a year after completing that education, I was spending more than I make, which was below the poverty line.

I live on much less than 20K/year.  How is it different?  Yes, if you reduced my income to the minimum level of my expenses, I would no longer have savings.  But if you reduced it to minimum wage, I'd still be saving ~20% of my paycheck, even more after accounting for food stamps, section 8 etc.  That means, for every year I worked I'd have .2 years worth of income to fall back on (or use to pay potential medical bills).  However, if I was in that situation, I'd immediately sell my car, stop eating out, and save even more money.
Quote from: kyleaaa
Do you also have to support three children by yourself as well as an elderly relative while going through periodic bouts of sickness (since you can't afford insurance)? I doubt it, and that's Helaine's point: you are very, very, very lucky and don't even realize it. Besides, saving 20% of minimum wage wouldn't cut it even if you just broke your arm, much less came down with cancer. You'd be drowning in debt in an instant and wouldn't have a viable way to dig yourself out, not even via bankruptcy in many cases.
[/quote]
That's irrelevant.  You are arguing that sometimes external factors are economically devastating despite perfect personal choices.  Then, your example includes bad personal choices.
With regards to the last 2 lines there - why would a broken arm result in me drowning in debt, much less cancer?  Perhaps you aren't familiar with insurance.

Albert

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #40 on: November 13, 2013, 01:57:28 PM »
Don't take me wrong I'm all for people working their way up and well done if you are one of those who managed to raise from powerty to true middle class or higher. If nothing else you were born smarter and/or more ambitious than those left behind.

We need to make a distinction between individual opportunity and societal opportunity. As and individual you can study hard, become an engineer, save a lot of money and retire early. No problem with that as long as you have adequate intellectual capability. It is not, however, possible for ALL people to do so at the same time for quite obvious reasons.

Kyleaa already made some good points about self selection on this board.

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #41 on: November 13, 2013, 02:47:13 PM »
We need to make a distinction between individual opportunity and societal opportunity...It is not, however, possible for ALL people to do so at the same time for quite obvious reasons.

What percentage are we talking about here? Less than 1% of the working population physically/mentally incapable of taking charge of their lives.

And I'd propose by Dave taking the responsibility of changing the majority of peoples financial habits for the better, he is doing more good in helping the 1% his advice is not for. If the majority of people are less indebted and more financially stable, they'll be more willing and able to help those in need either through charity, higher taxes, etc etc.

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #42 on: November 13, 2013, 02:54:14 PM »
Good for you. But not everybody even has the option of busting their ass in school and at teenage jobs. Count yourself fortunate.

I think what Kyleaaa is talking about are the concepts of human and social capital. Some of us are born into families that have more of it than others, and we benefit. I understand and agree.

But, at some point in time, despite your starting position in life and lack of starting capital, you have to take ownership of where you are and the decisions you make. At what age should a person no longer be able to point to their upbringing as an excuse for their current situation? 18? 25? Surely by 30 you are a fully realized adult and have to take responsibility for your life and realize that you're in control now (to the extent that anyone is in control of their lives) and quit making excuses. At 30 you're still young enough to obtain a minimum level of education and start to better yourself. At 30 you've likely not experienced all of the "black swans" mentioned earlier, so at worst you're starting at zero.

I'm not saying everyone should be able to bootstrap themselves out of poverty, I know that's virtually impossible for everyone, but there are things that most people can do to better themselves and start making progress out of that whole, even when the deck is stacked against them. Start building that capital. That's what Ramsey is preaching, even if only for the money capital aspect; your human and social capital can be built in the exact same way.


Albert

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #43 on: November 13, 2013, 02:57:17 PM »
We need to make a distinction between individual opportunity and societal opportunity...It is not, however, possible for ALL people to do so at the same time for quite obvious reasons.

What percentage are we talking about here? Less than 1% of the working population physically/mentally incapable of taking charge of their lives.

You are reading what you want to read instead of what I wrote...

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #44 on: November 13, 2013, 05:17:06 PM »
I think you're missing the point. What is your education level? What is your family background (along with your parents' education levels)? What was your family's level of wealth growing up? The fact that you can live on $12k per year NOW in absolutely no way demonstrates the last statement is not true.

And what if you get sick? You're screwed.

You were talking in absolutes (or else my reading comprehension took a dive this morning, I admit I'm operating on sub-optimal levels of sleep). Said that no one on the forum ever demonstrated it was possible...or something to that effect. I raised my hand and said "well, I'm on the forum, and I'm saying it sure looks like a possibility." Not saying every single person can do what we can do. But are you saying that the vast majority of people out there are completely and utterly helpless, and are simply incapable of doing what we did?

Most people don't have a debilitating illness that keeps them from ever working, or at least working half-time (my scenario shows that one person working minimum wage can barely support a family of four; what if both parents work half-time...heck what if they get food stamps?).

