Following his own advice: No mortgage on his $ 9M mansion

Dave Ramsey’s New Mansion

The tax record shows 3 levels in Dave Ramsey‘s Cool Springs home, totaling 13,307 square feet of living area and 1,454 square feet of garage.

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Jonathan Charles's picture

I guess this is Dave's version of kingdom living (his earthly kingdom).

A. Carpenter's picture

I'm assuming that we Financial Peace University graduates helped to pay for that!

Faith is obeying when you can't even imagine how things might turn out right.

Paul J. Scharf's picture

I am bracing for the response of anti-Dave sentiment...

(Just FYI -- Ramsey continues to buy and sell real estate, in addition to his media work and FPU. He probably works more hours per week than most anyone reading this...)

Church Ministries Representative for the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry

Jack's picture

His garage is 20% larger than my house! Wink

I'd recommend David Platt's Radical for Dave. He may use his house well - practicing hospitality, providing shelter for brother and sisters in need - I have no way of knowing. But Platt's book (though it has its flaws) does ask some serious questions about the way we live and reminds us that we'll answer to God for our stewardship during this life. It's a sobering thought that has caused me and my wife to begin carefully reevaluating the way we use the far-more-than-sufficient things God has provided us.

Paul J. Scharf's picture

Jonathan Charles wrote:
I guess this is Dave's version of kingdom living (his earthly kingdom).

If the building in the picture were a fundamental church, Christian college or mission headquarters, would it evoke the same criticism or philosophical discussion of the use of riches? Or should it...?

Church Ministries Representative for the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry

GregH's picture

Well, his house choice does say something about Dave Ramsey; it sort of just of reinforces in my mind why he does not impress me. Of course it is hardly immoral to have a big house. But I am hardly surprised to see that he is living a bit ostentatiously considering the philosophy he espouses.

His seminars are full of him bragging about how much money he makes and has and he sells the pipe dream to his devoted followers that they can all be wealthy too. To him, wealth is quite a worthwhile goal.

But is the house itself a problem? No.

Paul J. Scharf's picture

GregH wrote:
His seminars are full of him bragging about how much money he makes and has and he sells the pipe dream to his devoted followers that they can all be wealthy too. To him, wealth is quite a worthwhile goal.

Greg,

You haven't listened to him much, have you Wink

Church Ministries Representative for the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

He has been extremely productive... which in many cases results in an "extreme" number of mutually beneficial trades. So millions wanted what he produced and engaged in what they believed to be a good trade: dollars for info/training, etc.
In a free market, you can rarely be productive without some trades occurring that leave both sides better off.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

I would never encourage any church to use his program or material. I would tell people that if they wish to privately use his material, have at it. But too much of what he teaches, in spite of a reasonable amount of what he teaches being sound, stands in contrast to our Christian disposition toward material wealth.

He is undoubtedly informed on many financial matters but from all the material I have read, he does not demonstrate more than an elementary consideration of theological issues. This is not a judgment on his faith and walk, rather an observation of what I, as a believer, would expect from one who is elevated among believers as a teacher and see from him. He is a teacher of finances, not the Word, hence he falls into the same trap that many well meaning but theologically lacking voices who are given prominence in the body of our Lord, do fall. Namely giving primacy to their area of expertise with the Scriptures filling the role of divine proof text for their ideas.

Now it cannot be said Ramsey is all proof text, that would quite unfair. And sometimes he is quite right. The objections are not on what is right, but on what is wrong. And on more than scant occasions he arrests texts, both directly and subtly, and superimposes on them, without full regard to all theological considerations, his financial system of values.

And this is why someone like Dave Ramsey, while validly teaching personal financial values and profiting, should do this outside of the church. The body of our Lord has been given Pastor/teachers. We have men whose spiritual gifting, training and fulfillment of essential qualifications will communicate to us, Christians, from the Bible, how we are to esteem money.

Dave Ramsey may teach us financial strategics but he is not trained to function as a teacher of the Word in God's church. He needs to do what he does outside of the church and within the body, those teachers God has gifted and who are trained and qualified, will communicate to us what the Scriptures have to say about wealth.

