Counting the cost

A crusade against consumer debt

Heather from Oregon sounds like a born-again woman, financially speaking. “I finally got everything paid off this spring. . . . No more credit cards, no more student loan! I feel so good, so adult, and so proud of myself.” She thanks her deliverer, radio personality and anticredit crusader Dave Ramsey, for freeing her from bondage to consumer debt, and he published her note at as the testimony of another satisfied customer.

Ramsey is a tough-talking, quick-witted evangelical radio personality out of Nashville whose ability to offer paternalistic financial advice and to turn a phrase has earned him millions of listeners, both religious and secular. The Financial Peace University, a spinoff of his radio program, offers curricula for church groups. His 13-week seminar promises to help the average family reduce debt by $5,300 and save $2,700, according to the marketing materials on his Web site.


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