E227: Why Dave Ramsey’s Signature Advice Is Unbiblical

In this episode of “Dollars and Nonsense”, Nate Scott challenges Dave Ramsey’s advice on money and retirement. Nate shares his own personal journey and struggles with the pursuit of financial security, highlighting the pitfalls of hoarding money and seeking it as the ultimate source of fulfillment.

By delving into biblical principles, Nate offers listeners a fresh perspective on wealth and security, urging them to build lives they don’t have to retire from and to prioritize God’s will over serving money.  

Key Takeaways:

  • Unbiblical Pursuit of Security: Hoarding money and seeking it as a means of security is unbiblical and unfulfilling.
  • Building a Life You Don’t Have to Retire From: Nate advocates for prioritizing lifestyles that don’t necessitate retirement, challenging the traditional notion of saving for the future.
  • Avoiding Rationalizations: Nate warns against justifying the love of money with religious reasoning, emphasizing the importance of discernment in financial matters.
  • True Fulfillment in Seeking God’s Will: Nate underscores the ultimate source of security and fulfillment in aligning one’s life with God’s will, rather than serving money.

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Nate Scott [00:03]:

I believe that Dave Ramsey’s signature advice is wrong and unbiblical. Dave Ramsey’s signature advice is “live like no one else today, so that one day you can live and give like no one else”. While this might sound good, honestly, it’s this type of thinking that has brought forth immeasurable damage and personal struggle in my own life by causing me to seek security and fulfillment in money. We’re going to dive into that today. This is Dollars and Nonsense. If you follow the herd, you will be slaughtered. 

If you’ve been listening to me for quite some time, or in any infinite banking circles at all, you’ll find out quickly that Dave Ramsey and I don’t mesh very well. But this episode is not about why I believe Dave Ramsey’s opinion on infinite banking and whole life insurance is flawed. It’s going to go way deeper than that. 

Nate Scott [00:57]:

I believe that his main advice on how to become successful with money is wrong and will oftentimes lead you down a road you don’t want to go down. That same thing could be said of anyone who is pushing forth a strong desire to store up, hoard up, especially in retirement programs, mutual funds, things like that. Anyone who’s trying to tell you to hoard money, maybe it’ll work out for you. But oftentimes it leads you down a road you don’t want to go, and a life filled with regrets. 

We’re going to dive into this. But right before I do, one caveat is I’m perfectly aware that there’s tons of people who may listen to this whose entire life has been benefited by Dave Ramsey, who you were struggling with debt, struggling with spending. You and your spouse were not on the same page, and you both got plugged into financial peace university and total money makeover and all these things with Dave Ramsey.

Nate Scott [01:50]:

You read his books, you listened to his show, and he kicked you into gear and you got in control of your finances. You started living on less than you make, you paid down your debt, and now you’re a totally new person. You say, Dave Ramsey saved me. I said, that’s awesome. Up to that point, I’m in total agreement that you should not be a slave to your desires to spend money. 

However, that’s where it ends. Me and Dave Ramsey can agree all the way up to you. Get in control of your money and start living less than you make and start paying down debt and so forth. That’s all amazing, but here is where it gets dangerous. 

Nate Scott [02:19]:

So I’m going to dive into– what I want to do. By the way, really quick, I’m going to dive into my own personal testimony and struggles with money so far in my life. And once I’m. I think you’ll see some flares of where I’m going to go whenever I transition to talking about Dave Ramsay’s advice and why I believe it’s so dangerous. So here we go. I’m going to dive into my personal testimony right now.

Nate Scott [02:43]:

I got into business back in 2012, 2013 full time, doing this whole infinite banking thing and really loving it. And at the beginning, I was aware I had some issues psychologically with money, but I didn’t know what to do with them. And from very early on, my dad’s a pastor, we didn’t have a ton of money. 

