HomeblogRich people are going to hell.

Rich people are going to hell.

I was reading a news article this morning about Dave Ramsey’s Tennessee home, and by home I mean 13,000 square foot mansion. According to the article, Dave’s house is estimated to have a market value of approximately $10,000,000. I read about the 4,600sq/ft basement, the 18 shower heads in the master bath, and his $1,400/month utility bill (his utility bill is more than my rent/insurance/utilities combined!!!). But the most fascinating part of the article wasn’t actually in the article, it was in the “comments” section.

It seemed that about half of the readers supported Dave and his desire to own a freakin’ huge house. The other half, however, were a little less enthusiastic…

That’s just over the top and is a big disappointment. I can’t believe he could not come up with something better to do with his money. I bet there are rooms in that house that he nor his family will ever see. Such a waste. And 18 shower heads, that is ridiculous. What other environmental wastes are there. He deserves luxury he has built an empire but this is over the top for anyone.

In fact some even hinted towards Dave spending eternity in hell…

How many toilets do you need? Who was that said it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man enter heaven. I’m not judging, but I do have an opinion

I’ve been known to criticize some of Dave’s teachings every now and again, but in this instance I actually have his back. Dave’s money is Dave’s money. Who am I to tell him how to spend it? You probably don’t want me telling you how much house you should buy, or how much money you need to donate to charity, so why do you think it’s okay to tell Dave what he should do with his cash?

How can people point a finger at Dave and say “You’re materialistic” then continue surfing the internet on their iPhones? It just doesn’t make sense to me. If wealth is truly as evil as some make it out to be, then I have bad news. WE ARE ALL EVIL.

Let’s be real. We live in America. A land where even the homeless have shelter, food, and Facebook accounts (anyone that’s been to a public library knows what I’m talking about). Even the poorest people in America enjoy many frivolities those in third world countries will never experience. So are we all going to hell? Me thinks not.

We each have to give according to our personal and spiritual convictions, not based off what someone else tells you to give. If Dave wants 32 shower heads, more power to him. If he wants to donate $32,000,000 he can do that do. I’ll let Dave worry about what he’s gonna do with his money, and I’ll worry about what I’m going to do with mine.

Do you think Dave Ramsey is a hypocrite? Does he have an obligation to donate more because he makes more?



  1. I’m actually with you on this one. That’s a nice house. He earned it through entrepreneurship. I disagree with him on many points too, but that house isn’t one of them.

    I hope he paid cash for it though 🙂

  2. I feel this is similar to politicians’ personal lives: when you put yourself out there as a public figure, you’re held to a higher standard, whether that be financially or in your day-to-day actions. That being said, the article said no mortgage was taken out on the home, which indicates that Ramsey paid in full for it. I’m sure the same could be said about his electric bill. Additionally, the article makes no reference to his charitable contributions; it could be that Ramsey is making so much money that this is really a drop in the bucket.

    My concern, and some of the earlier comments point this out, is the sustainability of the home, both environmentally and financially. What if Ramsey stops being America’s financial guru? Does he have enough in the bank to continue living in the home (I would assume so, but you know what assuming does)? I also think there are ethical implications for having a home that large; I hope he plans to install windmills and solar panels to offset the amount of energy his home consumes.

  3. Thanks Ninja; you reminded me again how evil judging is. I don’t want people judging me, so I’m damn well not going to judge him.

    • Jess

      You seem very upset by the idea of people judging you. In my view judging is as human as breathing and thinking. You do it. I do it. Everyone does it.

      For example….

      How to do you feel when you think others are judging you?
      It appears to me that it makes you upset to at least some degree.

      What are you doing when you decide that people are somehow judging you and as a result you get upset?
      You’re judging those other people.

      Nothing wrong with that. It’s entirely normal and I don’t see how those thoughts are evil at all. Now if you took action on those judgmental thoughts in an inappropriate way, such as stoning the person you think is judging you, then that would be wrong. But there is a big, big difference in making a judgment and taking an evil or inappropriate action on that judgment.

