I Lied to Dave Ramsey and Now It’s Time to Confess

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Okay, with a title like that you might have surmised this is a heavy post and you are exactly correct. This is not a post I planned or even want to write. It’s probably the hardest post I’ve written yet. However, I’ve been convicted of something and the only way for me to lie my head on my pillow night and sleep is to come clean. I’ve come clean to Mr. Ramsey and now I must with Y’all.

Blogging and Getting Naked

In addition to sharing my finances here, I bear my heart and soul. I share my past journey in overcoming addiction and then digging my way out of debt. It’s somehow easier to share the things I’ve come through after the fact because, well, I’ve already come through them. I’m the stronger for it and I’ve had time to reflect and understand.

Today I’m revealing something I lied about but the conviction is recent. I’ve really only had one week to process it and so I’m getting naked with you in midst of the problem, my imperfection, and the solution. This seems to be a bit harder than sharing how I’ve overcome my past hardships.

Alas and alack, I have a desire to have a clean heart before God and that means I must accept conviction and do something about it.

When I signed up to blog, I wanted accountability in my financial life but I’m getting so much more than that. Additionally, I live a life of recovery and I’m a Christian. For me both of these things mean:

  • I take a daily inventory of myself & my actions
  • Identify where I was wrong
  • I look at what’s in my heart – good or bad
  • Pray
  • Confess
  • Make amends
  • Turn away from the things making me stumble

If something is heavy on my heart and it’s appropriate to share, I do. I don’t want to only share the good stuff because who the heck only has good stuff?? You can go on Facebook to see the highlight reels of people’s lives.  I want this blog to be real.  And after all, it is a redemptive study in achieving financial independence. The word redemption implies being saved from error, sin or evil and yep that’s me!

Here’s a little secret, I haven’t arrived at anything. I’m still a work in progress.  So here goes…

The Dave Ramsey Method

Many of you may be familiar with Dave Ramsey and his baby steps. Many of you may not be so let me share what his baby steps are which he prescribes to be done in this order:

  1. Save $1,000 to start an emergency fund
  2. Pay off all debt using the debt snowball method
  3. Save 3 to 6 months of expenses for emergencies
  4. Invest 15% of your household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement accounts
  5. Save for your children’s college fund
  6. Pay off your home early
  7. Build wealth and give

Dave Ramsey was really the first person who told me (through the airways) that I didn’t just have to keep my debt around for 30 years. He told me I could get intense and knock this stuff out of my life for good. At the time I heard it, I was 6 figures in debt and it felt like it was an albatross around my neck. His advice was revolutionary to me and exactly what I needed to hear. I actually started to believe I could find financial freedom.

What I Followed and Where I Strayed

I followed steps 1 and 2 exactly. Additionally, I was on a zero-based budget and used cash for everything. Dave talks about how it’s more painful to pay for things with cash. I followed this part as dogmatically as Dave prescribes. It worked for me and taught me some serious discipline with my money. I gained freedom.

Credit Cards

If you’ve heard or read my story before you know my house was foreclosed upon in the midst of me paying down my debt. I had to pause my snowball and hire an attorney. He advised me that my credit was going to take a big hit and that when it was said and done, I’d need to focus on building it back up. I had an older car (still do – $195k miles and going strong!) at the time and he advised me to buy a new car with a loan before the house foreclosed. I didn’t do that but I did keep two credit cards open to use in building my credit back up.

Everyone who knows Dave knows he is vehemently opposed to credit cards. I get it as he tends to help people who are horrible with credit cards.

Retirement Investing

Dave also advises that when one is in the debt pay off phase they cease from contributing to any retirement accounts temporarily. The reasoning is to be laser focused on your goal. I also get this but I didn’t follow it.

In the process of me paying off my debt, my boss opened up Vanguard Simple IRAs for our team and contributed 2% to everyone’s accounts. I mistakenly thought it was a match and decided I did not want to lose out on free money so I opted in. Recently I learned that he just gives us 2% regardless of whether we contribute or not. Either way, I started contributing to my retirement prior to getting out of debt.

Emergency Fund

As you can see by the baby steps above you only start with a $1,000 emergency fund. When my house foreclosed, I knew two things: 1.) my car was old and I’d never get approved for a loan and 2.) I might have to pay taxes on the waived deficiency.  I again paused my debt snowball and started saving a ton of cash to cover both of these events. Once I confirmed with my tax accountant that I did not have to pay the taxes on the waived deficiency I still kept that money parked in my savings account. So I technically did step 3 before 2.

The Lie I Told Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey has a radio show and podcast. I listened to it every day for motivation during my debt pay off journey. He allows people who’ve paid off their debt to do a debt-free scream (either live in the studio or by calling in). Either way, you must apply and be approved. Additionally, there is approximately a 6-month wait. I wanted to meet Dave and thank him so I applied to do a debt-free scream about 3 months prior to getting out of debt.

