Financial Advisor Tells 29-Year-Old With $1M In Debt The Only Way Out Is To Not Spend Money On 'Anything Ever' For 3 Years

A young couple seeking advice on their $1 million debt shock personal finance personality Dave Ramsey.

Dave Ramsey radio show TikTok TikTok

Dave Ramsey is “America’s trusted voice on money,” according to his social media bios. The personal finance personality, radio host, author, and businessman hosts a show called, “The Ramsey Show,” on which frequently brings callers and guests to talk about their personal financial struggles and helps them get through them — one of these highlights from 2018, however, recently resurfaced and has gone viral.


Dave Ramsey helped a couple with $1M in debt get themselves out of their hole.

“We have probably just under a million dollars in debt and we wanna know how to get debt-free without filing for bankruptcy,” the woman on the other end of the phone asked Ramsey. Clearly perplexed by the astronomical number, Ramsey makes a face and quickly gets into uncovering where this missing money went.

“How much of that is your mortgage?” Ramsey asks, considering that the largest aggregator for debt in the United States comes from mortgage loans. “Uh, the mortgage is about $210,000.”

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“So you have $600,000 in what?” Ramsey asks back. Assuming the number is just under $1 million, that would mean that they’ve racked up $600,000 in debt outside of their $200 thousand in mortgage debt — that’s a lot of money, and isn’t really typical, even in America.

According to Experian in 2021, the largest amount of debt for the average American household comes from mortgages, but the average total debt sits around $96,000. Even adding up all of the average debt among the expense categories — credit card, personal loan, auto loan, student loan, and home equity — the number is still only $342,695.

The woman explains that her and her husband’s student loans actually make up a big bulk of the loans — $335,000. She says they have “advanced degrees,” and that the rest of the money falls under personal and credit card loans.


Since student loans and mortgages are treated as nearly unavoidable certainties for chasing the American dream, Ramsey was perplexed by how they were able to spend $300,000 in credit cards and personal expenditures. “Are you both on this or is this just one of you that’s completely lost your mind?”

Despite the absurdity that Ramsey directs toward the situation, the couple is desperately seeking help and realizes the sinking ship that they’re in — so Ramsey helps them figure it all out with their combined income of “about $230,000.”

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‘I’m getting ready to destroy your life as you know it,’ he tells her.

“Your lifestyle is considerably above your extremely good income and has been for a period of time. And so you’ve gotten used to spending like you’re in Congress, right?” Ramsey continues. “You’re gonna have to not care what anyone thinks, including each other, because you’re not gonna spend any money on anything ever, for the next three years.”


Ramsey claims that she and her husband are going to have to embark on a spiritual and emotional journey in order to get them out of their debt. That they’ve been spending well over $310,000 for their $210,000 combined income but he’s about to put them on a $30,000 budget. “You aren’t going to see the inside of a restaurant unless it’s your extra job,” he said.

The scary reality is that there’s a lot of debt in the United States. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the total debt for American households is $11.67 trillion. Once the ball gets rolling, it’s really hard to stop it and can be terrifying to try and manage all on your own.

“I cannot even imagine being in this situation,” one person commented on TikTok, while another wrote, “She does not seem stressed enough.” This couple is going to learn the hard way what it means to be “living within your means,” but hopefully, they’ll make it through on the other side.


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Isaac Serna-Diez is an Assistant Editor who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics.