Full Name: David Lawrence Ramsey III
Born: September 3, 1960 in Antioch, TN
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Education: College of Business Administration, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Career Highlights: Bestselling author, National Radio Hall of Fame inductee, host of The Dave Ramsey Show
Books Sold: Over 10 million
For over 25 years, Dave Ramsey has transformed lives through his straight-talking personal finance advice. Read on to learn all about this famous debt-fighting evangelical Christian radio host and bestselling author.
Biography and Background
Born and raised near Nashville, Tennessee, Ramsey took an interest business and entrepreneurship from a young age. He chose to forgo finishing college to take advantage of a real estate investment opportunity in his early 20s.
Ramsey quickly amassed a $4 million rental property portfolio, but then lost it all when the bank called his loans during the real estate collapse of the 1980s. At age 26, he had to file for bankruptcy protection.
This failure inspired Ramsey to re-educate himself on money, relationships, real estate, and the Bible. Equipped with his new financial philosophies centered around eliminating debt, he self-published his first book Financial Peace in 1992.
The book caught fire in the early 1990s as Americans sought sensible money advice following the recession. Ramsey expanded into giving financial seminars at local churches, then began hosting his radio show The Money Game in 1994 which later became The Dave Ramsey Show.
Today, Ramsey leads a multimedia empire called Ramsey Solutions which includes live events, courses, content, and a publishing imprint. He still hosts his massively popular daily radio show from Nashville, reaching over 15 million weekly listeners.
Ramsey lives with his wife Sharon and their three children in Franklin, Tennessee. In his spare time, he enjoys playing golf, boating on Old Hickory Lake, and writing country songs.
Core Money Philosophies
Ramsey is best known for his "baby steps" plan for getting out of debt and building wealth:
- Save $1,000 for a starter emergency fund
- Pay off all debt (except mortgage) using the debt snowball method
- Save 3-6 months expenses in a full emergency fund
- Invest 15% of income into retirement
- Save for college
- Pay off home early
- Build wealth and give generously
Underpinning this plan is Ramsey‘s belief that being debt-free is the cornerstone of financial peace. He urges people to cut up credit cards, pay with cash, and refuses to recommend student loans or car loans.
While mainstream experts sometimes criticize Ramsey for oversimplifying complex money matters, he responds that personal finance is 80% behavior and only 20% head knowledge. Changing people‘s habits and attitudes around money comes first.
For example, Ramsey popularized the idea of a monthly zero-based budget where you give every dollar a name on paper before the month begins. This creates awareness, accountability, and aligns spending with values.
Ramsey is the author of numerous national bestsellers that have sold over 10 million copies combined. His written works appeal to readers through motivational storytelling, easy-to-grasp explanations, and biblically-inspired financial wisdom.
Some of his most popular titles include:
- Financial Peace (1992)
- The Total Money Makeover (2003)
- EntreLeadership (2011)
- The Legacy Journey (2014)
- Smart Money Smart Kids (2014)
- The Proximity Principle (2018)
- Baby Steps Millionaires (2022)
Ramsey has authored five #1 New York Times bestsellers. His latest book Baby Steps Millionaires: How Ordinary People Built Extraordinary Wealth, and How You Can Too released in May 2022.
The Dave Ramsey Show
The core platform Ramsey has used to spread his message since 2008 is a 3-hour daily radio show syndicated on over 600 U.S. stations.
It generally follows this format:
- Ramsey‘s opening rant about a money topic or news story
- Q&A call-in segment with everyday folks
- Interview segment with a guest expert or celebrity
- Debt-free and millionaire success stories call-in
Fans love Ramsey‘s funny rants, genuine faith, frank money advice, and the real-life caller stories. The show helped launch the radio careers of personalities like Rachel Cruze, Chris Hogan, Christy Wright, and Ken Coleman.
Philanthropy and Causes
The Christian faith behind Ramsey‘s work inspires him and his family to be generous givers. Some of the main causes and organizations they support through Ramsey Solutions include:
- Generosity initiative at their church, Brentwood United Methodist
- Going Beyond Ministries, serving the poor in South Africa
- Compassion International, sponsoring children living in poverty globally
- Local initiatives serving Nashville-area community needs
The Ramsey clan also founded Legacy Journey, an organization that resources Christians on Biblically-based generosity and leaving a lasting legacy.
Quotes and Fun Facts
"Debt is dumb. Cash is king. And the paid-off home mortgage has taken the place of the BMW as the status symbol of choice."
"If you tell your money what to do, you will build wealth. If you listen to your money, you will end up broke."
- In 2015, Ramsey was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame
- At the start, Ramsey was turned down by over 50 radio stations before one gave him a chance
- He learned to fly helicopters as a hobby and enjoys renting them for family trips
- Ramsey holds a Guinness World Record for largest virtual book signing (20,000 attendees)
- His Business Boutique academy has trained over 100,000 women entrepreneurs
For over a quarter century and counting, Dave Ramsey has helped millions of people across the country tackle their money problems through his advice, education, and motivation. His radio show, books, events, and online resources continue to provide practical financial strategies rooted in faith-based values. Ramsey has built a trusted national brand by speaking common sense money truths with both humility and authority.