Susie Orman or Dave Ramsey. I choose neither.

Actually if I had to choose one it would be Dave Ramsey, but even then, not so much.

I used to be a faithful viewer of The Suze Orman show, but lately Ms. Orman’s advice has gotten stale.  She has a warped sense of what committed marital relationships are and seems to always suggest divorce as the answer to money issues.  This past weekend was no exception.  However,  the reason I’ve decided not to watch her show anymore is  because of how it makes me feel afterward.   Her ridiculous requirement of  working until you are 68, 69 or 70, or until you have millions in the bank or “denying” you for a a purchase because you don’t have $85,000 in your EF is utterly absurd.   Do you really need millions to retire on?  Really? No wonder I feel bad.

Dave Ramsey, on the other hand, can get a bit preachy.  His rules about ‘no credit’ are a bit extreme, as I believe a good credit score can SAVE you money.  However, saving money and paying down debt are honorable goals, and ones which will put anyone in better financial shape.  I like his baby step plan, although I think he’s a bit optimistic about investment earnings.  He believes that if you are invested properly, you could easily earn 12%.  Really?  I’m not so sure.

The bottom line for me is to not be sucked in by either one.  Take what is useful and leave the rest.

Do you follow Suze or Dave?  If so, what do you like/dislike about them?




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  1. lisaeggs says:

    You perfectly put into words how I feel about BOTH of these "experts". If they want to keep making money doing what they do, then they have to make a show of it so people will keep pay attention. At this point, it seems a bit ridiculous to me (especially you Suze, lately I feel like you've gone to the dark side). Yes, they do have good advice to give, not saying they don't, just commenting on the observations made in this post (I too have started making!). Thanks, Sharon :)

    • Lisa! I just think we need to think for ourselves. They have some things to offer, but not everything they say applies to everyone.

  2. I Drank the Kool-Aid says:

    A coworker told me about Dave Ramsey while I was going through my divorce in 2007. Today, I am 6 days away from completing Baby Step 6 – Paying off the Mortgage. Dave Ramsey gives you a plan (the 7 Baby Steps) that makes sense and is easy to follow. Getting on a budget and making your money work you is the KEY. Furthermore, he GIVES the information away, on his website for FREE. The seven steps are there, the budgeting worksheets are there, radio calls are broken out by topic so that you can listen to him give the guidance that changes lives. Yes, I have bought the books and the videos and handed out 20 books to family, friends, and COMPLETE STRANGERS, but I didn't have to spend a penny to understand the plan. It was all right there in front of me. I was completely inspired by his show, by people calling in to scream that they are DEBT-FREE and by his compassion. He's been broke and he knows what you're going through.

    By the way, I won't need a FICO score to buy my next home. After living in my paid for home for the next five years, I will be paying CASH.

    Thanks to Dave Ramsey, I am about to be completely debt free, including my home, and I'm 39 years old.

    • Wow! You sound just like Dave Ramsey. Although you got all of your information from Dave Ramsey, you were the one who got yourself out of debt and paid for your home. Good for you!!

  3. I like Dave Ramsey pretty well. I don't agree with everything he says 100%, but I do understand why he feels the way he does. However, I also feel his advice that you don't need a credit score to obtain a mortgage is absolutely ridiculous and just plain reckless advice. Being debt free other than my home, I like Clark Howard. He seems to have wise advice that is applicable for everyone. I also like that he's so cheap because then I don't feel so ridiculous being budget conscientious.

  4. I feel like Dave Ramsey completely changed our live 4 years ago when I read TMMO. It made me rethink everything about money and we put our family on a budget. Now 4 years later we are debt-free except the house!!

  5. I'm with you, I take what I need from each & dispose of the rest. We are all unique!

  6. My husband and I are huge Dave Ramsey fans. We're wrapping up the Financial Peace Univ. online course right now. We have 2 sessions left. We signed up mainly for his debt payoff inspiration. We just listened to his investment session. Honestly it was pretty straight forward. Keep it simple. All of his wealth is in mutual funds and real estate. That made sense to us, as all of our investments are tied in those two things as well.

    As for Suze, I don't follow her. We don't have cable, so I couldn't watch her on tv even if I did.

    • Dave Ramsey does have an inspiring program for getting out of debt. Good for you for not having cable. We are about to cut ours! :)!

  7. I would choose Dave over Suze any day, but I have disagreements with him too.

    Like you, I think having a good credit score is a necessity for so many things, including insurance premiums and some job applications. Like another commenter said above, his advice on getting out of debt is much better than his investing advice.

    I do credit Dave for helping us "move the needle" on our debt tolerance though, even though we don't follow his advice down tot he letter.

