Baby Steps Millionaires (2022) is a straightforward, practical guide to how anyone can become a millionaire. It lays out seven simple steps that you can follow to get yourself out of debt, grow your net worth, and improve your life.
Introduction: Turn your million-dollar dream into reality.
How come your paycheck slips through your fingers faster than sand through an hourglass? If only you were a millionaire, then life would be so much easier… But alas, you weren’t born rolling in dough. Making seven figures is nothing but a far-fetched fantasy. Or is it?
In this summary to Baby Steps Millionaires by Dave Ramsey, you’ll discover that hitting a net worth of one million dollars isn’t far-fetched at all. Many have done it before, and no, you don’t need to be blessed with any special advantage to do so.
If you’re ready to find out how to turn your financial situation around and get that seven-digit net worth, let’s jump straight in.
Becoming a millionaire is well within your reach.
How many of your peers have told you that they’d be a millionaire by the age of 55? Not a single one? Well, that isn’t surprising. After all, it’s a common belief that becoming a millionaire is about as likely as finding a dodo bird in your backyard. Translation: it’s impossible.
But the truth is, hitting seven figures is actually very attainable, and all you really need to do is two things: change your belief and follow the Ramsey Baby Steps.
What do we mean by “change your belief?” Well, firstly you have to stop thinking that being a millionaire is getting to live the lavish life of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. Those two are billionaires, not millionaires, and yes, there is a world of difference between these two terms.
For starters, billionaires typically run at least one national company. Millionaires, on the other hand, are found in more common professions like engineer, accountant, and teacher, as reported by the National Study of Millionaires by the author’s company Ramsey Solutions.
Billionaires own multiple houses on sprawling estates and drive top-of-the-line car models. Meanwhile, millionaires have a house in your typical residential neighborhood and only two cars.
Billionaires go dining and shopping without asking for discounts. On the flipside, the Ramsey Solutions’ study found that most millionaires still use coupons.
See the gigantic difference? Millionaires are just as ordinary as you are, and if they could do it, there’s no reason why you can’t do it too.
Aside from drawing a clear line between millionaires and billionaires, part of changing your belief is also switching from a sense of helplessness to a sense of control. If you think that you can’t become a millionaire because you’re poor, an immigrant, a person of color, or buried in six figures of debt, then think again. Everyone faces their own set of challenges, but only those who take ownership of their life emerge to become millionaires.
In Ramsey Solutions’ millionaire study, not all of the 10,000 millionaires they surveyed come from white privileged families. Instead, they were composed of different races, education levels, and backgrounds. This just goes to show that no matter the kind of situation you’re in, it’s possible for you to reach millionaire status. You don’t need to graduate from an Ivy League, get an executive-level job, or have a six-figure household income.
What you need is to stop letting the odds hold you back, and start believing that you can and you will. Once you’ve done that, then you’re ready for the second step to becoming a millionaire: following the Ramsey Baby Steps to a tee.
Start the Ramsey Baby Steps by covering your debts.
Humans are impatient. You hate waiting for your meal to be served. You hate being stuck in traffic. You hate counting the days until Christmas. The same is true for building wealth. So if you want to have a million bucks, you’d rather take the fastest way to get there. Lucky for you, that’s what the Ramsey Baby Steps are.
The author claims that this seven-step plan is the quickest and most surefire way of helping you build that million-dollar net worth. It has already helped thousands of people in the last three decades, regardless of what their situation was when they first started. By following this process, you, too, can join the ranks of the many other Baby Steps Millionaires.
But don’t confuse this with overnight success like winning the lottery or acquiring an inheritance. The Ramsey Baby Steps won’t give you a millionaire status in one day. Care to guess how long it would take? Nope, not three years, not five years. Instead, expect your first million in an average of 17 years. Because the real surefire way of getting rich is to take it slow, one step at a time.
So what are the specific steps you need to take? Let’s dive in.
Baby Step #1 is putting away a starter emergency fund worth $1000. Think of it as your savior for those times when life throws a minor curveball your way. It’s best to get this settled ASAP to give you a sense of security and peace of mind as you power through Baby Step #2: eliminating debt.
