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Dave Ramsey Scolds Caller: ‘You Make $130,000 A Year And You’re Freaking Broke — That’s What I’m Worried About’


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The national average salary in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2023 was $59,384 according to USA Today. Some consider that a lot of money. Some consider it a little. Either way, your objective remains the same: to maintain a stable and healthy lifestyle regardless of your income.

So, when Alyssa called into “The Ramsey Show” to share her dilemma — earning $130,000 a year and broke — you can imagine Dave Ramsey’s reaction.

Alyssa starts the call by explaining her circumstances to Ramsey.

“Between our combined finances, we’re bringing in about $ 11,500 a month and still feel like we can’t live,” she said. “I’ve only got about $3,000 in our savings and not been able to really contribute to retirement or anything like that.”

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At this point, Ramsey does what he always does. Asked for more information on debt and spending.

The caller responded by sharing her debts which include $140,000 in student loans, $50,000 in car loans and a mortgage of roughly $240,000.

And this is when things got interesting.

Ramsey asked how quickly she could improve her financial circumstances by throwing “three, four, five thousand dollars a month at the smallest debt.”

She responded with “I tried,” along with an explanation of her fear of running out of savings because of having a daughter and being self-employed.

“You know what I’m worried about,” Ramsey fired back. “You make $130,000 a year, and you’re freaking broke. I think you need to be worried about that. You have a lifestyle that’s absolutely asinine.”

You could see this response coming from a mile away. It’s the most “Dave Ramsey thing” ever.

But there’s another side to this story. The side where the caller is living under the same circumstances as many people in the United States.

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As of September 2023, more than 60% of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck. This includes many people in higher income tax brackets. More than 50% of Americans earning $100,000 or more per year live paycheck to paycheck. That’s concerning for people like Alyssa, Dave Ramsey and millions of others.

Ramsey finished the call by providing some sound advice on dealing with the present so that you can have a better future.

“The way we say it is live like no one else so that later you can live and give like no one else,” he shared. “I look at these numbers and say these people have a really tough 2½ ahead of them so that they have an awesome life — the rest of their life.”

As harsh as this advice may be, it gives hope to anyone in a similar situation. Digging out of a financial hole today may allow you to live a better life in the future.

Consulting a financial advisor can help you better understand your current financial situation and the changes you must make for a better future. A professional can offer personalized advice on things such as paying down debt and retirement investing to help you make the best possible short- and long-term financial decisions.

Read Next:

Are you rich? Here’s what Americans think you need to be considered wealthy.

The average American has $65,100 in their savings account — How do you compare?

*This information is not financial advice, and personalized guidance from a financial adviser is recommended for making well-informed decisions.

Chris Bibey has written about personal finance and investment for the past 15 years in a variety of publications and for many financial companies. He is not a licensed financial adviser, and the content herein is for information purposes only and is not, and does not constitute or intend to constitute, investment advice or any investment service. While Bibey believes the information contained herein is reliable and derived from reliable sources, there is no representation, warranty or undertaking, stated or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of the information.

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This article Dave Ramsey Scolds Caller: ‘You Make $130,000 A Year And You’re Freaking Broke — That’s What I’m Worried About’ originally appeared on

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