Gen Z rejects financial guru Dave Ramsey’s advice to live debt-free: ‘Self-care is extremely important.’

Gen Z rejects financial guru Dave Ramsey's advice to live debt-free: 'Self-care is extremely important.'


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  • Young workers are pushing back against Dave Ramsey‘s financial advice on TikTok.
  • They say that Ramsey’s “debt-free” mantra is outdated and neglects the value of self-care.
  • Others say his homebuying tips aren’t realistic amid skyrocketing prices.

Dave Ramsey lacks clout with Gen Z.

The 63-year-old host of the financial talk show, “The Dave Ramsey Show,” has attracted scores of followers over the years with a simple mantra — live debt-free.

But amid rising costs of living, skyrocketing home prices, and mounting student debt, young workers are bucking the advice of America’s favorite financial guru.

They’re calling his tips outdated and even a little depressing in videos on TikTok. The trend, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, has racked up millions of views on TikTok under the hashtag #daveramseywouldntapprove.

“I’d rather be caffeinated than depressed with $6.”

One of Ramsey’s maxims is to stop your “coffee habit.” He says that if you want to live debt-free, stop spending $4 on a latte every morning.

“You’ll spend $63 in a month. You’ll spend $766.50 in a year. You’ll spend $22,995 over the course of 30 years,” Ramsey’s financial advice company, Ramsey Solutions, writes in a post on its website

But younger generations say that lattes (which average about $6 these days) are key to their mental and physical well-being.

“Self-care is extremely important and if that means buying a $6 coffee every day, do it,” Jarrod Benson, a 32-year-old comedian from Orlando told Business Insider over TikTok. “I’d rather be caffeinated than depressed with $6.”

Benson’s comments come as many young workers grow disillusioned with corporate America and adopt an attitude of working to live

“This is particularly true in the West. They have seen the legacy of all these broken promises. In the old days and in many parts of the West, they would promise you if you worked for 30 years, you have this defined benefit pension, you have retiree medical care, etc. None of that exists today,” Ravin Jesuthasan, a future-of-work expert and global leader at consulting firm Mercer, previously told BI.

You can’t buy a house with “$50 and a pack of strawberries.”

Gen Z workers said Ramsey’s advice also doesn’t cut it when making long-term investments, like buying a house.

One of Ramsey’s top tips for buying a house is to pay for it upfront in cash and avoid taking out a mortgage. While Ramsey has acknowledged this is a daunting task, he outlines a game plan for how someone might save up to $100,000 in cash to buy a home on the Ramsey Solutions website. 

“Divide $100,000 by the amount you can save each month to determine how long it will take to get there,” he writes, alongside a list of equations to help people figure out how they might get there between two to eight years.

But younger workers say buying a home in cash isn’t feasible when home prices are skyrocketing nationwide. The median home price in the United States is about $363,000 now and upwards of a million in some of the country’s priciest cities.

“It’s mind-boggling that the older generation that bought 4-bedroom homes for $50 and a pack of strawberries continues to lecture younger people on money management,” Josh Benson, a 28-year-old from Dallas working in the financial industry, told BI over TikTok.

Younger generations began questioning Ramsey’s advice on homebuying even before the anti-Ramsay rhetoric began trending on TikTok.

Sarah Martinez Shaw, who grew up on Ramsey’s advice, told BI his tips left her in a tough spot.

On the one hand, buying a house in cash only seemed feasible for the wealthy, she said. At the same time, by taking a hard line against credit card debt, she said Ramsey “stigmatizes legitimate paths forward.” She realized that a strong credit score from years of responsible credit use was one of the best ways to secure a mortgage loan. 

Dave Ramsey did not immediately respond to BI’s request for comment.


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