5 Rules To Manage Your Money Like The Rich: Dave Ramsey

5 Rules To Manage Your Money Like The Rich: Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey emerges as a beacon of wisdom in the complex world of financial guidance. His teachings, steeped in practical experience and sound financial strategies, have guided countless individuals toward financial peace and eventual independence. Ramsey doesn’t just teach people how to make money but educates them on creating and sustaining generational wealth.

In today’s ever-changing financial landscape, many search for the golden rules to guide them towards true financial freedom. In this article, we will dive deep into the core principles that have transformed the lives of millions. From mastering budgetary discipline to understanding the pivotal role of relationships in our financial journey, these principles go beyond mere financial strategies. They encompass a holistic approach to money, investments, and the profound impact of generosity. Let’s unravel the essence of building wealth from the basic foundation of getting started, not just in affluence but in the true spirit of a meaningful, self-controlled, and impactful existence. It started with these five pivotal rules.

What are Dave Ramsey’s five rules?

  1. Get a Written Plan/Budget.
  2. Get Out of Debt.
  3. Live on less than you make.
  4. Save and Invest.
  5. Be Generous.

1. Get a Written Plan/Budget

While the budget concept might seem elementary, Dave Ramsey’s approach elevates its importance by intertwining it with human behavior and psychology. According to Ramsey, money is 20% knowledge and 80% behavior. It’s not just about writing down numbers. It’s about understanding your financial goals, values, and fears.

In his teachings, he champions the ‘zero-based budget,’ which ensures every dollar has a purpose. This methodology requires one to allocate every single dollar of their income to specific expenses, savings, or debt. At the end of the month, the budget should “zero out.” This allows for a precise control mechanism, helping one proactively direct their resources and curb impulsive financial decisions.

2. Get Out of Debt

Ramsey’s take on debt is multi-faceted, especially in his advanced teachings. While his famous “debt snowball” method is popularly known for tackling small debts first to create momentum, his advanced principles delve into the psychology and societal norms surrounding debt.

Ramsey challenges societal constructs like “good debt.” He posits that debt, by its very nature, enslaves an individual to the lender, compromising their financial freedom. His teachings dissect the intricacies of compound interest in debt, emphasizing how lingering loans can erode one’s wealth potential. Ramsey’s depth of insight also extends to recognizing the emotional burden of debt, underscoring the mental freedom that comes with being debt-free.

3. Live on Less Than You Make

One of the foundational principles endorsed by Dave Ramsey and followed by the financially successful is the art of living below one’s means. It’s a simple concept but often one of the hardest to implement in a world driven by consumerism and the allure of instant gratification.

  • Embrace Simplicity: Not everything that glitters is gold. Often, the richest experiences in life come from simple pleasures. Instead of chasing every new gadget or fashion trend, discern what truly adds value to your life.
  • Distinguish Wants from Needs: While it’s easy to justify every purchase as a ‘need,’ taking a step back and evaluating actual necessities can free up a significant portion of your income. This doesn’t mean denying yourself every luxury but involves making informed and intentional choices.
  • Automate Savings: Before you spend a dime, set aside a portion of your income for savings. Treating savings as a non-negotiable expense ensures that you consistently live on less than you earn.
  • Avoid Lifestyle Inflation: As your earnings increase, it’s tempting to upgrade every aspect of your life. While treating yourself occasionally is okay, maintaining a modest lifestyle even as your income grows can exponentially boost your wealth in the long run.
  • Stay Educated: Knowledge is power. Regularly educate yourself about personal finance, investing, and wealth-building strategies. The more you know, the better decisions you can make, ensuring you live frugally and smartly.

Living on less than you make is more than just a financial strategy—a mindset. It revolves around intentional living, prioritizing long-term goals over short-term desires, and recognizing that true wealth isn’t just about money but the freedom and opportunities that come with it.

4. Save and Invest

Ramsey’s advanced teachings in savings and investments center around “building wealth and giving.” While he champions the emergency fund as the first step, his more nuanced teachings dive into the power of compound gains in investments and the principle of diversification.

Ramsey frequently references the stock market’s historical performance, stressing the significance of long-term investments. He often alludes to the “magic of compound interest” and how time in the market, rather than timing the market, yields success. Furthermore, his discussions about mutual funds, real estate, and tax-advantaged accounts underscore diversified investment’s importance in mitigating risk and optimizing returns.

Dave Ramsey Four Fund Strategy

Dave Ramsey advocates holding four actively managed mutual funds in equal weights: growth & income, growth, aggressive growth, and international. Given the high expenses of active funds rarely lead to beating the benchmark index, investors can mimic the tactic using low-cost Vanguard index funds at 25% of capital each in VFINX, VIMAX, VSMAX, and VTIAX.

This strategy invests 25% each in VFINX, VIMAX, VSMAX, and VTIAX. Rebalance yearly to maintain the 25% weight. Dave Ramsey, much like Warren Buffett, has bullish sentiment on stocks as long-term investments and buying and holding positions for the long-term has been the best strategy for the past 100 years for US stocks in most 10 to 20-year periods. He also likes dollar-cost averaging and getting the full employer 401k match.

He advocates buy-and-hold investing for your entire working life until retirement. He recommends getting your full employer match and benefits from the better tax structure of traditional and Roth IRAs.

5. Be Generous

At the heart of Ramsey’s teachings is the principle of generosity. His advanced understanding transcends traditional views on charity. Ramsey believes true wealth is realized when one’s financial strength is leveraged for the greater good.

His lessons around generosity also encompass the spiritual and emotional aspects of giving. He frequently references the biblical principle, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” advocating that generosity isn’t just a financial act but a reflection of one’s character and values. According to Ramsey, generosity cultivates gratitude, fosters contentment, and breaks the chains of greed.

Social Financial Intelligence: Foster High-Quality Relationships

For Ramsey, relationships and money are intrinsically linked. His advanced teachings emphasize the profound impact relationships can have on financial behaviors and beliefs. Often citing the proverb, “Walk with the wise and become wise,” Ramsey delves into how relationships can uplift or hinder economic growth.

His teachings shed light on the importance of financial compatibility in partnerships. Dave Ramsey stresses transparent communication about finances in relationships, highlighting the repercussions of discordant economic beliefs in alliances. He also encourages mentorship, emphasizing the value of learning from financially astute individuals who can provide guidance and wisdom.

Key Takeaways

  • Budgeting Mastery: Harness the power of a ‘zero-based budget’ to allocate every penny and control financial outcomes.
  • Debt Freedom: Challenge traditional norms and understand the hidden costs—both emotional and financial—of owing money.
  • Relationship Dynamics: Align your financial journey with like-minded individuals and engage in transparent economic discourse in partnerships.
  • Wealth Accumulation: Embrace the long game in investments, focusing on the wonder of compound growth and the safety of diversification.
  • The Essence of Giving: Recognize that true prosperity is not just amassing wealth but using it to benefit the broader community.


Harnessing financial wisdom goes beyond mere strategies; it’s about integrating comprehensive insights into behavior, relationships, and ethical values. By mastering budgetary discipline, breaking free from debt chains, nurturing rewarding relationships, committing to informed investing, and celebrating the spirit of generosity, one steps onto a path not just of affluence but of meaningful, impactful existence.

Dave Ramsey’s teachings offer more than just financial strategies. They present a holistic approach to wealth, integrating financial understanding with behavior, relationships, and character principles. By internalizing and acting upon these five rules, one can achieve financial freedom and live a life of purpose, legacy, and profound impact.