My wife and I just got back from attending Town Hall For Hope at our local church. We tuned in for an hour and a half, along with around 250 other people, to watch Dave Ramsey host the event live from Oklahoma City. Although it contained no new, magic formula or special insight to solve our current economic woes, I found it to be a very uplifting event. It was more of a back-to-basics pep rally, which was made extremely entertaining by Dave’s unique style, wit, and humor.
Actually, I was surprised it wasn’t a little more political. They did an amazing job of keeping the message focused on “hope” and not on bi-partisan bickering. If you’ve ever heard Dave speak, you know he’s a walking, talking quoting and referencing machine. He was at the top of his game tonight. I would wager that he quoted or referenced forty or fifty different books and/or famous sayings. Most importantly I found myself continuously laughing out loud, which always does wonders for bringing out the true spirit of hope.
Before we dig into some of the meat and potatoes of the actual webcast. You should head on over to the newly updated Town Hall For Hope Website. They’ve got some of the main content up on that site and I’m sure they will be releasing the video at some point down the road.
How We Got Into This Mess
Dave started by first reviewing how we got into the current situation we are in. His basic point of view was that over the last 25-30 years we got sloppy in dealing with all of our prosperity. I couldn’t agree more. He also threw in one of my favorite Dave Ramsey’s quotes:
“Even a turkey can fly in a tornado!”
He later reviewed how the Bush administration had decided to engage in “Bailout Stupidity” and how the new administration just decided it should “Stimulate Stupidity,” which of course drew a big laugh from the audience. Again, it was good to see him dishing it out to both parties.
A Background On 20th Century Economics
I wish a little surprised when Ramsey switched tones and starting talking about 20th century economics. He started by giving a brief overview of John Keynes meeting with FDR and the resulting American polices. He then argued that the majority of the success of Keynesian economics actually was a result of the start of World War II, which boosted the United States economy after a year or so. Ramsey then pointed out Milton Friedman’s believe that the Great Depression was a result of government mismanagement and not failed economic theories.
He also admitted he’s a huge fan of capitalism, but not the type of capitalism that has been going on in recent years. He sighted that success in general relies equally on Political Stability, Economic Stability, and Moral Restraint. It was the latter that was missing over the last few years of our history. He even finished by quoting Ghandi:
“Commerce without morality will destroy us.”
Thoughts On Failure
Dave segues by giving his opinion on what should happen to a restaurant whose “food is cold, service is bad, and prices are high.” As he so eloquently puts it:
“We shouldn’t bail you out… You’re freakin’ lame!”
He points out that we are adults and need to start acting like it. He said we need to get to a point where we can love people enough to let them fail. When we create a culture where no chance of failure exists, then no one has any reason to do their best. Lastly, he talks about reintroducing “NO” into our culture. I can’t say I disagree with any of these points he made.
Ramsey talks at length about stepping up and taking responsibility for our own problems. He discusses he own failures early on in his real estate career. He reflected on how he whined for about the first 6 months, until a good friend sat him down and pointed out it was his fault and his responsibility to learn from it and bounce back. As he quoted, his father used to say:
“You shot it Tarzan… You eat it.”
In addition, any listener of Ramsey before knows he proudly interjects his faith into everything he does. I’m not super motivated by this aspect, however I certainly appreciate someone who is able to really stand up for what they believe. He does also keep it in perspective:
“Prayer is not an excuse to do nothing… You can pray while you’re working.”
Somewhere a little after the halfway point, Dave started fielding questions from audience members, phone callers, Facebook messages, tweets, and texts. By the way, the guy who moderated called tweets, “twitters.” Completely unacceptable if you ask me!
Note: Questions and answers are all summarized based on my notes
Is this our generation’s Great Depression?
- Dave discussed how this is nowhere near the Great Depression.
- Outlined how it wasn’t even the worst recession (pointing out 1973 and 1982).
- Discussed how only an additional 3% have lost jobs, yet 47% say they are scared of losing their job.
The Stock Market seems scary, what other options are there?
- Dave sites that 100% of 15 year periods in the stock market’s history have been positive.
- Don’t invest using a “Thank God It’s Friday” – “Oh Crap It’s Monday” attitude.
