what does dave ramsey say about home equity loans

Dave Ramsey is a well-known financial expert who offers advice on managing personal finance, including mortgages and loans. When it comes to home equity loans, Ramsey generally advises against them, as he believes they can lead to financial instability and unnecessary risk. He has outlined his concerns and recommendations to help homeowners make informed decisions about using their home equity.

The Dangers of Home Equity Loans

One of the main reasons Ramsey discourages home equity loans is because they can tempt homeowners to misuse their home equity as a quick source of cash. He cautions that tapping into home equity for non-essential purchases, such as vacations or luxury items, can lead to incurring unnecessary debt and jeopardizing the stability of one’s finances.

Moreover, Ramsey points out that home equity loans can carry higher interest rates compared to other types of loans. This means that homeowners may end up paying more in interest over the life of the loan, which can further strain their financial situation.

Another concern Ramsey raises is the potential for a decrease in home values. If housing prices decline, homeowners with a home equity loan may find themselves owing more on their mortgage than the home is worth. This situation, known as being “underwater,” can be financially distressing and limit options for selling or refinancing the property.

Alternatives to Home Equity Loans

Rather than relying on home equity loans, Ramsey suggests considering alternative options to meet financial needs. Some of these alternatives include:

  • Creating a budget: Ramsey emphasizes the importance of building a solid budget to track income and expenses. By managing finances effectively, homeowners may be able to avoid the need for a home equity loan.
  • Building an emergency fund: Having a separate savings account specifically designated for unexpected expenses can help avoid the need to tap into home equity in times of financial strain.
  • Increasing income: Ramsey encourages individuals to seek additional sources of income, such as taking on a part-time job or starting a side business, to alleviate financial burdens without dipping into home equity.

Considering Cash-out Refinancing

While Ramsey generally advises against home equity loans, he acknowledges that there may be situations where cash-out refinancing could be a viable option. Cash-out refinancing involves replacing the existing mortgage with a new one and receiving additional funds that can be used for various purposes.

Ramsey suggests that cash-out refinancing could be a suitable alternative to a home equity loan in cases where homeowners can secure a lower interest rate and use the funds to pay off high-interest debt or make necessary home improvements that increase the property’s value.

Pros and Cons Comparison

Here is a table summarizing the key pros and cons of home equity loans according to Dave Ramsey:

Pros Cons
Quick access to funds Risk of accumulating unnecessary debt
Potential tax benefits* Possible higher interest rates
Potential decline in home values

*Note: The tax benefits of home equity loans may vary depending on local regulations and individual financial circumstances. Consulting with a tax professional is recommended.


While home equity loans may seem enticing, Dave Ramsey advises caution and recommends exploring other financial avenues before resorting to them. By prioritizing financial stability, creating a budget, and considering alternatives such as cash-out refinancing, homeowners can make informed decisions about managing their home equity without compromising their long-term financial well-being.