The Wall Street Journal has an article about how Americans are finally saving their money instead of spending their speculative investment returns before they've hatched. Apparently 2008 is the first time that average Americans have ever saved more money than they spend on credit since the Federal Reserve began tracking the data in 1952.
On a related note, my company has recently begun offering free (employer-sponsored) courses by Dave Ramsey on how to save money.
Dave Ramsey certainly offers a popular and much-needed service of educating our pathetic country on how to use money.
However to charge people for money management education is equally pathetic, and borderline predatory. With one face Ramsey tells his audience to cut expenses and be frugal and in the same breath and with snake-oil-salesman charm shouts, "Buy my DVD, for only $59.95! Join my online Money University(tm) for only $99.95!" I've actually been to a Dave Ramsey "Total Money Makeover LIVE event" that was held at the Freeman Coliseum here in San Antonio, so I'm speaking from personal experience (the ticket was a gift).
Obviously he is presenting his products as investments -- that his customers will see a return on their investments in his talks, course material, and literature. Sort of like installing solar panels on your house -- there's an initial cost up front, but eventually you recoup your investment in electricity savings.
Unfortunately, this is really not the case with Ramsey. You aren't actually getting anything tangible at all. You aren't improving your house or anything. You're not buying a savings bond. You're not buying groceries with that money. All you're getting sold is common sense that you should have had in the first place in a glossy packaging of typical American marketing.
I suggest that Ramsey actually targets people with poor valuation skills to whom to peddle his wares. In other words, the people he is supposedly "helping" are the very people who wouldn't be able to discern the true value of his product relative to its cost.
As seen on TV.
[ via Boing Boing ]