A Financial class? Sounds so exciting right?!… haha, not something everybody seems to be busting at the seams to take. Most people would rather have a double root canal these days than go to a financial class. Thankfully though this class was a blessing for my husband and me.
Years ago I discovered the money guy Dave Ramsey and I began following his plan to get out of debt (you can read more about that by clicking here) and pay cash for everything using the cash envelope system (I explain how that works here). You could say I was obsessed. I drug my husband through all my antics and he obliged to follow along but his heart wasn’t in it the same as mine. It was my fault however because I had been studying what to do and how to do it and when I approached him about it I was just so gung-ho that I never really explained to him the why behind it or asked for his input. It was more like “hey we are going to do this” and I expected him to just do it.
I was in love with Dave Ramsey’s principles but I’m pretty sure my husband silently cussed every time I mentioned our finances or even the word “Dave” from that point on! I read his books and listened to his podcasts so I was becoming very knowledgeable about how dumb debt was and how to follow the baby steps to get to a place of financial peace.
Prior to that we never had any money arguments. We had been married for 5 years and he had his own bank account, I had mine, and we split the bills so every month he would write me a check to go towards the bills and I would handle the rest from there. He spent his leftover money as he choose and I spent mine. No problem right? No monitoring each others spending accounts or questioning where our money went, we just did our own thing once the bills were paid and everything was hunky dory!
That all changed once we were completely debt free other than the house when I told my husband that I thought it was time to combine our finances and stick with the Dave plan to pay off our house and build wealth. We had our share of budget meeting disagreements through the years and it seemed that the more I was pushing us to follow the plan the more it pushed him away from wanting to participate at all. I could tell he was building up resentment talking about money and I was wanting him to be as intense as I was willing to be. We were working the plan but there still seemed to be some distance and tension when we discussed finances, it wasn’t horrible but it still felt a bit empty on both ends.
We had completely different views about money. I am a natural saver and a financial nerd to say the least. I love making financial spreadsheets, reading financial books and blogs, researching and learning everything I can about how to handle money. He on the other hand is a free spirit when it comes to money, he lives in the moment and was used to spending money on the here and now with no thought really to saving for the future. He had no real desire to learn about managing money, he worked hard for his money and he wanted to spend it on what he wanted and who was I to blame him.
This is actually pretty common in relationships, rarely do two people have the same mindset when it comes to money. In fact the number 1 cause of divorce today in the US is due to money issues! But if people learn to work together and get on common ground they can still have great success even though one person might like to spend more money than the other.
I knew that it wasn’t doing either of us any good going through the motions but still having very different views about money and decided to enroll us in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (FPU for short). This is a 9 week class that takes place all over the US in virtually every city. You meet once a week for about and hour and a half with other people and it’s led by a coordinator, usually at a church or community center or even in people’s homes. You can go alone or as a couple or with a friend, it’s open to anybody. There are classes going on all the time so it wasn’t hard for us to find one that fit both of our schedules.
My husband was more than willing to go at this point, knowing that it couldn’t hurt anything and he was actually now wanting to learn more about personal finances. We started our classes in March 2018. There were about 20 other couples, families, and a mix of individuals in our class.
Each week a new lesson was introduced and even though I had been exposed to Dave Ramsey principles I was still learning so much. And the classes were FUN and extremely informative! Both my husband and me would be cracking up in class because we were able to relate to what we were hearing in class, especially the class about relating with money which talked about how to manage money together. There are lessons ranging from how to save money to setting up a budget to getting rid of debt to insurance and giving and everything in between.
All the lessons were extremely valuable and they teach you all the things you should have been taught in school but weren’t. It was great to be in an environment with other people who were beginning their own financial journey as well. Everybody had their own story and were at different places but we were all hopeful, some had more debt than others, some were young, some were old but nobody was passing judgement. It was real life and real raw, and we all were on this journey together.
The best part about going to class was seeing this transformation in my husband. Before going to class he didn’t know what most financial terms meant and referred to his retirement as a 3CPO (Star Wars reference) and had no idea what a 401K was and now here he was, taking notes, asking questions, and voluntarily sharing information in class. He was actively participating and had a lot of “ah ha” moments where things were starting to click for him.
We were both getting so much from the classes, I was getting a partner who was on board and now excited about our financial future, giving input and making suggestions and he was getting the knowledge he needed to make him confident. It was a win-win situation for the both of us.
We made our once a week financial class into a date night too which was so much fun, we would get a chance to meet each other out for dinner and then go to class and afterwards we would talk about what we got out of that nights class and our future financial goals and we would set plans for our future TOGETHER!
My husband even commented that our daughter would not get married to anybody until they both went to these classes first because he saw the true value in what they provided. Our last class was bittersweet because we really enjoyed going and had really grown so much together as a couple. I’ve learned to let go and not have to be so in control and he has learned to step up and really get involved. It was also so inspiring to hear other people’s stories in class and their challenges and to celebrate their victories.
Our monthly budget meetings now are so much more productive and we both feel so good about the direction we are headed, because we are working as a team. We had a great marriage to begin with but it’s even better now because we are envisioning our future and what we want out of life and our long-term goals instead of just living each day with no clear path that we both want to be on.
I cannot recommend this class enough to anybody and everybody, no matter what your financial situation is there is hope and if you stick to this plan and follow the principles taught then you will succeed! If you are struggling with living paycheck to paycheck or are up to your eyeballs in debt, or whether you just need to know how to handle money or how to prepare for retirement, or if you and your partner have different views about money then this financial class can help. It’s a small price to pay to change your entire life. Here is a link to find a class near you. If you can’t take the class then the best book to help you is Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover, it helps explain step by step how to get out of debt and get started on a path to financial peace.