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November 18, 2010


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I'd say it's not worth it. You know what you need to do. You just have to do it.

The biggest thing the seminars will offer is the structure necessary to learn at a relatively good pace and efficiency.

Universities can only offer public knowledge, but do offer that 'system' to leanr in! Hope this helps.

I'm in the "I don't need to pay" camp, but I understand that there are people out there that do need to pay.

People learn differently. Some people will get far more out of reading/listening to podcasts/etc on their own than they would sitting in a lecture, but others simply don't retain information like that. They need the seminars for the information to really sink in.

For others, it can also be a psychological thing. If they're "alone" getting the info online/in books, they might feel that they can't accomplish their goals because of self-conscious/low-self-esteem issues, but at a seminar surrounded by other people with presumably the same similar goals, it can easily turn into "I'm not the only one that needs this help, other people need this information too, I can definitely put this information to use."

If you are the type that learns well from reading and doesn't need the psychological boost of a group, there's no reason to pay for a seminar, in my opinion. But only you can answer that for yourself.

I think the conference/paid classes offer some motivation as well as leadership that can prove beneficial. That being said, you can often find someone who has gone through these courses and can lead a discussion. Both are designed to be a sort of small group experience as the groups can offer motivation and accountability. Why not ask around your local church for people who may be interested in leading your group or, if you don't attend church, use to organize a group that can go through the course together? Crown usually suggests each member(or couple if you do this as a couple) lead a different week. That spreads the leadership aspect around the group. I have taught both courses and can testify that you do not need to pay for an event to do either of them. They are both small group designed and simply require someone to host the group and a willingness to be held accountable and encourage others on the journey.

I agree it's all about learning styles. For instance, I'm stronger learning by reading and doing rather than listening. If I attended a seminar, I've had all the materials read in about five minutes and I would fidget the rest of the time.

If your not sure what your strengths are, I'd recommend finding a learning styles quiz online. I don't think this seminars have any special information or insider secrets. It's the delivery method that makes a difference for many people.

Back in the 90's I attended a number of investment seminars that were organized by the company whose mutual fund database I have subscribed to since 1993, shortly after I retired. I attended the seminars as both a subscriber and later as a presenter.
These seminars, held in many cities throughout the USA have contributed immensely to my success in the financial markets. I learned a great deal from the presentations that were made. I met a large number of other database users that later purchased database software that I produced, and I also met several presenters whose database software I purchased. The whole concept of seminars is to learn, gain, and share information about a subject that you are very interested in. I listened to presentations from many well known individuals in the investment world, bought some of their books, and years later I feel that the experience was a Win-Win for all concerned. The seminars also had a social side to them in the evenings so my wife always accompanied me, enjoyed them immensely, and with her outgoing personality, was instrumental in forming many great friendships that have lasted through the years. It also helped that these seminars took place during the fabulouse nineties when the stockmarket was doing very well.
I can teach myself how to do many things by reading books on the subject but there's nothing quite like meeting people face to face, watching their visual presentations, and also having hardcopies to take home for future reference.

@Old Limey - I think it's a bit of apples and oranges. Investment seminars - and I attended a couple too - teach some specific information about markets, different forms of investments, how they work, how to read companies' earning report, bonds terminology, etc. Additionally, those of us who go to these investment seminars generally have money to invest, and the amount we pay for these seminars is insignificant. Some of the seminars are even free and you get a free dinner too.

From what I heard - and I've never had any use for Ramsey by the way - is what Ramsey seminars teach is part common sense, part motivation and part simply incorrect information. The common sense part can me summarized in "live below your means" line. A lot of details can be found on the internet. His method for debt reduction results in waste of money on interest, but hey if it motivates some math-challenged people who need "great I paid off this debt" type of reinforcement and can't get similar satisfaction from "great, the total amount of my debt is $$$ less and my net worth is $$$ more". But even for fans of his method - it all can be found on the internet. There is no specialized knowledge you may get on investment seminars as Ramsey knows next-to-nothing about investments. People who are in debt need to cut expenses, pay off debts, and save money. It's common sense. The money they'd pay for these seminars should go toward debt reduction.

If I were to summarize the most important lesson that I learned from attending financial seminars was contained in a presentation given by a professional money manager from Gergia. It helped that a few of his slides were very humorous with some "Redneck" jokes which helped to get his message across vividly to everyone in the auditorium, generating lots of laughter in the process.
The basic message is a very simple one that has stayed with me ever since.

The message is "DON'T LOSE MONEY".

It sounds very obvious but few people take it seriously.
I have kept a daily record of the value of my portfolio going back to 12/28/1992 shortly after I retired and the day that I rolled over my company 401K into an IRA and consolidated all of our assets into accounts at Fidelity Investments. I have never had a losing year since that date and our portfolio has grown by 2,028% or by a factor of 20.28 during those 18 years.
If I were to take just a 5% loss at this time in my life the amount of money that it represents is 20.28 times what it would have been when I retired and it's a number that anyone would lose sleep over. Not only do you lose a lot of money when your portfolio becomes very large but the gut wrenching pain while it is happening is not only devastating, but it feels a lot worse the older you get.