Most people don't absolutely require a fancy mobile phone for their job; and if they do, surely they're making more than $7.25/hr? Yes, yes, I'm sure there's the one exception you can immediately think of...but I'm not talking about exceptions.

Fact is, MOST people, at least in the first-world, have more control over their lives than they probably realize. Now, if you want to talk about those in third-world countries, I think you have an excellent case. It's one thing to be able to pull yourself up when you're making minimum wage in the US, and another if $600/yr is the median.

Black Swan events...what exactly are we talking about? Losing a job = unemployment insurance (depending on state, that can be well over the bare-minimum $1k/mo needed). Becoming truly disabled = social security (you can say "but what about the year or two it takes to get the claim approved" and I'd say "rely on your emergency fund, apply for food stamps and welfare, hopefully you'll come out ok"). Breaking an arm = a hopefully covered doctor's bill thanks to ACA, at worst a month or two off from work because they won't let you work unless you're at 100%. Divorce = well, pick a halfway decent spouse, don't leave at the drop of the hat, and hopefully if you must separate you'll do so amicably; i.e. don't kick the other out of the house until he/she has means to support him/herself. Car breaking down = have a backup plan in place (bum a ride from your neighbor, use emergency fund to get a rental car, get a cheap scooter, something). Etc. etc. Even the death of a working spouse = social security benefits (at least if there are kids involved). Point is, MOST of these things can be planned for. The few things that can't be planned for, well...I never said EVERYONE could plan for EVERYTHING. Just that MOST people can plan for MOST events.

Oh, to answer your questions: I have a high school diploma. Wife has a post-graduate (prior was an Associate's degree). I'm not sure what my family's level of wealth was; mom had to start over and dad once commented we could qualify for free lunches at school, but was "proud" that we never had to apply. I would say wife's background would be under poverty level. And if we get sick? Well, living a healthy lifestyle (halfway decent food, no smoking and very minimal alcohol intake, get at least minimal exercise occasionally) will help mitigate that happening; but even if something huge hit us now, our prior choices would help ease the stress of such an event. But what if we got deathly sick as soon as we were set to enter the workforce? Well, again, I never said that EVERYONE could be prepared for EVERYTHING. Obviously, some people really are stuck with no way out. But I'm talking about MOST people, not ALL.

Deano

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #45 on: November 13, 2013, 05:35:06 PM »
Good for you. But not everybody even has the option of busting their ass in school and at teenage jobs. Count yourself fortunate.

I think what Kyleaaa is talking about are the concepts of human and social capital. Some of us are born into families that have more of it than others, and we benefit. I understand and agree.

But, at some point in time, despite your starting position in life and lack of starting capital, you have to take ownership of where you are and the decisions you make. At what age should a person no longer be able to point to their upbringing as an excuse for their current situation? 18? 25? Surely by 30 you are a fully realized adult and have to take responsibility for your life and realize that you're in control now (to the extent that anyone is in control of their lives) and quit making excuses. At 30 you're still young enough to obtain a minimum level of education and start to better yourself. At 30 you've likely not experienced all of the "black swans" mentioned earlier, so at worst you're starting at zero.

I'm not saying everyone should be able to bootstrap themselves out of poverty, I know that's virtually impossible for everyone, but there are things that most people can do to better themselves and start making progress out of that whole, even when the deck is stacked against them. Start building that capital. That's what Ramsey is preaching, even if only for the money capital aspect; your human and social capital can be built in the exact same way.

It is understood that people with certain backgrounds and difficulties are less likely to take ownership and take control of their life, but we still blame them, pretty much like those of the Victorian era. Kick a person repeatedly, then when you stop and they don't get up, you admonish them for their lax work ethic.

The age at which people with unfortunate upbringings stop suffering the effects of that upbringing? 120 maybe. It never goes away.

FIPurpose

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #46 on: November 13, 2013, 08:33:41 PM »
Good for you. But not everybody even has the option of busting their ass in school and at teenage jobs. Count yourself fortunate.

I think what Kyleaaa is talking about are the concepts of human and social capital. Some of us are born into families that have more of it than others, and we benefit. I understand and agree.

But, at some point in time, despite your starting position in life and lack of starting capital, you have to take ownership of where you are and the decisions you make. At what age should a person no longer be able to point to their upbringing as an excuse for their current situation? 18? 25? Surely by 30 you are a fully realized adult and have to take responsibility for your life and realize that you're in control now (to the extent that anyone is in control of their lives) and quit making excuses. At 30 you're still young enough to obtain a minimum level of education and start to better yourself. At 30 you've likely not experienced all of the "black swans" mentioned earlier, so at worst you're starting at zero.

I'm not saying everyone should be able to bootstrap themselves out of poverty, I know that's virtually impossible for everyone, but there are things that most people can do to better themselves and start making progress out of that whole, even when the deck is stacked against them. Start building that capital. That's what Ramsey is preaching, even if only for the money capital aspect; your human and social capital can be built in the exact same way.

