Dave Ramsey, 55, was born in Antioch, a southeastern neighborhood in Nashville.
When he was younger, his parents owned a real estate company. He said that taught him how to work hard. Often times, his parents would make he and his sister listen to motivational tapes by people like Zig Ziglar and Earl Nightingale.
“Looking back, I see that a seed was planted,” he said in an email interview with Neat Nashville. “I grew to believe that when you have a dream, you have to do something to make it happen.”
Dave is now an author, radio host, entrepreneur, television personality, and motivational speaker. His company, Ramsey Solutions is headquartered in Brentwood, Tenn.
BUILDING a FOUNDATION
At 26, after graduating from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Dave started his own brokerage firm called Ramsey Investments, Inc.
“I was buying and selling real estate – essentially flipping houses before that became the subject of reality shows,” he said. “It was great, and we had a blast. But I did a lot of stupid things, the biggest of which was borrowing too much money and that would come back to bite me.”
Dave said after he went broke he began to study God’s and his grandmother’s ways of handling money and compared that to what he learned in school. He applied new ideas like a budget and an emergency fund to getting out of debt and staying out of debt.
Dave started his business because church members saw the need for his teaching in money management.
“My practices haven’t changed,” he said since the company was founded in 1992. “The Ramseys still have a budget and we always will. I do, however, have a future focus.”
He said his vision is now on the big picture, building a legacy and recognizing the needs in the community and around the world.
RADIO and MORE
In the early 1990s, Dave had been on a local radio show as a guest. When the host quit, he and couple friends took the time slot for free.
“We never thought anyone was actually listening.”
He said they sat around about talked about money when the phones started ringing. Many years later, Dave calls radio an incredible medium of which he has had the privilege to be a part of.
“Being on the air is always fun. Getting and keeping stations and listeners has been a dogfight every day for 24 years, but I have an amazing team that has scratched and clawed our way to winning,” he said. “We’ve grown and grown up together.”
Today, Dave’s company owns more than 575 radio stations with 12 million weekly listeners.
Like many others, he said success is a journey, not a destination.
“What I’ve discovered is that the gleaming mountain of success is not really a gleaming mountain. It’s more like a pile of garbage that you stand on instead of letting it bury you.”
When Dave was a business major, he had a lot of goals he wanted to achieve before he turned thirty. He said he thought the trajectory to success was a straight line.
“What I found was that the line is anything but straight – it’s all over the map. It’s filled with stops and starts, small steps forward and big steps back,” he said. “The lesson I learned is that even the most successful people in their particular fields have made a lot of mistakes.”
Dave said his books Financial Peace and The Total Money Makeover are about waking up and taking control of your money. He said The Legacy Journey, both the book and the class, are about growing up and maturing in one’s own view of wealth.
NASHVILLE, COMMUNITY, and INSPIRATION
For Dave, Nashville is home.
“It’s where I grew up, and where we raised our kids,” he said. “I wouldn’t live anywhere else.”
Dave called his hometown a thriving, growing place with world-class universities, health care facilities, restaurants, and entertainment. He said he’s proud to have Nashville as his stage as people from all over the world come to attend Ramsey Solutions’ events and watch the radio show in their lobby.
“The one thing you can always count on is change, and the landscape of Nashville is certainly changing,” he said. “A lot of people are moving here, and a lot of jobs are being created. Of course, along with growth comes challenges big and small, but it’s great to see Nashville getting so much national recognition.”
Dave said community isn’t about location anymore.
“A community is a group of people who are somehow connected – family, friends, a neighborhood, or people who share something in common.”
He said whatever the group, he believes people have a responsibility to do their part to move the community in a positive direction and take care of the people around them.
“We’ve learned from people who’ve been through Financial Peace University how important it is to have a group of supporters and accountability partners when you are taking on a financial challenge. We all need cheerleaders and people in our corner so, in that sense, community plays a crucial role.”
Dave said he’s prayerfully moving with a transition plan. Shifting the focus from the Dave Ramsey brand to the Ramsey Solutions brand, the company has hired communicators to take the message of hope and help to people who need it.
“It’s full speed ahead with the radio show, the video channel, publishing, and media. All three of my children are now in the business, and we’re in the planning stages of a new corporate campus in Williamson County. These are good times,” he said.
When Neat Nashville asked Dave what inspires him, he responded with one word: people.
“I’m inspired by the people who call our show and come to our events; the people who drive hundreds of miles to stand in our lobby and yell, ‘We’re debt free!’ on the radio show; and the people who have the courage to sacrifice in the short term to get out of debt and change their family tree. Their stories are amazing and inspire me every day.”
For more information on Ramsey Solutions, including upcoming events and programs click here.
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