Beginning Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University

Today, I wanted to discuss some of my thoughts on beginning Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. I stumbled upon Dave Ramsey a few times within the past few years. The first time was a couple of years ago, when a co-worker discussed how she and her husband handle their household finances and she attributed it all to following Dave Ramsey’s plan. She had Dave’s “The Total Money Makeover” book and brought it to me one day at work so I could peruse through it. I leafed through it for a few days, maybe a week, and took away some smart ideas. At that time, our son was less than  year old, and we were able to pay for his daycare and still could pay our monthly bills, so I figured that everything was just fine, right? We were also in the market to purchase our home, and about halfway through getting our college degrees. A lot of life changes that include a lot of financial decisions and money management. Yet I didn’t spend anymore time exploring the Dave Ramsey system right then.

Earlier this year, while playing with features on my iPhone, I again, stumbled (accidentally? Or maybe these things aren’t accidental ;)) upon the Podcast app. Yes, I was late to that party, realizing I could listen to Podcasts on my iPhone! Wishing for something new to listen to in the car, I checked out the top podcasts list, and wouldn’t you know it, Dave Ramsey’s radio show was the #1 podcast on iTunes. I downloaded the podcast and began listening every morning and afternoon on my way to and from work. I was immediately hooked. Working in banking myself, and viewing people’s financial lives on a daily basis, I could relate to many of the questions that people called into his show asking. I now listen to the podcast pretty much everyday.

Although I listen to most of the podcasts in full, sometimes I find myself fast forwarding through questions that I cannot relate to. For instance, there are a lot of people who call into his show asking if they should sell their home or how to payoff a mountain in mortgage debt, because they bought rental properties with maximum financing and now owe mortgages on eight properties that are all underwater. Most of those types of questions, I fast forward through. I want to hear the stories of the young family, trying to juggle work lives, kids, college, and money. People who are trying to afford daycare and a house payment and student loan payments. People like me.

By summertime, after starting many conversations with my husband with “Today, on the Dave Ramsey show…” I asked him if he would consider enrolling in Financial Peace University with me, which is Dave’s class on how to handle money. If you’re married or in a committed relationship, it’s recommended that people take the class together. The topics covered include paying off debt, budgeting, the proper insurances to have, and saving for emergencies and retirement. What I really liked about the class, is that it promised to give you step by step instruction to handle money for the rest of your life, and how to set out a goal for your money. In short, our version of handling money had been receiving our paychecks, paying our bills, and going “Okay, we have X amount of money leftover until we get paid again”, and since we had a cushion, considered ourselves lucky. This works, but it’s not a long term solution. To be successful, we needed to plan for the future. And by success, I don’t simply mean let’s get some money and hoard it just for the fun of having money. But Dave teaches about things that make sense, like being able to sleep better at night because you have an emergency fund in case you get laid off from your job. Something that can happen to anyone of us in this career mobile world we live in. Or if your child has an injury, you actually have the money set aside to pay your health insurance deductible. Dave talks about those things that we don’t necessarily want to think about, but we should be. Another example is, later in life, being able to retire with dignity and not have to rely on just that social security check to hope that you make ends meet. Did you work your whole life to be broke at the end of it? These concepts all rang very close to home for me. My husband agreed to join the Financial Peace University class, and we just had our first session this past Wednesday night. Most of the classes are held at community churches. Dave Ramsey is an evangelical Christian and states that he teaches money concepts from the bible. However, you can join the class even if you aren’t a member of that church or particularly religious. My husband and I both attended private Christian colleges and although we don’t practice a faith, were used to the side notes, stories and analogies linking back to Christian principles and teachings.

Here’s how to find a class in your area:

Financial Peace University

If you’d like to research his teachings on your own, check out his Total Money Makeover book:

The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness