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In a Financial Rut? Find New Friends…


I’ve been listening to Dave Ramsey on my way to work and lately and he has seemed to often quote, ‘Within 10 years, your salary will be within 10 percent of your 10 closest friends. Choose wisely.’

The statement was always a bit annoying to me. What am I supposed to do, befriend expensive lawyers and doctors while kicking my sweet but underpaid school teacher friends to the curb? Um. I don’t think so.

This weekend, I was reading an old copy of the ever mature, wise, grown-up magazine… Cosmopolitan… which added to Ramsey’s statement. Cosmo agreed that our salaries would match our closest friends but went on to say that our attitudes about our finances and about our lives will also mirror our closest friends.

Hey Dave, maybe you should focus on the attitude – not the salary.

My sisters and I started paying debt around the same time. Not only are my sisters dedicated to reducing debt, they are efficient – and often funny to watch – frugalistas. Shopping with my sisters is like going shopping with the worst version of Dave Ramsey.

‘Yeah the dress is cute but debt is ugly. Put it back on the hanger.’

No, my sisters don’t make a lot of money but their attitude toward reducing debt is contagious and in the end…

isn’t that what matters?


  • Reply WillyPower |

    What if you don’t have any close friends? Will your salary be 0 then? I think you make a much better point (re: attitude) then Dave Ramsey does.

  • Reply Claire in CA, USA |

    I’m kinda sad that he said that. Sounds like those stupid MLMs that tell you to dump your “loser” friends (read: not in MLM) and only have friends from the MLM.

    I wouldn’t have any friends if they followed this. We make less money that most of our friends do, by far.

  • Reply Sophie |

    I have not been to your site in months and I come back and you always have such interesting and refreshing posts. Congratulations on eliminating your credit card debt in times like these!

  • Reply Caitlin |

    I’m not a huge fan of Dave, but I think some of Dave’s point was missed here. In part, salary is very much linked to attitude.
    While some workplaces have a strict fixed budget, in many workplaces and fields, raises are dependant on a) your performance b) your attitude toward the job and c) your attitude toward yourself and d) your attitude toward money (aka the people who actually ask for a raise, or know how to negotiate for a bigger one)

    Someone can certainly have all those good qualities and make a low salary; the point is, if all of your friends have a great/healthy attitude toward money, odds are they will, over 10 years, earn more than other people who have a lack luster attitude toward money.

  • Reply Nichole@40daysof |

    I have also heard Dave say this a lot. Sometimes he gets so caught up in his little sayings that he forgets to make exceptions and qualify what he says. He has said this same thing in the past while being sure to say that not all of his friends are rich and that it would be ridiculous to get rid of friends because of money. Caitlin above is correct in that he usually gets on this topic when talking about attitude. If you have a bunch of friends who feel “the man” is keeping them down and they’ll never get ahead, then chances are you do, too.


  • Reply Jen |

    That saying does sound a bit off… I think there’s a tendency for people to hang out with those of the same means, but to think there’s a cause and effect is too simplistic, and this statement has the cause and effect backwards.

    I think you’re right – attitude means much more. I think it’s more accurate to say you’ll spend the same (or not spend in the same way) as your closest friends. And being positive about earning money versus having a victim mentality makes a huge difference.

  • Reply Steady Plodder |

    “Don’t participate in loser talk. If you hang out with losers, you know what you are going to be? A loser. Stay away from the “Eyeores” who whine about everything in life. Studies show that your income is within 10% of the average income of your 10 closest friends. Choose your friends and influences wisely.” is a quote that I found on-line from Dave Ramsey. I tend to agree with him…

  • Reply Lizzie |

    It is definitely about the attitude. And really does salary matter? I have read about people who have become millionaires off quite meager salaries because of their saving savvy attitudes.

    I’m with Jen, the victim mentality is what is best to avoid.

  • Reply Becky |

    Your sisters sound fantastic–I may steal that line when I go shopping with mine!

    ‘Yeah the dress is cute but debt is ugly. Put it back on the hanger.’

  • Reply John |

    I have heard this from more than just Dave Ramsey before. I think Dave knows there is more to life than money and the point is “Birds of a feather flock together.” I saw a study recently about people living to be a 100 and one of the common denominators are they stay away from toxic people. I think you can look at peoples weight and find the same to be true as well as with other unhealthy habits. I think the focus needs to be on positive people. If your sisters are postive about staying out debt they are definitely friend worthy.

  • Reply Debt Free Dude |

    What if you have no friends? Then you won’t be constrained by anyone else. 🙂 Just kidding. I think you don’t have to dump your friends. Just be very careful what attitudes you pickup from them.

  • Reply Alison@This Wasn't In The Plan |

    I agree that Ramsey’s statement has more to do with attitude than anything else. Most of my friends are in a similar financial situation to my family. Though I’m sure the incomes of my friends are all over the place, we all pinch pennies here and there to save for the future and for the things we really want, and it’s that part of it that makes me feel that we are in similar situations. I imagine that in ten years, we’ll still all be in similar financial situations – just better ones. 🙂

  • Reply taz |

    Dave is correct. Stay away from negative/toxic peeps. They try to bring everyone down to their level. I work with a few of them and deal with it by only conversing with them on topics that are work related. I don’t attend company social functions just to stay away from them. Can you imagine if they are sour sober what they would be like tipsy?

  • Reply Nicole |

    Yes, you do have awesome sisters ahem……. : )

    If it isn’t on sale with a coupon, don’t buy it! That’s my motto.

  • Reply Bankrupty Ben |

    Maybe the line should be “does my debt look big in this” 🙂

So, what do you think ?