- Various disappointing stories about Dave Ramsey’s behavior:
- Dave Ramsey, Christian personal finance guru, defies COVID-19 to keep staff at desks
- Spies, Cash, and Fear: Inside Christian Money Guru Dave Ramsey’s Social Media Witch Hunt
- Ex-Ramsey Solutions Employee Launches Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit
- Congress Plans Next Small-Business Aid Package
- Pandemic Brain is Real (image below)
- COVID Brain' and the New Frontiers of Neuroplasticity
- Always believe Allissa when she tells you she doesn’t like someone…
- Get your books in order to prep for the next round of small business aid.
Sponsor message This episode is sponsored by Acuity, our software of choice. Acuity is the scheduling assistant that makes it easy for both traditional businesses and virtual businesses to keep their calendar full. Acuity is the business suite that takes hours of work off your plate so you can focus on the fun of your massage business. From the moment a client books with you, Acuity is there to send booking confirmations with your own brand and messaging, deliver text reminders, let clients reschedule, let them pay online so your days run smoother and faster as you get busier. You never have to say, what time works for you? again. Clients can quickly review your real-time availability and book their own appointments. You can get a special 45-day free offer when you sign up today at massagebusinessblueprint.com/acuity.
Michael Reynolds Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Massage Business Blueprint podcast, where we help you attract more clients, make more money, and improve your quality of life. I'm Michael Reynolds.
Allissa Haines I'm Allissa Haines.
MR And we're your hosts. Welcome to our episode today. We're glad you're here.
AH We are delighted you're here. Michael, it's snowing where you are, correct?
MR It is, a couple inches, and it's still coming down.
AH Woo-hoo! And --
MR I'm going to shovel my driveway later on today.
AH I was going to ask you if you had a snowblower yet.
MR No, not a snowblower, just a good old-fashioned snow shovel.
AH Yeah. We have those too. And we are expecting 8 to 12 inches tomorrow, so the kids are like --
AH They were super psyched up until I -- about a snow day until I reminded them that it would probably just end up being a remote day instead. One of them is a remote day anyway no matter what. So now they're actually hoping for power outages so that they don't have a remote school day and it's a legit snow day.
MR Oh, nice.
AH I'm like, all right, well --
MR Well, Eli and I had snowball fights in the dark this morning before school.
AH Oh, that's adorable.
MR Yeah. It was fun. He was very excited.
AH All right. Sorry. Michael, what are you reading this week? You got a lot of stuff you're reading.
MR All right. I've got a lot of stuff. I have two different topics. One is a bit disappointing, and I'm going to share this because -- for a number of reasons. One is more than one person has emailed me and said, hey -- or sent me a message saying, hey, have you seen this because as many people know, I have been kind of a fan of Dave Ramsey for a while, and also because it's been a topic of discussion in more than one group I'm in as well, including a group of financial advisors and some other financial groups as well, including one you invited me to, Allissa. So I'm going to preface this by saying Allissa is pretending like she's not going to do the "I told you so" thing, but she is. And I know it, and I get it, and it's fair. So I'm prepped for that. So I feel and hear the "I told you so's" already out there.
But I've been reading about Dave Ramsey. So some backstory here: I have been a fan of Dave Ramsey for a while up to now because his books, his material, his content, was really inspirational to me as I kind of turned my financial life around. Reading his books kind of inspired my wife and I to get out of debt, to pay off six figures in student loan debt, to really kind of get on a simple plan in the right direction, to avoid debt; I still don't use credit cards. A lot of things have been really helpful about his stuff. I know he helps a lot of people too. He's very successful; I applaud his success. He's a gazillionaire, has a gazillion followers, all that stuff.
But there's some stuff that has come to surface lately that has been really disappointing, and it's changed my opinion about Dave Ramsey the man. And so here's a few things that I've discovered and have kind of come to light in the past week, really, in the news.
One of those things is his attitude toward COVID. There's been a story that has been released about his holiday party. And he apparently is having a huge indoor gathering or had a huge indoor gathering or -- inviting everybody in the company to come together indoors, not requiring masks, basically not following any COVID safety protocols at all. Along with that, on the air, I've heard a clip of -- I watched a clip of his -- one of his podcasts that he really kind of goes off on the medical community and says pretty insulting things like, hey, you don't have to know math to go to medical school, and really just talks down to these really hard-working, smart, medical professionals who are trying to help us.