This second step is all about climbing out of all your debt, except for your home mortgage. Allocate all your extra funds for this. Yes, we’re talking about your funds for nights out, vacations, and even investments. Anything that’s not in a retirement plan must go into paying your debt, so you can check this off your list in the quickest way possible. Tackle your debts using the snowball technique where you finish the smallest first before moving on to the bigger debts. And whenever you’re disheartened, just remember that if you believe that you can do it, then you can.
Baby Step #3 is upgrading your starter emergency fund into a fully-funded emergency fund. This means it can cover three to six months of your minimum living expenses in case you experience major setbacks like job loss and health emergencies. If you have a stable income, you can get away with saving only three months’ worth. If, however, you rely on commission or are self-employed, you’re better off saving six months instead.
Working your way through Baby Steps 1 to 3 typically takes an average of 2.5 to three years. But once you’ve done it, you’ll be free to really grow your worth. Let’s find out how.
Complete the Ramsey Baby Steps by investing long-term.
So you’ve sorted out your debts and saved for your emergency fund. Now it’s time to really build your fortune.
Baby Step #4 is taking 15% of your household income before taxes and placing that into retirement accounts. But how exactly? Your first priority is maximizing what your employer is putting into your 401(k). Say they offer a 5% company match, then you invest 5% of your pre-tax income into your plan, as well. After you maxed out your company match, move on to contributing to your Roth IRA. Finally, any amount left over from your 15% should be invested into a traditional work-sponsored tax-deferred plan.
When it comes to your investment portfolio, the author suggests equally allocating it into four types of mutual funds: international, growth, aggressive growth, and growth and income. Make sure to seek the guidance of an investment advisor to help you learn the ropes of investing. However, you don’t need to obsess about getting the best returns straight away because at the end of the day, what’s important is to put that money in and let time do the rest.
While you’re doing Baby Step #4, you should also work on Baby Step #5: starting your kids’ college fund using either a 529 college savings plan or an Education Savings Account (ESA). How much you put into it highly depends on your personal situation, but remember that your retirement plan always comes first. The fact of the matter is you’ll inevitably retire, but your kids, if you do decide to have them, may not even want to attend college, may choose to pay for it themselves, or may have completed college already. The bottom line is it’s totally okay not to have this fund completely full or even skip it altogether.
As you work on Baby Steps #4 and #5, you’re also simultaneously doing Baby Step #6: settling your remaining debt: your home mortgage. Whatever’s left after your 15% retirement fund and your kids’ college funds needs to go to your house payments right away. This will not only save you time but also interest. According to the Ramsey Solutions’ millionaire study, most millionaires pay off their home in an average of a little over 11 years instead of the typical 30, justifying the need for Baby Step #6.
After working relentlessly from Baby Step #1 to 6, you finally come to Baby Step #7: sharing your wealth with others. Take your family on vacations or treat a stranger to coffee. Whatever you do with your money now, you’ve earned it.
Baby Steps Millionaires are Ordinary People.
Over the last three decades, the Ramsey Baby Steps have turned several hundred people into Baby Steps Millionaires. And their stories are here to inspire you into achieving your first million, too.
One of those Baby Steps Millionaires is Tiffany. Before stumbling upon the author’s seven-step plan, Tiffany was a new single mom with two kids to feed and $60,000 of debt to pay off. She was living off of a $30,000 annual income that could only put ramen noodles on the table. It was admittedly a messy phase of her life, but Tiffany knew she had to get out of it and fast. So she decided to follow the Baby Steps, which eventually led her to a whopping net worth of $1.85 million two decades later.
Another single mom in the roster of Baby Steps Millionaires is Jackie. Growing up in a poor African-American family, Jackie had learned early on the importance of avoiding debt and working hard. So when she got to college, she made sure to minimize her student loan and work as much as she could to support herself. When her marriage ended a few years later, her first order of business was to get rid of all her loans and start fresh. She wasn’t even aware of the Baby Steps yet, but after discovering the seven-step plan, she realized she was making the right choices. She continued doing the remaining steps until she reached a net worth of $1.2 million at 49 years old.
Baby Step Millionaire Ben also grew up with the same principles as Jackie. At age 14, he was already working to earn his own money by mowing lawns. He saved enough from this business to max out the Roth IRA he opened in high school and also put himself through college without taking out a loan. When Ben got wind of the Baby Steps before graduating college, he found out he had already checked some of the steps from the plan. He worked on the rest of the Baby Steps right out of college, and a few years later, married his equally hard-working girlfriend Courtney. Together, they built their net worth to $1.7 million just before they hit the age of 40.