      Judgments are just thoughts. I read somewhere that scientists believe the human brain produces approximately 70,000 thoughts on an average day. I’m very, very glad that I’m not held responsible for even a fraction of the thoughts I have each day.

  4. I think these people are a little to envious of Mr. Ramsey and are calling him a hypocrite to make themselves feel better.

    Pretty typical of the class-warfare we are seeing across the country right now.

  5. Dave Ramsey has a little story in his TMM book (well, it’s ALL little stories) about a guy who called about buying a $20k motorcycle. At first, he didn’t know the details of the caller’s finances so he pretty much lambasted the snot out of the caller. Then the caller explained he was debt free and blah blah blah. Dave told him well heck yeah go buy that $20k motorcycle! He then went on to explain how others might view the caller not knowing the caller’s previous struggle to get out of debt. Which reinforced his motto, “Live like no one else now so you can live like no else later.” I’d say Dave Ramsey is living like no one else. More power to him. He practiced what he preaches and voila – living large on his own dime.

    As for the sustainability, I wouldn’t bet his house doesn’t have alternative energy sources, superior insulation and was built on a conservation platform (foam insulation and the like). As much as he advocates giving back, he would have spent his top dollar making sure his house footprint got the lowest bills for his money, know what I mean?

  6. By the way, I just did the math on his average monthly electric bill, he’s paying $0.0966 per square foot…yep, I’d say he’s got some serious green living going on in that mansion on the hill.

  7. Heck no, he can live how he wants. Just because somebody is extremely gifted with financial management doesn’t mean they don’t spend any money!

  8. Could he live more frugally? Yes. Should he? That’s up to him (or probably his wife if he’s a good husband like Ninja)

  9. It’s his money, he can spend it how he wants. But yeah, his utility bill is larger than my rent, electricity, insurance, cell phone and parking bills combined. That does seem like a bit of a waste, but it’s not my money.

  10. As long as he isn’t going head over heels into debt for it, I say more power to him. He’d only be a hypocrite if he didn’t know where his next cent was coming from and still went ahead to buy that house. Dave Ramsey is preaching the fundamental rule of personal finance: Live within your means. If a $10MM mansion is within his means, then GREAT for him.

  11. I think you summed it up nicely in the last sentence of your post:

    “I’ll let Dave worry about what he’s gonna do with his money, and I’ll worry about what I’m going to do with mine.”

    Yeah, people will flame him but I’d bet it’s jealousy talking. He made his millions by himself, he can spend them by himself. We’re all entitled to our own opinion and I tend to agree with Thousandaire Kevin: Yes, he could live more frugally.

  12. I have read a couple of Ramsey’s books and I don’t remember anything about being green, etc. So I don’t think he’s being a hypocrite so long as he is living within his means and practicing what he preaches. Hmm. I wonder how much of an E-fund you have to have to maintain that kind of lifestyle!

  13. In general, yes, I agree with you. People can spend their money how they want, that is how the world works. If he preaches religion (I’m not sure that he does) it seems extra disconcerting to live lavishly – I’m not sure why that makes a difference in my mind, but it does.

    I’m not a Ramsey fan, nor am i familiar with his work beyond what I read about in blogs.

    I don’t care if it is “green” for the size, it is an unsustainable home and a little bit disgusting. But there are a lot of rich people out there (and non-rich people for that matter) who do things that i wouldn’t approve of, if my approval was asked for. I don’t think Dave cares what I think much more than I care what he does. The world would be better if he donated more money, but the same could be said for a lot of people. Myself included.

  14. I agree with you–it’s his money and he can do what he wants with it. He’s done a hell of a job building up his empire, so I think it was only a matter of time before he began enjoying the fruits of his labor. Now the question really is, how can I have a house like that, too?! 😛

  15. Dave Ramsey doesn’t teach or say anything that hasn’t been taught and said by dozens of others. What has made him so incredibly rich is the brilliance of his marketing plan. He uses his Christianity as a marketing method. He got rich by slanting his message as a financial ministry aimed at a target market that he knew would eat that approach up.

    Does he have the right to spend his money on this grotesque exercise in extravagance and conspicuous consumption? Of course he does.