AH Oh. I -- your wife is a physician assistant.
AH That must have broken her heart. I'm sorry. Okay. Carry on.
MR She is. Yeah. She's a physician assistant. So my wife is among the medical community that is trying to help people. And he just kind of blatantly just insulted the medical community.
He also is requiring people to be in the office at their desks. He's not allowing remote work. Now, I have always been disappointed in Dave Ramsey's perspective on remote work. Before all this happened, for years, I have made no secret that I'm disappointed in his policy of butts in seats, like, you have to be at work at your desk. And I think that's a really antiquated view of work. I think remote work and flexible workplaces are -- they should be the norm. And he's always been against that. But during COVID, if there's any time to be flexible, this is the time to allow people to work from home, which pretty much everybody in his organization can do. They're a knowledge, content-based business. But no, he requires people to be in the office, butts in seats, 8 to 5, no masks required, in his office. So that in itself is pretty bad.
I also did some more digging, and I also found some other very concerning things. One of those things is there's a lawsuit that was filed against him this summer by a woman who was pregnant that is alleging that she was fired by Dave Ramsey after she became pregnant and -- because she was not married, because it violated their code of conduct. And she's filing a lawsuit. And there's a -- allegations this is not the first time this has happened. So discrimination against pregnant women, I mean, come on. That's -- how low can you get? Now, going beyond that --
AH And way to force someone into the welfare culture that you are so disgusting about.
AH Like, okay, no -- ugh. You shouldn't need social assistance, and then you fire someone who's pregnant. So good job, buddy.
AH All right. Carry on.
MR And then -- I know you're enjoying this, so I'm going to keep going. [Laughing] And then I also did some more digging because I -- I'm not one -- I don't like to just demonize people based on sensationalized headlines. I like to figure out what's going on. And again, this is all just news reporting, so who knows what the details are. But the pattern here is pretty clear.
So I did some more digging, and there's a whole bunch of people that report that his workplace is generally just toxic in a lot of ways. One of those is he does a lot of workplace bullying. He has kind of a streak of paranoia that causes him to really go after people that speak out against him. There's a whole Facebook group that's a secret group of people that are ex-Ramsey employees that talk about this stuff. Apparently, he infiltrated that group with some kind of spy or something and then found out what people were saying and then really made life difficult for people at his organization that were in contact. It's all sorts of stuff. There's rumors of him pulling out a loaded gun during a staff meeting to make a point about something, just all sorts of really toxic stuff.
And so -- I mean, all this together is really -- I didn't really know about this stuff. I didn't really -- I didn't know about his perspective on COVID, although I'm not surprised. I didn't know about the workplace toxicity stuff that went beyond just the stuff I already knew. I didn't know about lawsuits. So in discovering all this stuff, I think it's important for me to just publicly state and just to kind of admit that I think I was wrong about the person here. I think I was wrong about Dave Ramsey or -- who knows if he's just -- I think he's probably been this person all along and we just didn't know it. So while I still -- again, I'm really grateful for the Dave Ramsey that wrote the books that kind of inspired me to get out of debt, and there is a lot of stuff that I agree with in his content, I don't feel comfortable aligning myself with him anymore.
And so people are kind of asking me about this because I've been very vocal for a while. I've led Financial Peace University classes; I've promoted his podcast a lot; I've given his books away. His program has helped a lot of people. But I no longer align myself with him. I think I've kind of made peace with the fact that he's not someone I feel comfortable aligning with. My values are different. My values are, treat people with respect even if they don't follow your expectations of how people should do things. I treat people with respect no matter what, give them flexibility and empower them to work in ways that make sense and give people quality of life, listen to medical professionals who are trying to help us and don't contribute to the problems that are plaguing us this year with COVID. So that's kind of my take. I wanted to share that.
And so if you don't see me promoting Dave Ramsey anymore, this is why. There are plenty of other resources and other ways to get financial education, and Dave Ramsey is not one that I will endorse anymore. So that is what I have been reading in -- well, one of my topics anyway.