It’s a fairly lengthy application process and there was one question which held me up:

“Did you use a credit card while paying off debt, or do you still have one?”

I was fairly certain if I said yes, I’d be disqualified from doing a debt-free scream. As I mentioned above I kept two credit cards open for building my credit back up. While I was paying off my debt I rarely used them and when I did I paid my balance off in full. Because of that, I justified answering no to that question. I lied.

Several months after applying I got the call about doing my debt-free scream. I experienced some inner turmoil as to whether or not I should go. Ultimately, I decided to go and on June 4th, 2018 I stood in Dave Ramsey’s studio and was able to share my testimony live with millions of listeners.

Reconciliation

I haven’t really thought about that lie on my application until this past week when my first blog post from ChooseFI re-surfaced.  I re-read my first post and all the lovely comments. At the time that article first went live, I believed I was probably disqualified from doing a debt-free scream. However, when I got the call that I was accepted, I got swept up and overlooked my lie.

It’s been heavy on my heart and I’ve been sleepless several nights. Finally, I came to the place of admission. I lied plain and simple and the only way to right it is to confess and apologize. While I regret nothing about the process I outlined above, I do regret that I lied on my application. It was not up to me to decide if that would disqualify me or not. It was my job, to be honest.

So I got down on my knees and repented. I slept that night.

The next day I wrote a letter to Dave Ramsey & his team with my confession and amends. If you so desire you can read that letter here.

Now, I felt I needed to confess this to the readers of Ms. Fiology. I don’t want anything built on a lie so I apologize to you too.

The Why

I’m a fan of getting to the root of things and so I’ve been reflecting and praying this past week on why I did this. I know I crave fatherly approval and affirmation. This is something I got very little of growing up. However, I’ve identified this in my past and my father & I have even reconciled our relationship so why am I still going to any lengths to get it?? That is a great question and one that I’ll have to continue to examine prayerfully.

I believe when there is a lack of something in our formative years, it creates a yearning. Additionally, a father’s blessing is something we all need and want. Think of the story of Jacob and Esau in the bible. Esau was the first born son and entitled to his father’s blessing. Jacob went to great lengths to steal that blessing from his brother and was able to trick their father and achieve it. Apparently, a father’s blessing is a big deal.

I’m disappointed in my lie. Although, I welcome some more chiseling in my life which continues to make me into a better woman.

Closing Thoughts

Photo by lucas clarysse on Unsplash

This life is short and I want to live the best life possible. I take full responsibility for my actions and try to clean up my side of the street.

Just to reiterate, the path I took to get out of debt is exactly what worked for me. Mr. Ramsey helped me to overcome some limiting beliefs and I followed a lot of his advice. However, I ignored other things he advocates. I don’t regret that. If I could do it all over again, I do it exactly the same except for one little thing. I’d tell the truth on my application and let the Ramsey team decide if I was qualified to share my story on his show or not.

Finally, I’ve decided the best litmus test for choosing the morally right thing to do is whether or not I can lie my head on my pillow at night and sleep.

Okay, so I’m open to any thoughts, questions and/or comments you may have.

 

 

36 thoughts on “I Lied to Dave Ramsey and Now It’s Time to Confess”

  1. Deanna, I appreciate your integrity and your desire to come clean. I felt like I was reading James 4:17 the whole time.

    That said, don’t beat yourself up about it! You’ve done everything right and I am sure Dave Ramsey responded graciously to your letter.

    P.s. I, too, keep a credit card and pay everything on them just to get the points. They are paid off in full each month, and I think they can be used as a tool in the right hands.

    Keep your head up, and thank you for being an example of God’s faithfulness.

    TPP

    1. Thank you so much TPP. This was a hard one to confess. Your comment means a lot.

      Dave’s on vacation so I haven’t received a reply yet but we’ll see.

      I agree that credit cards can used as a tool when used appropriately. I have also started to reap the rewards of points. Ironically I have Dave to thank for learning that discipline.

      Peace to you & happy New Years.

    2. Thanks for being honest. You’re doing great and frankly I’ve never used or followed Dave Ramsey so I can’t comment on that. Failing forward is painful but a part of life. Keep going. Our Father is rich in mercy.

  2. Deanna,
    Thanks for sharing this post. It’s a great model for those of us attempting to live a life based on Biblical principles. Most people would have just left this in the dark. You chose a different path. That took courage.

    I’m guessing this had an impact on Dave Ramsey and his team. How many people do you think would have confessed something like this to him? Not many.

    We are a forgiven people. The hardest thing sometimes is to forgive ourselves.
    I hope this frees you from any lingering guilt you might have.

