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Last night I attended the Town Hall for Hope, a telecast by Dave Ramsey held at churches and gathering places around the country and broadcast on the Fox Business Network. The goal of the “Town Hall” was to abate peoples fears and to give a better understanding of all of this gloom and doom being spread around in the media about the economy.

Key Points

Hope does not come from Washington DC, it is comes from you. You need to understand that life is not fair and bad things are going to happen, and they may happen to you. If you take responsibility for yourself, your actions, and your future you will be prepared to deal with life’s disappointments and continue moving forward.

We ended up in our current situation because the economy was doing so well that Americans started to get “fat and sassy.” We allowed the booming economy to blind us from transgressions and poor business practices being performed across the nation by people and businesses everywhere. Eventually, as it always does, this caught up with us and the bottom fell out.

Mr. Ramsey called both the bailout packages and economic stimulus plans stupid. He was of the belief we should just let the chips fall where they may and stop interfering with capitalism. He astutely pointed out how our current economic beliefs are a result of John Maynard Keynes influence on Roosevelt toward the end of the Great Depression. Mr. Keynes was learning in Cambridge England during socialist rule which influenced the way he thought about economics. Dave stated Keynesian economics was flawed, we have been taught that it was what brought the US out of the great depression. In reality the War is what brought us out of the depression because men were at war and woman were in the factories making tanks.

There has been an abuse of capitalism in America and companies have forgotten that they are in business to serve people not milk them for every last cent they have. As a country we need to go back to the basics and allow people, and companies, to fail. Failure is what drives all of us to succeed, if the government takes away the threat of failure what incentive is there to improve and be better.

Questions Asked

Dave had an open forum for questions after his initial speech I highlighted a few of the questions, his response and my thoughts.

Question: Is this our Generations “Great Depression”?

Dave: Dave hopes this is figuratively our “Great Depression.” He hopes it has awoken Americans to learn and become better stewards of our money. He also said that our current economic situation pales in comparison to what was experienced during the Great Depression, it isn’t even as bad as our worst recession.

Me: Luckily Dave is spot on here, this isn’t close to the Great Depression,nor do I think it will be. Things have gotten real bad but we have already seen people becoming more frugal with their dollars and being more responsible. The key measurement of the success of people’s “turn around” won’t be known until some time after the recession has disappeared.

Question: What other options than the stock market are there for investing right now, even though wisdom says in the long run it will be ok?

Dave: “100% of the 15 year periods in the stock market have made money, the stock market is artificially low right now”.  Dave made an excellent analogy stating that the stock market right now is the blue light special at K-Mart, in other words it is a great deal because prices are lower than the data that is out there supports.

Me: There is no better time to buy than when the market is low. It always amazes me to hear people call in to these shows and ask if they should keep investing because they have lost 40% of the value in their 401k. If you continue to put the same amount of money into your 401k then you are buying twice as many shares of the fund as were before. If you did your research and picked a solid fund then you are almost guaranteed that some time in the future it is going to not only be back where it was but surpass it.  This thought process only works if you are in it for the long haul, but who isn’t.

Question: With all of the money going into circulation what do we do with our savings, inflation is coming right?

Dave: Inflation is coming, but because congress is overspending. If we can get congress to quit spending then we can stem this impending tide of inflation.  If you are looking to invest, invest in growth stock mutual funds and real estate.

Me: See the previous question on investing, and I agree that real estate values will increase over time but it will be slow for some time. Buy now while rates are good and properties are priced to sell and you will have a solid investment for years to come that SHOULD beat inflation.

Question: When is the unemployment rate going to get better?

Dave: Jobs going down is a symptom of the economy going down therefore, jobs will not start to increase until the economy starts heading up. He used a simple illustration that the washer and dryer company can not employee people if no one is buying washers and dryers. Once people start buying them again the company will need to employ more people to make the washers and dryers to be sold.

Me: I agree with Dave’s assessment. It just makes sense that you can’t create jobs for people if there is no actual demand for whatever that job may be producing. I wish he hadn’t used the washer and dryer analogy though. My wife wants a new one even though ours works just fine and she looked at me and said with puppy dog eyes “See we would be helping the economy and creating jobs.” I said NO, at the suggestion of Dave Ramsey.