And I believe I have some sort of scarcity or poverty mindset about money that was accumulating just during my years of life. I think it’s super, super common in christian circles to have a deep, poverty-stricken scarcity mindset. But what I wanted to say in this is that essentially what I thought and what I felt about money is that if I had more money, I was going to feel better. This is a lie that we all feel.

Nate Scott [03:29]:

If I had more money, it would provide for me security. If I was making more money, it would provide for me security. And essentially, I was afraid of being insecure in this world. And so I thought that money was going to provide for me security. And then all the things that go along with security, which would be like financial peace and joy and fulfillment. And what I’ve seen over the last eleven years is that my numbers have gotten bigger. I have become wealthy. My income is bigger than I ever imagined.

Nate Scott [03:59]:

The amount of money I’ve stored up has become bigger than I ever imagined. I just never thought I would be in this place. And though the numbers are getting bigger, where’s the peace? Where is this fleeting sense of security? Where is this “live like no one else today so that one day you can live like no one else” mentality? I thought money was going to provide this for me. And here I am. After striving and seeking after it, subconsciously, I didn’t get into this business thinking I’m going to go get rich. That wasn’t actually the mentality.

Nate Scott [04:34]:

I just wanted financial security. And what you find out, I wanted to have a good job with a good lifestyle, a good career that provided for my family, and that allowed me to save and just have your typical financial security. But I was starved, nothing was ever enough. I was starved for more. I was starved for more. And so I’m here to tell you, like, where’s the peace? Where’s the joy that I was promised with money? And inside of this struggle, I’ve discovered one of the reasons why I hate the idea of retirement, which I’ve talked about before. The idea of retirement is because it essentially says if you store up enough money, you can finally be safe.

Nate Scott [05:14]:

You can finally do whatever you want to do in your life. Money is the answer to your problems. So if you serve money, if you seek it, if you store it, if you worship it in some way, it will end up serving you down the road. But this is essentially the lie that if I serve money, it will end up serving me. No, if you serve money, it will become your master, and it will be your master forever. 

I’ve said this many times, that oftentimes people will find themselves in careers and jobs that they hate because it provides a level of security and financial peace to some degree, at least to them. And so they spend their whole life slaving away with money as their God, money as their master, thinking that one day, when I have stored up enough money will no longer be my master, I will get to do whatever I want to do. And it won’t be about money, because I’ll have enough. So, I can finally do what I want to do with money as soon as I have enough.

Nate Scott [06:10]:

The question is, when is enough? And how much of your life are you willing to sacrifice at the idol of money? That’s the question I’ve been asking myself as well. It is a lie. It is a lie. And for the last eleven years of my life, there’s no question. I have served money thinking that someday it will serve me. And all you find is emptiness. All you find is, in fact, “mo’ money, mo’ problems”, more money invested, more things to worry about. Where is this peace? I haven’t really been able to find it.

Nate Scott [06:42]:

That’s why I’m a strong believer in what I’m trying to change in my life. And on my own personal journey through this money is that that’s where the concept of “empire over retire” has come from. By the way, You can use any phrase you want. Some people will chafe at the idea of an empire. I’m not trying to say build some gigantic empire and live your life to build this big empire. The whole idea of the empire model was that you just live your life in a way that you never have to retire like you’re just having. The empire mentality is different from the retirement mentality.

Nate Scott [07:13]:

The retirement mentality is the Dave Ramsey which we’re about to go attack. But the empire mentality is “live your life in a way that you won’t need to retire from it”. And the empire method says, don’t serve money if you can’t wait for retirement. The idea is you should be making a change now. Don’t become a slave to money and seek after money and security that you believe money is going to provide. Serve God and let him be your security. And this is the answer that I am so desperately going after in the new Nate, the new walk with money. And this is why I believe that Dave Ramsey’s signature advice is wrong.

Nate Scott [07:51]:

So I’m going to transition now from my own personal struggle with money. Essentially, to sum it up, I’ve been struggling with this idea that the more money I have, the better off I’ll be. The more security I’ll have, the more financial freedom I’ll have, the more options. And money can do some things for you. But what it can’t do is provide true security. You can’t be free if you serve money, you have to serve God. And serving God, you’ll find freedom. Serving money, you’ll find a terrible master that you essentially can serve your whole life, thinking that one day you’ll live like no one else.