  8. I love to watch Suze so I can see her "deny" people on the Can I Afford Segment. She needs to start saying "off with their heads!" instead of "denied!". LOL I do think she is a bit wacko but she has great teeth……

    Dave abhors credit because he was a credit junkie, you know, one of those people who can't handle credit responsibly. (He went broke buying multimillion $s of property purely on credit and the banks called in the loans.)
    Credit is NOT a lifestyle and if you can live below your means it can be a useful tool……but don't say that to Dave. lol
    He's made millions again in the PF racket.

    I like Larry Winget, Gail Vaz-Oxlade and Clark Howard.

  9. If I had to choose, I would say Dave. Suze is overly dramatic. I mean, come on! Someone has $100,000 in savings and they can't buy a new mattress? I always felt 'defeated' after watching her show (which wasn't too often). Dave does get a little 'preachy' but his baby steps do work. I like Gail as well. As others have said, I learn the most from blogs I read. I have my favorites, of which yours is one, Sharon. I just started a second career at my ripe old "middle" age and I love working. I'll work until I don't want to anymore.

    • I am in complete agreement! And thank you so much for your kind words! :)! What are you doing for work?

  10. HalfDozenDaily says:

    I've never been able to stand Suze… I haven't read her books, try not to listen to her, etc.. she *really* grates on my nerves. I don't like her attitude. As for Dave, I respect and admire him 100%. I agree with his principles and think he's pretty much spot on from what i've read & heard. Gail VazOxlade I really like too… she "tells it like it is" as well. But in a "Canadian" version. 😉

  11. Since Dave Ramsey is positioned for those struggling to get out of debt, his rules need to be hard and fast as a result. Once out of debt, I assume most people move on to employ other wealth building strategies, but even then his basics still make sense – avoid debt by paying cash, live below your means, give back.

    Re Suze – I think the bottom line is many people simply resent being told they cannot afford the lifestyle they aspire to based on their income. That is much of what Suze's message is about, and I can understand it being unpopular. Her delivery can be a bit annoying, but there is still much wisdom in what she has to say.

    I am aware that both are personalities first and foremost. Both have positive things to share, but in that neither one represents my situation in its entirety, I take the good and ignore the rest.

    • I think what has totally turned me off of Suze is her take on relationships. I think there is balance to be had, and she can be extreme. Also, she does contradict some of her advice.

      Either way, I agree..take what you need and leave the rest.

  12. I am more inclined to listen to Dave since he values giving to others, forgiving ourselves and others, commitments, family, and honoring our word. His baby steps have a proven track record of helping a lot of people get out of debt. I do think that his rate of return is way too high in this economy. My husband and I listened and read Larry Burkett and also Ron Blue many, many years ago and it sure has made a difference in our lives. For us, Larry Burkett was on track with his financial advice and it has served us well.

    • Yep, me too. If I had to choose it would be Dave. Larry Burkett was wise beyond his years. Glad he wrote books to keep his wisdom alive!

  13. If you want an interesting take on the personal finance world, I recommend Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry by Helaine Olen. I read it about 2 months ago; it was an eye opener.

  14. mylifeinfocusblog says:

    With the passing of the new chained CPI law, a person who retires at 65 will see his Social Security drop by $650 by the time they reach 70. So, Suze's advise of delaying retirement and collecting social security when you are 70 and above, in order to earn more money in retirement, no longer holds true. So, in a sense, most of Suze's advice no longer holds true. Also, advisers think that retirees need between $80K and $100k per year in retirement which simply is not true. If you can manage to retire with a paid off mortgage, no loans or credit cards debt or car loans, you can live very well on $30K to $50K. Many current retirees (me included) are proof positive it can be done. I started collecting Soc Security at 62 and I'm glad I did (which is totally against Suze Orman's advice). I will be getting more $$ now than if I had waited a few more years, in part, because of all the changing laws.
    Also, another new retirement law is that any fund over $3million (as what some early retirees have stashed away) will now be taxed! An early retiree of 50, who might expect to live till 90, has to have at least $2mill to $4mill put away for retirement (or work part time, etc). I don't think these people anticipated either a limit on their savings nor added income taxes. Lastly, since the current administration has upped all the income tax brackets, retirees are now facing HIGHER taxes when they pull their money out of retirement funds rather than Orman's or any other advice of retiring at lower income brackets. Go figure.
    If you watched PBS's special last night on 401K deception, a person who socked away money in Wall Street mutual funds, will have paid $155,000 in fees over 30 to 50 years in investments. In other words, many savers will only get back 30% of their investments. The investment firm takes 70% of your money back in fees. Thus leading to a retirement disaster that is currently unfolded. Many older people have less money in retirement than they expected.
    Best thing for a person to do is constantly inform themselves of the new laws and retirement regulations. Listen to advisers, such as Orman, Ramsey or Bach etc. with a grain of salt. I think that people have to work longer and save more. Every little bit helps. I also am a firm believer that working part time in retirement is the best hedge against inflation and rising living costs. I also believe that achieving debt-free status at retirement can go a long way to living a decent life. I gasp in horror when I see 50 year olds taking out mortgages or paying rent. But hey! that's just my two cents.
    And yes! Any time Suze encounters problems in a marriage, she recommends divorce. Or if there is any type of financial conflict in any relationship, she advises to dump the offender. And then she will go into a fifteen minute rant on how she wants equal marriage laws for everyone so that she can marry her SO. I just hope KT keeps up her end of the financial bargain with Suze. Otherwise, she may find herself living out on the streets. Relationships need compassion. It's NOT a business. It's a human relationship. People make mistakes. With Suze, it's 'either/or'. At least Dave Ramsey advises to sit down with your partner and work it out. Ramsey saves relationships. Orman throws them away at the drop of a penny.