AH All right. Yeah. So let me jump in here before we move on to the next thing you're reading, which everyone's going to love. Okay. The "I told you so" -- so everyone is aware -- is a loving and joking "I told you so" because Michael and I, who have been friends for ten years plus, ten and a half years now, we -- there have been many times where I have been like, I don't think I like that person. And Michael's like, oh, no, they seem cool, blah-blah-blah. And then a couple of years later, they do something just horrifying, and Michael's like, okay, you were totally right about them. And so now, whenever a new sponsor approaches us or a new person wants to collaborate or whatever, Michael's always like, what do you think of that person? Before I answer that email, what do you think of that person? And it's a loving joke between us that I am sometimes the better judge of character in massage --
MR And I believe you, to be fair.
AH -- in the massage world. Oh, yeah. He's always been very respectful of it and laughing and whatever. So that's the "I told you so." I'm not a monster.
Second, the number of people who emailed me and been like, has Michael seen this yet, is hilarious. And so I love you all for that, for wanting to make sure that Michael maybe heard it from a gentle source.
MR Believe me, I've seen it.
AH I know. So -- and the next thing I want to point out is that there's this whole debate about cancel culture, like, someone does one thing wrong and you write them off forever, which, frankly, is pretty much how my life with my family goes. Nonetheless, I want to point out that you can love the art and not love the artist. I'm not a fan of a lot of things Kanye West has done and said. I can still enjoy an earlier album. I am heartbroken that the artist Sia created a movie about an autistic person, and it's deeply ableist and horrifying and misrepresenting, and she has doubled down on the horror of this movie, because I love Sia's work. We -- I love Harry Potter; not so much a fan that J.K. Rowling is totally anti-transgender. And so we can love the art that we once loved, and we can appreciate the knowledge we gained from something and still not love the artist or the educator anymore. And that's okay. We all are just going to have to reconcile ourselves to that as we create circles of resources that more align with our values.
And the next -- the -- my final point is that this can be a great thing in that it's going to encourage us. And like Michael said, there's no shortage of resources. There's no shortage of women leading financial education in a way that has not been done before, in a way that makes financial literacy accessible to lower income people, to women, that is -- embraces the challenges that single parents and single-parent small business owners have and presents financial literacy in a way that is helpful and not derogatory and punitive. So this is a really good opening for us to push ourselves to find and recommend those resources and also for us to make our own.
And frankly, Michael and I -- we did the "Mind Your Money 2020" series for ABMP in the magazine for this year, and our plans are to create a financial literacy course for small business owners. So that's our next step that we're working on. So soon enough, 6, 12 months from now, we're all going to be a little better about having different resources. We don't have to revert to Ramsey's baby steps because we're going to have a million other resources to cite that will be more inclusive and loving and empowering and etcetera, etcetera. I've said enough.
So thanks for that. Thanks for bringing this topic in, Michael. I really appreciate it.
MR Yeah. And a couple more fun sidenotes, so -- and by the way, Dave Ramsey doesn't care what I think, so it's not that big a deal. But I just wanted to kind of share my perspective. But I've -- I got in a fight with a basic white dude in a group, which is a lot of fun. [Laughing] And I -- as many people know, I'm a financial advisor as well, and I'm in a group for financial advisors. And it was really encouraging because usually when you think of financial advisors, you think of stuffy white dudes that are hyper conservative and the Ramsey-style people. But the group I'm in -- the network I'm in -- is much more progressive. It's full of a lot of diversity, a lot of progressive thought, and it's really nice.
And the group I'm in, someone posted the same material, and a lot of people kind of piled on and said, yeah, I don't -- I'm not aligned with Ramsey anymore. And one guy even said, hey, I'm a SmartVestor Pro; I'm probably going to cancel my membership in the program. I told people I took the financial coach badge off my website from Ramsey and stuff like that. And then there was this guy that was like, oh, how dare he have his holiday party, and how dare he have his freedom, and all kinds of stuff like that and basically just went on this big basic white dude rant. And I got in a fight with him. It was a lot of fun because I really held my ground. And then he kind of attacked me, and he was like, blah-blah, I can't believe your distancing yourself after he helped you and your wife and everything. And I'm like, here is what I think. I feel comfortable with how I feel about this. And he kind of backed off. So that was fun. So I thought you'd enjoy that little anecdote as well.
AH I love it when you get your aggression out, man.
MR Yeah. So yeah.
AH What else are you reading because the next bit is -- could be some good news.
