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More Than Enough By Dave Ramsey Book Review Part 1


morethanenough2Every Sunday here at Ask Mr. Credit Card we review a personal finance book. This week we begin a new series – a review of “More Enough” by Dave Ramsey.

Ramsey’s debt snowball method has helped an uncountable number of people to get out of debt and gain control of their finances. In fact, he was one of my earliest influences when I began own financial education.

While I may not agree with all of his principles, I have always enjoyed his work, and the thought that he puts behind his concepts.

More Than Enough doesn’t just concentrate on getting out of debt. Instead it teaches us how to create a budget that actually fits our lifestyles – one that we can stick to because it takes into account what our needs really are.

It also intentionally challenges the concept of “enough”.

Chapter 1: More Than Enough What?

The book begins with this quote from George Bernard Shaw:

Money is worth nothing to the man
who has more than enough.

Ramsey also begins with an anecdote. The story of a woman and her husband. The story of a marriage that had fallen apart. The couple was on their way to get a divorce when they drove past one of Ramsey’s Financial Peace offices.

Why do [my staff and I] counsel hundreds of folks – single, married, young, old, tall, short, with children and without, broke, or prosperous – who have reached a point of crisis?

Whether the crisis is real, like financial problems, or whether the crisis has evolved from being sick and tired of being a gerbil in a wheel, the people my staff and I talk to are looking at where they are financially and saying, “The price I am paying for these dollars is jut too high.”

People everywhere are saying “Enough! I have got to do something different!”

As a society, we are waking up and saying stuff – that new car in the driveway, that Cuisinart in the kitchen, those new suits hanging in the closet, those $100 dinners at fine restaurants – is not enough and we want more.

This group of people is seeking out the pain of change because the pain of same has gotten too high.

The last quote in that excerpt really rang true for me. The greatest instigator for change is definitely the fear that you cannot cope with more of the same.

Someone once said that insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. As a society, many of us have been running around like little children with our money. No discipline, no direction, no real morality. Just an endless quest for more, and more and more things.

That’s reflected in the economic crunch that we are living through, all the way down to those still out there living paycheck to paycheck.

But what all the things in life will never do is address what it is that we really need to be happy.

I do believe that it takes a real change to reach this point. And usually that change comes as a result of great trials. Of standing up one day and saying – “I don’t want to keep doing the same things any more. I would rather deal with changing than to keep dealing with the same old results of my current behavior.”

Ramsey also believes that the way we manage (or mis-manage) our money reflects back upon every area of our lives. It is like a litmus test, a true indication of how well we are coping in all areas, not just our finances.

Whether you are talking about marital problems, money problems, or everything in between, true change comes as a result of hating your current situation so much that you would rather change anything you needed to than continue to live the way you are.

I am convinced with everything that is within me that as you apply the concepts in the following chapters to your life, your relationships, and your money, you will being the process of having more than enough.

More than enough peace and rewards in your relationships, more than enough unity in your marriage, more than enough courage to face the day as a single, more than enough patience to teach your kids hte right path, and as time goes on, more than enough money.

Yes, this is a book about building wealth, but also much more.

This is about changing your life, changing your family tree by impacting your children, even changing your community, church, or your entire city.

The principles we will explain ehre are rooted in common sense and reality. These ideas are a proven time-honored method of implementing values like hard work and diligence, intensity and focus, and patience and contentment, which affect everything you do.

Once you make them a part of your character, everything else, including money and relationships, flows out of them and demands of your life more than enough.

As you will see, these principles are a strange mix of grandma’s common sense, philosophy, theology, and hands-on application.

The material in this book has changed my life, and thousands of others. It will start you on a journey that is life changing; it is my gift to you, so use it.

It is useless to learn and not apply the knowledge. Louis Dunnington said, “You will never leave where you are until you decide where you’d rather be.”

Change is very hard and we change only when the pain of same is greater than the pain of change.

Chapter 2: The Missing Link

Ramsey believes that the missing link in our mental evolution is values.

Values matter because having principles you live by brings you joy, peace, and yes, even wealth. Being blown by whatever wind that comes because your personal rudder isn’t deep enough, or worse yet, doesn’t even exist, is to lead a life of fear, confusion, and even destruction.

Sadly, family problems and even financial problems, are seldom the real problem, but often the symptom of a weak or non-existent value system.

Harsh? Well, maybe, but I can speak of these things honestly because I have messed up in my life and have observed thousands of others who brought pain into their lives by straying from a good value system.

Well, these can be hard words to hear. Hard words to take to heart.

It’s easy enough for me to see this going on in my own life, and my own past – times when a lack of values allowed my foundations to crumble – financial and otherwise. I’ll bet we’ve all been there to one degree or another.

It’s hard to argue with the truth – I do agree with Ramsey here. Values reinforce every area of our lives, especially our finances. What do you think?

Wisdom comes from experience.

If you have messed up you get another chance starting right now. ‘Cause I’m giving you a “Get out of jail free card.” The truth is, many of us need second chances.

The story of Uncle Zed, an old mountaineer from West Virginia who was celebrated for his wisdom, tells it best:

Uncle Zed, how did you get so wise?” asked his young nephew.

Weren’t hard,” said the old man. “I’ve got good judgment. Good judgment comes from experience. And, experience, well, that comes from having bad judgment.”

Take your “Get out of jail free” card and start implementing the following values in your life and you’ll become a man like Uncle Zed.

Next week we’ll take a look at the next section of the book, as well as Ramsey’s “Value Keys” to finally having More Than Enough.

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