Overall Thoughts

Dave threw down the gauntlet challenging Americans to remember that they are in control of their lives and their futures. We should not rely on others to bail us out, nor should we lay blame for our misfortunes. The US Governments policy of propping up failed companies is only going to prolong the recession, we should let nature takes it course and stop rewarding stupid people. The people who are struggling are the people who weren’t running their business properly so they need to die off and let those who were be rewarded.  The most important part of what was said is the message that each and every one of us needs to educate our selves by reading books, blogs, news articles, and more. The more educated you are about the topics at hand the less likely you are to believe the gloom and doom spread by media outlets and the more likely you are to have hope.

Dave closed with the following three things to do to regain your hope:

  1. Get up, take action, and get moving. When you get moving and inject yourself into the situation you are going to be more productive. The president is not going to fix your life. It is your job to fix your life. “There is a good place to when you are broke, to work.”
  2. Don’t participate in loser talk. If you get around a bunch of losers you are going to be a loser.
  3. Learn to Give Again, not necessarily your money it could just be your time. If you volunteer you will see that your life is not so bad and when you are giving you aren’t looking at yourself.

I also want to point out that there are plenty of other great personal finance bloggers out there, Baker at Man Vs. Debt is one of them and he wrote his own review of the Town Hall for Hope so be sure to drop by and get his opinion. When you are done with Baker you can pop over to the Free Money Finance blog and Gather Little by Little and read their reviews as well.

Did you attend the event? Leave a comment and let us know what you thought about Dave and his message.

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Dave Ramsey, the man behind Financial Peace, Total Money Makeover, and The Dave Ramsey show is hosting a live event on April 23, 2009 at 8:00pm EDT and on delay at 7pm PDT.

Dave Ramsey is the mastermind of the Baby Step process of getting out of debt and a firm believer in not taking on any debt, ever. He was a millionaire at a young age, ended up bankrupt and has since learned to be the master of his finances.  He is a Christian who offers much of his work through Church sponsored programs.

Dave wants to make sure people understand how our economy got to where it is, where we are now, and what we should be doing with our money.  He will open with a half hour explanation on the economy and will then take live questions for the next hour. Dave wants people to decide to not participate in this recession and be stewards of their own future.

These town hall meetings are being held in communities across the country, mostly in churches but with other venues available as well. To find a venue near you use their search form located at

Are you planning on attending the event or is your church hosting a viewing? Let us know in the comments and stop back after to let us know your thoughts.

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With the epic downturns in the economy I have wondered what this really means for my 401k. I know everyone says how “You are in it for the long haul”, “Don’t Worry you are buying cheap” etc. etc. etc.. Are they telling the truth or are they full of Poo? I ran some numbers of my own, just to see, and I was surprised by the results. First lets look at a younger investor who is currently 25 who had $40,000 invested prior to the downturn in the economy and continues to invest $10,000 per year. If you use a standard retirement planner’s number of 8% yearly return over 42 years he would have $4,056,000. If you throw in one -42% year followed by one -5% year at ages 25 and 26 that same person ends up with $3,493,000. That is a difference of over $500,000.

This really doesn’t look that bad, it is half a million but it isn’t that bad. Lets look at the same individual but lets place those two down years at years 20 and 21 instead of 1 and 2.  He is going to end up coming out with around $2,230,000, that is $1,825,000 less than the 8% estimation. They don’t show you that graph before you sign up to max out your 401k.


In both scenarios the average gain is 6.5% but as you can see there is a large difference between the ending cash value.  When retirement planners and investment professionals pitch you these market averages, they don’t explain the massive negative impact losses can have on your investment if they come even mid way through your investment period.

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Beer, Money, and Assumptions

February 18, 2009

How does the beer people drink affect our perceptions of their financial situation? I will give you three examples of people I know, the beers they drink, and what some people would ASS-u-me  based solely on the beverage they hold in their hands, I will then paint a moderately more accurate picture for you, it […]

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American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

February 13, 2009

The House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate today voted today to approve the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This act known to most as just the second stimulus package, is promised to provide the boost our economy needs to get out of this recession. The bill text doesn’t appear to be available […]

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