Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (Update 1)

Click here to read my first post in the Financial Peace University review.

The first class was last week and I’ve had time to let my impressions gel.
As you can see from the materials shown here, the fee (mine was $90, but prices
vary) is not for materials alone. The paper inside the fancy box is worth maybe
$25. There’s an overpriced, cheaply bound book, a mind-numbing fill-in-the-blank
“workbook,” an envelope binder for keeping the recommended envelope
system organized, some CDs to supplement the weekly class, and some materials
with which you can order lots more from Ramsey’s website.FPU1

The rest of the value comes from the class, by which I mean the video presentation. I met in a room with about 40 other people and watched a DVD of Dave Ramsey teaching the first week’s lesson. It’s a little bit slick for my taste. Too glossy, too much of a performance and a production. Ramsey is quite the performer—the presentation is interesting and entertaining to watch—but it’s spoon-fed education. There’s no exploration of ideas, no exchange. And maybe there doesn’t have to be. It’s not philosophy, after all. People who take the course paid the money because they want to know what Dave has to say, not because they want to engage in discussion. Still, it goes against every educational bone in my body. All four of them.

All that said, I am actually enjoying Financial Peace University, to my surprise. It occurs to me that I didn’t pay to get my money’s worth out of the box, or even in classroom experience. I was willing to pay $90 for the chance that Ramsey would motivate me to do what I already know needs to be done: budget, save, pay off debt, invest. As Sabrina at SabrinasMoneyMatters might say, I’m paying to create some accountability. Good information and an easy-to-use system are just icing on the cake.

I’ve Tried That | Update 2 | Final Update

Review of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University

Dave Ramsey claims to teach people how to manage finances, get out of debt, save money, and make good investments. He is the author of a number of books on personal finances and has a syndicated prime-time radio show in which callers describe their financial situations and get free advice. The first website linked above is the home page of what is surely becoming an empire. I’ve tried just one little fiefdom in the Dave Ramsey financial advice empire: Financial Peace University (FPU).

It’s a 13-week course, complete with textbooks, homework, and class sessions. The class meets one night a week for two hours and teaches the basics of money management. FPU’s main claim is regarding the past success of its 300,000+ students:

On average these families have paid off over $5,300 in debt and saved $2,700 during this 91-day program!

I was skeptical. But my money management skills are those of a 12-yr-old (ooh, something shiny! Me buy now!) and I have the debt and saving rate to prove it. In short, I had little to lose. So if I could just meet the advertised averages of savings and debt reduction, that would help a lot. And I just might learn something. So I paid my $90 and enrolled in what is certainly the cheesiest-sounding university I have ever attended. The first class was last night (check back later for pictures of the materials and my first impressions). I’ll keep you posted.

Update 1 | Update 2

Surveylot.com: $1,000 per week taking surveys?

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Did you get an unexpected check from “Surveylot.com?” Cashing it could land you in debt and in jail! Read this post.

There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of outfits promising to show you how to make lots of money just taking online surveys. But face the reality, folks: unless your name is Simon Cowell and you can deliver it with the same bitchitude, your opinion ain’t worth that much.

The question is not whether to review a paid survey promise; the question is which one? I picked the first one that showed up as an ad in my Google mailbox screen: Surveylot.com.

The landing page promises:

Find free paid surveys, online jobs, and work-at-home opportunities right for You! Fast, easy, and free!

Fortune 500 companies need your opinion. Get paid for it!
Work from home, choose your hours, earn up to $150/hr and $1,000+/week!

It’s easy, fast, and free™. To see the opportunities currently available for you, just fill out your ‘Search Profile’ and select your ‘Preferences’. You will get a free prequalified list of free to join companies, paid surveys, focus groups and consumer panels that will pay you for participating in market research studies. On the next page, you will also learn the secret of making serious money with these opportunities

So I selected the options that I wanted and signed up using the “Do I Qualify?” button (gee, I wonder if I will qualify). Why not? It’s free! Follow the results here.