In my book, Dave Ramsey is hands down one of the best and most credible experts on getting out of debt. While I disagree with him on a few technicalities, we’re on the same page for most of what he preaches. The guy talks sense.
So when United First Financial representatives scammers began emailing me, calling me ignorant, stupid, and uneducated because I don’t believe in their product, I decided to research what my beloved Dave Ramsey has to say.
It’s easy to see how people can get sucked into this program. Well-educated and money-savvy people are proclaiming that this is the best thing since sliced bread. “The numbers work,” they say. Well I’m not disputing that the numbers can work if you follow the program.
What I do dispute is the need to spend $3,500 on it. This is a complete waste of money. If you have $3,500 sitting around, use it to pay down some debt now. If you have to use a credit card to pay $3,500 to UFF, then you’re in even bigger trouble as you just added debt to the debt problem you’re trying to solve.
Dave could make it easy for me by having something on his site about UFF. Wouldn’t you know it… the site has an audio clip from a caller asking about the Money Merge Account. Dave is adamantly against the program and the software. He says the fee is a waste of your $3,500.
Dave also points out that UFF’s claim that you can pay off your house in 8 years without changing your lifestyle is a lie. Of course you have to change your lifestyle if you want to apply more money to your debts and pay them off early!
He says that technically the program can work. But that it’s really the change in lifestyle that is needed to pay down the debt. There is no “magic pill” to solve your money problems. It takes hard, consistent work to pay down debt, with or without United First Financial.
Dave Ramsey’s site also says this:
This is basically getting a home equity line of credit and buying some $3,500 software that helps you pay off your mortgage faster with no change in lifestyle. There is no magic software. Software doesn’t enable you to live on less than you make.
That’s up to you. If you make $4,000 a month and want to put $1,000 on your house debt, you have to live on $3,000. You have to change your lifestyle. Does the system work? Yes, so we can’t call it a scam. But you should make a budget and do the work yourself. I hate that they are selling the “magic pill” idea, which doesn’t exist. Do it yourself.
There is also a page on Dave’s site that addresses “mortgage accelerator” programs in general. He hates them. Here’s what he says:
Can You Trust Equity Accelerator Mortgages?
Heard of equity accelerator mortgages that claim to pay off your home in 1/3 of the time?
Don’t buy the hype!
An equity accelerator mortgage is a terrible product! It is simply a variation of an interest-only mortgage. Basically you are getting a long-term, fixed-rate loan but you only pay the interest on the loan for about the first 10 years. Essentially you are renting from the bank for 10 years. This is a disaster waiting to happen because you make ZERO progress on paying your loan down during that time. This can be devastating if you need to sell your home within those first 10 years!
Let me explain. In order to sell a home, you will incur costs such as realtor fees and closing costs. These costs can quickly get into the 5 figure range. If you’ve only been paying interest on your home, you have no equity. That means the $10,000 closing cost comes out of your pocket!
Stay away from equity accelerator mortgages. Get a 15-year fixed-rate loan with a 10 – 20% down payment. Make sure the monthly payments don’t exceed 25% of your take-home pay.
The reason Dave Ramsey hates mortgage accelerator programs is because they create more debt. And because the equity line only requires you to pay interest for the first 10 years, people run the risk of getting into bigger trouble if they aren’t paying toward the principal.
Now I’m sure UFF representatives will say, “Well if they’re not following the program it’s not going to work!” Duh. But here’s the thing… UFF doesn’t make a bad money manager a good money manager. They’re offering you the “chance” to clean up your money management skills and if you do (by following “the program”) you can pay off debts faster.
Do you really need to pay them $3,500 to change your habits when you could do so for free? You get out of debt by changing your lifestyle. You use a home equity line like what UFF promotes to help you pay down your mortgage faster, in theory. But quite simply, there’s a better way to do it. It’s called a regular mortgage and extra payments on principal.
I wanted even more information. Here’s one person’s account of what Dave has said on the radio:
For what it’s worth to you, national radio financial talk show “I’M DEBT FREE!!!!!!!!!!” guy says that this software and program by United First Financial does not sit well with him because while UFF does seem to promote the acceleration of paying down of your mortgage and the software really does do the calculations properly, UFF is also advocating borrowing money (on the HELOC) which pretty much cancels out the good aspect of UFF (if there truly is one). It’s like supporting a smoker to quit smoking then telling it’s OK to just light up and forget about quitting whenever he thinks things are falling apart.(that’s not his analogy, it’s mine. LOL)
Furthermore, he does state that there are some lies in the marketing of their software and program, but to be honest with you, I can’t remember exactly what those where.
