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Dave Ramsey

Dear Dave: In your mind, what are some of the biggest mental and emotional obstacles preventing people from addressing their financial problems? — Roger

Dear Roger: This is a great question. There are always circumstances beyond our control that can put us in a bad place, financially or otherwise, for a season. But to change your situation when it comes to money, you have to be willing to step back and honestly look at the overall picture of what has and hasn’t been working—and why. You need to be willing to admit you might have been wrong about a few things, and be open to learning and trying new ways.

Myths about money and debt are definitely near the top of the list of things messing people up when it comes to their finances. I’ve heard it said if you tell a lie often enough and loudly enough, that lie will become accepted as a fact. Repetition, volume, and longevity will twist and turn a myth, or a lie, into a commonly accepted way of doing things. Debt is so ingrained into our culture, and has been marketed to us so aggressively, that most Americans can’t envision a car without a payment, a house without a mortgage, or a college student without a loan. We’ve also bought into the myth that we can get rich quick. We’re living in a microwave society, but living right financially is a crock pot concept. It takes time.

Change can be painful, and many simply won’t change until the pain of where they are exceeds the pain of change. When it comes to money, where you are right now is a sum total of decisions you’ve made to this point. If you don’t like where you are, you have to admit changes need to be made in order for you to achieve your dreams.

Finally, a lot of folks simply haven’t been taught the proper way to manage money. Ignorance is not lack of intelligence, it’s a lack of know how. There’s a big difference between the two. Admit, even if it’s just to yourself, that you are not a financial expert. Read about money, talk to people who have been successful with their finances, and begin a life-long quest to learn as much as you can about money and how to manage it wisely. What you don’t know about money will keep you broke. — Dave

Dave Ramsey is a seven-time #1 national best-selling author, personal finance expert, and host of The Ramsey Show, heard by more than 16 million listeners each week. He has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Today Show, Fox News, CNN, Fox Business, and many more. Since 1992, Dave has helped people regain control of their money, build wealth and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO for Ramsey Solutions.