Dave Ramsey Town Hall for Hope
Last night I attended a Dave Ramsey Town Hall for Hope at my church. It was an outstanding presentation and I would like to offer a summary to those of you who missed it. Ramsey is a great speaker and this presentation was no exception. He mixed sound principles with humorous, pithy sayings to create an end result that was both calming and inspiring. The key word for the entire meeting was obviously hope and Ramsey started things off by saying that real “hope” comes from the people of our country – not necessarily Washington D.C. or our media.
Over the past twenty-five years our country has experienced unprecedented prosperity, but as a result of our financial blessings, we started to get a little fat. Things were a little too easy and many people in our nation became careless with their finances. Another result of this prosperity was that even when people made stupid decisions, things worked out because of the free flow of money and credit. As Ramsey said, “Stupid was not getting a stress test, any idiot could make it. Even a turkey can fly in a tornado. But last year the American family had a car wreck.”
Mr. Ramsey said that the panic started last fall with some of the big banks, then it spread to Wall Street, then to Washington D.C. and finally there was a media meltdown. He personally did not believe the panic was warranted at first, but after a trip to New York, where he spoke with friends of his in the media first-hand, he started to believe the panic.
He had encountered the spirit of fear.
As Ramsey reflected on this new found fear, he realized that he needed to claim the truth of II Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” As a believer, he could not allow himself to be dominated by fear, but rather to embrace hope. “Fear is not a fruit of the spirit; fear is the antithesis of hope. Fear is false evidence appearing real.”
Later on during his presentation, Ramsey pointed out that our current economic conditions are nowhere close to how bad things were during the Great Depression, furthermore, we have had at least two recessions, one in 1975 following the Nixon resignation and the second in 1981 following the Carter administration that were worse than current conditions. We have been here before.
Our culture needs a resurgence of a short, simple word: NO!
Mr. Ramsey challenged all of us to embrace hope, but he pointed out that our way of life might need to change a little. The Great Depression was a terrible time in our nation’s history, yet the children of the Great Depression developed the virtues of creativity, thrift, self-reliance and self-control and put them to great use throughout their lifetimes. Those virtues are no longer a part of our society and it is possible that this present financial crisis will inspire a return to those valuable ideas and habits.
Perseverance is the #1 quality of successful people.
In further comments on our culture, Ramsey pointed out that we have developed an unhealthy insulation from failure:
There is an idea that no one should ever have pain, but the truth is we need to love people enough to allow them to fail. Failure is cleansing, it is corrective. Failure will turn you toward excellence. If there is no chance you can fail, there is no reason for you to be your best.
He quoted, John Maxwell, author of the book, Failing Forward, “Success is merely a pile of failures, that you are standing on.” We need to go back to personal responsibility. Work harder, think better. Ramsey himself faced a severe financial trial in his life and after going broke, he spent six months whining and feeling sorry for himself. Finally, one of his friend said, “You know whose fault it is? It’s your fault – you have to fix this mess.”
Work like it all depends on us, pray like it depends on God.
Prayer is sometimes code for “I don’t want to face reality”. There are some believers who even hide laziness behind prayer. Like Dave said, “You can pray while you’re working.” Proverbs 13:4, “The diligent prosper.”
Practical advice from Dave Ramsey as we move forward
One-hundred percent of fifteen year periods in the stock market history have made money. The stock market has come back 22% in the last seven weeks and Ramsey believes that well-run companies will be worth money in the future. He is continuing to invest in the stock market and the the real estate market.
A fifty year low in interest rates plus pent-up demand in the housing market plus huge inventory means that the real estate market is set to come back in a big way.
“I don’t do business with big banks. I support small banks and credit unions; the small banks are safer and more personal than the big banks.”
“We need to get Congress to slow down spending; they are burning money. Our money is becoming worth less, but our economy is not fragile enough for inflation to break us.”
“Gold is the snuggie of investments: it is a crummy investment.”
I came away from Mr. Ramsey’s presentation with renewed confidence and energy to find a way to make things work. There are hurting people in our country and we need to do everything we can to spread hope and help each other dig out of this mess. Ultimately, God is in control and He has promised to meet our needs – but as you put this promise to the test, do it with your boots on.
Photo Credit: radiant guy