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Celebrating 20 Years of The Total Money Makeover

It's weird to look back over 20 years and see how much has changed in your world. For me, it’s things like, The Dave Ramsey Show is now The Ramsey Show. I’m no longer the only host—I co-host the show with the Ramsey Personalities. My company had fewer than 200 people 20 years ago. Today we have more than 1,000 team members. My kids, who were brain-damaged teenagers back then, are now grown up and working alongside me on a shared mission to change lives.

Twenty years ago, social media was just being born. No one knew what a podcast was.  We had a website, and while the design wasn’t bad for the early 2000s, it would be painful to look at today. Back then, traditional media—radio, television, (actual printed) newspapers, magazines and books—was king. These were the make-or-break options for reaching your audience. And they were all tough to crack into. Most books never sold more than a few thousand copies. And that’s the kind of environment we launched The Total Money Makeover into.

We knew there was a need for down-to-earth, commonsense money advice. We were already reaching millions of people with exactly that on the radio show and through Financial Peace University. But did we have any idea that The Total Money Makeover would eventually become one of the most popular personal finance books in history? That it would spend over 1,000 weeks on the bestseller lists and reach 10 million people around the world? That 20 years later, we would be celebrating its success and the lives it’s transformed?

No, I can’t say we did. We hoped for it. We prayed for it. But to stand here today and look back, seeing how much has changed while The Total Money Makeover has remained a powerful, constant source of hope for so many, I can only say God has blessed our efforts beyond anything we could have imagined.

Why It Still Works

I find it funny that as we’re celebrating the longevity of The Total Money Makeover, a new crop of naysayers has emerged who say God’s and grandma’s ways of handling money don’t work anymore. More specifically, they say I’m an out-of-touch boomer who has no clue what it’s like to be young and broke these days. There’s even a TikTok hashtag for it: #DaveRamseyWouldntApprove. That’s cute. I make for great clickbait on social media.

That’s not a new accusation. Ever since I started doing this, people have said the plan won’t work. So, let me counter an old accusation with an even older idea. My friend Larry Burkett, who has since passed away, had a show back in the 1980s called Money Matters. He would always say money issues are never the problem. They are the symptom.

Debt is not the problem.

Inflation is not the problem.

Interest rates are not the problem.

The cost of day care is not the problem.

This is a you problem. Until you deal with you, you’ll never have financial peace.

That’s the truth that anyone who’s read The Total Money Makeover already understands: If you want to change your money, you have to change. You have to choose to take the steps to live like no one else so later you can live and give like no one else. Because when you don’t choose to take those steps, by default, you have chosen mediocrity. You have chosen to be normal.

The plan and principles laid out in The Total Money Makeover—what we’ve started calling “The Ramsey Way”—worked 20 years ago and still work today because they’re built on that fundamental truth. The Total Money Makeover has been transforming lives for decades, not because I share some new “secrets of the rich” or because I explain the debt snowball better than anyone else. It’s been transforming lives because it introduces readers to the one thing we all need to deal with to have true, lasting change: the person in the mirror.

Celebrate Your Total Money Makeover

As part of the celebration of the 20th anniversary of this book, we’ve released an expanded and updated edition of The Total Money Makeover. It covers all the same timeless principles as the original—the same principles that millions have followed to become debt-free, pay off their homes, and even become millionaires. And, because the world is never short on bad ideas about how to get rich quick, it deals with some new money myths too.

I know our fans will love it. And I can’t wait for you to have your own copy. But the best way to celebrate the 20th birthday of a book that’s transformed so many lives is to buy a copy to give away. Give it to someone who’s running out of hope. Someone who’s being crushed by their debt or by the stress of money fights with their spouse. Someone who believes all the wrong things about why they can’t get ahead. Someone who needs a total money makeover—just like you and I did.

You’ll not only help someone change their family tree, but you’ll also keep The Total Money Makeover’s legacy of hope and transformation going strong.

New! The Total Money Makeover – Updated and Expanded Edition

Get the expanded and updated edition of Dave Ramsey’s bestselling book The Total Money Makeover for a simple seven-step plan to beat debt and build wealth.

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Dave Ramsey

About the author

Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey is an eight-time national bestselling author, personal finance expert and host of The Ramsey Show. He has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Today, Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and many more. Since 1992, Dave has helped people take control of their money, build wealth and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO for the company Ramsey Solutions. Learn More.

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