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David L. Ramsey III (born September 3, 1960) is an American financial author, radio host, television personality, and motivational speaker. His show and writings strongly focus on encouraging people to get out of debt.
Ramsey's syndicated radio program The Dave Ramsey Show is heard on more than 500 radio stations throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in podcast format and on XM and Sirius satellite radio. He has written numerous books including four New York Times bestsellers. His books and broadcasts often feature a Christian perspective that reflects Ramsey's religious beliefs. Ramsey was named the 2009 Marconi Award winner for Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year.
Ramsey's company, The Lampo Group, Inc., is headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee, and oversees three divisions geared toward financial counseling.
Ramsey has been featured on many media outlets including The Oprah Winfrey Show, 60 Minutes, and The Early Show on CBS. He recorded a pilot and six unaired episodes of The Dave Ramsey Project for CBS. He was the host of The Dave Ramsey Show, which aired at 8 p.m. ET and repeated weekdays on the Fox Business Network until June 2010. 
Ramsey was born and raised in Antioch, Tennessee. He was a 1982 graduate of the College of Business Administration at University of Tennessee, Knoxville. At the age of 26, through his brokerage firm, Ramsey Investments, Inc., he built a rental real estate portfolio worth more than $4 million and became one of Tennessee's youngest brokers to be admitted to the Graduate Realtors Institute.
Ramsey's success soon came to an end as the Tax Reform Act of 1986 began to have a negative impact on the real estate business. One of Ramsey's largest creditors was sold to a larger bank, which began to take a harder look at Ramsey's borrowing habits. The bank demanded he pay $1.2 million worth of short-term notes within 90 days, forcing him to file for bankruptcy relief.
Ramsey began counseling couples at his local church. Soon after offering private counseling services, Ramsey began attending every workshop and seminar on consumer financial problems that he could find. He developed a simple set of lessons and materials based partially on his own experience and on works and teachings by Larry Burkett and Ron Blue. In 1992, after many requests from his clients, he wrote his first book Financial Peace.
Ramsey started his radio show, currently known as The Dave Ramsey Show, on June 15, 1992 under the title of The Money Game. Originally a locally based show, it is now syndicated across the country. In 2007, the Fox Business Network launched a television show under the same title, but canceled the show in June 2010. Dave also self-identifies as a devout born-again Christian. Many churches have adopted Dave Ramsey workshops for their members.
Ramsey founded his company, The Lampo Group, Inc., in 1992, initially helping people one-on-one who were struggling with financial issues. In 1994 he hired Russ Carroll, Ramsey's lead financial counselor, and together they began teaching the first Financial Peace University classes on overhead projectors. Between 1999 and 2004, The Lampo Group grew from 18 to 105 team members. There are currently over 350 team members.
Ramsey runs his business completely debt-free, an accomplishment he states was critical to the success of his company.
Ramsey is also the creator of Financial Peace University, a biblically-based video training series for adults, and a companion series targeted at teenagers that has been offered in schools across the nation. The video series lasted for 13 weeks until August 2012 when it was relaunched as a nine week program. Some topics covered in the series are cash flow planning, investing, saving, credit, retirement, and giving.
"Share It!" is a foundation created by Dave and Sharon Ramsey for the purpose of working with other non-profit organizations such as housing initiatives, work to success projects, domestic violence shelters, drug and alcohol recovery programs, crisis pregnancy centers, youth outreaches, and high schools to help others become financially literate.
The word EntreLeadership describes the responsibilities of a small business owner as an entrepreneur (Entre) and as a leader (Leadership). EntreLeadership is also the name of a small business conference developed by Dave Ramsey. The principles presented at an EntreLeadership seminar are the core principles of how Ramsey grew his company, debt-free. EntreLeadership is available to small business owners in two forms; a one-day, abbreviated seminar, and a five-day master series located at a resort destination. The small business conference is personally taught by Ramsey and his leadership team. Ramsey also released a book titled Entreleadership in 2011. The book rose to the New York Times Bestseller's list nearly overnight. Entreleadership marked the 4th time Dave Ramsey has been listed on the New York Times Bestseller's list.
Ramsey is often criticized for advocating the debt snowball method of debt reduction (paying the debt with the lowest balance first) by those preferring that the debt with the highest interest rate should be paid first. However Time Magazine reports research which defends this method as more effective.
Ramsey is also criticized for his advice to stop retirement contributions while getting out of debt and building an emergency fund, even to the point of rejecting an employer match. Ramsey responds that, as with the debt snowball, it is about the emotion not the math.
The most common financial criticism is Ramsey's projection that investments will return 12% and in retirement you can draw 8% safely every year. Ramsey defends this by pointing to his own returns and historical stock market averages. He pointed to a specific fund that he invested in with that track record over its 78 year history. This was determined to be American Fund's Investment Company of America.
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The Nashville Scene has reported that Ramsey occasionally receives e-mails and letters containing the Bible verse: "And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:24 KJV) Ramsey interprets such communications to be a rebuke of his own wealth and a call for poverty, and dismisses these letters as “doctrinal nitpicking.”
Ramsey also feels that people should be good stewards with what God has given them, such as is illustrated with Matthew 25:13-30.
Ramsey states that no one would remember the good Samaritan if he'd only had good intentions; he had money as well. The good Samaritan had a good heart and a heavy enough purse to pay an innkeeper to help take care of the injured man. Money was involved. Ramsey states money was at its best that day, and that money gives power to good intentions. That is why he states he is unashamedly in favor of building wealth. 
The Total Money Makeover, Financial Peace Revisited, and More than Enough have been translated into Spanish.