At the beginning of last year, Craig and I finally had had enough when it came to our finances. Over the years we flirted with starting Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University many times because we knew it worked and we knew it was the right thing to do to achieve our financial goals. We started the debt snowball a few times but just never stuck with it. When it came down to it, we KNEW it was what we needed to do to get our finances in order but we were so afraid of letting go and really changing our patterns, changing our lifestyle.
- We wanted to break our unhealthy relationship with money.
- We wanted to be able to show and tell our kids how to have a healthy relationship with money.
- We wanted to finally break free of the hold money had on us and get out of debt.
Before I tell you all about Financial Peace University (FPU) and Dave Ramsey, it’s important for me to tell you that Craig and I do not profit in any way from sharing this information. We are not affiliates of FPU and I’m pretty sure Dave Ramsey does not even have an affiliate program (that would be so un-Dave, for sure!) and we are not compensated to advertise for him. Rather, it’s a program we believe in. Dave Ramsey’s principles have already made our relationship stronger through having a healthier relationship with money, and we believe his message is worth the time and energy to share with everyone we know.
WHAT IS FINANCIAL PEACE UNIVERSITY?
Simply, It’s a series of lectures and exercises. Dave Ramsey is quite an engaging speaker and he coaches you through the very practical things you need to know in managing money.
You can easily see Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps on his website for free. The seven baby steps provide the rough framework for Financial Peace University; However, FPU goes into much more detail and provides a lot more guidance than the Baby Steps themselves. For example, one of the major topics in FPU is the types of insurance that you should purchase. If you look at the Baby Steps, though, insurance is not mentioned at all.
Craig bought the DVD Home Study Kit and we began watching the lessons/ working the program on January 31, 2016. Every Sunday afternoon, we would watch a lesson with our then 17-year-old daughter Vicky and spend the week reading the book and working on the assignments/ walking out the program. We finished the lessons this past Sunday and are in month 3 of walking out FPU.
There are so many things I want to tell you about our journey so far, which has made it really hard to me to decide where to begin in blogging about it. This is a conversation I really want to keep exploring with you and I’d love to hear about your journey to financial peace, as well! To begin this money dialog.. I’ll start with where we are right now in our journey:
- We had our emergency fund saved by the end of month 1
- We have already paid off $3,500 of our debt so far (using the debt snowball)
- We have stuck to a budget, even when it was HARD and we didn’t want to.
- We have had 2 appointments with an investments advisor and have those goals set.
- We are using the cash envelope system only for food and entertainment right now, but plan to incorporate the Every Dollar App as well.
- We still do fun things and have treats, but we have much clearer boundaries around money and we are on the same page with our financial goals. THAT has made the biggest difference!
My biggest take-away from FPU so far:
Building wealth is a marathon, not a sprint!
Discipline is the key ingredient.
In our fast-paced, quick-fix society, the diligent really do prosper. I am by no means a marathon runner, but being a life coach, I do know a thing or two about being in something for the long-haul and having the discipline it takes to not only finish the race but also to surpass your goals!
Here are five rules to follow if you’re going to be successful and disciplined in running your marathon to wealth building and finding financial peace:
1) Pace Yourself
Wealth building is a marathon, not a sprint. If you’re running a 5K, a 10K even, you can push your pace. With a marathon, you need to be conservative and hold back for (quite literally) the long run. If you go too fast in the beginning, you’ll totally burn out before you’re even halfway done.
The same is true for finding financial peace. You need to live in the moment, but plan for the future. Be conservative, live below your means, and you’ll cross that metaphorical finish line. And whatever you do, don’t incur too much debt and make getting out of debt your top priority. Spending what you don’t have is like running faster than your goal pace on mile 1 of 26.2. It’s totally counter-productive and just like running, if you run out of resources, you’ll burn out and not have enough money to live a good life in the future.
2) Find a Partner
If you’re training for a marathon or if you’re trying to transform your financial life, you need some accountability. Whether it’s a coach or a training partner, you need someone to keep you on track. Both of these are really tough! It’s easy to fall off the wagon.
Having Craig and I on the same page with our financial goals has made this journey so much easier. When I feel weak, he encourages me to stay strong and stay focused and vice versa. Also, knowing that our kids are watching how we spend our money and what we are sacrificing to keep our financial goals has really helped us stay the course.
3) Love It
This isn’t easy stuff! You’re not going to be able to get through the long training runs, the challenges of budgeting, or the discipline of not spending if you don’t have a great attitude. Although there may be moments you feel like quitting, you need to keep in mind why you’re in the race. When it comes to money, my love of money isn’t really about the dolla’ bills themselves, but rather the wonderful things they make possible. I keep my eyes on the prize: living like no one else so that I can later live AND GIVE like no one else!
4) Get Committed
If you’re going to achieve financial freedom or if you’re going to run a marathon, you have to be committed. This means no matter what, without compromise, you’ll accomplish your goal. Because both are difficult, you’re likely to give up if you don’t start out with a commitment firmly in place.
5) Be Disciplined
You can’t slack off when you’re training for a marathon. You need to watch what you eat, stay consistent with your daily workouts, drink enough water, and so much more.
The same is true of transforming your relationship with money. You need to follow healthy financial habits: set financial goals, create a budget, increase your income, reduce your debt. You have to be disciplined and stay consistent.
Everyone needs to start somewhere. A house is built one brick at a time. A child learns to read by first learning the alphabet. A person seeking to lose weight does so pound by pound, healthy choice by healthy choice.
Why would the road to wealth be any different?
Working towards your Financial Peace is no different and it is something to be celebrated every step of the way.
Having Financial Peace is about creating habits that will dramatically reshape your financial future.
I suggest that you make one little, tiny change in your everyday circumstances that would have a huge long-term effect on getting to where you want to be in the future. What might that look like for you today? Let’s discuss it in the comments below…