Saturday, February 5, 2022

Dave Ramsey and The Minimalists

As I'm drafting this post, I'm sitting in a high school personal finance class that I'm assisting in. I was last in a personal finance class a couple years ago, during the 2019-20 school year. Though the classroom teachers have been different, the content is largely the same, with many of the lessons and overarching concepts drawing from the work of Dave Ramsey and his team.

Dave Ramsey's teachings about saving, investing, budgeting, and spending wisely are phenomenal. A couple years ago, thanks to he and the personal finance class I was assisting in at the time, I tried a time-tested strategy known simply as the envelope system, or the envelope budgeting system. I'm still sticking to it, and it's working great for me.

I had a brief chat with the classroom teacher this morning about the immense value of a high school personal finance class. I told him that I have a love-hate relationship with the course. I hate it because it reminds me of all the money mistakes and poor choices I've made in the last 20 years. I never had a class like this, and had to learn by trial and error (mostly error) and my own research over the years. On the other hand, though, I absolutely love it. I love it because I'm genuinely excited for the futures of these students who are taking it. I love it because I still occasionally pick up strategies and ideas that can help me, like the envelope system. I firmly believe that personal finance should be a required course in high school, not an elective. My message to these students and to all of you who may be taking a course like this is: Take it seriously. Learn all you can. Take good notes. You have the greatest asset on your side right now - time. You have time. And if you treat your time like the wonderful asset it is, along with developing good money habits early on, then you can, in fact, become a millionaire at a relatively young age.

Anyway, the main point of this blog post is supposed to be that, if you're a high school (or even college) student taking a personal finance course, you should check out The Minimalists - Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, respectively.

The Minimalists' philosophy on money very closely mirrors Dave Ramsey's. In fact, Dave Ramsey has provided rave reviews for The Minimalists' books, and has made appearances in their film projects. But The Minimalists are approaching the subject of money from a different angle.

Whereas Dave Ramsey is largely more focused on the practical math and economics of saving, investing, and avoiding needless spending and debt, The Minimalists come at it from the perspective that getting rid of all the clutter in your life - the clothes you never wear; all the stuff in your basement, closets, and/or storage unit you're not using; the long hours you're working and mounds of debt you're taking on in order to keep up appearances and look "successful" to all your friends, neighbors, co-workers, and perhaps even family members ("Keeping up with the Joneses"), etc., etc. - can help you live a more meaningful, purposeful life. By living a simpler lifestyle and only holding onto the possessions that truly add value and/or joy to your life, you are able to devote more of your time, energy, and other resources to things that really do matter - to creative pursuits and hobbies that bring you joy; to the relationships in your life; to giving back to others; to making memories through unforgettable experiences like dream trips and life-changing goals you set for yourself; and so on.

So if you're a high school or college student taking a personal finance course, I highly recommend you look into The Minimalists on your own. Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus truly are rock stars, in my opinion. Dave Ramsey agrees. Or do I agree with Dave Ramsey? Anyways, their books, blog, podcast, and documentaries on living a more fulfilling life are awesome. Their own individual life stories on where they came from and what ultimately led them down the path of minimalism are inspiring. Their philosophy pairs very well with Dave Ramsey's.

In closing, make use of the greatest asset you have right now - your time. Work your time wisely, and make your time work for you. Listen to us older folks. Don't commit 20 years of painful financial and lifestyle mistakes if you don't need to.

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