    Do I find it more than a little distasteful in light of his brilliantly executed campaign of using his religious faith to lend himself an aura of credibility and verisimilitude in a field crowded with far more qualified people? Yes I do.

    Are my feelings the result of some kind of jealousy? I really don’t think so. I didn’t have that reaction when I read descriptions of Bill Gates or Aaron Spellings houses. I really think (for me) it has more to do with Ramsey’s history than the house itself.

  16. I wrote a post about Dave’s house a while back on my site, asking a similar question about whether or not his house was too lavish.. In the end I don’t think it is because it doesn’t go against what he preaches – he paid cash for the house – and he teaches constantly in his classes about the importance of giving and helping others..

    The post on my site was pretty popular and had well over 100 comments -and ended up getting noticed by Ramsey himself. He came to my site and actually commented on the house, and about how it was paid for in cash, and about how the house isn’t just used for their own purposes. They use the house through their charitable foundation many times a year to host fundraisers for charity. They’ve already raised millions of dollars through the fundraisers held there. What also isn’t mentioned is that this house is also used for his business on a regular recurring basis. He often hosts his leadership seminars and other groups there at the house. I actually talked to the CEO of one bank over email who had been to a leadership summit at Dave’s house, and he told me it is a regular occurrence.

    So I think people don’t really have a true notion of how the house is used, and why it isn’t a complete waste like so many are saying. It is used not only as his home, but for a variety of business and charitable purposes. A lot of those things wouldn’t be as effectively done in a smaller home. Add to that the fact that Dave isn’t exactly stingy with his money, but gives millions to charity, it isn’t exactly like he isn’t doing any good.

    In any event, Dave’s response on my post is interesting to say the least and worth checking out.. I won’t link it here, but it is in the popular posts section on the homepage.

  17. “Let’s be real. We live in America. A land where even the homeless have shelter, food, and Facebook accounts…”
    Oh, yes. Having a place to stay during the day makes not having a place to sleep at night SO much better! I’m not sure how it feeds me, though.

    • I think you are confused. My reference to public libraries was talking about Facebook accounts, not food and shelter. But to say there there aren’t food pantries, missions, and shelters for homeless people is wrong. There are significantly more social programs available to struggling Americans that those in third world countries will never get. Perspective is what it’s about, perspective.

  18. It’s absolutely his right to do with his money what he chooses. That’s between him and God. Those that want to judge should be careful. Dave had a great response to all the haters that showed exactly who he is and what he’s all about. You can find it here:

    • Jason

      Why would you label people that have a different opinion than yours (and Mr. Ramsey’s) haters?

      Haven’t you ever been in a position where well intentioned people make lucid and reasonable arguments contradicting your opinion?

      I have differences of opinion all the time. Many times they revolve around deeply held beliefs. I don’t jump to the assumption that someone is acting out of hate just because they come to a different conclusion than me.

      • Good comment. And I agree entirely with your previous comment above. I certainly don’t “hate” Dave Ramsey (though on the other hand I don’t respect him much either).

  19. Dave Ramsey, like his counterpart Suze Orman, has made millions for himself dishing out often questionable financial advice to those willing to listen. (For a good analysis of Ramsey’s frequent errors, I suggest looking up “Frank the Curmudgeon’s” set of posts, “Ten Things Dave Ramsey Got Wrong,” at

    Ramsey is of course free to do whatever he wants. That’s not the issue here, and I assure you that with my 14 showerheads I have no envy of his 32. But it’s Ninja himself who has explicitly brought up the theological argument that most here are avoiding — that is, whether “we each have to give according to our personal and spiritual convictions, [or] based off what someone else tells you to give.” And again: If wealth is truly as evil as some make it out to be . . . ”

    But as one of the quotations in blue above shows, the “some” in this case is not some hysterical Internet poster, or even the evil federal guvmint “punishing” and “persecuting” the rich, but Jesus Christ himself, who in the parable of the camel’s needle, makes very clear that “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:30). Or the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6), where he says: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth . . . Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Or the parable of poor Lazarus in heaven and the rich man in hell from Luke 16:19-31.

