Overdue final update: Financial Peace University Review

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Hi, my name is Joe and I’m a slacker. I promised regular updates to my review of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (FPU), in which I am enrolled, but have failed to deliver.

I am ashamed.

To make it up to you, I’m offering a bonus: until the end of July, all new RSS subscriptions are free. That’s right, free, as in zilch. Sign up quick and take advantage of my remorse. Subscriptions after the bonus period will be at least triple the bonus price!

If you found us through a search engine and are looking for the full Monty on Ramsey’s FPU, you’ll want to start here. The 13-week course is almost half over and I can say with a straight face that I’m happy with the content and the price we paid. I’d do it again, and recommend it to others. In fact, I will do it again because my membership fee entitles me to attend refresher courses anywhere, anytime, at no additional charge. It will be good to go back again later and brush up on the things I’m less interested in right now, such as college and estate planning.

My interest wanes
The first few weeks of FPU courses were very good for me: the importance of saving, how men and women think about money differently, how to plan cash flow (or how to make a budget that works), the evil of debt and how to get out of it (not necessarily in that order). But now that we’re moving on to more advanced topics, such as insurance, investments, and estate planning, I am less engaged in the content. Don’t get me wrong—the information is just as good and just as well presented, but my personal investment in it (my motivation) is smaller. There are reasons for this, and I understand the reasons, and it’s not a fault in the course itself.

The members areaFPU members area
I should have mentioned in an earlier post about the Members Area that those enrolled in FPU get access to (image used with permission). It’s full of good resources to supplement your reading and course content, such as budget spreadsheets, debt reduction calculators, discussion forums, and so on. There is a downside: you only have access to it for as long as your course lasts and then you have to convert to a paid membership if you want to keep getting in. It would suck to do all of your budgeting and debt-reduction planning online, only to lose that work when your free access is cut.

I recommend it
My results have not been as dramatic as those in FPU’s marketing, but they are positive results. We are saving money now (weren’t before) and have a workable plan to get out of debt. No magic unicorns that poop $100 bills, but good information that will serve us well for a lifetime. In my opinion, you can head over to Financial Peace University and sign up with confidence that you’ll get your money’s worth.

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12 Comments

  1. Dissapointed- as for the “pay off” the mortgage early question. Ask yourself this: Is your “write off” more or less than what your mortgage payment is. An easy example would be if your mortgage payments ( P & I) was $1000 and you had no more house payment, you would have $12,000 a year in your pocket to invest or do whatever with. Also your house is NOW an actual asset (Read Rich Dad Poor Dad) with no debt. Would you be “writing off” more than $12,000 of interest? I would say no, its always better to actually own your home.

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  2. Disappointed says:

    Me and misses are about to go to the second class today. When we went around the table in the last class and shared with the group why we’re here, my wife said, in all honesty “I don’t really know why I’m here.” I had to quickly interject to explain that she was urged to take the course by me and that she needed a lot of convincing. However, after that first night, and we experienced what was basically a group of people learning via video, I began to ask myself that same question… “why AM I here?”

    First off, if you’re in major debt then something has obviously been going wrong and most likely you’re missing these simplest of life-skills, skills that, as others have already mentioned, can be picked up pretty easily via the internet or by simply listening to his show. We’re natural savers so we were not looking to learn these tools, although the envelop thing was a novel idea that we started adopting (only partially). We saw going “debt free” as being like going on a life-long diet. And like a typical diet we thought without a support structure to bounce ideas off of and to root us on when we’re in doubt we’d surely bail on the idea just like how we’ve bailed on all the diets we’ve ever been on. Sadly, it doesn’t seem like the support we were looking for is going to be there, unless we’re willing to pay for the ongoing membership – which we’re not (natural savers remember).

    The ONLY reason she agreed to take the class was that we thought we would get to have an instructor knowledgeable enough to provide a good solid debate as to why paying off your mortgage early is a good idea, and again this doesn’t look like it will be the case since the instructor was recently a student himself and doesn’t seem to have any authority over financial matters whatsoever. The only debt we owe is the house and the idea to pay off your mortgage early was not only unheard-of in either side of our family but was often criticized as being stupid… reason being that the money could be invested and so-forth. We’ve all heard them right? So in short, the only reason we’re in the course to begin with is to have it explained/justified to us that going mortgage free early is the right path and once on that difficult path to cheer us on, and it looks like neither of which is going to happen. We’re beginning to realize that just listening to his show and using the ideas from there would have had the same effect. The plus would be that we don’t have to spend over an hour away from our children each week… time typically used for homework.

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  3. Just finished an FPU class with about 45 mostly young adults. Many newly weds who mentioned how glad they were to get these basic financial matters underway. We have had about 600 folks come though the course the past 5 years. The issues brought by folks are, at times, staggering. College debt is issue #1 and can be as much as $300,000. But mainly it’s money fights, hopelessness, stress and wondering if they will ever get out of the hole.

    Ramsey’s points are similar to all the financial teachers; Suzy, Dave and the others hold to the same basic goals and planning.

