This is the world we live in. Hot takes, shaming, and absolute statements drive eyeballs and boost engagement. It’s just the reality of the time we live in.
Personal finance gurus like Dave make a living off of hyperbole and sensationalism. I understand it and I actually respect the brand people like him and Suze Orman have built.
HOWEVER, I had to call out this tweet, as it was particularly lacking nuance:
If you're working on paying off debt, the only time you should see the inside of a restaurant is if you're working there.
— Dave Ramsey (@DaveRamsey) February 17, 2020
Dave is a big advocate for prioritizing paying off debt and ultimately living a debt-free life. Which, I would agree is a worthwhile goal.
BUT, just like anything in life, debt is a tool that, if used responsibly, can be beneficial.
If I have a mortgage, should I not step inside a restaurant until I’ve paid it off? I think it’s fair to give Dave the benefit of the doubt and say he’s referring to high-interest rate debt (like credit cards).
What if I graduated with student loan debt? Am I not allowed to ever go out to dinner and enjoy myself?
What if I work hard, live below my means, and are making progress towards my financial goals? Should I still not be allowed to treat myself to an occasional night out because I have student loan debt?
This is one of the differences between being a “personal finance guru” and being a financial planning professional that provides one on one advice. Personal finance is PERSONAL. Rarely are there situations where there isn’t nuance or it doesn’t “depend”.
Unfortunately, “it depends” doesn’t drive engagement like, “If you’re working on paying off debt, the only time you should see the inside of a restaurant is if you’re working there”.
If you want to live an all-or-nothing lifestyle, I respect it. I just don’t think it’s sustainable for the vast majority of us. I’d rather focus on creating a plan, and recognizing that you’re going to make “mistakes” (enjoy) yourself along the way.
The most important thing is that you are continuously making progress towards your goals even if you treat yourself to the occasional night out.
If you can’t enjoy the journey, what’s the point?
Lastly, don’t forget to connect with me on twitter:
My fav part of being self-employed, solopreneur (whatever) is not being told how fast to grow.
(especially in a world where people are chasing growth based on arbitrary metrics)
If you’re really into something for the long run, I don’t see the need to *force* growth
— T.J. van Gerven (@TJvanGerven) February 19, 2020