sort of been a financial nerd for most of my life. As a kid I saved my birthday money, as a teen I saved my babysitting money and as an adult I blog about personal finance. I geek out reading personal finance books, I subscribe to pf podcasts and I regularly read a ton of amazing and inspirational pf blogs.
So when our church advertised that Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (FPU) was going to be offered this fall, I thought to myself, “I like Dave Ramsey, I agree with a lot of the principles he teaches, but is there anything FPU can teach me that I don’t already know?”
I mean…I’m certainly no Suze Orman, but I know how to make a zero-based budget, I haven’t been in student loan debt for a number of years now, I pay off my credit cards in full each month and I’m saving for retirement, so what else is there to learn?
But, hubby agreed to take the class with me, so we signed up. And (spoiler alert) we liked it!
Here are some of the FAQs friends and family ask me about this “mystical” and “mysterious” “financial class”.
What are the FPU classes like? What do you do in class?
The first class (and each subsequent class) we watched a DVD and then broke into small groups to discuss the content outlined in the lessons. It was interesting and a little odd to talk about money so freely. Don’t get me wrong, I love to talk about money, but I recognize that most people don’t. I mean, let’s be real. It’s really not, “normal” to get together in a social setting and talk about money, financial goals and financial woes. Nobody walks up to you at a cocktail party and asks you about your retirement plan or your life insurance policy.
How long are the classes? How many classes are there? Do you have to attend all of them?
The classes are about 2 hours long and there are 9. You don’t have to attend all of them, but why wouldn’t you? I mean you paid for the class, go! Hubby and I missed one class because we had a dog emergency and had to take Boo to the vet. We watched that week’s lesson online. Keep in mind, there’s also an option to take the class completely online, but I really recommend going to a class in person, because the discussions after the lesson are REALLY valuable.
Is there homework? I don’t have time to do homework
Yes there’s homework and it’s important. Each week read a chapter of the book that comes with your FPU kit and complete different activities related to that week’s lesson. One week you’ll be making a budget, another week you’ll make a debt snowball, and later in the class you’ll be examining at your insurance policies and figuring out how you can save money and obtain the right coverage. The homework IS the learning and it’s what you paid for and should be focusing on. If you just show up at class and don’t do the homework, you’re not going to benefit from the class or the lessons taught.
Isn’t the class religiously based? If I’m not religious (or not Christian) will I feel uncomfortable?
The class is based on biblical principles, but it’s also based on common sense. If you’re offended by religion (or common sense) you might be offended. Otherwise just ignore the parts that don’t pertain to you and move-on. The class is much more about learning how to get out of debt, stay out of debt and build a solid financial future, than is is about proselytizing. Although Dave will try to “convert” you to be a credit card hater (which isn’t a bad thing in my opinion).
What if I’m not good with money, will I be judged? What if I’m single, will I feel weird going by myself?
What struck me most about our group, was how honest and supportive everyone was (from day one). We barely knew each other, but everyone was willing to put themselves, “out there” and talk about their situations. And not in an uncomfortable “I’m Joe and I’m a credit card addict” sort of way. Some folks had a lot of debt, some had none and most were in-between. It was a nice mix of couples and singles from a bunch of different backgrounds (ages, races, socio-economic backgrounds etc.). If you’re a couple your significant other will be your, “accountability partner”, if you’re single, Dave tells you to find a trusted friend or mentor to keep you motivated.
Have other questions or comments about FPU? Leave them in the comments or reach out by email!
Closing thoughts. I was a little nervous and skeptical about taking the class. But in retrospect, FPU was well worth the money. In fact, the homework really helped Eric and I with our communication (about money and about life). Statistics show that many people divorce because of money fights and money problems, so I think of Financial Peace as an important investment (pun intended) in our relationship.
**Disclosure/Disclaimer, this is NOT a paid post and I’m NOT affiliated with Dave Ramsey or his products. I just really enjoyed the class and thought I’d share my experience, in case you’re having the same doubts/fears. All opinions are my own. The FPU kit links are affiliate links, thanks for clicking!