Rafael and JoBeth are another inspiring couple who became millionaires with the help of the Baby Steps. Rafael comes from the tiny country of El Salvador, where he, his parents, and his six siblings struggled financially. In search of a better life, his parents flew to the US and sent for them three years later. However, they weren’t exactly living the high life as immigrants. They still had to rely heavily on government assistance.
Fortunately, things started turning round for Rafael when he got into the US Army after high school. That’s how he met JoBeth, the daughter of another Army officer. During their marriage, they racked up all sorts of loans, from credit cards to home equity line of credit (HELOC). They were slowly getting buried in debt, but ten years later they came upon the Baby Steps. Now they are debt-free and their net worth is $1.1 million. Both of them are now aiming to retire in their early fifties.
These are just four inspiring stories of Baby Step Millionaires. Time to create your own.
Becoming a millionaire is just within your arm’s reach. It all starts with you believing that you can have a seven-figure net worth, and then following through with the Ramsey Baby Steps.
Baby Step 1 is to set aside $1000 into your starter emergency fund. Step 2 is to settle all your debts, except for your home mortgage. Step 3 is to save three to six months’ worth of emergency funds. Step 4 is to put 15% of your income into your retirement plan. Step 5 is to create your kids’ college funds. Step 6 is to fully pay off your mortgage. And Step 7 is to be generous with your wealth.
The Ramsey Baby Steps can empower you to change the course of your – and your family’s – lives, all while inspiring those in your community to reach for their own million-dollar net worth. Time to take that first step.
About the author
Dave Ramsey is a #1 national bestselling author, personal finance expert, and host of The Ramsey Show, heard by more than 18 million listeners each week. He’s authored seven national bestselling books including, The Total Money Makeover, EntreLeadership, and Smart Money Smart Kids. Since 1992, Dave has helped people regain control of their money, build wealth, and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO for the company, Ramsey Solutions.
Money, Investments, Nonfiction, Finance, Personal Finance, Self Help, Business, Personal Development, Christian, Money Management, Motivation, Self-Esteem, Wealth, Psychological aspects, Theory of Economics, Retirement Planning, Budgeting
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Can Anyone Become a Millionaire? 1
Chapter 2 What Is a Baby Steps Millionaire? 9
Chapter 3 How to Become a Baby Steps Millionaire 17
Chapter 4 A Millionaire Is Not a Billionaire 29
Chapter 5 Belief versus Barriers 45
Chapter 6 The Quickest Right Way to a Million 61
Chapter 7 Will Wealth Ruin My Kids? 73
Chapter 8 Wealth and the Wealthy Are NOT Evil 89
Chapter 9 Baby Steps Millionaires in Every Neighborhood 103
Epilogue: Better Than I Deserve 113
White Paper: The National Study of Millionaires 129
You Can Baby Step Your Way to Becoming a Millionaire
Most people know Dave Ramsey as the guy who did stupid with a lot of zeros on the end. He made his first million in his twenties—the wrong way—and then went bankrupt. That’s when he set out to learn God’s ways of managing money and developed the Ramsey Baby Steps. Following these steps, Dave became a millionaire again—this time the right way.
After three decades of guiding millions of others through the plan, the evidence is undeniable: if you follow the Baby Steps, you will become a millionaire and get to live and give like no one else.
In Baby Steps Millionaires, you will . . .
- Take a deeper look at Baby Step 4 to learn how Dave invests and builds wealth
- Learn how to bust through the barriers preventing them from becoming a millionaire
- Hear true stories from ordinary people who dug themselves out of debt and built wealth
- Discover how anyone can become a millionaire, especially you
Baby Steps Millionaires isn’t a book that tells the secrets of the rich. It doesn’t teach complicated financial concepts reserved only for the elite. As a matter of fact, this information is straightforward, practical, and maybe even a little boring. But the life you’ll lead if you follow the Baby Steps is anything but boring! You don’t need a large inheritance or the winning lottery number to become a millionaire. Anyone can do it—even today. For those who are ready, it’s game on!