It is understood that people with certain backgrounds and difficulties are less likely to take ownership and take control of their life, but we still blame them, pretty much like those of the Victorian era. Kick a person repeatedly, then when you stop and they don't get up, you admonish them for their lax work ethic.

The age at which people with unfortunate upbringings stop suffering the effects of that upbringing? 120 maybe. It never goes away.

I think what's difficult for a lot of people is that there is no one single person trying to kick anybody. The way I see things (and this post is making me think a lot about my own thoughts) is that whether you grew up poor or rich, making yourself successful takes a lot of hard work and dedication, and anyone with enough motivation can do it.
I grew up in a middle class family. My father was making six-figures by the time I was born, and he was a first generation college graduate.
The job that I have lined up for after college was not given to me. I know no one at the company. I have nothing other than a college degree this December that was half way paid with federal loans, the other with scholarship and an internship that I did.
I've studied my butt off to do as well as I have. I aim to always be at the top of each class, and in my job interview that is what made all the difference. (It was literally me explaining a piece of C code that I know only a handful of classmates could have done).

I make no mistake in saying that I am a very blessed man by birth, but it sounds more to me like failures trying to down play their own failure by claiming people like me can only make it by birth. The United States really makes an effort above and beyond what is necessary to have everyone succeed.

Anyone that comes from a poor family can literally have their school paid for.  Anyone can go to community college for practically free become a plumber, electrician, or any other trade.

Like many others have said most extreme cases are covered by the government already. For health care there is medicaid. For sudden death of bread winner there is social security. In case your family can't make enough money for a while there is unemployment, welfare, food stamps, and bankruptcy protection. For education there are public schools and federal grants. For homes, there are government bodies that will loan money at a discount for unpriviledged families.

The list goes on. Maybe there is something I don't know, but to me, it seems that the government has stretched out its hand to about as much as it can do.

kyleaaa

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #47 on: November 14, 2013, 12:00:45 PM »

That's not your original argument.  You made a statement.  I argued against that statement.  You chose a different statement to defend.  I'm not even sure what you're trying to defend now.

No, it's the exact same argument said in two different ways.

That's irrelevant.  You are arguing that sometimes external factors are economically devastating despite perfect personal choices.  Then, your example includes bad personal choices.
With regards to the last 2 lines there - why would a broken arm result in me drowning in debt, much less cancer?  Perhaps you aren't familiar with insurance.

It's not at all irrelevant. And in any event, if your argument REQUIRES one to have made perfect choices to be valid (which so far as I can tell, it does), you've already lost. Have you ever broken an arm? It's expensive. You seem to assume most poor people can afford insurance. That is not a safe assumption.

kyleaaa

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #48 on: November 14, 2013, 12:03:22 PM »
But, at some point in time, despite your starting position in life and lack of starting capital, you have to take ownership of where you are and the decisions you make. At what age should a person no longer be able to point to their upbringing as an excuse for their current situation? 18? 25? Surely by 30 you are a fully realized adult and have to take responsibility for your life and realize that you're in control now (to the extent that anyone is in control of their lives) and quit making excuses. At 30 you're still young enough to obtain a minimum level of education and start to better yourself. At 30 you've likely not experienced all of the "black swans" mentioned earlier, so at worst you're starting at zero.

I'm not saying everyone should be able to bootstrap themselves out of poverty, I know that's virtually impossible for everyone, but there are things that most people can do to better themselves and start making progress out of that whole, even when the deck is stacked against them. Start building that capital. That's what Ramsey is preaching, even if only for the money capital aspect; your human and social capital can be built in the exact same way.

Nobody is arguing one shouldn't take ownership of where you are and the decisions you make. Not me, not the author of the article quoted in the OP, not Dave Ramsey, not anybody.

But at what point should a person no longer be able to point to their upbringing as an excuse for failure? Never. That point never comes. It affects you your entire life. There is no avoiding it.

kyleaaa

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Re: Article on Dave Ramsey
« Reply #49 on: November 14, 2013, 12:05:54 PM »

You were talking in absolutes (or else my reading comprehension took a dive this morning, I admit I'm operating on sub-optimal levels of sleep). Said that no one on the forum ever demonstrated it was possible...or something to that effect. I raised my hand and said "well, I'm on the forum, and I'm saying it sure looks like a possibility." Not saying every single person can do what we can do. But are you saying that the vast majority of people out there are completely and utterly helpless, and are simply incapable of doing what we did?

Yes. Absent some good fortune, there are some people out there (lots of people) who are simply incapable of doing what you did. In fact, it's extremely probable that YOU are incapable of doing what you did absent of some lucky break you received. The same applies to me. I'm a lucky guy.  I was born middle class and white in the US. That's HUGE. I was born with an above-average IQ. That's HUGE.