Don't be afraid.
That's the advice of Tennessee's Dave Ramsey, a nationally renowned personal money-management expert who shares his message via radio, TV and his best-selling books.
There is a way to survive the economic tsunami sweeping the country and Mr. Ramsey will present his ideas on the subject tonight during a live broadcast to more than 6,000 churches, businesses and community halls across the United States, Canada and Mexico.
"There is a lot of fear, understandably so," said Bobby Daniels, spokesman for Oakwood Baptist Church in Chickamauga, Ga., one of the locations for Mr. Ramsey's presentation.
"But the fear should not be the basis for making decisions. Dave teaches a very systematic approach to living a debt-free lifestyle," said Mr. Daniels, a certified instructor for Financial Peace University, the personal finance program Mr. Ramsey created.
Mr. Ramsey will talk about the state of the economy, what is behind home foreclosures and what the future holds, Mr. Daniels said. Mr. Ramsey will take questions from the live audience in Oklahoma where he is making the presentation. He will also answer questions that have been submitted before tonight via social networking Web sites including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
The nation is going through some though times now, Mr. Ramsey's spokeswoman Meg Alcorn wrote in an e-mail Thursday.
"However, we'll never recover until we learn to take responsibility for our own families, plan for our own future, give generously to those in need, and overall, replace fear with hope," she wrote. "That's what we're going to talk about in Town Hall for Hope."
Mr. Ramsey's lessons are laced with common sense and Biblical teachings, according to Alisha Lee, a certified Financial Peace University instructor at Oakwood Baptist. They change more than just finances, she added.
Mrs. Lee and her husband "paid off $40,000 in 12 months," she said. "But we learned so much, it changed our marriage. We learned a whole new way of communicating about money."
Michael Swanson, another instructor at Oakwood, said the teachers joke among themselves that they sound like they "drank the Kool-Aid." But three teachers have similar stories of paying off major debt in under two years.
Robert Cargile, associate pastor of Living Covenant Church in East Brainerd and a Ramsey instructor, echoes their stories. He started the course in March and he and his wife have paid off two credit cards so far, he said. Their marriage has improved as well, he said.
"Most of Dave's lessons are free," Mr. Cargile said. "The curriculum costs $100, but I tell people if they can't afford that to come to my class and sit in and listen."