Dave Ramsey a Hypocrite?

Among the hundred of different search phrases I get each month, “Dave Ramsey hypocrite” is one that keeps popping up.  I have seen on other blogs (can’t remember where thanks to a good dose of pain pills) the allegation that because Dave Ramsey declared bankruptcy about twenty years ago, and strongly urges his listeners NOT to file bankruptcy, that makes him a hypocrite.

Not really.  Dave Ramsey went through it, and came out a bit scarred psychologically.  I’ve heard him say several times on the radio, “I wouldn’t wish bankruptcy on my worst enemy.”  It’s about the same as a reformed drug addict saying “Don’t use drugs.”  Or me saying “Don’t buy that first pack of cigarettes.”  It’s the old “I’ve been there, done that, got the T-shirt and definitely DON’T want to go back.”

People don’t call reformed addicts hypocrites for telling kids to not touch drugs.  People don’t call sober alcoholics hypocrites for telling others not to drink excessively.  So why do some folks call Dave Ramsey a hypocrite for trying to dissuade people from what he calls a gut-wrenching, horrible ordeal?

The story Dave Ramsey tells is that at age 26, he was a millionaire on paper, having over $4 million in real estate and about $3 million of it leveraged (debt).  He says the bank he dealt with for all of the financing was bought out by another bank from out of town, and when the new bank loan officers looked over the books they freaked out about having someone that young with that much financed.  So they called his loans.  All of them. 

When he couldn’t sell the property fast enough, he was foreclosed on, then sued six ways from Sunday.  He says he fought tooth and nail for over two years before he finally declared bankruptcy.  He almost lost his marriage, and on the new FPU videos his wife admits she seriously thought about leaving him during that dark time.  In his live events, Dave Ramsey describes when he hit bottom, standing in the shower crying because of the fear and sense of failure.  None of that sounds pleasant in the least bit.

So, with all this background, can someone who gets here using the search phrase “Dave Ramsey hypocrite” please explain how he is one?  If someone makes a horrible mistake that brings about a lot of emotional pain and financial upheaval, how does that person become a hypocrite for telling others to avoid that situation if humanly possible?  Or maybe I can get some feedback from the Dave Ramsey critics who have actually levelled that charge in the blogosphere?  Because I tend to listen to people who have been through something and say, “Whatever you do, don’t do THAT.”