Slamming a sugar free rock star "energy" drink sixty minutes beforehand helped but this was the best session so far. The message: You're in too much debt, get out now! I did not anticipate having such a positive reaction, to this class. My "I already know that" cynical attitude is being redeemed into something much more hope-filled. Ya'know, after this session I am ready to say I am a Dave Ramsey fan. I even listened to his radio show the day after. I am not ready to become an evangelist yet though. Or am I?
As expected this session was 90% motivation and 10% practical skills training. I think Dave Ramsey likes delivering this session the most as well. It is clear he is driven to inspire people to get mad (really mad) at their personal debt and get rid of it as soon as possible. His passion was supported by statistic after statistic while he talked a little over 45 minutes through popular myths about debt, such as "I'll always have a car payment.", "A home equity line is a good cash reserve," and "We'll switch to a fixed rate in two years before this Adjustable Rate Mortgage increases." Ramsey walks through a dozen or so myths and I recognized that I've been trapped by at least nine of them at one time (a few more than once).
People tend to forget the simple reality that debt is a product. Lending companies are the best marketeers in existence on planet earth today. We forget how good...no...purely excellent they are at what they do, selling money. I loved it when Ramsey pointed out that debt is one of the only products that people get down on their knees and beg to get approved for. Why is it the attitude is such that people plead with banks to get (just) approved to buy a product that the banks themselves are making billions off of? Amazing when you really think about it! Unbelievable power!
I also liked the forget-about-the-past-it-is-what-it-is graceful attitude that Ramsey seemed to display without saying much about it. His focus in this session was to motivate people to act now to become debt free. With all his myth busting he could have wasted time personalizing his debt-is-bad message by flavoring it with ideas like "Shame on you. You are in debt because of your very stupid decision.", or "You're an idiot because you decided to become a slave to someone by letting them help you buy that overpriced car. Can't you see what a dump thing you have done." Ramsey actually does like the words stupid and idiot as evidenced by his extreme use of them. It could have just been me but I was not bothered by it as much in this session. I really appreciated the matter of fact (and in your face) plea by Ramsey - yes you have debt, get out of it now, here's a great plan, it will take hard work and time, and it is possible, you will someday be debt free.
Ramsey communicates the reason to get debt free is for the sake of the personal freedom itself. I agree but I think it is a bit shortsighted. There is a much bigger reason to get debt free. However, I am going to have to break this post up into two parts as I have run out of blogging time this morning. Perhaps you'll feel free to hold me accountable to posting again on the deeper motivations for becoming debt free.