Beyond that and into the area of personal financial strategy, if Dave Ramsey has expertise then it is quite valid for him to go into business and teach others his skills at a charge outside the body of Christ.

Joel Shaffer's picture

I do share some of Alex's concern's with Ramsey's proof-texting, yet his financial coaching to help people get out of debt is invaluable. Just like alot of things, one needs to be discerning enough to eat the chicken and spit out the bones.

Our ministry uses some of Ramsey's materials to teach finances, but we are supplementing a Biblical theology of material possessions to go along with it (Blomberg's Neither Poverty Nor Riches [url ]http://www.amazon.com/Neither-Poverty-nor-Riches-Possessions/dp/0830826076 ).

Paul J. Scharf's picture

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
The body of our Lord has been given Pastor/teachers. We have men whose spiritual gifting, training and fulfillment of essential qualifications will communicate to us, Christians, from the Bible, how we are to esteem money.

Dave Ramsey may teach us financial strategics but he is not trained to function as a teacher of the Word in God's church. He needs to do what he does outside of the church and within the body, those teachers God has gifted and who are trained and qualified, will communicate to us what the Scriptures have to say about wealth.

Alex,

I would be happy to agree with you if this were being done, but sadly it is not. Apart from Dave Ramsey and Crown, there would be virtually no Biblical financial teaching occurring in most churches. Many, if not most, pastors are in financial bondage themselves.

Sadly, the situation in many Christian colleges is far worse. Students are taught directly and by modeling (i.e., institutional debt) to "sign on the line" and use student loans to get through school on the presumptuous fallacy that they will "make it all back some day."

I would hate to be the one arguing that our fundamental churches and Christian institutions teach and practice too much financial literacy and Biblical financial wisdom.

In other words, if you want to knock Ramsey, you had better have something else in mind to replace him with.

Church Ministries Representative for the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry

A. Carpenter's picture

Joel Shaffer wrote:
I do share some of Alex's concern's with Ramsey's proof-texting, yet his financial coaching to help people get out of debt is invaluable. Just like alot of things, one needs to be discerning enough to eat the chicken and spit out the bones.

Our ministry uses some of Ramsey's materials to teach finances, but we are supplementing a Biblical theology of material possessions to go along with it (Blomberg's Neither Poverty Nor Riches [url ]http://www.amazon.com/Neither-Poverty-nor-Riches-Possessions/dp/0830826076 ).

If you're going to use FPU and you believe the Gospel, you have to supplement a Biblical theology to the financial materials. Now, I'm not questioning his profession of faith or the 13th session he gives; however, the proof-texting tied to the incentive of wealth and possessions seems to give a new spin on Gekko. No longer is greed "good," but now greed can even seem godly. (1 Tim. 6.5-6 are coming to mind.) I don't assume that this is his motivation, but I believe it can be a great danger to a believer's faith. FPU materials can be used with great benefit (I use them in my own family and have even moved our church to establish an emergency fund), but I would challenge anyone in our church to look to the Bible to see what financial peace really looks like. BTW, Platt is a great encourager in this direction. Maybe we should sponsor a Platt meets Ramsey seminar - "Get Out of Debt and Live for God's Glory."

Faith is obeying when you can't even imagine how things might turn out right.

Pastor Joe Roof's picture

When you read the bible and see what it says about riches and about people like King Solomon, big homes are really not a big deal in the whole eternal scheme of things.

Several years ago, I considered Financial Peace University for myself and our church. I really was not comfortable with the price. While Ramsey may be a great guy with a great plan, I get leary of all materials that come across my desk indicating that somone wants to help us in some area of our lives and that we can receive that help for a certain fee. Maybe it's just me but I don't charge fees to minister to people. I live off the the free-will gifts that are given and I minister whether I receive funds or not.

So, here is what I did for financial peace. I prayed. I asked God to help us pay off two credit cards. I did my best to come up with a plan to pay off those cards. Too make a long story short, God provided the funds to pay off those cards. God gave us financial peace and I did not have to help pay for Ramsey's new house to do it. Now, some dear brothers and sisters have found great help with Ramsey and I am thankful for that. Just don't be led to believe that you have to pay money for spiritual help in your life. God can do anything.

