When it comes to child care costs, Dave Ramsey is the one who’s ‘dumber than crap’

This article originally appeared at Baptist News Global on February 9, 2024.

“Come on dude. That’s just dumber than crap. Seriously. Good God,” the conservative evangelical financial celebrity and New York Times bestselling author Dave Ramsey ranted at a parent who called into his radio program asking for advice.

Ramsey’s co-host Jade Warshaw piled on, “It’s time to take the kids off of filet mignon.”

The parent’s crime?

Rick Pidcock

Paying $25,000 per kid for child care while his wife completes her medical residency to become a doctor.

“You bought ’em a college?” Ramsey mocked. “What you got ’em in? Some kind of dadgum, I mean are they going to Harvard? What the crap?”

Attempting to sound measured, Ramsey told the caller, “I’m going to be as nice as I can, Dave. You guys have lost your minds. … I don’t care how much money you make. There’s not enough money in the world that doesn’t make that stupid.”

“Find you a free summer camp. Anything during the summer time.”

Then Warshaw suggested: “Find you a free summer camp. Anything during the summer time.”

“So we’re going to borrow money now,” Ramsey scoffed. “We’re going to take out student loans for the 4-year-old.”

Parents all over social media have responded to Ramsey’s ridicule. And their consensus appears to be that Ramsey — who is worth a reported $200 million — and perhaps many people from older generations, are out of touch with the child care costs young parents face today.

This is not the first time the celebrity Christian financial guru has drawn ire for his brash demeanor. His approach to family finances is austere and unbending. And so is his personality. Employees have accused him of abusive and controlling behavior.

The real world today

It’s obvious Ramsey’s treatment of the caller revealed his privilege. But it is also fair to note the caller enjoyed a level of privilege as well. The caller mentioned having a $110,000-a-year job, while his wife was making $70,000 as a medical resident. While their financial stress due to child care costs is legitimate, many young parents today don’t make anywhere near that kind of money.

When our first child was born in 2010, my wife, Ruth Ellen, was making $31,000. We couldn’t imagine losing that income and relying solely on my income as a janitorial and floor cleaner. But when we looked into child care centers, the costs were $1,500 a month.

For her to continue working, we would have had to pay $18,000 for child care, which would mean she would be working full time all year for just $13,000 after child care costs. That was 14 years ago. And it was assuming we had just one child. We ended up having five. So Ruth Ellen quit her job, became a stay-at-home mom, and we lived below the poverty line on my cleaning income for a decade.

Child care costs could be even higher than we know

According to a study by the Women’s Bureau at the Department of Labor, the most recent data collection regarding child care prices was taken in 2018. Adjusting for inflation to 2022 dollars, the Department of Labor found average child care costs in 2018 were the equivalent of $5,357 to $17,171 per child, depending on the child’s age, the county of the provider, and the type of child care provided. This accounts for between 8% and 19.3% of the median family income.

If a family were to have two kids, it would have cost them more than $30,000 in 2018 to provide child care for their infant and toddler.

Continue reading at Baptist News Global.

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