- Continuing to invest based on faith in American companies over a 15 year period.
- Believes the market is artificially low due to “fear”
When will home prices rebound?
- “Economic forecasters exist to get weather forecasters credibility.”
- However, Dave thinks housing will actually lead us out of the recession.
- 60% of the foreclosures are in 5 states. Some markets are doing very well.
- Great time to buy a house, if you are debt-free with an emergency fund, etc…
How can a single mother start investing?
- Walks through the baby steps
- Dave talks about how he doesn’t bank with large institutions, because they’ve lost their souls.
- Bank with credit union and local banks so you can still “find someone where you can get your hands around their neck.”
Is huge inflation coming? What can we do?
- “I’ve been hearing the end of the world predicted for years”
- However, if we don’t reign in government spending we will see big-time inflation
What do you think about Gold?
- “Gold is the Snuggie of the investment world… It’s sold on midnight cable and if you buy it, it’ll make you look silly.”
- Gold is volatile and averages low returns over time.
- In a “failed economy,” no one uses gold. Goods and services are the currency in emergencies.
Is this a good time to start a business?
- It’s a really tough time, but also a really fantastic time to start a business.
- All the “duds” are out of business and only the “studs” remain.
- Be prepared for a fight, but when the economy recovers it’ll be worth it.
I’m 55, how do I catch-up on retirement? [From Greenwood, IN... Woot Woot!]
- Don’t make decisions when emotional or when chasing quick results.
- Take it slow and use your income as your greatest wealth building tool.
- Take advantage of special benefits of investing over age of 50.
When is the job rate going to improve?
- Jobs are a symptom and not the actual problem
- Jobs will come naturally after the economy bounces back and shouldn’t really be the focus.
- Don’t wait on the economy or your government. Adjust your attitude and go attack the job market.
How close are we to a cash-less society?
- Although we’ve certainly become more digital, not really that close to being cash-less
- Not a sign of the end times.
3 Steps For Those Struggling With Hope!
- Get Up! Take action. Get moving. At least start doing something to get some momentum. “There’s a great place to go when you’re broke… To work!”
- Don’t participate in loser talk! Surround yourself with positive influences and people. Studies have shown your net worth is usually within 10% of the average of your 10 closest friends. “The average millionaire can’t tell you who got thrown off the island.”
- Learn to give again! America is #1 in giving, but we can do even better. When you give, you take the focus off yourself, which does wonders for hope. We as a country can give the government out of business.
Conclusion and thoughts from friends…
Overall, I felt it was well worth my time. I think Dave is a fascinating speaker and genuinely cares about changing people’s lives for the better. I think this type of media is an amazing venue for any idea and/or speaker. It’s awesome to see so much energy and enthusiasm built around a common cause.
Kyle over at the Suburban Dollar is also posting a review at the same time this morning. I strongly suggest you stop over and check out his thoughts on the event, as well.
NOTE: After posting this I’ve also found some other great reviews from my friends around the community. For more perspective, check out Free Money Finance’s review and Gather Little By Little’s review.
In addition, I received an e-mail from an Joe Ingersoll, a Man Vs. Debt reader, whom also leads a local group here in Indianapolis called Indy Debt-Free Dads. Joe writes:
“Here are some of the highlights that I took away from this evening’s Town Hall for Hope:
- It’s okay to fail. Failure is healthy, and the possibility of failure pushes us towards greatness.
- The best place to go when you’re broke is to work!
- Some of our biggest and brightest companies were started during the previous recessions. Microsoft, Dell, Wal-mart, Hobby Lobby, Chick-Fil-A, just to name a few.
3 things you can do to get involved right now:
1. Get Up & Take Action – Don’t rely on Washington D.C., or anyone else to solve your problems. Take control of your future, your money, your household, your economy.
2. Stop Listening to Loser Talk – Avoid negative people that suck the life out of you. Surround yourself with positive people that will lift you up and hold you accountable.
3. Start Giving – Giving of our time or money changes our mindset. When we take our eyes off of ourselves we become more selfless and selfless people make better spouses, friends, employers, employees, etc.”
Did any of you attend Town Hall for Hope? Have you talked to anyone who has? What are your thoughts? Share with everyone by commenting below!