Dave Ramsey’s “Smart Money:” Implications for Career Development

A couple weeks ago I attended a “Smart Money” talk hosted by Dave Ramsey and some of his Ramsey personalities. It was a great opportunity for my fiance and I to get on the same page when it comes to budgeting, finances, and retirement savings. It was a fantastic event, and I highly recommend it for anyone no matter where you are in your financial journey.

Through the lens of a career development professional, though, there were also a few career development takeaways as well.

Be Intentional

If you’ve ever listened to the Dave Ramsey show for more than a few minutes, you’ve heard him discuss at length how you need to be intentional with your money: “give every dollar a name.” I love this mantra when it comes to budgeting money, but how about budgeting your time or class schedules or job applications? I’ve talked with dozens of students of the last few years who have some kind of direction in mind for their careers, but when I ask about what they are doing to intentionally put their plan into place, they can only list a couple classes that their academic advisor told them to take.

The most successful students and professionals I have encountered are usually the most intentional. This goes for career, faith, family, fitness, and even relaxation for that matter. You don’t have to have a plan for everything, but being intentional with the things that matter the most to you ensures that you will achieve more in those areas.

Have a Mentor

Dave also talked about getting real world advice from somewhere who has been there and done that. Don’t take financial advice from some broke dude. Similarly, don’t take career advice from someone who doesn’t really know the full scope and implications of your current situation.

Try to find a mentor who has been in your shoes. It’s nice to get information about careers from websites and other publications, but when you talk with a person you get the full 360 degree view of that field: the positives and negatives. You’ll also see that most careers don’t instantly jump from one point to another — there are usually lots of ups, downs, detours, and regroups in between.

Have a Written Plan

Through listening to several Dave Ramsey podcasts, I’ve learned that managing money isn’t just about what you do now, but why you’re doing it for the future. You have to give your money a mission: what are you going to do, when are you going to do it, when, and how. Dave Ramsey talks at length about having a written budget: a specific plan for what happens to your money each month. This serves as a tangible reminder of what you set out to do from the beginning: achieve your financial goals (even when you’re staring down that new 80″ TV from across the store).

In your career development, you must have a plan. To hold yourself accountable, and to remind yourself of what you’re working towards, write down your career plan. What do you need to be doing now, in the next few months, the next year, and five years out? Set some immediate, short term, and long term goals. Most people keep a mental plan, and we know how well that works (where’s the remote control?).

Dave Ramsey focuses mainly on managing money, but is not a stranger to talking about careers on his show. I encourage you to give it a listen, or check out his website if you’re not familiar with his several “Ramseyisms.”

Managing money is important, but you need to make sure you are paying attention to your career development too. Make sure that your career doesn’t just happen, but you influence it to become what you want and need it to be.

Strength in Humility: Fresh Blog, Fresh Attitude

I always think of the best things to write about when I’m running, in the shower, or right before my head hits the pillow at night. For me, ideas come and go like Atlanta rush hour: a lengthy log jam of thoughts that are truly a complete mess.

There’s one idea that has been pestering me for a while now, though. Probably because it’s the most honest thought that has run through my head in quite a while: I’m not skilled in a lot of things.

The more I think about and actually experience this concept (like the last time I tried to make cupcakes or tried to get directions to where my fiance was parked), the more I value I place on it.

We are all created with weaknesses, but it is how we react to them that tells the whole story. Plenty of the most influential people we know have made their fair share of mistakes stemming back to some form of weakness.

While I am a big fan of a strengths based approach, there’s much to be said about a healthy diet consisting of lots of humble pie. When we aren’t well versed in something but continue to call on an attitude of grace and humility, it is a prime opportunity for us to learn, grow, and sometimes even become an expert in that area.

Through this blog I hope to tell you about some things I already know a good bit about: career development, running, photography, and the occasional excursion to the local Krispy Kreme. I’m even more looking forward to sharing stories that celebrate, as Robert A. Millikan puts it, “the depths of our ignorance:”

“Fullness of knowledge always and necessarily means some understanding of the depths of our ignorance, and that is always conducive to both humility and reverence.”
— Robert A. Millikan

“Humility is to make a right estimate of oneself.”
— Charles H. Spurgeon