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‘Eating Out Is Causing You To Clean Toilets’ — Dave Ramsey’s Hard-Hitting Reality Check For A 70-Year-Old Couple With No Retirement Savings Still Working Part-Time Jobs


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In a 2021 episode of the “Dave Ramsey Show,” financial guru Dave Ramsey offered stark advice to a 70-year-old couple from Oklahoma City struggling with no retirement savings and a looming financial crisis.

Janice, who called in to seek Ramsey’s counsel, shared her and her husband’s dire situation: They had $25,000 in cash savings, a home valued at $250,000 but still owed $27,000 on the mortgage and $1,000 in car debt. With a combined monthly income of $4,000, half from Social Security and half from Janice’s physically demanding job of cleaning houses, the couple was at a crossroads about how to manage their limited resources.

Ramsey’s response was unequivocal. “You got to clean this mess up,” he told Janice. “Start living like you’re completely bankrupt.”

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He emphasized the urgency of their situation and the need for drastic action to secure their financial future. In a bold move, he advised selling an old roadster they owned, valued at around $10,000, to alleviate some of their financial strain. “I’m sorry, but the roadster is gone,” Ramsey said, stressing the importance of prioritizing their financial health over sentimental attachments.

The financial expert outlined a plan for Janice and her husband to follow, which included keeping $15,000 as an emergency fund, applying the $10,000 from the roadster sale toward their mortgage and aggressively working toward becoming debt-free. He also addressed their spending habits, specifically targeting their tendency to dine out.

“You can’t eat out; you’re broke. Eating out is causing you to clean toilets,” Ramsey said, highlighting the need for sacrifices to overcome their financial challenges.

Ramsey presented Janice with two stark choices: Either adhere to his stringent financial plan or consider selling their home to purchase a more affordable condo, which would relieve them of their mortgage and potentially provide a financial cushion for their retirement. He acknowledged the emotional and practical difficulties of such a decision but emphasized its necessity to eliminate financial stress and ensure a stable future.

Adding to his stern advice, Ramsey underscored the critical need for both Janice and her husband to maximize their work efforts.

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“He’s going to have to work all his health will allow him; you’re going to work all your health will allow you,” Ramsey said. “You’re not going to see the inside of a restaurant unless you’re working there.”

This advice stressed the importance of their commitment to financial recovery, acknowledging the limitations of their physical health but also the necessity of their active participation in improving their financial situation.

Through his advice to Janice, Ramsey underscored a critical message for people facing financial hardship, especially later in life: the importance of making tough decisions and sacrifices to achieve financial stability. His direct and uncompromising guidance serves as a wake-up call to those in similar situations, highlighting the need for action to secure their financial future.

Whether you’re trying to catch up on your retirement savings or simply need assistance with financial decision-making, consulting a financial adviser can be a crucial step. Financial advisers offer personalized advice tailored to your specific circumstances, goals and challenges. They can provide strategies for managing debt, optimizing savings and investing wisely to ensure your financial stability in the future.

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*This information is not financial advice, and personalized guidance from a financial adviser is recommended for making well-informed decisions.

Jeannine Mancini has written about personal finance and investment for the past 13 years in a variety of publications including Zacks, The Nest and eHow. She is not a licensed financial adviser, and the content herein is for information purposes only and is not, and does not constitute or intend to constitute, investment advice or any investment service. While Mancini believes the information contained herein is reliable and derived from reliable sources, there is no representation, warranty or undertaking, stated or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of the information.

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