George Kamel Shares His Journey to Becoming a Ramsey Personality

August 7, 2023

George started at Ramsey in 2013, buried in consumer debt, but after going through a financial program and following a set plan, he became debt-free in 18 months, bought a house, paid it off early, and eventually reached millionaire status, now co-hosting several financial shows and creating content to help others achieve financial success.

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I mean, I think your tagline was that you were the self-proclaimed “from negative net worth to debt-free millionaire inside of a decade,” which is remarkable, right? Tell me about who you are, where you come from, and what you’re doing right now presently.

Sure, so I started at Ramsey back in 2013 as a temp. They had to formally give me a temp job because I had already graduated from college, so legally I couldn’t be an intern. I started back in 2013, and I was forty thousand dollars in consumer debt between my student loans and credit card debt. I went through Financial Peace University, got onboarded at Ramsey, went through the plan, got debt-free in 18 months. Wow, I met my wife at Ramsey, so we were fully drank the Kool-Aid. We started our marriage debt-free, decided to buy a house, put a whole bunch of money down, decided to pay it off early, and all of those things, on top of investing over a decade at Ramsey, led us to wake up and go, “Oh my gosh, we’re net worth millionaires. This is so weird.”

I think how many shows because we asked you when you came in and say like, “How many hours are you recording today? How many shows do you have going at the same time?” Oh my goodness, so we have the Ramsey show, which I co-host a few times a week. We have Smart Money Happy Hour, which is a show I do with Rachel Cruz, Dave’s daughter, and that’s a real laid-back, conversational, funny pop culture. And then I have my own YouTube channel to compete with you guys, and it’s not – it’s tough competition. The pod’s big enough that we all can be successful. That one is the most me; it’s snarky, there’s all kinds of memes in there, and we’re really doing a little more nerdy deep dives into some stuff to help people avoid some of these trends and traps out there that you’re talking about, help them really just believe that they can win with money despite where they’re at and where they’ve been.

What I think is wild is that right now you have probably one of the biggest voices in the financial space. You have a huge microphone that you’re able to speak through now, and you’ve attained millionaire status at a very young age, like in your early 30s, and you didn’t go start a business, you didn’t go invent something, you didn’t write code, you didn’t sign some professional contract. You did things a little bit differently. I’d love to hear a little bit about your career journey to go from the temp, the guy who had to be a temp because he couldn’t be an intern, to now being the guy with the microphone. Like, that’s remarkable. I think our audience would love to hear how’d you do it, what was the path, what was the journey that you went through.

Yeah, there were really two components. One is the financial path, which is the Ramsey baby steps that anyone can follow. The other piece is the career journey, which I would argue is maybe more impressive. Yeah, to go from where I was to where I am, and that really started just by excelling in my role. I’m a W-2 employee like you said. I don’t have a business. Everyone thinks you have to start a business in order to build any level of wealth. And on a millionaire study, you guys have talked about this – it’s teachers and engineers, people who work for the man, quote unquote, the evil corporations. I just enjoy working for someone else. I don’t want to deal with all of the hassle of running the business. I just want to do what I’m good at. So, I started as an intern in temp and social media, and actually, for the personalities, which is very full circle for me to now be in this role. I then moved into an email marketing coordinator role. I did not have a communication degree, and I was like, I think I read an email before. Yeah, I built websites in Dreamweaver in high school, like computer class, when you used Dreamweaver to build emails. This is great; you should let me do this now. Exactly, so I bought a book on HTML and CSS and convinced them that I could do this, and so I was an email marketing coordinator for two and a half years. I stepped back into a social media coordinator for personalities. That was the first official role doing that and did that for a year. Then Ken Coleman, who was hosting the video channel, hosting live events, doing the MC work, and he was stepping into his personality role, right? So, they looked around, and they went, “Well, we’ve seen George on stage at Battle of the Bands; he’s kind of warming up the crowd, having fun, making jokes. Let’s see if he could do this thing.” So they gave him someone who said that he was like, “Let’s let – well, I had known Ken for years from hosting him, seeing him host catalysts and all these events in Georgia. And so he went, “Yeah, I think he’s got the chops; let’s see what he’s got.” And so I became the protege and kind of they tested me out on camera to do all the in-lobby stuff, and it was all history from there. So, I hosted and emceed for four years before I stepped – here’s the thing. I think because you were very gracious there, but there is, at some point, you had to have advocated for yourself, or you had to – because I can remember my first job interview or first job that I got, I actually went and did something above and beyond to stand out like a peacock. So, you, that was very gracious towards Ken and everybody else, but you, at some point, you had to make an internal decision. I would like to know kind of lean into that. What was the thing because it wasn’t – you’re not – um, all look, there has to be the intersection of the talent and the opportunity. So, what are there any things that, where you kind of, you know, pushed yourself out there in the comfort zone, did the things other people wouldn’t, so you could have this opportunity?

