Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

May 18, 2014

Let's think positively

Kokomo’s Crossroads Community Church will kick off a nine-week course on family financial planning next month.

Dave Ramsey, a syndicated radio talk show host, originated the course he calls Financial Peace University. In 2009, while the community and nation were slogging through the Great Recession, he spoke during a Town Hall of Hope that was simulcast to more than 6,000 locations across the country. The local broadcasts in Kokomo were well-attended.

Ramsey offered some perspective to the home mortgage crisis that gripped the nation. He pointed out half of U.S. foreclosures in 2008 came from 35 counties in 12 states. Twenty percent of the U.S. population lives in those counties.

Eight counties in Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada were the source of 25 percent of the 2008 foreclosures.

Ramsey said investors have made money during every 15-year period in the stock market’s history. Between 1974 and 2008, he said, the value of the Standard and Poors 500 had grown 1,250 percent.

He also offered some historical perspective five years ago.

From 1938 to 1940, he said, unemployment grew to more than 17 percent, the stock market dropped 89 percent and bread lines were real.

After the Great Depression, he said, investors who did nothing with their investments recovered in four years, four months. Those who sold at the bottom realized a 78 percent loss.

During the period from 1945 to 2007, Ramsey said, the average bear market lasted 12.7 months with an average decline of 30.3 percent.

Economists certainly can argue the statistics, but the one thing nearly everyone can agree on is that changing public perceptions is a key to economic recovery.

Ramsey talks of simply refusing to buy in to the negative talk. That’s a message that might well do this frustratingly slow, but steadily improving national economy some good.

If more of us could adopt a positive outlook, the economy might indeed pick up momentum and grow faster than about 2 percent annually.

We have nothing to lose by giving it a try.

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