I eventually had to ignore Dave Ramsey’s financial advice to take control

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  • Growing up, Dave Ramsey’s financial advice helped my parents get out of debt.
  • But following his no-debt rules was binding on me and ended up costing me money.
  • I finally sought alternative advice and got a credit card which I still pay off in full.

When I was in college, my parents took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course through our church. Its principles have helped them pay off their debts and adopt healthier and more sustainable financial habits.

Growing up, my parents passed on Ramsey’s advice to me. His insights shaped my view of money, especially my view of debt. Ramsey is against all forms of debt, even going so far as to recommend paying cash for a house to avoid a mortgage. He specifically warns people about the evils of car loans and credit card debt.

I quickly internalized the idea that my main financial goal should be to avoid debt at all costs.

It doesn’t sound like a bad idea, but I finally realized that this mindset was holding me back.

Paying everything with my debit card no longer worked for me

Throughout my teens and early adulthood, I followed Ramsey’s advice and avoided almost all types of debt. I bought my first car with money. I used my debit card for everything. The only debt I couldn’t completely avoid was student loan debt, but I managed to minimize that burden by completing my four-year degree in just three years.

But as I advanced into my twenties, I encountered more and more limitations. I couldn’t book a hotel room with just a debit card. I paid extra charges when I used my debit card abroad. I also felt I was losing out on potential credit card perks like rewards points, airline miles, and cash back.

I hit a breaking point after moving from the US to Canada in 2021 and facing foreign transaction fees on every purchase. My irrational fear of debt still lingered in my mind, but I started doing some serious credit card research.

How I chose the right card for me

I read about various banks and credit card companies, types of cards, rewards and benefits, sign-up bonuses, and annual fees. I asked my family and friends for recommendations.

I was always wary of debt, but I’ve read that many people pay their balance in full every month and never pay interest. I was convinced that my solid financial habits would keep me out of trouble and debt.

Eventually, I picked a card, submitted an application, and waited. I was concerned that my lack of credit history would make approval more difficult, but my student loan repayment history proved sufficient.

Just after my 29th birthday, my very first credit card arrived in the mail — a US Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® card. I chose this card for several reasons:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Good reward rates on travel categories
  • A generous welcome bonus offer

Also, I have a long banking history with US Bank, and I liked the idea of ​​having my debit and credit cards with the same institution.

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I use my credit card responsibly and earn rewards

I’ve been using my credit card for several months now, and I’m very happy with it. I use it for almost everything, and the rewards points add up. I like not having foreign transaction fees anymore.

I’m not afraid of misusing my card or overspending, but I pay my credit card balance in full every week just to have peace of mind.

Ramsey’s counseling and programs have helped many people, including my parents. I am grateful that they found financial freedom through Financial Peace University and imparted valuable financial lessons to me.

Taking Ramsey’s cautious approach to credit and debt probably kept me from developing irresponsible spending habits when I was younger, but I’m glad I sought alternative advice when his state of debt-obsessed mind no longer served me.