That’s a great point. I’ve never been the smartest person in the room, so I always feel like I had to be the hardest working. I had to be the most prepared. And so if you ask any of the leaders at Ramsey, how do you describe George? They’ll say, “He’s very prepared.” I love it, right? That allows me to kind of be more improvisational if you will. But anytime I had a job in front of me, I just went, “Okay, I can do that, but how do I do more than that?” And it was never to, like, impress the leadership, and, like, I’m trying to – I had no aspirations of being a personality. I didn’t think that was even on the table. I was just like, “Well, being on stage looks fine. I was a musician, and so I love just being on stage and entertaining and giving people that joy.” And so, for Battle of the Bands, it was just like, “Man, the hosting is terrible. I think I could do better than that.” So I raised my hand, I was like, “Can I host?” They’re like, “Sure.” And so anytime there was an opportunity, anytime I was given a little bit of rope, I just went, “How do I crush this?” I love it, yeah. And it was really for my own personal challenge, and the byproduct of that is leadership goes, “Here’s a little more rope. Here’s a little more rope.” So then that turned into me creating the Borrowed Future podcast series that we did on the student loan crisis. Before I was a personality, I was a host, but they were like, “Well, he’s a host; he can do that.” And then that turned into the Fine Print, and when the Fine Print finally launched, it was the same day I was kind of knighted a personality to the public. Okay, so wild, and it was very stair-stepped approach.

I love that you also said, you know, “I was doing this email marketing, so I said, I can go learn how to write HTML, I can go learn how to do CSS.” So, it is this beautiful mix of how do I improve the skills that I already have. Hey, as a musician, I can be on stage. Hey, I understand email marketing, I can go learn this new skill set, recognizing opportunities when an opportunity presented itself. You didn’t just let it pass you by; you jumped on it. And you said, “Having to be excellent at everything that I do,” and it’s amazing how well being excellent at the things you do turns out for you.

Oh yeah, I bet. Also, if we talk to anybody who worked with you on those stages, they would say that “He made everything I asked him to do better than I anticipated.” Because you just said when you tried to always make sure you did everything better because that’s something that’s a superpower Beau has, everybody who I’ve seen rise through leadership usually, if you can look above you and say, “How can I make their job easier,” the entrepreneurial opportunity is huge. And I just get that vibe from you a ton, George. I appreciate that. Yeah, I mean, I’ve definitely, I’ll admit, I’ve been the squeaky wheel. I’m very persistent, and it’s out of passion. So, I was so passionate about the money principles because I’d followed them, and I went, “Hey, there’s a gap. We need to be doing more content for our audience that really brings this stuff to life, that we need to show them the money hacks, we need to show them how to live out this plan.” And so, eventually, they just got tired and said, “Okay, fine, go do it.” And as I did that more and more, opportunity happened. I got to host our personal finance curriculum for high schoolers and really pour my heart into that and bring humor and the financial content to it. And so, all of those things over time, it was kind of like, “Oh, he’s not a personality; okay, well, we got to make him a personality.” It wasn’t this big thing where I had to, like, earn the votes. It was just a natural progression. For more information, check out our free resources.



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