I'm unfamiliar with Clark Howard's teaching but I am familiar with Dave Ramsey's teaching.

How do Clark Howard and Dave Ramsey compare? Do they cover the same material? Any striking differences between their advice?


Howard seems open to borrowing and using credit if the terms are right, whereas I am pretty sure Ramsey is strongly in favor of a cash only lifestyle.

Howard focuses on getting a good deal, and if you want or need a thing, to get a good value for it. Howard repeats that he wants the lowest price, even if that means accepting inferior quality. Howard however often talks about traveling, electronic gizmos and paying more for electric cars that suit his view of the world. Howard makes a very concerted effort to make neither political or value judgments, and just offers his opinion and insight to specific questions.

Ramsey's goal seems to be leading a life within your means, and sacrificing and saving money now to be set for the future. "Beans and rice and rice and beans" is his catch phrase for illustrating that living below your means and never borrowing now will keep you from ever having to borrow. Better to learn to live without if you can't pay cash. Ramsey, in my opinion, treats debt like an addiction and wants to 12 step you out of it.

Ramsey: Don't spend it, spending it on credit is a mistake. Ramsey has a special cheer for people who are 100% debt free.

Howard: Try not to spend it, debt is usually bad, but there are some circumstances when you can persuade him.

The bottom line is they both preach living frugally, within your means, it is better to save AND earn more and knowledge is king. You wouldn't hurt yourself to follow either of their advice.

  • Clark's approach sounds more pragmatic. But, some people need black & white. Something for everybody. Sep 14 '10 at 23:27
  • 2
    After seeing friends dealing with creditors, I can understand how Dave is so against debt after having gone through going broke. When something bad happens, debt seems to have a multiplier effect.
    – S. Albano
    Oct 17 '12 at 4:47
  • @S.Albano you certainly aren't going to suffer great pain if you follow Dave's standard, freely given advice.
    – MrChrister
    Oct 17 '12 at 4:51

I think you just have to listen to both their shows to get a sense of what makes these guys tick. I think both guys give good advice. I think the better question is why each feels the way they do.

Dave Ramsey admits he made some financial mistakes early on, and the the banks took him to the cleaners. As a result he has made it his mission to teach others in a similar situation, with no mercy toward the banks. Howard, on the other hand, admits he had enough to retire by 31, with no early financial mistakes. Ramsey was bankrupt, lost everything, and almost lost his family. I don't blame the guy for his views.

I think people look at the two and follow the one that most closely resembles their own situations. I personally like Dave Ramsey's take no prisoners destroy the credit card mentality. But I think they are both doing good work. Keep it up.

  • "the banks took him to the cleaners." Or did he willingly deliver himself to the cleaners?
    – RonJohn
    Nov 7 '17 at 2:51

Dave and Clark are two different individuals.

Dave is a cash only person because he was bankrupted by credit. He has mentioned that he had no discipline with credit. Clark on the other hand is great with credit and understands how to use it. Credit isn't bad, it's the person who is to blame for misuse of credit.

Dave is great for those who have experienced the same financial destruction or those that have no control over credit. But those are his personal convictions.

I believe a strong individual should be able to have some control over personal decisions. The borrower is only slave to the lender when he can't repay the lender. Debt is only a term used when you can't repay the lender. You should only borrow what you can afford.

Both Dave and Clark are great in what the offer, I have and will continue to listen to both of them.


One major difference I see is Clark giving investment advice here and there and is open to many of the options out there. Dave seems to not focus too much on investing beyond solid mutual funds and more about helping people on the opposite end of the spectrum and leading them towards a better path.


Clark Howard suggests you go to the library and read his books for free. Dave Ramsey encourages you to buy multiple items every hour. Both are helpful, and their differing opinions do compliment each other - and lead you to financial security.


Clark does not advertise anything. He is a rare and true consumer advocate. They both bring great ideas and valuable information. Dave does advertise. You have to look at Dave's advice with a much more critical eye. Just listen to his show or go to his website and see the many, many products and services he promotes.

  • 2
    -1. Clark's show is on commercial radio, and there are plenty of advertisements on his show, just like any other radio show. Nov 7 '17 at 0:55

Dave Ramsey is a radio evangelist. He is the epitome of a self-serving capitalist. The majority of his endorsed local providers are commission-based advisors that pay for the advertising and you are prompted to complete a form to be contacted by their team. Dave Ramsey's aim is to get people out of debt, but he peddles more things than necessary which I suppose in his view is an investment into future savings down the road.

Clark Howard is much more out for the greater good, explains how to get good value, and is less concerned with his own wealth creation.

  • 7
    Before I judge your answer, do you have any proof? I once tried the ELP form and it worked exactly as advertised. I didn't happen to use the service after the free interview, but I don't think I was misled.
    – MrChrister
    May 8 '12 at 20:58
  • 3
    The question is about their advice, not their businesses. Can you provide more information on how their advice differs?
    – C. Ross
    Oct 28 '12 at 17:10

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