5 Reasons Dave Ramsey Says You Should 'Act Your Wage'

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  • Financial maturity means controlling your finances and doing what's best for you.
  • Acting your wage can greatly reduce financial stress.
  • It doesn't matter how much money you make -- what matters is how you use that money.

Acting your wage leads to personal and financial freedom.

As you holiday shop this year, you may run across a board game called Act Your Wage! It's the brainchild of Ramsey Solutions, financial expert Dave Ramsey's financial education company. Before we get into some of Ramsey's reasoning, it's interesting to note that Ramsey is not the only one to use the phrase "act your wage."

Urban Dictionary

According to the ever-entertaining (and often crude) Urban Dictionary, act your wage is a "phrase to address those who spend far more money than they really can afford, attempting to seem rich or wealthy."


In the eyes of the (very clever) TikTok creator Sarai Soto, acting your wage means asserting boundaries at work. For many, that means putting in an amount of effort that matches your income. If you're working for $10 an hour, it's probably not good for your emotional well-being to take over your boss's job while they golf or go for a massage.

Acting your wage means doing your job and nothing above and beyond. It's an act referred to as "quiet quitting" where you set boundaries to avoid having your place of work take advantage of your employment.

Naturally, as the trend of quiet quitters has grown, company managers have begun to threaten that they may be the first to go when layoffs become necessary. Their threats do not appear to be having the desired effect. Recognizing that their wages do not keep up with rising prices, workers are pushing back.

Soto insists that quiet quitting does not mean you should do a bad job or disinvest yourself in the work. Rather, it means you do your best without being manipulated into doing more than you're being paid for and burning out.

Ramsey's act your wage

Ramsey likes to say, "Stop buying stuff you can't afford, with money you don't have, to impress people you don't even like."

And that, in a nutshell, describes what it means to act your wage. Honestly, we could not agree more with Mr. Ramsey. Here are five reasons why Ramsey's advice to act your wage is solid.

1. It's about doing what's best for you

Acting your wage means living within your own comfort zone. It's not spending more than you earn, going into debt to impress someone else, or living paycheck to paycheck. It's about knowing that it's not how much you make that matters, but how you use the money coming in.

2. It's about maturity and self-confidence

It takes some people a lifetime to stop trying to impress others. The moment you decide to act your wage, you're taking control of your finances and saying, "I'm great with who I am and I'm not going into debt to look like something I'm not." That's the kind of mature attitude that will serve you well throughout life.

3. It's about planning for the long-term

You could earn a million dollars a year and still not invest for the future. You could be so wrapped up in appearances today that you have to scrimp and save in your golden years. Acting your wage naturally turns your attention to the future, including planning for vacations, paying for your child's education, and retiring in style. Remember, you don't have to be a millionaire to plan ahead, and the earlier you get started, the more time compound interest has to work its magic.

4. It's about setting a good example

As social creatures, we humans take our cues from others. Looking out for yourself and your future by acting your wage will not go unnoticed. Your children will see how you manage money and learn to do the same. Your family and friends will recognize the wisdom in how you handle your income and may be inspired to act their wages as well.

5. It's about reducing stress and living your best life

Let's face it: It's a great feeling to know that you have money in an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses. It feels good to know that you're saving for your old age and you're managing your money in a responsible way. Acting your wage is all about living in a way that does not leave you tossing and turning at night, worried about how you're going to repay high-interest debt.

Acting your wage is not about depriving yourself of anything. It's about being mature enough to control your money, rather than allow it to control you.

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