Financial Peace University: End Results
By: Marge Woods
Did you hear about the “Financial Peace” class, hosted by Eric and Karen Smith that was offered this past February and March? Perhaps you thought about taking it but figured nothing could help your sorry state of financial affairs.
Well, the results are in, and here is what a group of 24 adults ranging in age from 25 to 75 accomplished in 8 weeks.
- NON-MORTGAGE DEBT PAID OFF: $14,031
- MONEY SAVED: $48,965
- CREDIT CARDS CLOSED: 17
Those are amazing results that I would not have anticipated after listening to some of the participants’ stories during the first few weeks. It was obvious that the downturn in the economy had had a negative effect on many people in the class.
As a retired business teacher, I didn’t feel that I needed this class, and my financials were in pretty good shape. My students of the past frequently heard me espouse my “credit card debt is evil” mantra; and my husband, Tim, and I always told our children to only charge what they could afford to pay off at the end of the month. I took the class because my daughter had mentioned that she’d like to take a financial class to help her and her husband get rid of debt faster. So I told her about the upcoming class at FUMC; then I got the brilliant idea to offer the class to my son and his soon-to-be bride as well. I paid for their class fees, and it was worth every penny I spent. I went along for the ride, but I learned a lot from taking this class—especially in areas that I wasn’t so versed in, like insurance and investments.
The class dealt with many financial topics, such as: how to save money, cash flow planning, getting rid of debt the quickest way possible, the role of insurance, retirement and college planning, real estate and mortgages. We were given a textbook, a workbook, CDs, budget materials, and access to valuable on-line resources and various budgeting forms.
In the last class session, we spent time discussing the personal benefits of this class. Some were obvious, as shown in the figures above. My son and his fiancé were able to pay off all their debt and save additional money for their honeymoon. My daughter continues to work on her college debt and also has started saving. Several people mentioned that this class gave them a new perspective about money, one in which they see themselves as stewards of God’s resources (including money), and as such, it is important to incur as little debt as possible, to save as much as possible, and to give as much as possible. Giving moves us to become less selfish, and less selfish people have more of a tendency to prosper in relationships and wealth. I’m all for that!
This class will be offered again. I strongly encourage everyone to take it. I would even recommend that if you have children in high school, college or a cousin that’s always borrowing money from you; offer to pay their fee for this class! What a great gift this would be, especially for young people just starting their adult lives. Think about it! Adult children who are savvy about spending and saving money helps you and them have better financial peace!