I stay right on top of my investment holdings all of the time and take whatever steps are necessary to quickly limit my losses when the market is in decline and to increase my gains when the market is in a strong uptrend. Call it what you like, fund selection, market timing, or whatever you like. I simply call it "Common Sense".

The lesson of "Don't Lose Money" ties in directly with the reason why it is so important, and the reason is, of course, because of the "Power of Compounding" which is something every investor also needs to fully understand. Of course lots of investors have never heard of the mathematical term "exponentiation" so here's an example.

If you have a scientific calculator then use the y key to raise 1.182 to the power x where y is 1.182 (or 18.2% annual return) and x is 18 (the number of years) and you will have calculated the factor by which your investment will have grown over 18 years if it grows at an annual compound rate of 18.2%. The answer is 20.28 or 2,028%.

The cost of that seminar and a hotel room for a few days really changed my life for the better and my wife and I had a great time in Tampa Bay where it was held.

I know Dave Ramsey and others mean well but, you need to remember this is all still part of the ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY. There is good advice, like get out of debt, but these so called gurus preach about Mutual Funds that get 12 percent annual return and other things that are just far fetched. There are better places to get financial advice than from entertainment news.

I could see some seminars being worth the cost, but not Dave Ramsey's. I don't even agree with his advice much of the time-- the "debt snowball," the actively managed "growth mutual funds" as examples-- so I certainly wouldn't advise somebody to pay him for it.

You can get info from Ramsey and Crown and FMF and other well-meaning, informed people without paying. Just my opinion, but I say stick to that. Just make sure you verify what you read/hear with the smell test and by looking for other opinions.

Just my 2 cents.

How about this for a rule of thumb? Starting now, try to save 10X the amount of money it costs to attend the seminar. When you have that amount, then you can afford to pay money to go to the seminar.

If you have trouble saving that amount of money, you can't afford to waste any money attending the seminar. You need to just do more of what you already know--trim expenses and save save save--in order to get into a better financial place before thinking about it.

I haven't been to any Ramsey seminars.

I went to Ramsey's site to see what the seminars actually cost.

It says that "Class Cost: The first lesson is free! All you need to do is register to attend. If you want to continue, the cost is around $100 including materials."

It says the 1st class is free. So you could go to the first class and see if you think the seminar is worth it or has enough value over the free stuff to justify the $100 cost to attend more.

If it cost me a million dollars to make 2 million dollars, would it be worth it? My life was forever changed by attending a Dave Ramsey seminar. The $100 my wife and I spent to attend that class a few years ago was worth every penny and more.

Everyone has different skills and abilities. Some people just can't understand money and having it laid out for them in a simple step by step plan helps them.

How about this example. Every bit of information necessary to build a nuclear reactor is available. How many of you think you could build it even after 3 years of reading the books and listening to a radio show about it? Some people can. Some people can't. Neither is better than the other.

The only pertinent question for the person above is "are you debt free, living on a budget and prepared for the future?" If you already are, then no, you probably don't need to pay the money, although I have attended additional Dave Ramsey Live events just for the motivation and entertainment.

If you aren't debt free, living on a budget and prepared for the future after all the reading and listening you've done, then why not? Maybe you do need to attend the class and have someone walk you through the process. It will pay for itself in no time at all.

Whether it is a Dave Ramsey seminar or "just some other" guy, consider that you are paying to network.

I wouldn't pay for a seminar, but I imagine that one advantage over the web and listening to a podcast is the ability to give and get feedback.

It's good to actually talk to people who share the same interest.

@MC, WTF? You don't even know the reader's financial situation. Why so harsh? Maybe, just maybe, the reader is in a better financial situation than you.

People spend their money $100 on crap all the time -- at least this would bring value. It's no different than someone buying 10 personal finance books -- some you may agree with, and some you may not agree with, just like Dave Ramsey's teachings.

A Dave Ramsey seminar is no more than just another way to learn personal finance, but from different perspective. I wouldn't pay for it, but I wouldn't be so harsh to someone who is thinking about it. Geez.

Get it at the Library for Free, the 1st step in changing habits!, THAT is saving $$, first ep in financial awarness/responsibility. If you're already "there" then attend and enjoy for the entertainment value, all the info is just gravy...

Since the questions mentions Dave Ramsey's seminars, and I have listened to the material, I'll speak to that specifically. In my opinion, these seminars are worth the money under the right circumstances. The bulk of the material in Dave Ramsey's seminars is not broadcast on the radio show or contained in his books. This, of course, is good business sense. And the information is very valuable. But how does one know if they should purchase?

Before attending the seminar, familiarize yourself with Dave's Baby Steps plan. This is key to understanding his viewpoint. So pick up his The Total Money Makeover and read it. You'll also want to make sure you have the cash to pay for the seminar. Purchasing the information on credit will only assure that there is so much time between attaining the education and using the information that a great deal of it's benefit is lost. So get out of debt first!

Last, make sure you have your emergency fund fully established, that is to say, make a plan for how large your emergency fund should be, then save up that much plus the cost of the seminar. Expanding on this, you need to have a plan for the entirety of your financial life. Walking into the seminar without a plan means you are unprepared for deciding what to change. But if you plan on attending a seminar about making financial plans, don't execute your plan. Have your plan, attend the seminar, then edit your plan. Some weeks after you finish editing your plan, then you are ready to execute.

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