Nate Scott [08:20]:

And then when you get there, when you “have enough money”, it never feels like enough, and you’re left with the same fears at the other end of retirement. Will I outlive my money? Will my money last? Will I have to go back to work? You talk to people who have retired, and there’s never freedom from the love of money. Let’s kick it to the curb now if we can. So, here we go. 

We’re going to branch into Dave Ramsey’s advice and really, why? I believe it’s unbiblical. And I’m going to bring in my own personal testimony into this as well. So his signature advice is that “if you live like no one else, then one day later on you’ll be able to live and give like no one else”. And the idea is this, if you scrimp and save and hoard money, if you live like a pauper, if you don’t do anything fun when you have little kids, you have little kids, you have family, you don’t do anything fun.

Nate Scott [09:08]:

By the way, you live your entire life financially with a frugality and hoarding of money as your God because it’s going to provide for you something in the future. So you’re going to sacrifice, live on as little as you possibly can for right now, storing up money and treasure here in this world where moss and rust destroy it. It’s called inflation. And one day, all of it’s going to be worth it. 20-30 years down the road, you’ll be debt free, you’ll own your own house, you’ll have this big nest egg, and then you can finally reap the rewards of what you’ve done.

If you make it your singular focus to hoard money, if you live like no one else today, and essentially make it your focus to hoard money, and one day you’ll be able to live and give like no one else. And I have bought into this subconsciously, and here’s one of the reasons why. Essentially, the reason why it’s unbiblical is, I’ll tell you the story, by the way, of having seen what Dave Ramsey’s done in the past for quite some time, the original slogan was missing a couple of words, by the way, the original slogan, to “live like no one else today, so that one day you can live and give like no one else”.

Nate Scott [10:20]:

It was actually missing a word. And those of you who followed him for a while would understand this, that at one point, it was “live like no one else today, so that one day you can live like no one else”. At some point along the way, I believe he realized that that is a fleeting, unfulfilling journey. 

It’s not even that compelling in some ways. In fact, I believe he probably realized it was pretty unbiblical to live like no one else today, so that you can live like no one, live like no one else tomorrow, so that you can be really selfish and hoard up money and then spend it on your pleasures. He would say, yeah, I’m supposed to be the christian financial guy. I’m in all the churches. I can’t be saying those types of things.

Nate Scott [10:55]:

So he changed it. He added, “so that one day you can live and give like no one else”. And he added this idea of giving as a way to make– It’s like a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. It’s actually going to produce for you a life where you idolize money. But if you can tell yourself, no, it’s not all about me, I’m going to give some money. When I get wealthy, whenever I have more than enough, which is who’s going to decide that I’ve been living. It doesn’t ever feel like I have more than enough.

Nate Scott [11:30]:

Ask other wealthy people. Maybe I’m actually the one at fault. And all the people who follow Dave Ramsey advice are like, no, I don’t have any problem. Money doesn’t mean anything to me. I’m trusting God through it all, and I’m like, congratulations. Maybe I’m just the worst test case in the world. I haven’t been doing very well with it. But what I’m saying is, we can often rationalize sin in our lives.

Nate Scott [11:51]:

We can often rationalize things by putting in a flavor of godliness to it. So the idea is saying, hey, I can actually serve money. Like, I know Jesus says, don’t hoard up treasures in this world where moss and rust destroy, but lay up treasures for yourself in heaven. And you can see just teaching after teaching in scripture, prompting us to do something different, to have a different vision for what financial success really looks like in the kingdom of God. 

And we can see all that. But the modern world requires retirement. The modern world requires these things from us. And so I can do the modern way, which is essentially hoard and store up money, desperately seeking some sort of financial independence and financial security, apart from God in my own ability to store up money.

