SmartVestor Program

David Ramsay is an American financial author, radio host, television personality and motivational speaker whose 7 “Baby Steps” program focuses on helping people get out of debt. Two of our Financial Planners, Shawn P. McLaughlin and Jeffrey L. Haxton, currently serve in the Dave Ramsey recommended SmartVestor program.

Meet Our Specialists

Shawn and Jeff are involved with the SmartVestor program because they believe in Dave’s philosophy that eliminating debt and investing for the long-term is the ideal way to build wealth and prepare for retirement. It is their goal to help educate and lead those that seek to live their life through the 7 steps.

Shawn McLaughlin

Jeffrey Haxton

Dave Ramsey’s philosophy Baby Steps are meant to be followed in order and it is to be understood that you do not progress to the next step until the previous step has been completed.  Steps 4, 5 and 6 are to be done simultaneously.

Step 01


Save $1,000

The first step Dave Ramsey recommends is to start an emergency fund for those unexpected life events that you can’t plan for. Once you save $1,000, that money should be placed into a new checking account that you can tap into for any issues or emergencies that arise.

Step 02


Pay Off Debt

The second step is focused on helping you get out of debt. By listing all debts from smallest to largest, focus on the smallest balance first. Once that is paid off, add that same payment to the next balance and watch your debt disappear and your cash flow increase.

Step 03


Emergency Fund

The third step focuses on building a full emergency fund. By sitting down and calculating how much you need to live on for 3-6 months, you can build up a solid emergency fund to help protect you and your family from life’s biggest surprises.

Step 04


Invest 15%

Once your debt is gone and your emergency savings are fully funded, the fourth step focuses on building long-term wealth. Take 15% of your gross household income and invest it into matching company 401(k) plans as well as Roth IRAs. By doing this, you can prepare for retirement and build your future.

Step 05


Save for College

Next up: college tuition. Both 529 college savings funds and Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) are tax-advantaged vehicles that let you save money for your kids’ education expenses. Beginning to save now will allow you to be ahead of the game when your kids graduate high school.

Step 06


Pay Off Your Home

Perhaps the most exciting of all Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps, this step is all about paying off your mortgage. It takes the average family five to seven years to pay their home off early, but any extra money you can put towards the mortgage will result in tens of thousands of dollars of interest saved.

Step 07


Build Wealth & Give

Now that you’ve built an emergency fund and paid off debt, it’s time to build wealth and leave an inheritance. Continue to save, budget and set goals for yourself. This will allow you to live in financial freedom and leave a legacy for generations to come.