Pastor Joe Roof's picture

Another thing that made me uncomfortable with Financial Peace University was that their materials were suggesting that I needed to have this program in our church so our offerings would increase. I thought it was about helping people?

Jonathan Charles's picture

It isn't wrong to have a nice house, a house that is above average in size and that has some nice amenities, BUT a $9,000,000 home? Back when Jim and Tammy Baker got in trouble, Ray Stevens sang "Would Jesus Wear a Rolex?" Now we have to ask, "Would Jesus Live in a $9M Home." Maybe Dave needs to read the gospel of Luke and all Jesus said about money.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I wonder... it seems that we all spend in relative proportion to our own wealth. For instance, a family with a lower income may eat out once a month at McDonald's or really kick up their heels and eat at Bob Evans or Frisch's. A higher income family may eat out more often at places like Longhorn Steakhouse or Red Lobster. Is the higher income family spending frivolously? Should the lower income family look at them at mutter about how they spend their money frivolously?

Ditto cars- we haven't had a car payment in 15 years, but we buy used (and I mean WAY used) cars for cash- about $500 a pop- but they sometimes don't last very long- 3-4 years is a good average. Should we look at someone who buys new every few years with distaste at how they waste their money? After all, why doesn't everyone buy used cars for cash? Do you HAVE to have A/C, power windows and doors, and a CD player? Why doesn't everyone shop at the thrift store for clothes and shoes? How many outfits and pairs of shoes do you need? Don't tell me that every one of us couldn't fill a lawn and leaf bag right now with clothes we seldom wear or don't fit anymore because we are on starvation diets. ha. ha.

I think it's all relative. If any of us had that kind of wealth, we don't know that (after tithe and generous offerings, of course) we wouldn't buy the absolute best of everything. I'd like to think that if I had bazillions of dollars I'd live pretty much the same as I do now, and spend all that money on missionaries and charitable foundations and Improving Life for All Mankind. But I don't know what I'd do, and neither does anyone else- unless you can say right now that you live well below your means.

Paul J. Scharf's picture

First of all, I doubt that Ramsey paid anywhere near $9 million to build the house. Anyone who listens to him knows that he probably found a way to do it for half that at least.

Secondly, is it any of our business to speculate about this? If we are going to start scrutinizing this, where do we stop? What about a preacher who lives in a $300,000 house when kids are starving in India?? Is that acceptable??

Thirdly, do you really want a financial teacher who doesn't know how to make his own advice work? Ramsey has been wildly successful in his life on several fronts, and his ministry/business does not only touch poor people. There may be multiple reasons he is building a house this big.

I am not just defending Ramsey at all costs -- I listen to him with discernment, as I would anyone else. As someone said earlier, eat the chicken and spit out the bones. If you don't like him, you don't have to listen or read his books. It is (still) a free country.

But please don't suggest that he sell everything and "live like Jesus" unless you want to open a much broader discussion that will impact each and every one of us. :O

Church Ministries Representative for the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry

GregH's picture

Paul, only one person here has an issue about the size of the house. Everyone else has had an issue with his philosophy/theology.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Jonathan Charles wrote:
It isn't wrong to have a nice house, a house that is above average in size and that has some nice amenities, BUT a $9,000,000 home?

I don't know how many folks read the entire article, but Ramsey didn't pay $9mil for the home-
Quote:
The land at King Richard’s Court Franklin TN 37067 was purchased for $1,552,000 by Dave Ramsey on April 2, 2008. For the tax year 2008 (before the home was constructed) annual taxes were just $4,938. For the year 2010, the land market value is $750,000 and the improvement value is $4,159,200 for a combined total market appraisal of $4,909,200.

With Dave Ramsey’s home having a total tax appraisal roughly double that of Lee Ann Rimes next door, we estimate the retail value of Dave’s house to be around $9-$10 million.


Sounds like he made a solid real estate investment. I don't think the question should be about Ramsey's financial curriculum, (we've been there done that around here before) but how much luxury do we believe Christians should afford themselves?