    Most Americans are Christians and profess a belief in Christian principles, but they also want material goods. But it seems to me that if you truly accept Christ’s teachings, you can’t have it both ways. And if you try to do so, you wind up rationalizing away the problem. (Case in point: the romanticized notion above that the poorest people in America “enjoy many frivolities.” Yeah, right; all those flophouses in New York are just hotbeds of technological frills, and so are the 5-mattress trailers where 10 Florida tomato pickers are forced to sleep after working the fields for less than minimum wage. (For a corrective, I suggest reading, or reading about, Barry Eastabrook’s “Tomatoland,” in which he exposes the near-slavery conditions of migrant farm workers in this country today:

    Whether Dave Ramsey or anyone else, rich or poor, is going to hell is beyond my knowledge. As a born-again atheist, I don’t believe in any of that stuff and only care about what you do in this lifetime. But if you’re going to raise the question and formulate it within a Christian context, at least be prepared for what your religion is going to answer.

    • Take a verse out of context and use that as the basis for your argument. I expected more from you Larry. Remember. Money is not the root of all evil, but the love of money. A big house doesn’t support a belief that Dave loves money, especially after reading his response that Peter posted in the comments below.

      • You accuse me of taking a verse out of context; then you respond by taking another verse out of context. In fact I have referred to two central parables from Christ’s teachings as well as his most important sermon. You will note also that I explicitly reject the Christian theology, but the fact is that you brought it up and thus it has to be dealt with.

        Did you take any time to learn about Eastabrook’s research, or do you continue to think poverty in this country is not a dire problem just because we’re not living in Somalia? I thought this statement was well put: “The greatest moral issue that faces us today, and one about which Jesus spoke the most [so much for my taking anything out of context – L.], is poverty. We have a moral and godly responsibility to care about this issue and especially the people caught in the seemingly inescapable web of poverty.”

      • It’s clear that “being like Jesus” does NOT include a building, owning, and living in a huge mansion. That is not taking Scriptures out of context. That is taking the New Testement as a whole, something Christians HATE doing. I consider Dave Ramsey a huge hypocrite, but I also consider a Christian with a 150K house a huge hypocrite. The old saying “I like your Christ, I don’t like your Christians.” comes to mind. Bill Gates and the like can have a huge house….. they don’t profess Christianity. Dave Ramsey uses religious overtones to suck people in (I know, I have to listen to him every day on the way to work) to buying his stuff. That house was built by him taking money from OTHER CHRISTIANS. Think about that…… He’s a salesman, plain and simple, not someone to be respected.

  20. I think the thing I find striking about all this is the size of his utility bill, not because he’s spending so much money, but because that seems like a REALLY high bill. Like, if he’s going to be living in such a giant house, maybe he could do a little bit to make it more energy efficient. I don’t really care how he spends his own money, but I do care if he’s wasting resources (to, say, air condition a massive house when he only really occupies 1/4 of it).

  21. I don’t believe anyone has an obligation to do anything with their personal money. However, someone so public and Christ-centered should be doing something. 10% tithing and good deeds go along way.

  22. I would tell someone else how to live nor would I want someone telling me how to live. If he is a hypocrite, don’t listen to him.

  23. I’m with you on this… I believe that everyone has that one thing (or two) that they splurge on without reason – it’s just their thing. That might not be the same for you or me, so why be the judge of what’s excessive and over the top?

  24. I say there’s nothing wrong with him spending the money he earned; my only concern is environmental stewardship. We’re guardians of the earth and we need to trustee our resources for future generations. USING resources is one thing; WASTING resources is another. That — and only that — is my concern about Dave’s home.

  25. I guess we have nothing better to do than to criticize other people. I found myself wanting to criticize those people judging but then I realized I myself would be in the same boat. Yes, we are entitled to our opinions but does it get us anywhere when we do that online? Am I critical of excessive spending when I know about pain and poverty? Yes, but what good does me venting on a blog do? (oh, shoot, that’s what I’m doing huh?) Overall, I think America is blind to its wealth and resources and takes it for granted. And I’m sure we all agree that we don’t decide whether someone goes to Heaven or Hell, that’s somebody else’s job, so let’s let Him handle it.