    Thanks for setting a great example.

    1. Thank you so much, Fred. I am very tearful this morning. Additionally, I feel free with this confession.

      Yeah, I hear you on forgiveness. For some reason I forgive myself last but today I’m doing it.

      I guess the best thing I can do is let God use me as an example.

      Peace & happy New Years to you 😊

  3. Deanna,
    I think you are truly reflective, brave and honorable for confessing to something that weighed heavy on your heart. It doesn’t matter how big or small the issue, when your mind and spirit are worried it can start to chip away at your quality of life. With that said, I agree with Physician Philosopher…”don’t beat yourself up!” We all make mistakes or do things we know we shouldn’t. You must be very proud of all the positive changes in your life. I think all humans are a work in progress. I know I am. Every day, week, month and year I continue to reevaluate my thoughts, my actions and my convictions. It’s the journey! You are an inspiration! I love your unabashed honesty. Bless you my friend and keep these blog posts coming. Your words make a difference.

    1. Thank you so much, Heather. I agree it doesn’t really matter if it’s small or big because if it weighs heavy on the heart, it feels big.

      I will say that I feel a great sense of peace in making an apology to Dave and then here on the site. It’s amazing how honesty can eliminate the guilt.

      It sure is about the journey and thanks for pointing that out. Sometimes I still have that thought that I need to have all the answers but really I’m just figuring this stuff out as I go. Thanks for reminding me that we all are in that same boat.

      That last sentence, “your words make a difference” is profound and something I don’t take lightly. Thanks again.

  4. Wow, Deanna. I continue to be amazed at your story and your honesty. I watched the video of you on Dave Ramsey and I notice the mention of “uncovering the reasons why”. You describe it here as a need for Fatherly approval, but going on the show, which has a national audience probably has more to it than that. There may be a lesson for you that could help you move forward if you can try to unpack that.

    Your courage to be this open and even let people like me comment is bold. The reality is that few people ever tell their truths. You are rare and I think this is really helping you to move forward. I hope so. Happy New Year to you.

    1. Susan, I feel so “naked” but how am I ever going to get better if I don’t expose my weaknesses? And that includes being open to feedback.

      You make an excellent point in that there might be something more there in my why as yep, my appearance was seen by millions. I thank you for challenging me on that point.

      Happy New Years to you and yours!!

  5. None of us are perfect, regardless of what we might wish for ourselves. We all do the best we can, and strive to do better when we fall down. Good for you for not only telling Dave, but also helping show your audience that it’s OK to make mistakes and learn from them.

  6. Deanna – Your bravery, honesty, and humility have made such an impression over these past few months. I am so proud and honored to consider you a friend. Never discount the value you are providing to the world. Your courage and transparency serve as a true inspiration to others, myself included. Many blessings for the year to come.

  7. My story has a lot of overlaps, but a lot of differences. In any event, you have gotten to the crux of the matter.

    First, it’s not about credit cards, or not. I tell people to abstain from alcohol, but I know the Bible doesn’t forbid drinking it. Dave Ramsey says not to have CCs, but that doesn’t mean it’s a sin, as you’ve discovered with the points. Mine are cashback rewards. I actually get paid to use the thing, because I pay it off in full each month! It also gives certain legal protections that cash doesn’t.

    Second, it’s not even about the lie, though that is definitely wrong and you’ve confessed and repented.

    Third, what’s it’s really all about it WHY you lied. You’ve discovered that. I’ve been a disciple of Jesus for 40 years and it wasn’t until the last 4 years I finally got past the voice in my head that sounded just like my mother. I had forgiven her, she had repented (in that order), we had reconciled and she was even dead, but when I got to a certain place, or something less than perfect would happen, that voice would start the criticism. “You’re not good enough. Why do you always do that? It looks good, but . . .”

    I finally realized I already had what I wanted and that was God’s approval. I even had my mom’s approval. I stopped listening to “the voice” and was free. Ephesians 2:1-10. I had it all backwards. I thought I’m alive and I’ll die. I have to do good works, or I’m not good enough. Never mind grace. That just allowed me to do the good works. That last part is true, but with a caveat. Eph 2 says I was dead, but I’ll live. It says God did the good work – save me and give me life in Christ – so I could do good works He wants done – not what I think I need to do. And I don’t do them out of fear or dread, but because He has already made me alive! Not that I HAVE to do good works, but I WANT to do good things. Not to appease Him, but to please Him. I love Him so much for what He did for me, I just want to do special things for Him. If He wants His slippers, or a lemonade, I’m more than eager to oblige! (Layering the illustration and the principle together, there) He already had the good works prepared ahead of time for me to do and I’m more than glad to.

    In the end, it doesn’t even really matter why you lied, other than you misunderstood how God’s grace applied in that situation. Don’t worry about the worldly influence that led to it; reach for the spiritual influence that leads away from it.

