Dave Ramsey: We must teach kids the RIGHT way to handle money, right now

Dave Ramsey's tips to grow your wealth

Author Dave Ramsey joins 'Fox & Friends' to discuss his tips to grow your wealth and his book 'Baby Steps Millionaires'

Dave Ramsey is a straight shooter about money matters. That's part of the reason — combined with his wisdom forged with experience — that millions of people listen to him on the radio every week and read his books. In his newest book, "Baby Steps Millionaires," he lays out clear steps for anyone to take when it comes to getting out of debt and building wealth — including young people.

"Money is not good and money is not bad. It's amoral," Ramsey, CEO of Ramsey Solutions, said to Fox News Digital in a telephone interview on Tuesday, Jan. 18. 2022. "It's like a brick. You can build a hospital with a brick — or you can throw it through a window."


Ramsey added, "But what money does do with adults and with kids — including with grown kids — is it magnifies who we are, the good and the bad. So if you raise great kids to become great adults — people of character, people of integrity, people of emotional and psychological and spiritual maturity — then money won't ruin them. But if you raise brats, money will ensure that they are major brats."

Here are other top takeaways from a new interview with him.

Fox News Digital: Let's talk about your "five ways to grow money-smart kids." What do parents and grandparents need to know?

Dave Ramsey: Teaching children about money is our job as parents. It's not about teaching them to be good kids. It's about teaching them to grow into great adults. And that includes, first, teaching them that money comes from work. Money doesn't come from the government, and it doesn't come from the lottery — it comes from work. Now we're not sending a four-year-old to the salt mines, so don't be confused! But there's nothing wrong with children cleaning up their room, and then having some chores to do as they get older.

Dave Ramsey, a number-one best-selling author and host of "The Ramsey Show," is heard each week by over 18 million listeners. He spoke with Fox News Digital in this New Year about teaching children to handle money wisely — and that learning to become a saver is about "developing a muscle." (Courtesy Ramsey Solutions)

Ramsey: And regarding that, children should get paid if they do the work — and if they don't do the work, then they don't get paid. That's called commission, not allowance. Allowance sounds to welfare like me.

Fox News Digital: Your second point for "money-smart kids" has to do with giving. Why giving? We don't often hear that message today about money and kids.

Ramsey: It's important to teach our kids to give. Generous people are highly attractive. These are the people who open the door for other people. These are the grateful people who say "please" and "thank you." I believe in abundance — so if they give it away, there's more to get. And if they do more work, there's more to come there, too. It's a wonderful character quality to instill in our children and this point has to come from the parents.

Fox News Digital: Your third point is about spending.

Ramsey: Kids need to learn to spend wisely. While money shouldn't be the source of happiness, it can help people enjoy some things in this life, after all their hard work. And that's a good thing. There should be no guilt associated with that.

Dave Ramsey details the actionable, practical ways that parents and grandparents can teach good money habits to their children, even young children. He shared insights in a phone interview with Fox News Digital.

Dave Ramsey details the actionable, practical ways that parents and grandparents can teach good money habits to their children, even young children. He shared insights in a phone interview with Fox News Digital.

Fox News Digital: Your fourth point is about saving, which you say is critical.

Ramsey: With saving, you get to play with the eighth wonder of the world, as Einstein called it — it's called compound interest. If you save, you get to create wealth, and you can do more for your family and more for others when you learn to save. Now, saving is a muscle. You have to decide to use it. People say, "Well, I'm not a very good saver." Well, you can decide right now to become a saver. It's a muscle you have to develop.

Fox News Digital: And finally, your fifth point for money-smart kids?

Ramsey: The last one is about being a steward. It means managing your money for a cause greater than yourself. There's nobility in it. If you're looking at this as a Christian, we say we're managing money for God. But if you're not a person of faith, then you say, I'm going to manage the money for the good of others and not just myself. We need to look at this from a more noble perspective, rather than a self-centered, selfish perspective. If you teach kids all of that — then you can leave them $100 million and they'll be just fine.

