Financial Peace University Week 1

Last week I started attending Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. If you are not familiar with this course it’s a 13 week program where “you’ll learn how to beat debt, build wealth, find bargains, invest for the future, give like never before, and much more!” Each lesson is 2 hours long and includes a one hour video of Dave Ramsey speaking and then an hour of discussion in the classroom. Here is the link to the Dave Ramsey site if you want more information about the course. I also did a longer write up myself about the course over at Money Talks which includes my reservations about attending.

Every week for the next 13 weeks I’m going to be writing about my experience about the class. So you guys are going to get a full in-depth review of Financial Peace University.

I was really excited to see what this course was all about. I was equally excited to meet the other “students” and watch their reactions and hear their thoughts about the program. There were 4 couples, including my husband and I, and 3 single women. No single guys I noticed!

The Class Materials

We got our class materials which included a hardcover workbook, a leather bound envelope system “wallet”, hardcover book Financial Peace Revisited which is the textbook for the class, audio CDs of all 13 lessons, a questionnaire to fill out at certain times during the course so you can track your progress, and two paper sleeves for your credit cards that say “Warning: Using this card may be hazardous to your financial health!” which are pretty funny. There is also a CD-ROM that has documents on it like budgets and whatnot, as well as some sales materials to give to your friends.

All in all I was impressed by the quality of the materials. You can tell that Dave Ramsey really believes and expects his program to work. It’s not like “hey, I’ve already sold you the class here’s a bunch of one time use junk that I promised.” The envelope system wallet is made to be carried with you every day and actually used. It’s not a prop. The books are hardcover and made to be read and reread. It’s nice stuff.

My hosts started and ended class with a prayer. I had talked about my concerns about the religious factor in my original write up on my site. Like I said there, I’m not religious myself but I know that program is going to have Christian undertones. I’m fine with that, but it’s not my thing personally. I was curious how that was going to go. Overall it’s wasn’t bad. The recorded Dave Ramsey portion of the class had a few religious parts where he quoted the Bible. But it wasn’t annoying even to me, and I’m pretty sensitive to noticing that stuff. How religious the class is completely depends on the hosts. But I would say it’s not a reason to be deterred from the class. If it’s something that’s a real concern for you I would suggest emailing the hosts ahead of time and discussing it with them.

The Class

Ok, once we all had our books and had said our prayer they started the DVD. I’m kind of a Dave Ramsey noob. I’m certainly familiar with his work, but mostly it’s from reading blogs and articles written by people talking about Dave. I’ve never listened to his radio show or seen him on TV. I’ve read one book, Total Money Makeover, but other than that I’ve never heard from him. So that was interesting. He’s a funny guy! And totally passionate about what he does. This session laid the ground work for the baby steps and talked about saving your $1,000 baby emergency fund and then skipped ahead and talked about then building it up to a full 3-6 months of expenses.

He also talked about saving up for purchases instead of buying them on credit and started to introduce his “gazelle intensity” but didn’t call it that. He used some pretty extreme examples to get his point across which my husband felt was unnecessary. He talked about having a dying kid and needing $5,000 to save his life, how you would do anything you needed to do in order to get that cash together. Which I understand what he was saying, that when it’s important to you, you will find a way to make it happen. But the dead kid was a little much. I mean, I’d sell my organs on the black market. I’d beg on the street. I’d commit crimes. Whatever! Would I do that to build my emergency fund? No.

During the DVD you can follow along in your workbook.  The workbook hits all the important parts of the presentation and has places for you to fill in the blanks as you go along.  Good if this is brand new information, a little elementary if you are more familiar with this stuff.  The workbook also has copies off the graphs and charts he presents.  I’ll be honest, I haven’t opened the text book yet.

Overall, it was a very interesting presentation and he brought up a LOT of good information. He talked about the magic of compound interest, which a favorite topic of mine! He also tackled the belief a lot of people carry that money somehow makes you evil. He talked about the evil rich person and how money is amoral, meaning it doesn’t have morals. He pointed out how you can be a jerk with or without money and you can be good with or without money. Which is true.

At the end of class we were given homework. Our homework for this week is to make a “quickie budget” and calculate how much interest we pay each month. So I have that to look forward to.

Next Week: Relating to Money

Have you taken this class before? What was your experience?

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16 Responses to “Financial Peace University Week 1”

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  1. Jenny says:

    My husband and I took FPU back in January 2008. We started his plan immediately following with our first budget in February. In the first month with using the cash system and allocated spending plan we had over $800 leftover that we did not spend. We currently have paid over $58000 of our debt and have an additional $14, 340 left to go besides our house. Many murphies have visited us in the process that we paid with cash solely from our sinking funds. Dave is so confident that it works because if you buy into it and stay focused it really does. We are so THANKFUL we went to his class even though we were both skeptical if it was worth the class fee. Good luck to you!