  26. He did talk about how he paid cash for his nice new house. I love it that he has a mansion! He helps a ton of people. What I like is even if people hate his beliefs (broke people with tons of debt but 6 million airline miles), he is at least making people aware of their personal finances.

  27. This isn’t like Al Gore, who railed and railed against greenhouse gases before the world discovered that he was a big, fat hypocrite.

    It’s hard not to judge. I’ll be the first to admit that. I’ll hear someone who is trying to get out of debt talking about their iPhone or I’ll hear a coworker who is struggling to pay her bills talking about her weekend of clothes shopping, and it’s hard for me not to think, “Uh… Maybe you shouldn’t be doing this…” I have to stop myself and realize that not everyone has the same priorities that I do. Some people make iPhones or clothes a priority. Who am I to judge them? Maybe, for Dave Ramsey, a mansion is a priority. Heck, I choose to buy clothes at Gap on the rare occasions that I shop instead of going to the local Goodwill. Am I going to hell? Where do we draw the line?

    If we want to talk about giving money to the poor or to third world countries, we’re all guilty. We could all give more than we do. We all live in a country where clean drinking water is taken for granted. Heck, I feel some amount of guilt for that every day (because where we’re born is so dang random – what did I do to deserve being born in the US and what did they do to deserve being born in Somalia? Answer: nothing.). But Dave Ramsey isn’t going to hell for having a big house. STFU, people.

  28. I love the line, “I’m not judging, but I do have an opinion.” I’m not sure how Biblical or even accurate it is, but it’s pure gold.

    Do I think a ten million dollar home is ridiculous? Yes, I do. It’s just disgustingly excessive and silly to have THAT. MUCH. HOUSE. when you can only enjoy a fraction of it on a regular basis! It’s Dave’s money and he can do whatever he wants to with it, but I don’t think it honors God to live so far above the average standard of living for one’s own country, let alone the rest of the world.

    Of course it’s real easy for me to say that, because I don’t have the income that Dave has – who knows how quickly I’d eat my words if I became a mulit-millionaire?

  29. I do think that Dave Ramsey is entitled to spend his money however he chooses, even if his choice a garishly large house.

    The real takeaway here is the reminder that one of the few things money can’t buy is good taste, as Mr. Ramsey has so aptly demonstrated.

  30. Not my money, not my problem. Dave can do what he wants with his money. At the end of the day, nothing is going to change. People will still look to him for advice, he will continue to make money, he’ll continue to live in his gigantic house, and I’ll continue renting and paying off my debt. If he’s debt free, I say why not. People spend so much time crucifying (do NOT make this about Jesus, just…don’t) someone for their lifestyle when they have their own issues to worry about. Like Dave said in his response on Bible Money Matters, it’s not our business.

  31. This whole not judging thing just doesn’t make any sense. You HAVE to judge people all the time just to live. You judge people to find out if they will be good friends. You judge people to see if they will be good mates. Ninja, are you saying that you NEVER made any kind of judgements about whether or not NinjaGirl would be a good wife? Of COURSE you did. Or did you just marry the first girl you came across? You have to make judgements about people if you are in any kind of hiring position. “Judge not, lest you be judged.” I NEED other people to judge me, maybe I’m wrong about something and I need to make changes. I’m not so arrogant that I think I know so much better than other people that no one should judge me. Geez, the Bible is filled with so much stupid advice.

  32. […] Dave Ramsey a hypocrite? Punch Debt in the Face explores this in the post Rich People Are Going To Hell… and make sure you read the […]

  33. My mortgage, taxes and insurance is still cheaper than his utility bill. This may lead me to try and become more like Dave Ramsey, though!

  34. When the Olympics were hosted in the USA, the USSR was planning to make a propaganda film about how capitalism leaves poor segments to fend for themselves and without many things that the Soviets do have. Their efforts failed, when in a poor section of LA, people still owned cars – a luxury item in USSR.