    • I taped that show and will watch it with my husband tonight. We are now saving 15% of our gross, and are invested conservatively with good brokerage firms. Fees are VERY low. Still, we will re-evaluate. I also don't agree about waiting until you are 70 for social security. Even if we don't need it, we can sock it away in a savings account and earn interest on it. We had been investing in my husband's Roth 401K, but switched for the next couple of years to pull together more cash for college expenses. Once that is over, we will once again put 15% in the Roth so hopefully it will hedge against the government overtaxing us.

      Hate Suze's take on relationships. Like Dave's. Which is why if I had to choose, it would be him!

      • mylifeinfocusblog says:

        Watch the PBS documentary, Sharon. No one, not even the man who did the documentary, knows what the 40K fees are because they are all hidden. After decades, investors lose up to 70% of their earnings due to fees. The documentary does off some solutions BUT they all have to do with investing in something else with Wall Street. Duh?

        • mylifeinfocusblog says:

          401K fees. type. oops.

          • Watched it! Made my husband watch it with me. He spent all day pouring over our IRA's to check for fees. Thankfully, most of our funds are with Vanguard and are fees are very low, but there are a few we will be changing. We are still aligned pretty good for retirement, so I'm going to stop worrying so much! It takes too much energy! :)!

  15. I have only seen Suzie and Dave very occasionally. When I have, both of them made sense. Basically, they say live within your means and plan for the future. However, I guess there are a lot of different approaches for doing that.

    • Both do use common sense principals, but both have extremes too. I think the best thing to do is take what works and leave the rest.

  16. anexactinglife says:

    Do you like Gail Vaz-Oxlade? I am a fan!

    • Yes! I think Gail is awesome! Not crazy about her "princess" shows, but I do like her financial advice.

  17. I'm not a Suze fan. Never have been, never will be. Something about her has always struck me the wrong way.

    Dave? Well, I like his basic premise but I'm not a groupie. I do receive a couple of his email newsletters and they have some good nuggets in there that can serve as good reminders to keep me on track.

    I am however a Mary Hunt fan!

  18. I am so with you. Size us not realistic about retiring and buying things. According to her, I never should have bought anything luxury-wise since I graduated because I have student loan debt. That’s absurd.

    I like Dave’s basic approach to paying down debt but I don’t think he’s very smart for building long term wealth. I think if most people didn’t invest in retirement until they were out of debt, then they would never have any retirement savings.

    • Glad you didn't listen to her. You have to live too!

      Dave's theory is that if you combat your debt first, you'll have more money to invest later. He believes you can get out of debt in less than 2 years if you are 'gazelle' intense.

  19. I gave up on Susie long ago, her delivery turned me off. I also think she is not pro marriage and family, not sure what her show is like as I have never watched it. Dave on the other hand seems more family friendly, his excitment can be inspiring to folks just getting started and a good reminder when we all get a little sloppy with our money. I like that he shares stories of real people who have turned their lives around and the joy it brings.I also love that giving back is one of his foundations. The VERY best money experts I have found are other Mom's in the blogging world who share tips and tricks, sucess and failures, real life spending plans and goals. Your blog is one of the top 10 for sure!

    • Why thank you so much Debby, you are so kind. I do agree that I gain more valuable advice from actual people in the trenches. Blogging has kept me on the straight and narrow, and I LOVE reading other blogs as well, including yours my dear! :)!

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