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Dear Dave Ramsey

Christopher L. Jorgensen
P.O. Box 546
Ames, IA 50010

May 5, 2008

Dave Ramsey
c/o The Lampo Group
1749 Mallory Lane
Suite 100
Brentwood, TN 37027

Dear Dave,

Happy Cinco De Mayo!

I am enclosing a letter I wrote to the Iowa Lottery and a copy of their reply. It would be interesting to get your feedback on either of them.

You have my permission to read either on the air or to otherwise disseminate them. I’ll even waive my normal copyright fee! Hopefully the letters will amuse you as much as they did me, but admittedly, I am pretty easy to amuse.

I am nearly done with baby step one! If you felt like it you could send me like 30k and I could jump a few steps. No? Then how about an autographed photo of a book or something? Either would go a long way towards amusing me.


Christopher L. Jorgensen

enc: 2 copies of letters









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The Dave Ramsey Show
A Dave Ramsey Company

May 23, 2008

Christopher L. Jorgensen
P.O. Box 93042
Des Moines, IA 50393

Dear Christopher:

Thank you for your letter. I certainly agree with you about the lottery. I call it a tax because it is a state-run program specifically designed to take money from one set of citizens and use it to provide services to state residents. In Tennessee, it is a way to finance scholarships. That may sound noble, but in practice it takes money from those less able to afford it and helps educate those who are already better off than most.

I’m not surprised that the Iowa Lottery disagreed. Proponents and employees of lotteries are always adept at ignoring the reality of what they are doing.


Dave Ramsey

DR: rs







The Dave Ramsey Show, 1749 Mallory Lane, Suite 100, Brentwood, TN 37027
Toll Free: (888) 22-PEACE | Syndication: (877) 410-DAVE | FAX: (615) 372-0573 | Web:
A division of The Lampo Group, Inc.

Scan of the letter from Dave Ramsey


Note: Address has been updated to reflect my current P.O. Box.

It took my girlfriend to point out that the postmark for this letter was over a week after the date on the letter, but my first thought was….

Yay! Someone actually read my letter. I think this is a first (OK, to be fair the Iowa Lottery did as well, but their response seemed lame and canned). I think every point was addressed. Of course he didn’t send me the 30k I asked for, but I didn’t expect him to, and I was a bit disappointed he didn’t send “an autographed photo of a book or something.” I’ve been dying for a photo of a book signed by the author. Seriously though, Dave Ramsey is way cool. Check out his website, check out his podcast. A simple signed photo would have gone a ways to inspire me.

Someday I will put into play all what Dave advises, until then, I will continue to be broke.

The only defense of playing the lottery I ever heard, that made sense to me, was from a janitor who said, “I don’t drink, and I don’t smoke. I spend less on the lottery than anyone I know does on booze and cigarettes.” He bought a scratch ticket every day, and played the Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa lottery every week. I may be unclear on the states, but I know he spent $10 a week for years. He’d even won once or twice (or five times).

So I sat down with him, we discounted the small, few dollar winnings, and I showed him how much money he’d have had over the last 10 years of playing the lottery if he’d just parked the same $10 a week in a crappy interest savings account and never touched it. It was way more than his total winnings. He was the perfect example of why I never really play.

That story is nearly 20 years old. I have no idea where that janitor is now, but I bet he spent that last 20 years playing the lottery, and I am also wiling to bet he wishes he’d paid attention to that lesson in compound interest!

One point where I and Dave disagree, and this is because he’s a nicer guy than I am, if poor and stupid people are willing to pay for the wealthier of us to go to college, so much the better! This is a positive cycle in my mind. These kids on scholarships get to go to college, get even more intelligent (assuming they pay attention), and then they come out, smart enough to give the lottery a pass, since they don’t need it, and the poor and stupid keep buying lottery tickets. Darwinism at its best.

But then Dave believes in God, and I don’t, so that probably explains that!

[Update 2/4/12: Lance Osborne sent me Dave’s DVDs. I made a video thanking them both. You can watch it below.]

When I wrote this letter there was no twitter. It was one of my first letters. It’s still one of my favorites. Follow Lance here: @osborne and Dave here: @daveramsey.

Thanks, guys!

By Christopher L. Jorgensen


Have a comment? Put a stamp on an envelope and drop it in the mail to:

Christopher L. Jorgensen
PO Box 546
Ames, IA 50010

Be sure to mention what letter your comment applies to. Adding some cash with your correspondence is a good thing. You can email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) if you must.

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