Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Financial Peace University--Gaining control of our family finances

Mom2MomEd Blog: Financial Peace University~*~Week One...One Family's Journey to Financial Freedom
I am not a religious person, but I do believe I have had many blessings in my life, including some amazing friends. Several weeks ago, one of those friends posted on Facebook that she and her husband were finally debt free!

And, they wanted to help a few friends to achieve the same goal of financial freedom.

My friend's family had participated in Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and upon becoming debt free, they decided to gift the program (called "FPU" by Ramsey's followers) to three friends. They asked people to comment or message if they could use Financial Peace University or knew of someone that could. I messaged my friend right away with no expectation of being chosen.

And, guess what? 

My friend and her husband DID choose me! This particular friend is truly a blessing in my life and has been even before this huge gift. A couple of weeks after I was chosen, I received the Financial Peace University kit in the mail and signed up for a local group. The program lasts nine weeks and is facilitated by a coordinator who plays a video each week and leads a group discussion.
It's time to get financially free!
Last week was week one, and I've already had some huge realizations:
1. Looking at my finances, laziness and ignorance are the only reasons I don't have an emergency fund! I have PLENTY of money for a Dave Ramsey starter emergency fund of $1,000! So where is that money? Nowhere to be found...

2. My overall debt is $5,000 LESS than I thought--I still have a huge amount to pay off though!

3. Getting out of debt and becoming financially stable IS within reach.

Last week's Financial Peace University class was focused primarily on the reasons why people end up in debt in the first place. In the video, Dave Ramsey talks a lot about the fact that we end up in debt often due to emotions and that debt often isn't about the actual math of money. We tend to tie our emotions to money and to turn money into morality...even though money is amoral. 

Ramsey also talks about how to use emotions to propel motivation when it comes to paying off debt. A lot of people disagree with his methods of paying off debt because he encourages tackling the smallest balances first, not the biggest interest rates. Critics often say that is backwards due to the mathematical end result (paying more interest in the long-term), but Dave rebukes this notion by saying (loosely paraphrasing) that if this were a math problem we wouldn't be in debt in the first place.

Debt is an emotional problem, not a math problem.

That resonates with me.

Tonight is week two of my FPU class and I can't wait! I've done the reading and the homework, and I'm ready to get deeper into my debt freedom journey!

As I look forward to tonight, however, here are a few things I do and do not like about FPU so far:

What I like:
  • The program has both at home and group study options--I chose the group for accountability and support.
  • The program is clearly laid out and comes with a book, a workbook, an envelope system, and a tracking poster.
  • Each week has a focused, high quality, well produced video of Dave Ramsey giving that week's lesson.
  • The steps are clearly laid out--the hard part is following them when your emotions are telling you to go buy another latte, a book, clothes, unnecessary groceries, etc.
  • The focus is on harnessing your emotions around money and debt to turn your financial situation around.
FPU: Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University

What I don't like:
  • Dave Ramsey and his products heavily rely on evangelical Christianity. I'm not a Christian. So far, this has been mostly easy to deal with, and I've even found a couple of the Bible stories to be relevant to my situation.
  • The classes seem to be literally sitting and watching a long video with only a brief group discussion afterwards. I expected more group discussion and interaction and less sitting and watching.
  • At the end of the day, it's still just you and your debt.
In the end, it is up to ME to relearn money habits, save for my emergency fund, and pay off my debt. It's not up to Dave Ramsey or a class to do it for me. It's not up to the members of my course to do it for me. It's not up to my parents, friends, or son to do it for me.

Getting out of debt, saving an emergency fund, and funding my eventual retirement are all MY responsibility.

Stay tuned to find out how week two of Financial Peace University goes!

Do you have experience with Financial Peace University? Share your thoughts in a comment!
You can find out more about FPU HERE.

If you liked this post, please check out my review of Dave Ramsey's daughter, Rachel Cruze's book Love Your Life, Not Theirs:
Visit all of our Financial Peace University posts:
Want more financial peace and guidance? Check out these books and products from Dave Ramsey, Rachel Cruze, and their associates:

This post contains affiliate links.

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