Can Dave Ramsey's Software Bring You Financial Security?
written by: Jean Scheid•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 5/23/2011
Dave Ramsey, financial guru of radio and now television talks about debt this way, "This is not a game...debt has become who we are." A true statement, but can his suggestions offered in his Financial Peace Personal Finance software help the average family? Jean Scheid takes a look.
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About the Guru
Does this gurus Financial Peace Personal Finance software work? It includes many Dave Ramsey worksheets that can be helpful or a hindrance. As with any budgeting or personal software tool, it depends. What it depends on is whether you are ready to work at your debt and take hold of your finances.
Mr. Ramsey is not a preacher who has never experienced personal debt. A one-time owner of a four million dollar real estate firm, he lost all his money by the time he was thirty years old; making him an authority so to speak on getting out of debt. He is also a man of Christian faith who does pull that faith into his programs and personal finance software.
But his faith is not overpowering nor does he ever judge your financial difficulties. What he does do is give families a place to begin, great advice, and tips on how to get out from under the big debt thumb many of us are in these days.
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The Basics of Version 5.3
This personal finance software offers easy to use tools; however, if you're overwhelmed with debt and are somewhat knowledgeable about resolving your financial problems, this may be too easy. If you're in debt and have no idea to get out of it, the Financial Freedom software may work for you.
Upon opening the software you find easy tools that include: Worksheets, Tools, Debt Elimination, and Dave's Links.
Worksheets - Click on this and you'll find twelve worksheets you can print first and then fill in. They include checklists, asset input, your income sources, payment planning, monthly cash flow, recommended percentages, allocated spending plan, irregular income planning (if you're self-employed), savings breakdown, the Debt Snowball, monthly retirement planning, and the pro-rata plan.
Tools -The tools section includes financial calculators, a glossary of finance terms, and a check register.
Debt Elimination - Once you've filled out the twelve forms (some families don't need all of them), the debt elimination tool is really Dave's Debt Snowball that calculates how you are going to get out of debt.
Dave's Links - Here you find links to Dave's website, books, and Financial Peace University, and support for the software.
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Pros and Cons
While this software is easy to use and can give you an idea of where you are at the debt level, and offer you a guide on what to pay to creditors based on your income, it does have some flaws.
Open Window - Each window you open is small and can't be resized. Depending upon the type of person you are, this may not bug you. If you like a full window to work in, you won't like this feature.
Savings Your Files - Each and every time you access your financial files, it overwrites the last one. That's OK, but if you deleted something, you can't get it back. Only one file is saved.
Support - You probably won't need the software support found under Dave's Links. If you do, it gives you a toll-free number but you have to pay one dollar a minute with a minimum of ten dollars for one phone call.
Check register - The check register found in the tools section is easy, but poor in performance. You'd be better off using an Excel spreadsheet.
Price - When this software was introduced, the price tag was thirty dollars. Financial Peace Personal Finance software, version 5.3 is now offered on Dave's website for $29.95 with a discount off of $10; taking your final price to $19.95. If you can work your way around Excel, you'd be better off creating some of your own spreadsheets. There are shipping charges or to save on those, you can instantly download the software to your PC. It is not compatible with MAC at this time.
Dave's Links - Other than the checkbook register, all of these links to Dave Ramsey products entice you to spend more.
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I believe Dave Ramsey really does want to use this software to help families get control of their debt and be able to manage it. There are other software tools like Quicken or Microsoft's Money Plus that cost the same and do more, however. For the beginner, this is hard to beat except maybe the thirty dollar price tag so look for discounts before you buy it or download it.
Encouragement is the key to Dave Ramsey's worksheets and if you've heard him speak, you get that feeling right away. The software doesn't give you Dave's fuzzy voice and the feeling that you can do it alone, however.
Overall, I would buy one of his books or attend one of his seminars first; both of which will give you tips to financial freedom. Finally, one doesn't have to spend a dime to get financial and budgeting accounting programs, MS Excel offers many template for free.
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Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace Software - http://www.daveramsey.com/store/index.ep?static=1