    Dave’s christian position adds value, especially in the last session and the focus on giving, once the other financial matters are learned and in practice. This is generosity beyond the $10 here and there. Simply a new view of ones place in the world, and how to help change it now that personal financial freedom is underway.

    Only about 14% of Americans have ever become financially literate; hopefully they are doing what they learned. So it’s a staggering thought to know that 86% of folks have not a clue or plan, so are sitting ducks for every trick of the trade.

    No need to complain much, if at all, about Dave’s effort to make folks literate, in charge of their assets and moving ahead with life. I can only recommend taking the class (now 9 weeks) and it being the best $90 you’ll ever spend.

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    1. Kelly Kraeling says:

      Thank you for this reply to Mindi’s comment. I thank Jesus too :)

  4. I registered for the class 2 weeks ago, and my first class is tonight. I’ve been listening to Dave on the radio for a couple of months, and I was immediately hooked on his ideology for finances. Looks like I made the right choice.

    To Mindie, in the comment above…I’m not sure what to think about a person the “cringes” at the mere mention of a religious figure that does not fit your personal religious belief, but since I know that the God that Jews believe in and the God that Christians believe in is the very same God, I’m pretty sure that your God (and mine) thinks it’s ok to mention names from the bible, especially if the references are helping you with aspects of your life in some way.

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  5. COME ON FOLKS!, get over the religious parts of the course. It isn’t that much to listen to for 1 hour each week. You are not going to be attacked at the end of the secession by a bunch of drooling Christians! Just ignore the religious parts and take part in the other parts. Dave is a Christian and FPU based on many teachings of the bible, in which he gives reference. If you are so sensitive, go through the book and take a black magic marker and block out all reference to Jesus, God, or the bible. Suck it up and quit you whining.

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  6. How religious is this class? I listen to and enjoy the podcast, but as a Jew I find myself cringing when he mentions Jesus. I’m okay with NT references as long as they don’t use the name “Jesus.” Would I be comfortable in the class?

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  7. Okay, so at first I was a little nervous about taking the program. We were really looking for someone to sit down with us one on one, and go over a “plan” that was right for us – and based on our information alone. At the advise of my parents’ financial advisor it was suggested that we look into this program. Basically, I guess we were looking for someone to do all of the work for us. We registered this afternoon and start in 2.5 weeks! I Googled Financial Peace University Reviews to make sure this thing wasn’t a scam, and came across this article. After reading the article and everyone’s comments, I think we made the right choice. Wish us luck! And if you do find that magic unicorn… let me know, can’t hurt right?!?

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  8. I agree with Sally, for me, in a lot of ways, it’s about overcoming laziness. One of the first classes mentions a Bible verse (I agree with Sally here too, he doesn’t come off too “preachy”…it’s just his stance) ….

    Hebrews 12:11
    “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

    I’m in the midst of this training and hope to reap said harvest. Time will tell…and my activity will be necessary too. :-P

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  9. Hi – My name is Sally, and I’m a recoverd “free spirit”. Dave Ramsey’s FPU woke me up from the ignorance is bliss coma I had been living in. What I learned in this class was not math skills. Truthfully, I was just lazy. What he really teaches you is discipline, he shows you how to reframe your thoughts, and shows you how to reconnect with your money. Money has become intangible due to the societal transition from cash and checks to debit cards and credit cards. If you can’t feel it, see it, smell it, you really do lose touch with what a dollar truly means. If you’re worried about the religious aspect, you shouldn’t be. He only applies scripture that has a direct relationship with finances. (i.e., Proverbs: the borrower is slave to the lender; he who signs surety for another lacks . . . . . . , etc.) IMHO . . . . this is a kick in the butt we all need

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  10. My wife and I are debt-free, and are now going to be using the methods found in ramsey’s FPU to start investing and saving.

    As Ramsey says we’re going to live like no one else so that later we can live like no one else!

    Also, I would like my own magic unicorn that poops $100 bills. Where do i sign up?

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  11. Seriously, Dave Ramsey rocks. I haven’t taken this course because I listen to his radio show everyday via podcasts. They are free podcasts from itunes or his website. He mentiones that basically this course is the same advice that he has on his radio show, but it’s just a fancier package.

    I have been on the Dave Ramsey plan for three years now and in just a couple more months I will be DEBT-FREE!! Ok, I had a lot of debt. :) But I have savings, an emergency fund and am very very close to finally being debt free.

    Nothing was easy. But he does break it down for you so that you can breathe and realize how to budget your money. I use a virtual envelope program, but it’s the same thing.

    He does seem kinda hokey or preachy at times, but if you actually listen and give him a chance–it works. Sure, I’ve been on “beans and rice, rice and beans” for the last three years, but I have paid down $22,000 of debt. So thanks for your review and remember to let people know that they can get all this info for free if they just listen to his podcasts.

    He also has a show on Fox Business Network. It’s really funny though, now that I am almost debt-free and I manage my money rally well, I see things differently.

    All around me, I see “debt people.” Great blog, great info. Thanks.

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