I’ve read a number of blog posts and articles in the past few days that attempt to refute Dave’s steadfast belief that there is no good reason to use a credit card. These articles I’ve stumbled upon (here’s one) all go on to explain the benefits of using credit cards, and I just smile and laugh to myself because they’re completely missing the point of Dave’s philosophy.
If you watch or listen to just one episode of the The Dave Ramsey Show, you should pick up on one thing really quick: It’s not always about logic and numbers for Dave – It’s about behavior and behavior change. Cut up your credit card? Good luck using it again. The idea of behavior change is why Dave recommends listing your debts smallest to largest and paying off your smallest debts first, rather than paying off high-interest debts first. The psychological satisfaction of quickly paying off a small debt (and repeating) is going to do more for you than slowly ticking away at high-interest debt. As Dave always says, if this was about math you wouldn’t have gone into debt in the first place.
To boil everything Dave does into a few words, he helps people get out of debt and stay out of debt. Credit cards are dangerous, and while some people say they pay them off in full each month there’s a huge chance that they won’t be able to – we are people and we all make mistakes – emergencies happen. That’s why Dave recommends running from credit cards and never looking back. Plus, research shows that people spend more with plastic than cash, which is why Dave recommends using cash alone if you can, and if you must use plastic, it better be a debit card.
“Personal finance is 80% behavior, 20% head knowledge” – Dave Ramsey
The people that are writing those pro-credit card articles love their credit cards, and it’s just plan scary. They clamor for their rewards, travel perks, and supposedly better protection against fraud, though all debit cards are protected by one of the major credit card issuers like Visa and MasterCard so you’re well protected if you’re any sort of smart.
Again, the key point here is that Dave’s philosophy is about behavior change. You’ll get out of debt with his clear-cut steps. Oh and if you didn’t know, Dave owns his show. He has built his organization from the ground up. If you don’t agree with what he has to say, he’s perfectly okay with you changing the station.
Wouldn’t you rather take advice from someone with a backbone than someone that willy-nilly tells you how to fix your finances?