Got Hope?

If you’ve visited the site, you know I’m a huge Dave Ramsey fan. Last night, he held a Town Hall for Hope, which was broadcast on TV, Radio and 6,000 locations worldwide. We watched it at our church.  He made a lot of wonderful points.

One of the best messages from the entire night was you’ve got to stop being afraid. Fear is killing the economy. The media keeps telling us this is the worst economy since the Great Depression. They tell is this is the next Great Depression. Really? How soon we forget.

During the Great Depression, the stock market dropped 89% and unemployment went as high as 25%. At it’s lowest point this year, the stock market dropped 57% from it’s all time high. The market is up 22% in the last seven weeks for an overall loss, since the all time high, of about 45%. The unemployment rate in February was 8.5%. That’s only 4% above full employment.

But Kristin, what about housing? Housing is a mess! There are problems in the housing market, but many of the foreclosure problems are localized. Here are some stats from Dave’s site (I’ve seen them elsewhere as well):

  • 50% of United States foreclosures in 2008 came from 35 counties in 12 states.
  • 20% of the United States’ population lives in these 35 counties.
  • Eight counties in Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada were the source of 25% of foreclosures.
  • 4.7 million homes were sold in February, 2009 alone, and only 860,000 homes were repossessed all of 2008.

I know there are homes in your area that are being foreclosed upon and it’s affecting your home value. My house has also lost value, but my house is where I live. It’s not an investment for me. It’s not an ATM. It’s my home. My ultimate goal is to pay off that home so I don’t have to pay for a home anymore. I’m not looking to upsize every few years. I’m not looking to cash out my equity to buy a car. I’m happy with the house we bought. It needs some work but I love the character and we plan to stay in this house. We plan to pay off this house and live debt free someday.

I have hope. I’m not afraid of the economy because we are in a better financial situation than we were in before. We’ve saved up a small emergency fund. My husband’s job is pretty safe and he works in a good field where he could get another job. Maybe not here but somewhere. I’ve got skills and we don’t rely on much of my income to live. There is still a lot of demand in my field and worst case scenario, I could go wait tables if I had to and we’d still get by. I’m not afraid to work.   Dave quoted his grandmother last night during the town hall; she would say “There’s a great place to go when you’re broke: to work!” Brilliant!

I’ve decided I’m not participating in the recession anymore. By that, I mean I will continue on the plan Jeff and I put in place. We will continue to save, we will continue to give, and we will continue to spend. Although, I gotta tell ya if the economy thinks it’s going to recover on the amount we spend, it’s got another thing coming.

How is the fear affecting you? Are you ready to let it go or did you not allow it to grip you in the first place? What are you doing to weather the downturn?