He also stated that the software works, but it’s way over-priced and makes no sense for someone to spend money on it since…
1. You don’t need the software to perform the simple calculations it performs.
2. Given #1, why not use that $3500 to pay down your mortgage? That is the whole point of the whole program anyway, right?
From what I gathered from his whole speech about UFF, he’s saying that on the surface the whole thing seems OK and good and well-intentioned, but if you look deep (and not really that deep at all if you have common sense) you will see an ugly MLM sort of set up that works by catering to the “I want everything to be easy” side of the brain of those that are bad with money and making them think that the software program is some sort of magic tool that will, in and of it’s self, cause the mortgage to be paid down just by running the software. This could not be further from the truth because the only thing that will pay down that mortgage is the person and therefore the person has to be disciplined. If the person is bad with money, then what needs to be done is a changing of the person and how they view and work with their finances. And surely, borrowing money through the HELOC certainly isn’t doing anything to promote good financial behavior.
Anyhow, that is the gist of his take on United First Financial. It’s basically a company that takes advantage of people who are bad with money and makes them think there is an “easy way out”. Just like pretty much all of the “make money from home” products sold on TV and Internet and magazine ads.
I very much respect Dave Ramsey and his advice because it’s simple and straight-forward with no fluff. He tells you how it is and how it has to be if you want to be free from the shackles of money and debt.
Take this post and his opinion of UFF for what it’s worth to you. But don’t bash me, I’m just the messenger. LOL
He talked about United First Financial and their Accelerated Equity program for a good 3-5 minutes (or maybe more) and I wish I had been listening online where I could have recorded it so others here could heard it.
Was that an accurate account of what Dave said? Take a look at what Chris Thomas, Dave’s director of national advertising says Dave’s opinion on UFF is:
And for the record, Dave already recommends a mortgage accelerator product: It’s called “write more checks to your mortgage company more frequently.”
Whether you buy into it or not, you have to admit one thing about Dave Ramsey: He’s consistent.
His message of debt freedom has stayed consistent over the last 15 years. It’s this same message that has gotten The Dave Ramsey Show to the level that it is today.
This is why I love it when my phone rings and it’s someone trying to convince me that Dave is the perfect spokesperson for their new consumer debt consolidation service or mortgage accelerator service or any other product that involves taking out a new debt product. If debt is something that Dave has been consistently against for the last 15 years, why do they think he’ll change his mind now?
My phone just rang and I answered it and the conversation started off innocently enough. The lady on the other end (we’ll call her Francis with United First Financial) explained to me that she was interested in advertising her product on our show. My first question to potential advertisers is always “Can you tell me a little bit about your product or service?” I do this for two reasons: First, I find that people like to talk about their product/service, so who better to educate me? Second, if the first sentences out of their mouth include “strip club” or “casino” or “pre-paid legal” then we really shouldn’t waste each other’s time.
Francis happily obliged to answer the question, and within 10 seconds I knew that I was being pitched the mortgage accelorator for the 12th time. When a short break came in the conversation, I politely said to her “Francis, the mortgage accelerator involves a new debt product, right?” She replied with a “Yes.” “Okay, well, Dave is very much against debt, in fact, that’s pretty much what he’s most well-known for and it’s been a fairly significant part of his message for the last 15 years, so it would be inconsistent of him to promote a program that involves a debt product, so for that reason we just can’t do it.”
She couldn’t handle it. She started telling me about her sister or her aunt or someone she knew who had paid off a loan a lot faster with the program and that’s why Dave should recommend it. I again explained the whole “inconsistency issue” and again told her that it just wasn’t something we were going to do. She called me dogmatic. I told her we wouldn’t do it. She called me snooty. I told her we wouldn’t do it. She said this was why she never liked Dave in the first place. I laughed and then told her we wouldn’t do it. I asked her if we could go both go back to work. She said I was accosting her. I told her we wouldn’t do it. She told me she believes these programs are coming from Japan to take over the mortgage industry and that Dave needed to be aware of them and their mighty power. I told her we wouldn’t do it.
Some people just don’t get it.
The message is clear from Dave Ramsey himself and others who have listened to him. He hates the program offered by United First Financial and does not endorse the Money Merge Account. A number of sites are falsely claiming that somehow Dave approves of UFF’s company/product. Some merely implied it because of Dave’s preaching on debt reduction and UFF’s supposed goal to help you do that. Others were much more blatant in their false claims that Dave likes the program.
Dave Ramsey is against United First Financial, the Money Merge Account, and mortgage accelerator programs in general.
I keep getting accused of not doing enough research. Funny. The more research I do, the more adamant I become in the belief that UFF is a horrible company, with a horrible product, and a ridiculous $3,500 fee that could be far better spent by consumers.
You can change your money management skills for free or through a low cost program like Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, or with relatively inexpensive books that will teach you about better financial management.