As an avid reader, I’m always on the lookout for new books, especially those that are finance-related without boring me to sleep. When I saw the title of Thor Ramsey’s Total Money Meltdown, I knew I had to read it – anyone who acknowledges his financial failures has something to say to me. And while the book was different than I expected, I think it’s worth reading as long as you aren’t looking for a list of specific financial tips.
First of all, Thor Ramsey is NOT related to Dave Ramsey. I kind of wondered, but he put that question to rest in the introduction. In fact, he recommends Dave’s Total Money Makeover for those looking for ways to get out of debt, and his own book for those who want a funny story about a family trying to implement Dave’s methods. Thor Ramsey is a Christian stand up comedian, which I didn’t know until I started reading. The Biblical references, while welcome, felt sort of weird at first because there is no indication they’re coming.
Total Money Meltdown is divided into 4 sections: the backstory of financial chaos in the Ramsey family, their initial attempts to stop spending, how things worked once they got into a pattern, and lessons the Ramseys learned about spending their money in a way that pleases God.
Ramsey does several things very well in this book. First, he is unflinchingly honest about his habits and how they contributed to his financial problems – two things people need to examine when they’re trying to get out of debt. Also, he is careful to bring up his wife’s contributions to the problems as well as give her credit for her solutions. Too many people blame their spouse without taking responsibility for their spending – you won’t find that in this book. Ramsey also keeps you interested with a conversational tone, much like I use here at So Over Debt. I was able to read the book in one sitting, with plenty of chapters and sections to break it up into manageable parts.
There were a few aspects I didn’t love. Parts of the book were pretty funny, but there were times the jokes annoyed me. I wanted some details about what kind of debt the Ramseys had and how it amassed so quickly, and honestly all I can remember from the book is that they went to Starbucks a lot. I know there’s more to the story, but it got lost among all the self-deprecating humor and random tidbits of backstory. I got frustrated several times because I kept waiting to find out what happened next, yet the facts were interrupted with semi-relevant flashbacks or long jokes.
I was also disappointed by the lack of detail regarding how the Ramseys began crawling out of the hole they dug for themselves. I know the book wasn’t written as a how-to guide, but I finished the book wanting more information. It seemed like they simply read Dave Ramsey’s book, made a budget, realized their mistakes, prayed, and everything worked out in the end. While I’m all for the power of prayer, I know there were some other steps involved – Ramsey just doesn’t really tell us what they were. It’s hard to believe a story when you know you’re only hearing part of it.
Overall, I enjoyed this book and don’t regret the time I spent reading it. It’s nice to read a money book every now and then that isn’t so darn serious! It’s nice to see myself in the overspending, denial, and bad luck the Ramseys experienced and still be able to laugh about it. That said, if you’re looking for actual steps you can take to get out of debt, skip this book and keep shopping. Or better yet, since you’re in debt, borrow one from a friend or the library instead. 🙂