He who wishes to draw the line please step forward.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

There is clearly a huge void in the area of evangelical/fundamentalist thought about material possessions. On the one hand the health & wealth gospel folks have sucked in millions. On the other end, we have those who are almost Benedictine in their aversion to material things and profit.
I keep plugging it, but it's so well done, I can't resist: Money, Greed and God by J. W. Richards makes an excellent case that profit (wealth creation) in free markets is the only economic approach that has been shown to truly relieve poverty in the long run.

To those inclined to think "What's wrong with poverty?" I'm talking about the real thing... so plug in a short definition instead of the term: "human suffering in the form of disease, malnutrition, lack of employable skills and inadequate education."

The data are pretty strong that giving things away does not relieve poverty in the long run. Oddly, buying and selling does.

To get back to Ramsey though:
Some are confusing categories. There is teaching that is theological, and teaching that is applicational. We would not fault a farmer for offering a 12 week course on how to grow larger and faster carrots and failing to weave the gospel into every segment of his teaching. I haven't seeen it, but it sounds like FPU could be stronger in its attention to theology, but it is mostly applicational and we should judge it by those standards, not by the Sunday pulpit standard.

Paul J. Scharf's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
I haven't seeen it, but it sounds like FPU could be stronger in its attention to theology, but it is mostly applicational and we should judge it by those standards, not by the Sunday pulpit standard.

Aaron,

Good thoughts! I look forward to the day when fundamentalists judge the regular teachers and preachers with the same scrutiny they apply to Dave Ramsey as far as the use of Scripture and theology! :cry:

As I always said about Larry Burkett -- "He is not a theologian, he is a financial teacher." The trouble with Burkett, if there was one, was that he made lots of Biblical and theological pronouncements; one could argue that Ramsey is actually much safer since he mostly sticks to finances, even when he is speaking in a church setting.

Listen to him for what he is worth -- a great deal, in my estimation. If something happens to prove my judgment wrong, I will be the first to admit it.

Church Ministries Representative for the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry

Paul J. Scharf's picture

Alex,

Thanks for the question. I have written my thoughts at length about Ramsey here on SI (no time to find the links right now, but I suspect you can read them if you want to).
I have found that many of the people who voice objections to Ramsey here on SI have somewhere along the line thrown in the caveat -- "while I haven't actually listened to him...," so I have grown a little weary and suspicious of the opposition to him.
Perhaps this is not your case at all, but I think some of it is simply a passive-aggressive response to Ramsey's message of getting out of debt and implementing Biblical financial principles -- which would be a natural human reaction.
I have said often -- listen to Ramsey with discernment and make use of him if you so desire! What more do you want me to say?
I have watched, listened and read him for dozens and dozens of hours, and I think -- in context, for what it is worth -- it is great stuff!!
Why do you think he is dangerous???

Church Ministries Representative for the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Paul J. Scharf wrote:
I am not just defending Ramsey at all costs -- I listen to him with discernment, as I would anyone else. As someone said earlier, eat the chicken and spit out the bones. If you don't like him, you don't have to listen or read his books.

Alex- I think this about covers it, IMO. I don't see that anyone has advocated that Ramsey is a theologian. I think it's a great exercise in discernment for a person or a church to use his materials and sift the good and bad. I use Foundations in Personal Finance for my kids' Consumer Math curriculum, and it provides us with an opportunity to show our kids that they don't have to buy into every jot of someone's teachings just because they profess to be Christian, but that in an area where someone has expertise and success, it's OK to learn from that person and use that knowledge. I think a whole lotta' church folks could use a lesson in exercising discernment, especially in financial matters, and not to be so naive and starry-eyed over every Christian celebrity that comes down the pike.

What hasn't been answered is-

Quote:
please don't suggest that he sell everything and "live like Jesus" unless you want to open a much broader discussion that will impact each and every one of us.
I think we often criticize what we think is excess in others because it seems excessive based on our own resources. But someone with fewer resources than ourselves could do the same to us. What do we do about that?

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Susan R wrote:
Paul J. Scharf wrote:
I am not just defending Ramsey at all costs -- I listen to him with discernment, as I would anyone else. As someone said earlier, eat the chicken and spit out the bones. If you don't like him, you don't have to listen or read his books.

