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 addressed that issue 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 boring as rough.”
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 “the COVID quarantine, midterm elections, inflation” and more. .
He also addressed the audience’s anxiety about inflation rates hitting a 40-year high by acknowledging, “The bad news is that it’s very real. The things we buy cost more. The price of labor has gone up.” Ramsey also predicted, however, that “in about 36 months, it will level off.”
Ramsey called current inflation of a different kind than in previous decades and pointed to COVID-related manufacturing shutdowns as the cause. “This inflation was caused by the lockdown, in large part. Once things get back into the supply chain, it will level off. 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 the event to find inspiration from other supporters of Ramsey and his team. Parker, who started listening to Ramsey’s radio show to stay awake on a late-night drive home from Michigan in 2016, visited Ramsey Solutions’ headquarters in Nashville earlier this year to participate in a “debt-free shoutout.”
Assistant Annie Mattson of Chaska said of Ramsey’s discussions of paying off debt 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 “huge fans” of Ramsey and said they had previously taken Financial Peace University (FPU), Ramsey Solutions’ nine-lesson course on paying off debt and building wealth. According to Ramsey’s statement from the stage based on a show of hands from the audience, between 30 and 40 percent of those attending the event had previously taken the course.
The FPU course was among the many Ramsey Solutions books and products for sale in the Grace Church lobby during the event, with several personalities associated with the company on hand for book signings and photo opportunities.
Two of Ramsey’s personalities, running coach Ken Coleman and mental health expert Dr. John Delony, hosted a question-and-answer session before Ramsey’s keynote address. Both also participated in a post-conference panel discussion, along with Ramsey, budget expert Rachel Cruze and Ramsey Show co-host George Kamel.
Both at the panel discussion and in a separate interview, Delony talked about including a mental health focus on 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 fundamental principles of psychological well-being are safety, community and autonomy,” said Delony. He indicated that debt to creditors affects feelings of both autonomy and security in the brain. “If you owe someone money, you can’t quit your job. The amygdala knows Toyota Motor Company decides we’re going to work tomorrow,” he said.
“You’ll never heal from anxiety if you owe someone money, because the body knows you’re not safe,” Delony said.
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