Nate Scott [12:37]:

And that if I was just to throw in, I’ll probably give some money away later on too, live and give like no one else, then that actually makes it all okay. And one of the reasons why I would say this has been so detrimental to me is because I bought into this deep down in my own life. So I have been a huge, generous giver my whole life. I have been a tither to my church ever since I was a little kid, when my dad taught me the principle of it, I’ve trusted God for money. 

God has blessed me beyond anything I could ever dream of. And what I’m trying to bring up, though, is that I realized that even though I am a giver and I give a tremendous amount of money, even though I tithe and give way above the tithe and just huge amounts of money. And it blessed so many people that I was using this mentality that, oh, I have the spiritual gift of giving God’s blessing me with all this money. And I had all these thoughts which very well, I mean, some people can be pure.

Nate Scott [13:41]:

It wasn’t pure for me. That’s what I’m trying to say. It wasn’t pure for me. Deep down, I was using scripture to rationalize why it was okay for me to strive and seek after more. And God has been dealing in me with this love of money that the Dave Ramsey type of advice produces in my life. The idea that if I scrimp and save and store up money and save it, that one day I’ll be safe. One day I’ll be secure. One day I’ll be financially independent and all that it’s–

Nate Scott [14:18]:

And I have to throw in the idea of giving. Some of it I got to give back to make me feel better about the fact that I’m actually serving money, striving for it, and desperate for more. I never thought I would find myself in this boat. I never thought this would be me. I always thought that God would be number one in my life, and money was just a thing on the side. 

But it has lied and deceived me. And what I’m saying is, I believe that scarcity mentality, the poverty way of life, the idea that we have that, here’s how it has filtered into my life, too, is that most of the time, I only want to do the things that I foresee a return on. I’m listening to business leaders, business coaches, even those guys talking about efficiency, producing more revenue, more profit.

Nate Scott [15:03]:

And so I’m trying to create in my life this world where I make decisions based on how much money I can make from those decisions. And it has creeped into everything that I do. This love of money, and its core is that I seek security and safety. I want to be at peace financially and the Dave Ramsey way, he calls it financial peace university. I’m saying, yes, your life will be more peaceful when you’re not swimming in debt, when you live on less than you make. If you are struggling with that, follow Dave’s advice. But once you have gotten your money under control, like I have, as far as like, that’s not a struggle for me. I don’t live on more than I make.

Nate Scott [15:45]:

I live significantly less than I make. And I’m storing it up because deep down, I’m so desperate for financial security. And I have bought into the lie that storing up, hoarding up money is the way to do it. And I’m here to say I don’t believe that’s the case, at least for me, at least in my own personal life. This is my testimony. I have fallen in love with money. I desperately seek more and more. I never thought that would be me.

Nate Scott [16:10]:

I’ve served it. I’ve worshiped the idol. I bowed down before it and said, I will do whatever it takes to get more. I never thought that would be me. It’s all happening subconsciously, and I believe it comes from this idea of scarcity mentality that I believe Dave Ramsey’s teaching oftentimes promotes. 

Now, some people would say, well, Nate, what’s the answer? Okay, Nate, what’s the answer? Are you saying that we shouldn’t save money? That’s a very good question. I’m working this out in my own life, of course, and I’ve talked about this. I actually had an episode not too long ago on how to combat the love of money, which this one wasn’t exactly for that.

Nate Scott [16:48]:

If you want to know what I said, go back and watch the episode of how to combat the love of money. But with that being said, if you say Dave Ramsey’s advice is wrong, what is the answer? And I believe it goes back to this. Build a life that you don’t have to retire from. Do not store up money believing that it will provide for you, that it is your provider, that it is your security. Don’t store money for that. Be responsible. Be a good steward. Live on less than you make.

Nate Scott [17:19]:

All of these things are biblical principles. But the idea, what I’m trying to say is don’t fall into this advice or this idea that you can turn wrong motives into righteousness by just adding a flavor of religiosity to it. That’s my biggest warning to you. Don’t think that, oh, yeah, “live like no one else today so one day you can live like no one else”. Yeah, that might not be a teaching that Jesus would say, that might not be what he would promote. 

