In January I mentioned that Michelle and I were taking a 13 week Financial Peace University class that was concocted by financial "guru" Dave Ramsey. This class is offered at many churches nationwide, for details on FPU or to find where you can take FPU click here.
Bottom line: I would recommend taking FPU. While some of my thoughts may sound critical, they are not.
Here are my thoughts on the 13 week class:
1. I went in with low expectations because I attempt to stay on the pulse of financial info. I subscribe to and read blogs like Get Rich Slowly on a regular basis.
2. I didn't learn much the first half of the class, because I already knew most of it. It was basic budget and spending stuff (and more importantly, Dave was trying to instill a tightwad mindset) that I was already blessed enough to know.
3. I was SHOCKED how many people needed to hear all this basic stuff. I know all the stats about credit card debt and the American consumeristic lifestyle, but to see it in person with real people who are normal and intelligent made me realize how many people needed this class. It is sad to me that our education system fails so efficiently when it comes to teaching personal finance. If parents don't know it...then how does the cycle break? One answer is by taking this class.
4. I was hoping to learn about life insurance, buying a house, and personal investments. The insurance lesson and mortgage lesson were very helpful. I know I could've learned this stuff elsewhere, but since I'm young and live in a parsonage, these are not pressing issues at this time. I didn't learn anything new about investing. But, I feel blessed to have known the basics already.
5. I was hoping Dave would be that second "tightwad" voice to my wife. She now cringes at the word "budget" or "would Dave Ramsey do that?" While she is still the "free spirit," she has made great strides (and I'm a big enough tightwad for the both of us).
6. The small group structure helped a majority of the people, whether for learning or accountability purposes. However, for whatever reason, I am not in that majority. I found it extremely redundant (especially once everyone took Dave's vision) and was mostly people sharing story after story. I just wanted the facts so I could go home and do it. When it comes to finances, I don't need an accountability partner besides my wife. I would say the same for the video. While it was entertaining, it had a little too much fluff in it.
7. Michelle enjoyed the class and small group structure.
8. I'm glad I took it in the winter. Now that it's nice outside I have my Thursday nights free again!
9. This class does CHANGE PEOPLE'S LIVES...FOR THE BETTER.
10. As a pastor, it is my role to understand this class so that I can endorse (or condemn) this class. How can I say others should take the class if I haven't? It would be like a pastor saying "you should be in a small group/go to Sunday school" and yet not participate in one themselves. If a Ford dealer drives a Chevy, are you going to trust him on the value of a Ford? I think FPU is good for 99% of people. If you love Jesus, give generously to the church and causes you believe in, spend and invest wisely, and make a boatload of money, then you probably don't need this class. Unless, of course, you want to take/lead the class in order to help others.
11. I think the last lesson, on giving generously, will make a difference in a lot of people's lives.
And enjoy this comic from Adam at Home. If you are married, then you've probably had a similar conversation. (click to enlarge)