Dave who? Is he related to Suzy what’s-her-face?
I waffled about writing this article, but I decided to go for it. You see, when I see an article with a certain set of names, I don’t even bother reading it. Those names? Dave Ramsey and Suzy Orman. So writing this sort of breaks my unwritten rule.
I don’t necessarily have anything against these people. I’d rather just read something else when I come across their names. I know, I know, back in January, I wrote about snowballing debt, but I confess that I didn’t know it was a Ramsey term at the time. I caught wind of it around the blogosphere and liked the sound (and visual) of it.
But let me explain further. I have all the personal finance advice I need right here in my reader list. But that’s not all. I don’t get excited about bandwagons and overzealous disciples. I don’t like reading an article that parses every word someone says, whether it’s Ramsey, George Bush, or even verses of the Bible (don’t take that the wrong way). I didn’t like hearing about the Casey Serin drama (sorry Mapgirl). I’m just not that into finances to care (but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t).
I don’t live my life by mantras or quotes (don’t quote me on that though). I don’t read self-help books. I don’t like reading personal finance books, unless it’s more of a story. And that’s why I don’t really care what a “financial professional” says. They may have good, sound, basic principles, but outside of the following , any other advice varies drastically based on your own situation. The financial basics are:
- Spend less than you earn
- Save, invest and donate the rest
I don’t care about other principles. I want to read YOUR stories of success (or failure), not some “how-to” articles. That’s why you haven’t seen many “how-tos” from me; I’d rather tell you what I learned from my own or others’ mistakes. Sure, sometime in the future, I’m sure I’ll write “How to fix your debt problems” or “How to save more money”, but not right now. I’m still learning these things myself, so I can’t speak with authority and have you take me seriously, right?
So that explains why you won’t see me writing about “financial gurus” and their books. I might write a book review, but I’ll just have a more personal perspective than theological.
Next up, why I don’t talk about investing…
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I do like the gist of Dave and Sue’s advice, but I think I’ll let them explain their take on money matters rather than just repeating their words.
I enjoy reading precisely because you share advice their your personal experience. Please keep it up.
About six months ago I stopped listening to the Dave Ramsey should because it seemed like it was the same darn show every day with the same questions, just different callers. I took the time to listen in the other day, and I think the show’s improved significantly. It was a ‘small business’ theme show, and there were definitely some good questions.
Really well said. I have mixed feelings on the guru following because it was Dave Ramsey’s book that got me started on changing my financial life. I have to give credit where it is due (I knew about that book before the PF blogosphere).
However, now that I’m trying to contribute to that PF blogosphere myself, I am focusing more on what I learn in my own experiences and how I come to make decisions- not always making the ‘wise’ financial moves along the way.
I think you have nailed the right approach here.
Mr. DebtBeater says
I have to completely agree here with respect to what type of content to post on your blog. I actually still love listening to Dave’s podcasts and I’ll read through his email newsletter. However, I don’t want yet-another-post from anyone about what he’s already telling us on his own.
I like the tell-your-own-story approach to blogging. I’ve adopted it myself, and I listen in on blogs like yours that have the same story-telling feel to it more than just about any other just-state-the-facts type sites.
I will say that I’m not completely turned off by an occasional comparison of any “gurus” or post agreeing with or disagreeing with their stances. I’ll start skipping over stuff if it gets repetitive though.
Clever Dude says
Mr. DB: The articles that I run across tend to immediately assume the reader knows who these people are, what they said in their book or on their show, and never frame their response very well. I saw enough of it that I just tune out any articles I see with those names.
I feel the same about Starbucks coffee and Mac computers. My personality also tends to go in the opposite direction of bandwagons, but not always. Good post for thought.
The Dividend Guy says
I too listen to Dave’s podcasts but I do find that I learn more on the blogosphere than I do with him – he tends to focus on the real basics. I am also going to admit that I also listen just to hear how dumb some people are. I know that sounds mean, but it is kind of like American Idol when they show all the people who sucked so bad…
” * Spend less than you earn
* Save, invest and donate the rest
We need people like Dave and Suze because most people don’t know how to do either of those things.
Everything Finance says
I used to listen to Suze Orman 3-4 years back and it helped understand the importance of staying debt free. Stay away from credit cards etc.
Having said that, the show is of no use to me anymore. As you say, “They may have good, sound, basic principles, but outside of the following, any other advice varies drastically based on your own situation.”
Once you know the basic principles, whats the point of listening to people who are in debt, unless you just want to feel good about yourself and pity the other people.
Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife says
Write about what you know, right? That’s what I try to do anyway. Yes, I listen to Dave Ramsey…Ric Edelman too (have you checked him out?)…yes, it’s sometimes the same callers, but at least once a show there is a gem of something good in there that I can apply to myself. Every time I think it’s the “same old”, I get pleasantly surprised. I consider myself well-read in the PF area too…by no means an expert, but I will continue to read and learn so my brain cells don’t die out on me!