4 Motivating Total Money Makeover Quotes

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Total Money Makeover" by Dave Ramsey. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What are some Total Money Makeover quotes? What can you learn about personal finance from Total Money Makeover quotes?

Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey is all about taking control of your finances now to be able to enjoy your money later. It aims to inspire you to take the action to live your best life.

Read on for four inspiring Total Money Makeover quotes.

Total Money Makeover Quotes

“Change is painful. Few people have the courage to seek out change. Most people won’t change until the pain of where they are exceeds the pain of change.”

The first of the Total Money Makeover quotes addresses financial denial or the unwillingness to confront a problem. Ignorance about money makes some people defensive, but financial knowledge isn’t something you’re born with—it’s a skill you need to learn, like how to drive a car. If you give the car keys to someone who doesn’t know how to drive, they’re going to crash the car. Trying again harder isn’t the answer—it’s getting proper training. The same is true of money management—people make financial mistakes due to lack of training.

We’re educated in how to earn money, but not in what to do with it. Given that the average family in the U.S. makes over $2 million in a lifetime, high schools and colleges should be teaching personal finance. If you haven’t learned financial management, you still can by doing the following:

  • Acknowledge that finance is something you were never taught.
  • Read the rest of this book.
  • Resolve to learn about handling money.
  • Read regularly about financial management and attend an occasional seminar.

You’d take similar steps to improve your marriage, by reading and attending a class or retreat. You don’t need to become an expert, but you should spend as much time on your 401(k) options as you do planning your vacation. Remaining ignorant will just keep you poor.

“[The] typical millionaire lives in a middle-class home, drives a two-year-old or older paid-for car, and buys blue jeans at Wal-Mart.”

The second of the Total Money Makeover quotes is about peer pressure and realistic lifestyles. Most people want to fit in and look successful to others, which can mean overspending to live a showy lifestyle.

However, going into debt to impress friends and neighbors who also are in debt isn’t success. If you want to be truly successful, you should learn and emulate the habits of wealthy people, not financial fakes.

Professor Tom Stanley studied the lifestyles of millionaires in the 1990s. He writes in The Millionaire Next Door that, contrary to what most people think, the typical millionaire lives modestly in a middle-class home, drives a used car paid for with cash, and buys clothing from discount stores.

Unlike those who spend to keep up with the Joneses, wealthy people don’t strive for approval, but for financial security, by living below their means so they can grow their wealth. (Shortform note: Read our summary of The Millionaire Next Door here.)

“It is human nature to want it and want it now; it is also a sign of immaturity. Being willing to delay pleasure for a greater result is a sign of maturity.”

The third of the Total Money Makeover quotes echoes the motto. The program’s motto is: live differently from everyone else in the present so you can live differently from everyone else in the future. This means that to live a better life than most people, you need to do what most people won’t do—make sacrifices now in return for the payoff of financial security later.

For example, it means not buying a new car or a bigger house or putting a large-screen TV on credit. It may mean working longer hours to pay down debt. As you work harder and forego buying things others are buying, the motto reminds you that the payoff will be worth it.

“Someone who never has fun with money misses the point. Someone who never invests money will never have any. Someone who never gives is a monkey with his hand in a bottle.”

The final of the Total Money Makeover quotes is all about reaping the rewards of your work. If you want something and can afford it, by all means, indulge yourself—you’ve earned it. Up to this point in the Total Money Makeover, you’ve sacrificed by paying off debt and saving for the future—and like a kid who’s behaved so he can have ice cream later—you deserve the reward.

At this step, you need to keep growing your wealth. While your nest egg may be substantial, if it’s under $10 million, continue to keep your investing simple.

Giving may be the most rewarding thing you can do with money. You don’t have to be rich to help people, but you can often do more when you have money. The biblical story of the Good Samaritan is an example: When the wealthy Samaritan came upon a robbery victim lying along a road, he not only treated the man’s injuries, but he also took him to an inn and paid for a room, so he could rest until he recovered.

4 Motivating Total Money Makeover Quotes

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  • The 7 steps to achieving financial stability (you'll love #7)
  • A fool-proof plan for becoming debt-free
  • How myths about debt and money are crippling your financial health

Rina Shah

An avid reader for as long as she can remember, Rina’s love for books began with The Boxcar Children. Her penchant for always having a book nearby has never faded, though her reading tastes have since evolved. Rina reads around 100 books every year, with a fairly even split between fiction and non-fiction. Her favorite genres are memoirs, public health, and locked room mysteries. As an attorney, Rina can’t help analyzing and deconstructing arguments in any book she reads.

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