A crowd of 3,500 attended an event headlined by national personal finance figure Dave Ramsey at Grace Church in Eden Prairie earlier this month.
The Nov. 10 “Building Living Wealth” presentation was the top Midwest stop on a tour of events described on the Ramsey Solutions website as teaching “how to build wealth – and keep it.”
Ramsey’s keynote addressed this topic with reference to the National Millionaire Study. “Typical millionaires put money into a 401(k) and pay off their house,” Ramsey said. “It’s boring as hell.”
Ramsey, a radio host and author, interspersed 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, the midterm elections, inflation” and more. .
He also addressed audience concerns about inflation reaching a 40-year high by admitting: “The bad news is that it’s very real. The things we buy are more expensive. The price of labor has increased.” But Ramsey also predicted that “in about 36 months, it will level off.”
Ramsey called the current inflation different than in previous decades, and he attributed the shutdown to COVID-19. “This inflation is mainly caused by the quarantine. As things move back up the supply chain, it evens out. This has nothing to do with the interest rate increase,” he said.
Mental health, financial relationships
Jesse Parker of Mitchell, South Dakota, said he traveled to the event to find inspiration in other followers of Ramsey and his team. Parker, who first started listening to Ramsey’s radio show in 2016 when he drove home overnight from Michigan, visited Ramsey Solutions’ Nashville office earlier this year to participate in a “debt-free rally.”
“These are things I’ve heard before, but we need reminders,” said participant Annie Mattson of Chaska, referring to Ramsey’s arguments about paying off debt and examples of compound interest.
Her husband, Bob Mattson, described the couple as “huge fans” of Ramsey’s, saying they had previously taken Financial Peace University (FPU), a nine-lesson Ramsey Solutions course on paying off debt and calculating wealth. According to Ramsey’s comments from the stage based on the show of hands in the audience, 30 to 40 percent of the event’s participants have taken the course before.
The FPU course was among the 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 Ramsey’s personalities, career coach Ken Coleman and mental health expert Dr. John Deloney, hosted a question-and-answer session before Ramsey’s keynote address. The two also participated in a post-keyboard panel discussion along with Ramsey, budget expert Rachel Cruz and Ramsey Show host George Kamel.
In a panel discussion and a separate interview, Deloney talked about including a mental health focus in a finance-focused group. Both he and Cruz suggested a link between higher levels of credit card debt and higher levels of depression and anxiety.
“The basic tenets of mental well-being are safety, community and autonomy,” Deloney said. He noted that creditor debt affects the sense of independence and security in the brain. “If you owe someone, you cannot quit your job. The amygdala knows that Toyota Motor Company decides that we will go to work tomorrow,” he said.
“If you owe someone, you’ll never recover from anxiety because the body knows you’re not safe,” Deloney said.
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