💎 From a bankrupt realtor → $900M empire

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Today I’m going to share 3 lessons I learned breaking down Dave Ramsey’s business empire.

^ That’s me next to Dave Ramsey aka The Debt Daddy aka Uncle Money aka The Wealth Whisperer.

If you don’t know Dave, he’s got a famous radio show called The Ramsey Show where people call in to talk about their financial problems and Dave gives them advice.

I’ve known about Dave for a long time, but I thought he was just some radio guy… I had no idea how big his empire is (until now).


  • At age 18, Dave became a realtor and started buying/selling properties

  • By his mid 20’s, he had a portfolio worth $4M

His properties: $4.4M

Debt: $3.3M

Annual cashflow: $250k

  • Then one day, his bank revoked his line of credit and demanded he pay it back

  • Dave couldn’t pay his debt back fast enough and declared bankruptcy

His hands got burned on the debt stove. His marriage was rockier than Balboa…..it was rock bottom for him.

But the bankruptcy taught Dave a very valuable lesson, to be very cautious with debt - and motivated him to learn how to properly manage money.

(oh, and he started going to church a lot. It was a true “come to jesus” moment)

Dave started slowly climbing his way back up and that’s when he had his first big opportunity. 

A fellow churchgoer asked him for financial advice on how to get out of a debt crisis.

Then another. And another.

So Dave decided to start a company - Ramsey Solutions. It’s a biblically-based common sense finance education media company. (damn. What a tagline)


Ramsey Solutions is massive:

  • A $42m building in Tennessee that serves as HQ

  • 500+ employees

  • 600 radio affiliates and nationally syndicated

  • 20M people tune into the radio shows, podcasts, and videos every week

  • 23 national bestselling books have been published by “Ramsey Personalities”

  • Live courses every week (money management sprinkled with The Holy Spirit)

There are also criticisms about his company being too religiously driven.

For example, pre-marital sex is against company policy (which is a bummer, because according to my research, pre-marital sex is twice as fun as post-marital sex)

Funny story - a reporter was researching the claims against Ramsey, and they reached out for comment: “we want to confirm you are right, we are horrible evil people” (well played).

Across his radio shows, books, courses, and affiliate deals - Ramsey’s empire is making $300M/yr in revenue.

His “7 Baby Steps” are famous:

🎵 It’s the remix to ignition, debt advice and religion 🎵

On top of that, Dave has a $600M real estate portfolio that he says is fully paid off (zero debt). It includes a couple office towers and a bunch of land in Tennessee where he runs his common sense biblical financial empire.

A few quick takeaways:

  1. Dave uses the “golden workflow” - he generates cash from a service business, then instead of paying taxes —> he invests it into real estate. The real estate generates cash & tax losses from real estate. He then ends up with all cash and no taxes. (aka legal money laundering)

  1. Dave is a content-preneur - His radio shows are the underpinning of his business. He’s nationally syndicated, and spends hours a day on radio giving out free advice. This builds up a ton of trust which leads to…

  1. An insane business model - His biggest money maker is his affiliate network. If you go to his website, he offers you a way to find a financial advisor, mortgage lender, etc.. These are called “Ramsey Trusted Providers”. Each of those providers gives him a kickback. I have a hunch this is way more lucrative than radio ads.

His website gets ~10M visits a month, and I think the affiliate part of his business does nine figures a year.

Til next time.

Stay hungry,

-Shaan & Ben


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