Recap: Dave Ramsey's "Living a Legacy" Live Event

Last Wednesday we had the opportunity to see Dave Ramsey and his daughter Rachel Cruze speak in Des Moines at a sold-out event called Living a Legacy. (Our buddy Jon Acuff is also traveling on the tour, but, sadly, he had a book signing that night instead.) The evening was really a blessing to us. We didn't know we were going until 2:00 pm the day of the event, and Eric somehow lined up free tickets and a babysitter for us and off we went! (Huge thank you to the man who bought tickets and gave them away, our friend who hooked us up with the tickets, and the angel of a friend who agreed to babysit for five hours. THANK YOU!)

We've heard Dave speak before, at the Total Money Makeover event two years ago in Kansas City (more on that here). I wasn't sure if it would be all repetition, but I figured it's always great motivation no matter what. He uses a lot of the same stories and jokes to illustrate his points, but I was pleased to hear some of his new material about teaching money to children and how we can change our family tree (our legacy) when we are smart with money and pass on those values and lessons.

Dave's Baby Steps

  1. $1,000 emergency fund
  2. Pay off all debts using debt snowball (read our debt-free story here)
  3. Save 3-6 months of expenses
  4. Invest 15% of income for retirement
  5. Save for kids' college
  6. Pay off home early
  7. Build wealth and give it away

But Dave's program is about more than money. It's about leaving a legacy. Loving your neighbor as yourself. And peace of mind. He also outlined five basic principles of his program (I had never heard them this way before):

Dave's 5 Basic Principles

  1. Get on a budget! Eric and I were talking on the way home (while we were stuck in the same exact spot in the parking ramp for 10 minutes) that FPU is really only valuable if you implement the budget on week 2. Tell your money where to go! We rely strongly on our budget spreadsheet and cash envelopes.
  2. Get out of debt! The relief we feel being debt-free is really amazing. We get to keep more of our income because we don't have car payments or student loans or credit card debt. But it wasn't easy. We both worked second jobs for more than a year.
  3. Build quality relationships. The only way you grow and change and increase your income is through relationships. It's important to be kind. People who are generous are more likable and are giving more opportunities. And, the most important relationships are with your spouse and children. Start there!
  4. Save and invest. Act your wage! Don't spend money you don't have, put away 3-6 months of expenses, make smart purchases (avoiding debt), get term life insurance, and start saving for retirement!
  5. Build wealth and give. It's not evil to be wealthy. Dave's program isn't about getting rich and then hoarding it all. Poor people can't feed hungry people. Rich people have to do that. Be generous! Support your church or a charity with your time and money. When you give, it changes you.

Another takeaway I had is that prayer really works! I prayed that night for God to bless us with more income so that we can do great things with it! This event came into our lives at a really great time. When we were digging out of debt, we were head down, worrying about the NOW. A few years later, we're starting to look ahead to retirement and college for our children...the THEN. Once we figure that out, we can focus on even bigger things, like our legacy...the US. And then, changing the world through giving...the THEM.

Have you taken Financial Peace University yet? If so, Dave's got another class coming out in a couple weeks called The Legacy Journey just for FPU graduates!