A crowd of 3,500 people attended an event led 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 addressed that topic by citing The National Study of Millionaires. “Typical millionaires have put money into their 401(k) and paid off their house,” Ramsey said. “It’s as boring as it is gross.”
Ramsey, a radio host and author, peppered his speech with personal stories, Bible verses and a retelling of “The Three Little Pigs,” comparing the Big Bad Wolf to “COVID quarantine, midterm elections, inflation,” and more .
He also addressed audience concerns about inflation rates hitting a 40-year high by admitting: “The bad news is that it’s very real. Things we buy cost more. The price of labor has risen.” However, Ramsey also predicted that “in about 36 months it will be flat.”
Ramsey called current inflation a different kind than that of previous decades, and he pointed to COVID-related manufacturing shutdowns as the cause. “This inflation was mainly caused by quarantine. Once things come back into the supply chain, it will even out. It has nothing to do with rising interest rates,” he said.
Mental health, financial connections
Jesse Parker of Mitchell, South Dakota, said he traveled to attend the event to find inspiration from other followers of Ramsey and his team. Parker, who first started listening to Ramsey’s radio show to keep himself awake on an overnight drive home from Michigan in 2016, visited Ramsey Solutions’ headquarters in Nashville earlier this year to participate in a ” guilt free scream.”
Attendee Annie Mattson of Chaska said of Ramsey’s discussions about debt payoff and examples of compound interest, “These are things I’ve 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 repayment and wealth growth. 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 address. Both also participated in a panel discussion after the keynotes with Ramsey, budget expert Rachel Cruze and Ramsey Show co-host George Kamel.
In both the panel discussion and a separate interview, Delony talked about including a mental health focus in a finance-focused team. Both he and Cruze suggested a link between high rates of credit card debt and high rates of depression and anxiety.
“The core principles of psychological well-being are safety, community and autonomy,” Delony said. He indicated that debt to creditors has an impact on feelings of both autonomy and security in the brain. “If you owe someone money, you can’t leave your job. The amygdala knows Toyota Motor Company decides we’re going to work tomorrow,” he said.
“You will never heal from anxiety if you owe someone money because the body knows you are not safe,” said Delony.
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