    • Wow, that’s awesome! $58,000 paid off. Such a success story! Thanks for sharing.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Murphy is a you-know-what Jenny! I know the feeling. We’ve experienced Murphy more in our Baby Step 3 process than we ever did when we were paying our debt off. To the tune of 18,000 bucks, but you know what? We never had to get a single penny in debt to cover any of our emergencies! It feels absolutely amazing to say that especially after looking back and seeing how we used to live with our money. Knock that $15K out and I look forward to hearing about the glorious day you become debt free! 😀

  2. Kira says:

    We did FPU in 2008 too. I thought I was bringing him into learn stuff I already knew. Boy was I wrong! In the class, we got our credit cards down from 14 to 3. We’re currently at 1 (the biggest one.) To this day we still swear by Dave Ramsey and I always know I’m getting off track when I ask myself “would Dave do this?” and the answer is No. Dave Ramsey has changed our lives. We’ve also probably paid off more than $50,000. Survived lots of Murphies. We lived without cable for a year. We sold one of our cars and carpooled for a year. We sold a lot of crap and have never been happier. Those I talk to who have taken the program and followed it, also swear that Dave Ramsey has changed their lives, their marriage, etc. Trust me, it’s TOTALLY worth it!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      14 credit cards? Holy cow Kira! haha! Financial Peace University helped us transform our financial situation and we are extremely thankful for it! Thanks for the great comment! Keep up the great work you are doing for you and your family! 😀

  3. Gail says:

    I am so grateful for Dave Ramsey too! I loved the class & have paid off about $45,000 in debt in the past year. I would recommend it to anyone, just wish I had done it when I was younger.

  4. I’ve taken FPU and coordinated it a few times. It’s definitely a life changing course for a lot of people. We didn’t have a lot of debt to begin with – in fact I think we only had the house to pay off at that point. But we did build our emergency fund, crank up our investments and pay off the house, all because of this class. That totally set us up for success when I lost my job a few years ago.

  5. With all these success stories maybe we should look into FPU. I have Total Money Makeover but haven’t finished reading it (I’m probably going to start from the beginning). If we can get rid of our debt, we’d be smooth sailing.

  6. How much does the course cost? I’m looking forward to your series on this, Ashley! Now how do I get a relative to go who doesn’t think they need to go?!

    • Ashley says:

      If you buy the course materials online it’s $120. My instructor charged $93 so it seems to vary a bit. I believe you have a lifetime membership once you pay though. So you can take the course again at any time for free.

  7. Just wait until you get to the 5th class. I can guarantee you that there will be a few people telling their success stories after only attending for a month. It always happens – people paying attention to their money.

    Ashley, I hope you will be able to share those moments in your updates. That’s where the real story is!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      That’s what I told her Steve! The 5th class (Dumping Debt) is my FAVORITE! I especially like it towards the end when you know who gets pumped up and starts pacing the stage ranting about debt. I LOVE IT!! 🙂

      • Hey Brad. You must have went through FPU a while back. (I did too, and still have the original instructor’s kit DVD set I received when completing the Workplace Training). When Lampo revamped the program in 2007 and recorded in HD they moved the Dumping Debt lesson to #4. I agree, it’s still the best lesson and Ashley will be back in time to “get the message”. 🙂

        What I meant by “wait until the 5th class” was that it is the week after “Dumping Debt” and people really start making big moves. As an average, more people come up front and cut up their credit cards in the 5th week because of it.

        Doing great stuff here dude! Keep motivating people!

        • Brad Chaffee says:

          Yeah I went through it the first time before they released the new version (which I actually own from the leadership kit when I coordinated classes at my church). I did the online version the first time before they revamped the program an I watched all the lessons in about two weeks time. LOL I forgot the Dumping Debt Lesson was the fourth one and you are definitely right about the week after the dumping debt lesson. People generally seem more jazzed about what they are learning and are ready to start making some serious decisions which is what it takes to get out of debt in the first place. I think I may watch the dumping debt lesson again — maybe even tonight — just to get pumped up. Haha! 😀

          I’m going to loan Ashley my Cash Flow Planning DVD at the conference so she’ll get the full impact of that lesson. I think the audio lessons are great to have but the video lessons have a greater impact! Dave Ramsey has a way of making you want to get down to business! 🙂

          I love FPU so much! I recently gave two kits away, one on EOD and one on Giveaways are sexy. kind of a pricy gift but I think it’s worth it to pay it forward and help others take control of their money. FPU is perfect for that and I have seen it literally change lives each time I led a class.

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