MEET A DEBT-FIGHTING CRUSADER WHO IS DETERMINED
TO BEAT THE CREDIT INDUSTRY BY SAVING ONE DEBTOR
AT A TIME - "60 MINUTES" SUNDAY ON CBS
Americans are drowning in debt and desperate for help getting out of it, says national radio talk show host and anti-debt crusader Dave Ramsey. �[Debt] is a normal way of getting along, and normal is [being]broke in America,� he says. �Debt has become a part of who we are....That spoiled kid in the grocery store.... �I want it. I want it. I deserve it because I breathe air.�� Lesley Stahl profiles Ramsey on 60 MINUTES this Sunday, Nov. 7 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Debt, made easy by financial institutions willing to lend to anyone, is ruining good Americans, says Ramsey. He knows. He was one of them. Ramsey was once a million dollars in debt and bankrupt, until he got out of real estate and into the business of teaching what he calls �common sense� to people about living on cash and out of debt. Ramsey tells Stahl he is out to save debtors one at a time through his radio advice program heard by two million people a week, his public appearances attended by thousands, and other tools he uses in the fight against debt and those who enable it.
He knows it won't be easy to reverse the trend. �That's an uphill climb in our culture right now, to go against [borrowing to satisfy].� But he believes he can combat it on a one-on-one level. �I'm not in the macro business; I�m in the micro business. One person at a time," Ramsey tells Stahl.
Ramsey urges individual debtors to resist the financial institutions who would bury them in debt by taking away their biggest weapons. �Plastectomies. Plastic surgery. Chopping your credit cards,� he says. One of his radio listeners once acted on this advice literally by putting his credit cards in a blender for all of Ramsey's radio audience to hear.
Steve and Stacey Burch of Houston applaud Ramsey for putting them on the road to financial and marital health. They took one of the courses created by Ramsey and started to work down the $150,000 of debt they had accumulated mostly through stock trading, building a swimming pool and buying a luxury car. Steve was buying the stock on a credit card without telling Stacey. �It was devastating because I couldn't believe that I was being lied to,� says Stacy. �I wanted my marriage more than anything,� says Steve, who sold his Lexus on Ramsey's advice. �The car became worth nothing to me at that moment,� he says. �Since we started Dave's program, roughly in May 2003...we've paid off $75,500,� Steve tells Stahl.
Ramsey practices what he preaches at home. Debt-free, he doesn't even have a mortgage. He, his wife and his three children only use cash or debit cards to pay for everything. His children are paid a �commission� for doing chores and live by Ramsey�s rules: save 40 percent, give 10 percent, spend 50 percent. Ramsey motivates his children to save by matching their accounts when they turn 16. His daughter Rachel saved $8000, and with matching funds from her Dad, bought a $16,000 used BMW.
Ramsey has one word for those who are tempted to spend more than they make: cash. �Because cash hurts. You don�t register the pain with plastic,� says Ramsey. �You start laying out Uncle Benjamin on the counter, you're going, �Wait a minute. I want to think about this a minute. Whoa!��