Dave Ramsey's new book is called "Baby Steps Millionaires: How Ordinary People Built Extraordinary Wealth — and How You Can, Too" (Jan 2022). 

Dave Ramsey's new book is called "Baby Steps Millionaires: How Ordinary People Built Extraordinary Wealth — and How You Can, Too" (Jan 2022).  (Courtesy Ramsey Solutions)

Fox News Digital: Let's focus on your latter point for another moment, because in an all-too-often selfish society, this point isn't made very much. Why is this so important?

Ramsey: We live in a culture where people are taking selfies. Kids are being taught about selfishness, that it's all about them and how important they are. Look, yes — our children should be nurtured. They are important. And I've got grandbabies, and I love them more than anything on the planet.

Fox News Digital: Of course!

Ramsey: But that doesn't mean that it's all about them. We have to teach kids that the axis of the world doesn't run through their little heads. So in the process of teaching kids to brush their teeth, comb their hair, and study to get good grades, we can also teach them generosity. It doesn't magically occur. It's part of the rhythm of parenting. Kids need to be trained to be generous; these are muscles that are built. And if you are a generous person, you will stand out in a selfish culture in a really good way. People feel differently about you — including during a job interview.

Fox News Digital: What do you say to the parent or grandparent who wants to leave a child or grandchild everything — and let them figure it out from there?

Ramsey: I think it's irresponsible. I also think it's wrong to say, "Well, money is evil, so I'm going to give it all to charity because I don't want to ruin my kids." It didn't ruin you, right? Now, if you've got someone in your family who's misbehaving in their life and you give them money — well, then you're funding their misbehavior. The money won't be a blessing to them. It will be a curse. Children and grandchildren need to be taught smart, practical ways to behave with money.

Fox News Digital: We've all heard stories of how money or money issues can rip families apart. Your advice for steering clear of such problems?

Ramsey: If someone is putting more value on the money, or on the item, or on Grandma's house, or whatever the "thing" is — rather than on the relationship with their mom or their brother or their family member — that's a misguided value system. I talked to a guy the other day whose dad didn't speak to his uncle for 20 years because of a china cabinet. A cabinet. And the china inside the cabinet wasn't even used very much! We know this is silly. But people do that kind of thing all the time. So you've got to decide what you value in life.


Ramsey: However, I'm not going to acquiesce on a matter of principle just to make someone who's misbehaving happy. We are not going to let people bully others within their family. You have to stand up to a bully. But also, you can't control everyone's behavior. You can't control all the actions. But you can control yourself, and your values — and what you teach your children.

Fox News Digital: A final question about "Baby Steps Millionaires." You say that over the last thirty years or so, many people have approached you or contacted you to say they've taken your advice about building wealth — and have actually become millionaires. Tell us more.

Ramsey: It's been eight years since I've done a major trade book. And I kept hearing the drumbeat in the marketplace, with people saying, "You can't win in America today. The game is rigged. There's no way to build wealth in America today."

"My job is to help people have hope … This idea that all wealth is inherited? It's absolute hogwash. It's just not true." 

— Dave Ramsey to Fox News Digital

Ramsey: Well, I don't like people to steal hope. My job is to help people have hope. I don't like hope stealers. They're all they're out there, everywhere. Yes, there's a lot of broken stuff out there — no question about that. But is America ruined to the point where I think the average person cannot get up and go out there and do stuff and get ahead? Of course not. I'm actually seeing the proof that it can be done, every day — and on top of that, we did the largest study of millionaires ever, with 10,000 millionaires. We discovered that 89% of them did not become millionaires because of an inheritance. So this idea that all wealth is inherited — it's absolute statistical hogwash. It's just not true.


Ramsey: I wanted to put the word out there. This CAN be done. As a matter of fact, it's being done every day. People are choosing to get out of debt. They're choosing to live on a budget. They're choosing to invest in their 401K. They're choosing to pay off their house. And they're becoming millionaires. It is happening.

Maureen Mackey Fox News