MR Yeah, it could be. So the -- this morning, which is, as of Wednesday this morning when we're recording, the Wall Street Journal money briefing podcast had some news on the next COVID aid package for small business that Congress is working on. Congress actually seems to be legit working on it. I think things might happen in the next one to four weeks. So the next small business aid package looks like it's going to be more targeted, which is really good in more than one way.
So one way is that it is expected to target small businesses that are under 300 employees. Now, for most of our listeners, 300 employees sounds ridiculously large. But in the grand scheme of things, that's considered a small business. What happened in the past with the PPP program was that you had these huge companies just grabbing PPP money without really needing it and leaving a lot of small businesses high and dry. And so the idea is to target it specifically towards smaller businesses and not necessarily tie it to payroll but to tie it to other ways of demonstrating need, which will be more flexible and more appropriate for small businesses. So in my opinion, that is really good news for our listeners because as solo and micro businesses, you need this aid. This is what we need. We're the ones that need this particular type of aid that's meant for small business. So that looks promising.
There also is expectation that the aid will be heavily targeted toward favoring community banks and institutions that serve communities with minorities and underserved populations so that those populations don't get left behind as many did in this last round of funding because they didn't have strong relationships with financial institutions. So that is on the radar, and it is being addressed so that other communities that have been left behind have institutions that have support behind them to bring that type of aid to underserved business owners. So that's good news, in my opinion, as well. So I'm hoping that something happens in the next one to three to four-ish weeks on this. I -- there's -- speed is of the essence, so I feel like it's going to happen fairly soon. So that's what I've been reading about as well.
AH All right. Well, thank you for that. I read -- did a bunch of reading on that last night as well. And I'm crossing my fingers and hopeful as we are entering this winter of our discontent.
AH All right. Who's our first sponsor, Michael?
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AH All right.
AH Yay. Okay. So let me get my notes back here. Okay. I want to -- just want to note that we are recording the second-to-last episode of this year. And I know that we're holidaying right now, and there's a lot happening right now. So the next couple episodes are not going to be the "here is a thing you can do to build your business" because I think that we all need a little bit of a brain break from that.
So what I wanted to talk about is pandemic brain, and you heard me talking about it for months and months now and mentioning how this situation has led to me feeling a little foggier, and my focus is off, and yeah. I know that we're all feeling this way, and I wanted to acknowledge it. I read an article, and I will put the link in the podcast notes, called "Has the Pandemic [Brain] Given You Brain Fog? If So, You're Not Alone." Now, keep in mind that brain fog isn't a medical term, but it's a pretty easy-to-understand self-description, and you can kind of know it when you feel it. And it's related to a lot of different health conditions -- thyroid function, anemia, fibromyalgia -- but it can also be a stand-alone problem. And likely, it -- caused by chronic stress, so not like a day of stress where something big happens, but little bits of stress or large bits of stress every single day long term.
And when you experience this kind of stress over time, it can be detrimental to your mental health but also to your mental functioning. And it could just be that you've got brain fog as a result of anxiety or depression. It could be that you've never experienced this before but you are now because of the weird stress circumstances we're all in. But acknowledging it and recognizing it and caring for yourself with a mind to, like, okay, this is a normal thing that I'm feeling because of the situation around me, is -- it can be really hard. And I've seen a lot of people acknowledge it online, thinking, okay, you're -- we're in the middle of a seriously long-term crisis. Of course you can't be as productive as you used to be, and in the next breath being like, well, I can. Why aren't I? I should be. So that's kind of Part 1 where I want to note that this is all really, really hard. And we are not -- there are very few people who are working at their best right now. And if you're feeling this way, you're not alone. It's not abnormal. And if at all possible, cut yourself some slack if only on your expectations of yourself and your performance.
Now, the second part of this is the silver lining maybe. And hat tip to Til Luchau, the -- and he's the co-host along with Whitney Lowe of The Thinking Practitioner podcast, which is lovely. And he sent me a link to this podcast about "'COVID Brain' and the New Frontiers of Neuroplasticity." And Til and I had a conversation on this podcast a -- months back about how I was feeling in the midst of all this zaniness and him kind of talking about ways to work yourself through and be kind to yourself and what's going on. So he saw this podcast, or he listened to it and thought of me. And it's "'COVID Brain' and the New Frontiers of Neuroplasticity." I will, again, link to -- I'll link to it in the podcast notes. And it's a very thoughtful look at the stuff going on in our brains and how we're actually creating -- because of this wacky, new, different situation that none of us have ever experienced before. It's really encouraging new neuropathways in our brains caused by our new routines, our new patterns of working at home.
