In a little less than I year I have talked and shared personal finance information with strangers with a combined debt of $1,446,500. Yes, you’ve read that right, almost one and a half million dollars.
In each of my speaking events I hand out two pages of information. One a feedback sheet and ask those in attendance to provide their debt total and feedback or comments on my presentation. The second sheet is a one page cheat sheet that list blogs, books, podcast and steps to get out of debt.
For their participation, I always randomly selected two people who took the time to fill out the first sheet and give away two personal finance books.
Some of those feedback sheet come back with debt numbers, other come back blanks and often the words “I don’t know” are written.
I found value in hearing other people’s stories both success and failure when I went looking for answers on tackling our $109,000 worth of debt. Dave Ramsey uses many real-life examples in his book “The Total Money Makeover” Hearing someone perform a debt free scream on his show sealed the deal for me.
In that instant I knew someone else had been in the same situation we were in and successfully came out the other side. Like anyone who’s in need of support you surround yourself with like-minded people, people who have shared experiences.
My hope is that by sharing our debt story, the ups and down, the successes and failures that it does the same for someone else sitting out there listening. I share my best tips for others to begin their journey, and the second handout sheet will hopefully spark them to seek out additional information.
My favorite part of my speaking events are the questions and answer section at the end. This is where I really get to see what people are facing. I can get a good sense by the type of question they ask. It also gives me a good challenge to react on my feet and I’m not afraid to say I don’t have they answer.
My venues have been public libraries. The rules for the libraries prevent me from collecting contact information of the guests. I’m not prevented from giving them mine, which I always do. Occasionally I will get additional follow-up questions. Which just reinforces that things are moving in the right direction for the individual.
I have said it before the real-life interactions are far more rewarding than my blog ever has been. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the blog, but it’s difficult to gauge its impact. I realize a blog has potential worldwide reach even while I sleep, and once I publish a piece of content it has an evergreen factor, but standing in front of a group of people delivering information that may change their life is hard to compare too.
There are several others already doing some amazing work in our community helping others. I wanted to take some time to highlight some of these individuals for their great work.
Ever heard of a guy names J.Money? Well if you haven’t he’s teamed up with Nate St. Pierre over at RockStar Finances to start the Rockstar Community Fund (RFC), it’s a project where money is pooled together to go out and do good in the community.
Currently they have several active projects. Here are two I wanted to showcase.
- The #GivingCard Project – Is their flagship project where they hand out $20 VISA cards every month to those who will use them to create unexpected joy for someone else.
- #DebtDrop – They also keep their eyes open for those struggling hard with debt, and then surprise them with a no-strings-attached $50 to help them pay some of it off.
All the details and further information can be found at Rockstar Community Fund.
I’m so proud and honored to know I was a bit of Ruth’s inspiration to step outside her comfort zone and speak recently about debt reduction.
Ruth who blogs at Prudence Debt Free and Fruclassity is one of my favorite writers and now she has added public speaking to her resume.
These are just a few examples of some of the great community work that is being done to help others. Please let me know in the comments below about any others or something you are working on. It would be great to highlight as many as possible.
I write about my own speaking events with humility. My goal is to challenge the personal finance community to do more, thinking beyond your blog. Given the unsettled time in the world today wouldn’t it be a great time to extend a hand and help someone in need.