Book 14 of 52: The TOTAL Money Make Over by Dave Ramsay


When I wrote Pick of the Week: Debt and Divorce I told you how scared I got when I realised that my current account was £1,400 overdrawn. During a check-in with my girlfriend she suggested that I check out a website by Adam Baker called Man Versus Debt. After a quick gander I read a blog post where Baker told the world about the three most important finance books he had ever read: Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez, The TOTAL Money Make Over by Dave Ramsay and I Will Teach You to be Rich by Ramit Sethi. I decided to read them in that exact order and as it transpires I can rank them in that order of good to bad. Ramsay’s offering was not as insightful as Your Money or Your Life but it was a hell of a lot better than I Will Teach You to be Rich.

The thing that I like about the book is it contains a plan. Books that teach you how to do something and then set a challenge at the end of each chapter appeal to me. His dream is to help everyone become financially independent and his process is called the seven baby steps.

The Seven Baby Steps

1. Create an emergency fund of $1,000

2. The Debt Snowball

3. Finish the emergency fund

4. Maximise retirement investing

5. College funding

6. Pay off the home mortgage

7. Build wealth like crazy

The structure for each chapter is very similar and works well from the point of view of the reader. So take baby step one as an example, the chapter will explain why it is important to save $1,000 in an emergency fund, how to do it and then finally there will be a real life story from a family who have achieved this goal and what it meant to them.

Ramsay nearly pulls something else off in the book that would have made it great. There are smatterings of segments called Dave Rants where he gives you little pockets of financial advice. I thought these were great but then he started to repeat them and I found this a little lazy and annoying. The only other annoyance for me is that the book has been created for a predominantly American audience. If there is a British book like this I want to hear about it! The talk about credit reporting and mutual fund investments are all States based discussions, and so it would be great to find a British book of a similar vein.

I have incorporated some of Ramsay’s baby steps with the steps in Your Money or Your Life and I have created 16 financial steps that I believe will lead to financial independence and I will share them with you on this blog. This list will certainly grow but I don’t think it will exceed 20 actions. Here are the main points I pulled out of Ramsay’s book.

1. I am going to create an emergency fund.

2. I have a pension but it is not enough. I need to finish my retirement plan and start investing for my future.

3. I need to start a savings scheme just incase my son decides to go to college.

4. I need to start saving for a new home.

5. I need to understand more about simple investing

If you are struggling financially and need some help then I can recommend The TOTAL Money Makeover by Dave Ramsay. But if money is tight and you can only buy one financial book this year then go with Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez.


  1. More practical advice most people can use and definitely need. In today’s political and economic culture, people certainly need to get their finances in order for themselves and their children.

    • Lee Davy says:

      Hi Linnea,

      I find myself in a strange situation. I have tried to buy my sons love for many years. This comes from the belief that I didn’t have anything as a child. I am trying to change my financial perspective and it is going to impact my son as I become a little less free with my money. It is going to be interesting to see how things progress.


  2. My husband and I are big Dave Ramsey fans (esp. my husband). We’ve taken some classes in which he taught by video. Not only does he give good advice, he is very entertaining. 🙂 I’m glad you came away with sound advice from Ramsey’s book. He’s definitely helped us become more financially stable.

  3. Great advice everyone of us needs to take and use. Planning for your future needs to happen as soon as you enter the work force but anytime is better than none.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Good luck reading all those books.
    Keep posting!

    Rosemary “Mamie” Adkins

    • Lee Davy says:

      Hi Rosemary,

      I started putting money into a pension fund at 16-years of age. But to be honest it was more luck than judgment. I really hope that in the future I can help people get serious about money at a younger age.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.


  4. Hi Lee,
    Thank you for the review of this book and the recommendation. I read a similar book that is also fantastic and many of the steps recommended in the book I read are similar to his book.-

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