Find out how to cultivate positive personal financial planning strategies. We can start by harboring hope.
In today’s financial times, there is a marked lack of hope in the United States, even from those who promise hope and change. In fact, there is such a presence of fear — anxiety over job loss, fear over job security, fear over the family budget, fear over the economy as a whole — that hope seems to be the furthest thing from our minds as a nation… and a world.
Dave Ramsey’s Town Hall For Hope
Enter then, the Town Hall For Hope by Dave Ramsey, which I’d like to share with all of you interested in what this financial evangelist (Ramsey) has to say. Allow me to give you a synopsis of what went on there.
Held on the campus of Lifechurch.tv in Oklahoma City, OK, this 90 minute town hall meeting was specifically designed to give the facts surrounding our current economic crisis; the meeting was to help counteract fear, and to give hope to anyone listening. Ramsey lectured and took questions from YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, phone callers, and audience members.
Ramsey decided to hold the town hall in Oklahoma City — just a few miles from the geographic center of the continental United States because, he said, hope begins at the center of America, and emanates from the heart of the nation. (Apparently, we don’t expect hope to start from the outer reaches of the country: from the coasts or at the seat of government, for instance.)
What Caused The Financial Crisis?
Dave Ramsey launched the Town Hall for Hope with a little bit of history on our current predicament. Our economic troubles started when the government decided that they would bail out pure-and-simple stupidity. The government believes that the road to economic healing can be addressed by financial bailouts.
Although failure has been proven throughout history to be one of the greatest catalysts for success — and the greater the failure, the greater the resulting success — both political parties in Washington didn’t want any of the big corporations to fail. Our government decided that large US/International companies were simply “too big to fail” and that we couldn’t take the risk of facing the consequences of such failure.
Ramsey disagrees with these views. He says: “We need to love people enough to allow them to fail,” applying the same philosophy to companies as well as to government programs. This financial guru has been assuring us that we are not facing “the next Great Depression” nor are we facing the worst recession since the 30’s (according to statistics). The recessions of 1973 and 1982 were, by far, worse than the current downtrend we’re experiencing now because we’ve been lucky enough to avoid the double-digit inflation that’s been the staple of those past recessions.
Because our nation’s experiences in the 1930’s changed an entire generation’s view of money (and what was truly important), Ramsey hopes that this recession will also allow us to see a similar shift in philosophy. This talk was then followed by a Q & A period, where Ramsey offered advice on college funds, retirement funds, gold investments and retirement plans for those who were affected by the crisis.
How To Restore Hope In Times of Uncertainty
The Town Hall for Hope concluded with Ramsey’s three steps to increase hope and decrease fear. Here were his suggestions:
1. Do something and get moving!
First, you need to get out of the house and start doing something — take a walk, go for a run, take the kids to the park, work outside in the yard. Get off the couch and turn off the TV. Whether you are unemployed or not, get your body moving — preferably out the door. For the 90% of workers in the country who do have a job, Ramsey gave one of his grandmother’s favorite quotes: “Know a great place to go when you’re broke? To work!”
2. Avoid negativity. Avoid the gloom and doom.
The second step to increasing hope is to avoid “loser talk”: the woe-is-me, everyone-is-out-of-work-everywhere, the-sky-is-falling talk. This may sound harsh, but you may need to cut off some family members, friends or favorite news personalities for a while if they’re bringing your mood down. When you’re no longer exposed to negativity, you will find your own views and attitude changing for the better. Hopefully, over time, you’ll find your hope restored.
3. Learn how to give.
A great way to increase hope is to learn how to give again. The American people (who may be suffering an image problem right now) are known to be the greatest givers in the history of the world. Other countries turn to America when they need help. On that note, something wonderful happens to anyone who gives of themselves (time or money). When your eyes are on others and not on yourself, your problems and worries take a back seat and hope returns — even if it’s simply taking stock of our fortunes relative to what others may be experiencing. All things considered, maybe our lives aren’t so bad after all? By getting involved with charitable giving, you may just give yourself an extra energy boost!
Throughout the meeting, Ramsey emphasized that hope is not found in the policies of Washington, DC, but in the hearts and minds of Americans.
What’s Next For The Town Hall For Hope?
This movement is not over. The Town Hall For Hope is still gaining members, through its website, Facebook, Twitter, and other electronic media. The Town Hall for Hope video can be viewed multiple ways; it is available for purchase on streaming video, for download, and on DVD through this link. The 90-minute event is also available for free viewing (with commercial interruption) at Hulu.com (search for The Dave Ramsey Show, labeled on May 2, 2009).
Contributing Writer: Rachel Strong