Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University” can be found in just about any Christian church in the United States. And it’s easy to see why: Money is the second most talked about topic in the Bible. It’s also the leading cause of stress for many Americans, and one of the top causes of divorce. Financial Peace University promises to help with that, and the envelope system Dave Ramsey advocates really does work.
Despite all of that, I can’t in good conscience support Dave Ramsey, nor would I recommend Financial Peace University as a resource to learn how to manage your money.
Reason #1: Dave Ramsey has NO educational credentials or professional experience in personal finance.
You can find all kinds of financial advice from Dave Ramsey, from his 7-Step program to build wealth to the collection of personal finance books he sells, to his radio show where he takes callers’ questions about money on the spot. From all of that, you might imagine that Dave Ramsey must be some kind of expert money guru with an endless supply of personal finance wisdom to share. You’d be wrong.
The reality is that Dave Ramsey’s only claim to money wisdom comes from filing for bankruptcy after taking on too many risky real estate investments. In fact, in the 25 years Dave Ramsey has been offering financial advice, he has yet to earn a single educational degree or credential in personal finance, or even to actually register as a financial advisor. Yikes.
Not exactly someone I’d trust with my family’s financial future.
Reason #2: Dave Ramsey’s advice is chock-full of conflicts of interest. Ultimately, YOU are the product he sells.
In addition to offering financial advice, Dave Ramsey also recommends a network of “Endorsed Local Providers” to service your insurance, investment, real estate, and tax needs. This is supposed to be a convenient, objective pathway to providers you can trust – but is it?
Financial professionals qualify as Endorsed Local Providers primarily by buying a spot on the list, NOT through a rigorous vetting process. In other words, Dave Ramsey has a financial incentive to “recommend” only providers on his list, acting in the best interests of his advertising clients at yours and your family’s expense.
In point of fact, Dave Ramsey’s system of kickbacks and special compensation is so conflicted that it’s been criticized by both state regulators and professional financial advisers. It’s also likely why Dave Ramsey recently came out against the Department of Labor’s proposed fiduciary requirement to act in the best interests of consumers.
Reason #3: Lastly and most importantly, Dave Ramsey is not a good witness to Christian living.
This last reason is really the deal-breaker for me.
The Bible tells us that the fruit of the Holy Spirit working in our lives is “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV). That’s how we’re called to live as Christians, and those attributes should be evident in the way we conduct ourselves as witnesses to Christ in the world.
Unfortunately, you don’t have to look far to notice that Dave Ramsey is not a good witness to the fruits of the Spirit. But don’t take my word for it. Take a look at his business practices as we’ve taken above, his personal tweets, or even just a quick listen-in to his radio show, and see for yourself.
It’s not my place to judge a person’s heart, or the level of their conviction as a follower of Jesus. But I can’t in good conscience support a public spokesperson on some of the most personal and consequential issues the Church faces who hardly even sounds like a Christian.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended for general educational purposes only.