    Also remember, today’s luxury is tomorrow’s necessity. Just because cable TV or internet is a “luxury” doesn’t mean we won’t treat it as a minimal survival tool – some religious customs actually require charity to a poor person who was always poor be less than charity to a poor person who used to be rich.

    • Poor people have cars because we don’t have the support infrastructure that the rest of the first world does–limited or no public transportation, no health insurance, limited safety net if you are unable to obtain one of the increasingly scarce jobs.

  35. I’m going to approach this from a slightly different viewpoint. My brother helped build houses for a period of time (very expensive houses), and it was easy to look at some of them & think that they were completely ridiculous & over the top, and why would someone waste so much money, ect. But that person wanting that crazy big ornate house employed my brother & the rest of the construction crew for months. So sure, Dave could give that money to charity, but is it really that different to provide meaningful work for someone? There’s definitely a portion of the population that needs help/charity/something given to them so that they can survive, but there’s a large portion of the population that needs work too (9% unemployed).

    If no one built large houses, my brother would have been unemployed & possibly homeless. But that’s ok as long as Dave contributed to charity [sarcasm].

  36. Interesting post.

    However, you say that “I’ll let Dave worry about what he’s gonna do with his money, and I’ll worry about what I’m going to do with mine.” and that Dave doesn’t tell us what we should spend our money on.

    But he DOES! Dave tells me that I need to be putting at least 10% towards charity! 25% or less on housing!

    • Touche, but Dave’s 10% towards charity comes from a biblical principle he believes in. The 25% house rule is for a mortgage. And the reason Dave tells people that is because he hates debt and doesn’t want people getting in over there heads. I like where your thoughts are going with this though. He also tells people not to buy a new car unless they have a million dollar net worth. Thanks for the insight!

      • It’s commendable for Ramsey to contribute to charity to the degree he does. Yet we are just learning now that poverty in America is at its highest ever. “The U.S. poverty rate remains among the highest in the developed world. Among 34 countries tracked by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, only Chile, Israel and Mexico have higher rates of poverty.” ( And sorry, it won’t do to say that the poor in America have it better than those in Rwanda or the Congo. We like to think of ourselves as the greatest nation in the world, and this is the best we can do? Poverty in this country is a national disgrace, at the same time the super-rich are amassing more and more wealth and the unemployment percentage remains stubbornly high.

        But let’s not forget Dave Ramsey. I thought this paragraph was especially rich:
        Ramsey gets irritated when he gets emails and letters directing him to the scripture, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24). Ramsey believes in the inerrancy of the Bible but says such calls for poverty are “doctrinal nitpicking.” [In other words, when the Bible says something he doesn’t like, he ignores it. – L] Ramsey contends that the Bible says the love of money (as opposed to money itself) is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:9-10), and that God asked rich men (Moses, Solomon) to work on his behalf. “The Bible does not say that you’re supposed to be poor,” he says. “Most of the patriarchs in the Bible were wealthy. You’re managing money for God.”

        I don’t recall any commandment in the Bible advising us to manage money for God, but in the parable of the camel’s needle Jesus most certainly advises the young man who questions him to divest himself of his worldly possessions. Sorry if you don’t like what Jesus actually says, but it’s your religion, not mine. Again I turn to the following blogger, who I think has a far better understanding of Christian precepts than Dave Ramsey does. The entire article, his most recent, is worth careful reading, but I’ll quote just the opening:
        Any casual reader of the Gospels will know that Jesus had a great deal to say about wealth and possessions and our proper response to them. In fact, he had more to say about the subject of money and care for the poor than any other subject. Indeed, Jesus constantly provoked his hearers with radical ideas about wealth and possessions; ideas so radical that we still attempt to explain them away or ignore them altogether. [my emphasis] But, at the heart of his message was a strong warning against greed.

        Yup. (Or if you prefer, “amen.”)

  37. I think those people that are judging him negatively are just jealous. He sure is lucky to have a 13,000 square foot mansion, but i guess he worked hard for it. So who are we to judge him and say how he should spend the money? It’s his money after all. 🙂

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