But if I use the word “give” in there, then I can live like no one else today so that I can live like no one else tomorrow and feel better about it just because I’m going to give some money when I get there. Once again, I’m saying don’t convince yourself to fall in love with money just because of adding some religiosity to it. So here’s my final advice before we close down.

Nate Scott [18:05]:

While I don’t believe that that method is correct, my biggest encouragement to you once again is “build a life that you don’t have to retire from”. If you can’t wait for retirement, it’s oftentimes just indicative that you need to go find something else to do right now. Make a change now and seek after the kingdom of God and his will for your life. Don’t just seek after whatever’s going to pay you the most money. Become who God wants you to be. Don’t seek after how to amass the most wealth. Oftentimes you’ll hear stories of this. It happens all the time where somebody will have lived their life.

Nate Scott [18:37]:

They would have sacrificed their family, and their passions for a good, awesome job with a paycheck. Storing up, storing up, storing up, storing up. Living like no one else today. So that one day I can live like no one else. He gets to age 55, he gets to age 60. He gets cancer and dies at age 62, 63. And never reaped the reward of this. Live like no one else today, so you can live like no.

Nate Scott [18:57]:

He sacrificed and destroyed his life for a lie. So be responsible with money, but do not make it a God in your life. Do not store it up thinking that it is your financial security. God is the only thing that is truly secure and stable to rest your life on. That’s my biggest. And if you don’t know the Lord, now’s a good time to know the Lord. If you don’t know the Lord, I don’t know what you’re going to find your security.

Nate Scott [19:22]:

And I guess you have to find it in money and in your own ability. It sounds horrible. I mean, I’ve tried to do that for the last eleven years. Deep down, I didn’t think I was doing it. It was subconscious. It was under the floorboards. I thought I was serving God. I never imagined that this was how it was going to end up in my own life.

Nate Scott [19:39]:

And here I am, stressed out, anxious, striving, unsecure lack of peace. And I’m saying, what the heck happened to you, Nate? Oh, you bought in. I bought into these beliefs that money is my God, money is my security. And that if I live like no one else today and store up a whole bunch of money, I’ll feel good later on. And I’m finding it to be a facade. Seek God’s will for your life. Nothing else. I wish I had more for you.

Nate Scott [20:05]:

I’m going to revisit this whenever I have awesome advice. But what I’m saying is, hey, do not try to convince, rationalize your love of money by adding some religiosity to it. That’s my strongest suggestion to you. Do God’s will for your life. The last little piece of practical advice before we close down is just what I brought up in that previous episode on the love of money. 

Which is mainly I find that if you stop storing up money and living your life to see how big you can get your numbers to look, and see how big you can get your income to look and your net worth to look. And instead you start to create relationships with people where maybe you invest money together and you do things as a group, you can start becoming less and less you-focused and more like, how can I help people in a win win situation with money where I do have some money, God has blessed me, and now how can I use that money to build up maybe a business or an investment with people I want to be in the trenches with that.

Nate Scott [21:08]:

Maybe they can win. And of course, it would be a financial win for me, too. But I’m not seeking the storage and security of money. I’m seeking impact. That’s the one thing that I’m working on right now, is seeking impact and doing business with people I know, I like, I trust, and I want to help. And it’s been fun. But I’m still rooting out the love of money in my own life. Don’t fall into its trap. That’s my exhortation to you. 

Nate Scott [21:29]:

So thanks so much for being here for my sermon today on Dollars and Nonsense. And always remember, if you follow the herd, you will be slaughtered. If you want more information, by the way, on infinite banking, what we specialize in here at Living Wealth, we do have a free course available livingwealth.com/escapethebank, I believe it’s one of the best courses you can find on infinite banking. So go to livingwealth.com/escapethebank for free access to our infinite banking course.