Alex- I think this about covers it, IMO. I don't see that anyone has advocated that Ramsey is a theologian.
I wish "covering it" were that simple, I do not believe that is the case. But I will address this is my response to Paul.

Secondly, no one is advocated that Ramsey is a theologian, rather just the opposite, that his theology is quite lacking demonstrated by his proof-texting habits.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Paul J. Scharf wrote:
Alex,

Thanks for the question. I have written my thoughts at length about Ramsey here on SI (no time to find the links right now, but I suspect you can read them if you want to).

I believe you and believe I recall a few times reading or perusing your comments about Ramsey that demonstrated familiarity with his business.

Paul J. Scharf wrote:
I have found that many of the people who voice objections to Ramsey here on SI have somewhere along the line thrown in the caveat -- "while I haven't actually listened to him...," so I have grown a little weary and suspicious of the opposition to him.
So far in this thread I have cannot recall this position being predominant, in fact rather scant if at all. So, you really have no warrant so for for such a suspicion here and now. Possibly it is too convenient a mechanism in order to dismiss people's objections from the on start or to minimize them in your mind. If a person says they are familiar with the material, then you must treat them as such. I would not begin with any suspicion and simply take each case at their own merit and so far, here, I see most people being familiar enough to form an opinion.

Paul J. Scharf wrote:
Perhaps this is not your case at all, but I think some of it is simply a passive-aggressive response to Ramsey's message of getting out of debt and implementing Biblical financial principles -- which would be a natural human reaction.
You are right, it is not the case. But your assertion that it is natural human reaction to react with passive-aggressive objections to the message of getting out of debt and implementing sound financial principles (and as Ramsey claims, biblical, but again I don't agree that his system represents biblical scheme in that it exits where the biblical principles end and continues with strategies of investments that are not detailed in Scripture, hence the claim of a "biblical investment method" is quite unsustainable) is quite dubious and a rather elitist posture that indicts those that object to certain aspects of Ramsey's business.

Frankly it reminds of a Democrat named Pelosi or Obama telling the population that either they are ignorant or reacting with fits to the truth. I find it a poor reflection of one's objectivity when those with whom they disagree to be cast so broadly in this manner. While it might be true of one or more, it is highly unlikely such a poor disposition is true of most who might have issues with Ramsey's business.

Paul J. Scharf wrote:
I have said often -- listen to Ramsey with discernment and make use of him if you so desire! What more do you want me to say?
I have watched, listened and read him for dozens and dozens of hours, and I think -- in context, for what it is worth -- it is great stuff!!
Why do you think he is dangerous???
Paul, from my experience you normally attend to details and fairly represent the positions of others. Here you might want to walk back the claim that I have portrayed Ramsey as dangerous. Go back and read my posts and you will have to admit that while observing weaknesses I never took this posture and even commended him on some matters, hardly the way to declare someone to be dangerous.

But this might speak to you about your myopia here and what I believe is a hyper-defensive posture of Ramsey. Here is a person (me) expressing objections and without regard to what I have said previously you declare with your question that I have implied, in the least, that he is dangerous. This is unlike your normal objective treatment on issues.

As to listening with discernment, well, if stating the obvious is what you consider a thorough examination of the issue then we certainly disagree as to how one critically examines things and makes determinations. We are to listen to everyone with discernment, there is no time we are told not to do so. So then this allows anyone in our churches if they have some element of truth as long as we listen with discernment? Of course not and I am sure you know this.

Which is my point. He may be qualified to teach finances but his proof-texting style and lack of theological development and ability to exegete produces many arrested Scriptures. Does this mean he is always wrong? I never said such a thing nor that he is wrong more often than right. That is not the point, again.

And as I said earlier and will repeat:

Quote:
And this is why someone like Dave Ramsey, while validly teaching personal financial values and profiting, should do this outside of the church. The body of our Lord has been given Pastor/teachers. We have men whose spiritual gifting, training and fulfillment of essential qualifications will communicate to us, Christians, from the Bible, how we are to esteem money.

Dave Ramsey may teach us financial strategics but he is not trained to function as a teacher of the Word in God's church. He needs to do what he does outside of the church and within the body, those teachers God has gifted and who are trained and qualified, will communicate to us what the Scriptures have to say about wealth.

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