And they pointed out a really interesting study done on the brains of nuns who had lived together for long periods of time and different things about how there were markers for Alzheimer's in many of the women's brains, but they never exhibited symptoms because of the kinds of structure they had and the responsibilities and the chores and the challenges of biblical study and the -- I'm not finding the right term -- the -- I cannot find the term -- studying it deeply in a challenging and thoughtful way and conversing about this piece of literature. So it was really interesting and kind of affirming that 86 billion neurons and just vast seas of connections that are constantly changing their strength and un-connecting and reconnecting elsewhere, and it's why -- I'm totally quoting from the podcast notes here -- it's why you are a slightly different person than you were a week ago or a year ago and how our brains are changing structure.
And this kind of jolt of the situation we're in, there could be some positive parts. There could also be some really negative parts where we're creating pathways for depression and more negative stuff too. But there's definitely a positive bit to jolting our brains into very different routines and lives. So that's it. I just -- I want to offer some validation that decision-making is really hard right now. We are bombarded with opinions of righteousness on either side of any particular issues. And we are -- we hear stories of people working with minimal precautions in their massage room, and they're all doing just fine. They've been doing that for eight months and had -- nobody's gotten sick. And then we get stories of people who are taking all of the precautions in their massage room, and they're getting sick.
So these decisions we have to make: do we work or do we not work? Do we work and then when do I -- when should I stop? Should I send my kids into physical school, or should I keep them home? Should I care about their academics if they're -- I'm going to air quote this -- "falling behind," or do I let it go? Do I get the groceries delivered but they're going to cost more and I might not get the things I really need and want, or do I go to the store and risk exposure? I'm a single parent. What if I have to take my kid to the store with me and then dealing with the looks from people who are like, why did she take her kid to the grocery store, because you have no choice. Should I get my teeth cleaned? Do I want to be sitting in a room with an open mouth for half an hour where someone before me was sitting in the room with an open mouth breathing into the air for a half an hour? What about my eye exam? I went to an eye exam yesterday, and it was great, and they had all these precautions, but I realized they didn't have air cleaners in every room. And that stressed me out. I won't go again until I'm vaccinated.
Everything feels really scary and like we can't trust anyone. And so we may have, because we have managed to not get sick or anyone we love has not gotten sick, or if they have, it's been really minor, we start to get lulled into this complacency. Meanwhile, I got jolted last week because my jack-hat brother, who was symptomatic but thought it was allergies, went out to eat twice while he was symptomatic. And I am beside myself when I heard that because I know people who are going out to eat, and what if one of them was sitting next to my jack-hat brother, who didn't think to get tested until several days later, and now there's a -- and mind you, he got sick because he had people over at Thanksgiving. So duh.
And then I felt -- I don't want to say I felt comfortable working, but I have felt okay working because of all the precautions I'm taking and how I'm screening my clients. And then the other day, 5 minutes into a 90-minute massage, one of my clients tells me about how she ate out three times over last weekend because her and her husband are pretty sure the governor's going to close down restaurants soon. So clearly, she didn't read or remember the part where I'm like, hey, if you're dining indoors in restaurants, please don't schedule a massage right now. So then there's the stress of how to deal with that situation. Do I rebook her or not? So everything is super hard right now. Our brains are not always dealing with it well.
And now my final note here is that -- I will put this image in the podcast notes. I came across this image, and it was created by -- kind of in regards to long-term crisis and maybe even PTSD-related. It's this chart with four columns. And there's Thriving, Surviving, Struggling, and In Crisis. And each column kind of gives characteristics of what's going on with you internally and in your life to kind of put you into a column. And you kind of look at these columns, and you can see where you are. If you're thriving, you're feeling calm and able to take things in stride. If you're surviving, you're nervous; you might have inconsistent performance, muscle tension, headaches, low energy. And then there's struggling, feeling like you can't keep up, and that's when you start avoiding interaction with coworkers, fatigue, aches, pains, disturbed sleep. And then there's in crisis, feeling numb, lost, out of control, nightmares or flashbacks, unable to fall or stay asleep, and intrusive thoughts.