    And keep up the good work! (The ones God prepared for you to do.) Keep telling others about God’s grace, His forgiveness, freedom, spiritual, addiction, emotional, financial deliverance and being alive in Jesus!

    1. Clay, I’ve thought a lot about your comment in the last few days. Wow! Thank you for a) taking the time to read my article and b) reflect and finally c) reply with such a thought-filled and inspiring comment.

      “Not that I HAVE to do good works, but I WANT to do good things. Not to appease Him, but to please Him.” Yessss! I remember after getting sober and returning to the Lord, I had this epiphany that when I was young and taught the Bible, I thought, “oh man, God doesn’t want me to have any fun, he seems to forbid everything.” However, many years later having suffered many consequences of my actions, I realized he was just trying to protect me. Likewise, as you say, I don’t HAVE to do good works but now I GET to do good works.

      Thank you for also reminding me to not worry about the worldly influence that led to it, but rather focus on the spiritual influence away from it. Peace to you, brother!

  8. Hi Deanna,
    I loved the post and your honesty. I (sort of) follow the baby steps as well. My wife is slower to jump on board so I have to modify until she sees what we’re doing is working, then joins in. Dave stands on a bit of an elevated platform, but he knows what grace is. How you do your finances is up to you and you still accomplished an amazing task!

  9. Happy New Year Deanna, you are such a beautiful person! I had the honor of meeting you at Camp FI Mid-Atlantic in 2018 when your blog was born and it’s been so great seeing you grow.

    Your integrity and willingness to publically share your mistake here is so admirable. I have a heightened degree of respect for you for doing that. I’m pretty sure the Dave Ramsey Show will too!

    This is what makes your story and your blog so great and sets it apart from many others that paint a picture of perfect rainbows. It reminded me of one of my favorite quotes: “Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship”. So keep going and growing. You’re amazing!

    1. Happy New Year, Jackie! It’s crazy to think this blog was only born like 9 months ago. It feels like such a part of me and my life now. It was great to meet you and spend some time together. I’m hopeful we’ll get more opportunities in the future. I’d love to glean some more wisdom from you.:-)

      Thank you for your comment. This was a hard one to confess, make amends on, and write here. I was so apprehensive to release and promote it but I needed to do it and felt a growing sense of peace with each step. The feedback I’ve received has been amazing.

      “Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship” Wow, I love that!

  10. I really appreciate your willingness to go the extra mile on this one. It’s too simple and convenient to justify our actions but you called yourself out and did so publicly. Honor and integrity will never go out of style with God.
    Thank you for setting a great example!

    1. It’s too simple and convenient…until it’s not. My conscience would not let me just ignore this, thank God!

      I so appreciate your support and comment, Tim. Happy New Years.

  11. You’re an amazing woman, Deanna – I heard you with Jonathan and Brad a couple of weeks ago and was so impressed by you. Now, reading this, I am blown away by your humility, your heart and your faith. So inspiring!

    Happy New Year and here’s to an AMAZING 2019!

    1. Hi Tracey! Aren’t those guys great interviewers?! It was a true joy to be on their show.

      Thank you very much. This was a hard one to write but I’m so glad I did it. Amen on an AMAZING 2019!! Cheers!

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  13. Deanna, I had never given it a second thought about your credit card usage now. I appreciate your confession — now you can place this matter behind you. I have followed this philosophy for a number of years, paying off the credit card billing statements in full each month, even when the balance is sometimes as high as $4,000.00 or $5,000.00.. We appreciate the rewards — most recently $436.00 credit on my Visa statement. Mom & I have a special conviction about not ever being in debt.
    Love & Yours in the Lord,
    Dad

    1. Amen. I’m putting it behind me.

      Yes, both you and Mom taught me well; however, I did not always listen until recently.

      I now have that similar conviction on debt.

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  15. Just discovered your site and have been enjoying reading through some of your content. As Christians it can be easy to take the easy way out and rationalize when we do something we know we shouldn’t have. I know I’ve done that, more than once. It speaks volumes to your integrity how you handled it, however, and I commend you for that.

    I’ve written quite a bit of content about Dave Ramsey and his programs, and one time I wrote about how he had paid cash for his new (at the time) home in Tennessee. I wrote the post and then forgot about it..

    Then one day I got a phone call, the caller ID said “DAVE RAMSEY”. I thought, yeah right, couldn’t be. When I answered, it was him. He was just calling me to thank me for my even-handed treatment of him on my site, and proceeded to talk with me for 20 minutes or so about my site and life in general. He was very down to earth.

    I honestly think he gets it from all sides just about every day, and the fact that you took the time out of your day to apologize and come clean will definitely mean something.

    Enjoying your site!

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