A crowd of 3,500 people attended an event headlined by national personal finance personality Dave Ramsey at Grace Church in Eden Prairie earlier this month.
The Nov. 10 “Building Wealth Live” presentation was the Upper Midwest stop on a tour of the event described on the Ramsey Solutions website as teaching “how to build wealth – and keep it.”
Ramsey’s keynote speech addressed that topic by citing The National Study of Millionaires. “Typical millionaires put money in their 401(k) and paid off their house,” Ramsey said. “It’s boring as crud.”
Ramsey, a radio host and author, peppered his speech with personal stories, Bible verses, and a retelling of “The Three Little Pigs,” in which he compared the Big Bad Wolf to “COVID quarantine, midterm elections, inflation,” and more.
He also addressed audience anxieties about inflation rates reaching a 40-year high by acknowledging, “The bad news is it’s very real. Things we buy cost more. The price of labor has gone up.” Ramsey also predicted, however, that “in about 36 months, it will have leveled out.”
Ramsey called the current inflation a different kind than that of previous decades, and he pointed to COVID-related manufacturing shutdowns as the cause. “This inflation was caused by quarantine, largely. Once things get back in the supply chain, it will level out. It has nothing to do with rising interest rates,” he said.
Mental health, finance connections
Jesse Parker of Mitchell, South Dakota, said he traveled to attend the event to find inspiration in other followers of Ramsey and his team. Parker, who first began listening to Ramsey’s radio show to keep himself awake on an overnight drive home from Michigan in 2016, visited Ramsey Solutions’ Nashville headquarters earlier this year to participate in a “debt-free scream.”
Attendee Annie Mattson of Chaska said of Ramsey’s discussions of debt payoff and examples of compound interest, “It’s things I had heard before, but we need the reminders.”
Her husband, Bob Mattson, described the couple as “big fans” of Ramsey and said they had previously taken Financial Peace University (FPU), Ramsey Solutions’ nine-lesson course on debt payoff and wealth accrual. According to Ramsey’s statement from the stage based on an audience show of hands, 30 to 40 percent of event attendees had previously taken the course.
The FPU course was among many Ramsey Solutions books and products for sale in the lobby of Grace Church during the event, with several personalities associated with the company on hand for book signings and photo opportunities.
Two of the Ramsey personalities, career coach Ken Coleman and mental health expert Dr. John Delony, hosted a question-and-answer session prior to Ramsey’s keynote speech. Both also participated in a post-keynote panel discussion along with Ramsey, budgeting expert Rachel Cruze and Ramsey Show cohost George Kamel.
In both the panel discussion and a separate interview, Delony spoke about the inclusion of a mental health focus in a finance-focused team. Both he and Cruze suggested a relationship between high rates of credit card debt and high rates of depression and anxiety.
“The core tenets of psychological well-being are safety, community, and autonomy,” Delony said. He indicated that debt owed to creditors impacts feelings of both autonomy and safety in the brain. “If you owe somebody money, you can’t leave your job. The amygdala knows Toyota Motor Company decides we go to work tomorrow,” he said.
“You will never heal from anxiety if you owe somebody money, because the body knows you’re not safe,” Delony said.
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