And I found this image a couple weeks ago, and I showed it to a small group of friends. And I was like, you guys, I'm somewhere between surviving and struggling right now. And the bulk of them were like, I'm somewhere between struggling and in crisis. And I kind of looked at it all again, and I was like, oh, yeah, that's where I am. Okay. And I felt -- I felt comforted knowing that a bunch of friends and colleagues also felt the same way and that everybody was comfortable saying that. And it -- just having that conversation with these colleagues made me feel a little bit better about where I'm at instead of feeling guilty about not functioning as well as I wish I was and I wish I had been for the past several months.
So I'm done. The moral of the story is, if at all possible, cut yourself some slack. If at all possible and there's help available to you in any way, that will destress you in any way, try to get that help. And again, I'm going to say it again because it matters: Cut yourself some slack; lower your expectations. We're all doing the best we can.
And that is what I have, Michael.
MR Well, thank you. That's great. Thanks for voicing what a lot of us are feeling. So I appreciate that.
AH Yeah. I'm a hot mess.
AH Who's our next sponsor?
MR Our friends at ABMP.
Sponsor message ABMP, we're so grateful that you sponsor our podcast. They have CE courses you will love. They're available for purchase or included free with your membership in the ABMP education center at abmp.com/ce. I was in there the other day; they have so much cool stuff: hands-on techniques, complete ethics requirements, discovering all kinds of hands-on stuff, like "A Detailed Approach to Low Back Pain" from Allison Denney, who I adore. All ABMP memberships include 200-plus video-based, on-demand CE classes. If you're not a member, you can purchase access for single courses or CE packages. And if you want even more from ABMP, and you do, you should check out the ABMP podcast available at abmp.com/podcast. I am hooked on Ruth Werner's "I Have a Client Who…" podcast, which is literally questions and thoughts from massage therapists sent in about a particular health issue. There was an episode on bursitis, an actual -- a massage therapist got bursitis in his elbow. So interesting. I learned so much more about bursitis in that 20-minute podcast episode than I did in massage school or anything since. Super applicable. You know how I feel about Ruth Werner. But anyhow, that's ABMP. Thank you for being a sponsor. You can check it all out at abmp.com.
MR All right. Quick tips. You go first.
AH Okay. I got to flip back to my page here. So my quick tip is just always to believe Allissa when she tells you she doesn't like someone. That's it. Lesson learned. Done.
MR [Laughing] Are you sure you're done now?
AH I'm done.
MR Are you sure? Okay. Just making sure. My quick tip is going to be kind of a repeat you've heard before. It's the drum that we've been banging for a while. But we're going to bang it a little more. So my quick tip is get your books in order to prep for the next round of small business aid. As we know, there's expectation that another round of aid is coming once Congress gets their act together and passes that. I don't want to see any of our listeners kind of left hanging because they can't produce financial statements or tax returns. So I say this with all the love and kindness in the world. I'm not judging. I'm not slamming. I'm saying this with love and kindness: Please, today, make sure that you can produce financial statements. Make sure that your tax returns are done. If they're late, get them done today. You will need those things in order to apply for the next round of funding, whatever that is. So if you need a referral, contact us. We can give you referrals. If you just are totally stuck, contact us. Consider joining our Community, where you can get a lot of support and help from others. So do something now. Get ready. That is my quick tip.
AH Excellent. That's a good one. And it's -- these things are hard, but they're not that hard once you get rolling. And you're going to have to do this all for tax prep anyway, so just get it done.
MR Yeah. Yeah. All right. That's what I got. Well, thanks --
AH All right. Then we're done. Take us home.
MR Yeah. Thanks, everyone, for joining us today. As always, you know where to find us. And if you don't, hey, I'm going to tell you. It's massagebusinessblueprint.com. The website is the best place to start if you're a new listener and want to learn more. We have a great online community full of really smart people who will support you and help you. So you can check that out. You can join free for 30 days if you want to try it out. You can email us directly at email@example.com. If you want to send me any more dirt on Dave Ramsey, that email address gets to both of us, so you're welcome to use it. So thanks, everyone, for joining us today. Have a great day. And we'll see you next time.