Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps Explained

Whereas Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps have often been dissected one at a time, my goal in this post is to give an overview of the steps as a unit and explain why the order is essential.

dave ramsey baby steps explained

Hopefully, these steps can help you create a focused life plan for your finances, regardless of your age or financial well being.

First, the Baby Steps:

  • Step 1: $1,000 in an emergency fund.
  • Step 2: Pay off all debt except the house utilizing the debt snowball.
  • Step 3: Three to six months of savings in a fully funded emergency fund.
  • Step 4: Invest 15% of your household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement plans.
  • Step 5: College Funding
  • Step 6: Pay off your home early.
  • Step 7: Build wealth and give.

The Power of Focus

Dave’s premise with the Baby Steps is that people can accomplish great things IF they can just be focused. When you read over these seven steps, you think, “Yes. I need to be saving. But I also need to be investing for retirement. I should get my house paid off early. But I also need to be getting out of debt and saving for my kid’s college.”

You would readily agree that all of these goals are important for successful financial planning. The problem is that your stress level kicks into overdrive with the prospect of doing them all. You clench your jaw and do what you are capable of doing while feeling anxious about the goals you place on the back burner.
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Dave Ramsey Might Think I’m Crazy. Here’s Why:

UntitledWhen I first read, Total Money Makeover, back in 2003, I was excited to find another personal finance expert that shared my recommendations regarding saving for retirement.

One of Dave’s core tips regarding investing is,

Get your free money first with your 401(k) match. After that, take advantage of the Roth IRA to get your tax-free money. Then go back to the 401(k) and max it out.

This is the same advice that I’ve been giving to individuals ever since I became a financial advisor.

But over the last year or so my opinion has changed. What I’ve realized is that the majority of people that save in their 401(k) s have no idea what they’re doing.

They’ve usually let their employer decide where to put their money and they never really have no clue in what they are investing into. 

Are you one of these people?


Because of this, I have changed what I believe.
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Dave Ramsey’s FPU Week 10: All About Tuition

Friend and freelance writer Les O’Dell shares this diary entry from the 1oth session of Financial Peace University, a 13-week course from national talk-show host Dave Ramsey.

A Sore Subject

Tonight’s Financial Peace lesson, “From Fruition to Tuition,” was somewhat painful for me. Designed to go with some of the later Baby Steps (after debt is eliminated), this lesson deals with funding your own retirement and college for your children. Baby Step 4 is investing 15 percent of your household income into Roth IRAs and other pre-tax retirement plans. If needed, Baby Step 5 is to be done at the same time. It is save for your children’s college using tax-favored plans.
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Unique Gift Ideas- Stock Market Style

unique-gift-ideas-stock-marketThe holidays are soon approaching, and you’re still trying to find that last, perfect gift.  When you think of all the major department stores you can go to, sometimes what’s left out is one of the biggest markets of all. That market is the stock market (which happens to be having one of the biggest clearance sales in history, by the ways).  Here are three unique gifts that can be given at this holiday time of the year.   Check out the video at WSIL TV3.

1. Stock certificate

You have a significant other or spouse that has a hobby,  or that’s really into something special?  Maybe they drive a Harley or always wanted a Harley, or maybe they’ve always loved John Deere growing up.  Well, you could always buy them a stock certificate of their favorite company.  Going through a broker dealer might be a bit of a process, especially for surprises, [Read more…]