I first learned of who this man was while reading Nancy Ray's blog post here on becoming debt free. I have never personally been in debt, but know of individuals who have been, and it's just something I never want to face. After reading Nancy's blog post, I got to thinking that you can never be too prepared when it comes to the future and money. My family was always fine financially, and had just enough to make ends meet. But when it came to having extra money to give back to the church or enough money to make those home repairs or take the vacation that was very much needed, they just didn't "have what it took" to make those things happen. It's a shame when I think about it now, because my parents so deserved those things that would have been nice.
I think part of my parent's financial struggle has been the fact that they took in my grandparents and uncle (dad's brother) to live with them way back when. This however has been a blessing in disguise and I wouldn't have traded my time living at home for anything else because I had my WHOLE family with me 24/7! I LOVED having my grandparents living with me! I loved having my uncle downstairs to help me with math when I was in middle and high school. But now as I am older, I look at all the sacrifices my parents made for our family and for us to be financially stable, and I just want a future in which I can give back, not only to them, but in more ways then I can think of.
Okay, so now that you have some background information, let me tell you about FPU! Financial Peace University is a plan for our money. "It's teaches God's way of handling money. Through video teaching, class discussions and interactive small group activities, FPU presents biblical, practical steps to get from where you are to where you've dreamed you could be. This plan will show you how to get rid of debt, manage your money, spend and save wisely, and much more". (I gathered all this information from Dave Ramsey's website.)
Right around the same time that I had found out about Dave Ramsey, the church that I was attending at the time had posted on their website about offering the FPU class! Was that a sign that I should sign up? I had no idea. I talked to Will about taking the class and he was in agreement that it would be very worthy of my time and money. So I signed up for the nine week class that met on Tuesdays for about an hour each week and was ready to see all that I was going learn and be challenged by.
Now if I went into detail on everything I learned from the class, this post would turn into a short story, so I am not going to do that to you! :) I will share The Baby Steps and information on the chapters though and leave the rest up to you to discover!
Dave Ramsey has created a list of seven baby steps that he feels will help guide you towards getting out of debt and reaching financial peace one step at a time. There is no time frame for how quickly you must complete the baby steps, but he does recommend very strongly that you complete the baby steps IN ORDER. Below is the list of baby steps. At the time that I completed the class, I was at baby step number four but since I recently made the move to Charlotte, I am back at number three but strongly moving forward! And keep in mind, you don't have to be married, have kids or in debt to do the baby steps! ANYONE and EVERYONE benefit at working through these steps as I personally feel it's never to early to prepare for your future! You can read more about each baby step here in more detail.
Seven Baby Steps
1.Take $1,000 and start an Emergency Fund
2. Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball
3. Put 3-6 months of expenses into savings
4. Invest 15% of your household income into Roth IRAs and pretax retirement
5. College funding for children/future children
6. Pay off your home early
7. Build wealth and give!
Every week, our class would meet and go over one chapter from the video and book and then do a discussion. Some of the chapters were really easy to understand, while others were more difficult for me to understand. I think the breakdown of each chapter was done really well and I have already revisited some of the topics from the book with Will.
Chapters and Topics
1. Super Saving- Common Sense for Your Dollars and Cents
2. Relating with Money- Nerds and Free Spirits Unite!
3. Cash Flow Planning- The Nuts and Bolts of Budgeting
4. Dumping Debt- Breaking the Chains of Debt
5. Buyer Beware- The Power of Marketing on your Buying Decisions (This chapter was extremely helpful when preparing my move from Raleigh to Charlotte with Will and looking for a place for us to rent!)
6. The Role of Insurance- Protecting your Health, Family and Finances
7.Retirement and College Planning- Mastering the Alphabet Soup of Investing
8. Real Estate and Mortgages- Keeping the American Dream From Becoming a Nightmare
9. The Great Misunderstanding- Unleashing the Power of Generous Giving
I hope that this post wasn't a bore to you all! Preparing for the future is so important to me as I am a big planner and really think that Dave Ramsey is a wise, wise man with a whole bunch of knowledge! Visit his website to learn more and see if a church or organization near you is offering the FPU class! I couldn't give it more of a positive review :)