Since 2010, personal finance expert and New York Times best-selling author Rachel Cruze has been advising people on everything from how to avoid debt, save money and budget a months worth of income.
She’s the daughter of personal finance advisor and radio host Dave Ramsey and has provided all of this practical money advice through The Rachel Cruze Show, a talk show found on YouTube and produced by her father’s company, Ramsey Solutions.
As a millennial mom and person of faith, Cruze has managed to grow her show with relatable segments on things like wedding planning, buying a minivan and cooking affordable holiday meals. She has also gone on to interview everyone from ABC news anchor Linsey Davis to Oscar-winner Matthew Mcconaughey, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Charles Duhigg and of course her father, Dave Ramsey.
Moreover, Cruze has authored multiple finance books, including “Love Your Life, Not Theirs” and “Smart Money Smart Kids.” And this year, she’s out with her latest book “Know Yourself, Know Your Money,” where she delves deep into how our beliefs and behaviors lead to our financial decisions. You’ll learn about what Cruze calls the “four childhood money classrooms” and how they may be responsible for shaping our money habits.
So for this Q&A, we wanted to get to know Rachel better and ask her about her brand, Christian values, high-risk investments and those money classrooms. Here’s what she had to say. (Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.)
Who is Rachel Cruze and what led you to become a financial advisor?
Growing up as Dave Ramsey’s daughter, I learned all about how to handle money. But it wasn’t until I got to college and started seeing first-hand the mistakes that people were making with their money and that I knew I could help them. Hearing about friends signing up for credit cards and taking out student loans because it was “normal” was so sad to me. Now I’m on a crusade to help people learn to build a life they love and to do it without debt.
What is the Rachel Cruze brand? Where does it continue from Dave Ramsey’s and where does it break off from it?
I may be a personal finance expert, but I am a spender at heart. When I first started budgeting, I didn’t enjoy it. But eventually I realized that a budget doesn’t limit my freedom. It gives me freedom because it gives me permission to spend. I love helping people find that same freedom and guiding them through the Ramsey baby steps on how to win with their finances. Money comes with a lot of emotions, but it’s really not as complicated as we make it out to be. You don’t have to have a lot of money to win with money. You just have to be a good steward of the resources that you do have!
Tell me more about the money classrooms you describe in your new book “Know Yourself, Know Your Money.” How could a younger audience of millennials or Gen-Z apply this framework?
We all learned something about money growing up, whether we realize it or not. Money is communicated about in two ways—verbally and emotionally. Both of them cause different levels of stress or peace. There are four different “money classrooms” that I walk through in my book Know Yourself, Know Your Money to help you better understand your relationship with money. Some of you may have grown up in the Anxious Money Classroom, where you observed your parents’ money habits, but money was never talked about. You felt the tension but didn’t hear it in an argument. Or maybe you grew up in an Unstable Money Classroom. This is where money was a source of conflict in your family. But no matter which money classroom you grew up in, having self-awareness around it will help you to change your own money habits. It’s never too late!
How do you see Christianity informing your work? Your career?
The Bible teaches us to live differently than the world does… and that includes how we handle our money. The world will tell you that debt is normal, but God’s word is clear that the borrower is slave to the lender. The world says YOLO, but the Bible tells us to pay ourselves by saving and then enjoy the fruits of our labor. What the world says leads to debt, stress and feeling overwhelmed by your finances.
My faith directly impacts my work because I want people to experience the freedom that comes from following God’s direction when it comes to our money.
What are your thoughts on cryptocurrencies and investing in stocks like GME and AMC ?
I would never recommend that you gamble your money to build wealth. That’s not a good plan! Eight out of ten day-traders lose money. So you hear these success stories, but when you look at the big picture, the odds are stacked against you. I am a fan of investing over the long-term and making a plan for your money.
What are the most common mistakes you see millennials make? What’s your advice for them ?
One of the most common mistakes I see millennials making is comparison spending. Comparison is real, and social media only magnifies it. You are comparing everyone else’s highlight reel to your real life and then digging yourself into debt because of it. If you’re struggling with comparison and find yourself in debt because of it, I highly recommend taking a break from social media or unfollowing accounts that tempt you to spend more than you make. And then, I want you to work the Ramsey Baby Steps. Start by building a $1,000 starter emergency fund. Then, list all of your debts smallest to largest, regardless of interest rate. Attack the smallest one, and once it’s paid off, roll the payment to the next debt. Repeat until you’re debt free! We’ve seen people pay off their debt in an average of 18-24 months using this method. It works!
You can find Rachel Cruze on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube or online at rachelcruze.com.