Some of you know that one of the major influences behind my personal financial turnaround is the Dave Ramsey method. He’s the radio show host with the southern accent and hilariously old-school approach, and his financial books and course have turned around the finances of literally millions of singles and families. Courtney and I finished his Financial Peace University course right before the end of 2012, and we wrote about our experience on Dave’s My FPU Story site (full text below).
[Added 2015: Since this post was written, I’ve introduced Dave’s corporate financial wellness program, SmartDollar, at my employer through our wellness team, and it’s been hugely successful for hundreds of our employees!]
“When my wife, Courtney and I first met we were two sides of a few financial coins. Historically, Courtney had never had debt; including car payments or student loans. I had hit rock-bottom just a few years before, drowning in a total of $55,000 in debt before a cancer diagnosis woke me up to change the life that had been gifted back to me, starting with my finances. On the current front, Courtney had excellent habits (a queen of frugality who saved money from every paycheck) but zero understanding of – or interest in – budgeting, investing and the more ‘sophisticated’ elements of finance. In climbing out of my hole, I had read every personal finance book I could get my hands on and was flush with knowledge and the early success of a new Dave Ramsey devotee. I could make a budget sing and dance, baby!
As we moved toward marriage we had some, shall we say ‘rousing discussions’ adjusting to our new life. I wanted her to get excited to learn more about money, while she was content to keep practicing good habits and letting me handle all the details. Just as parents don’t like taking money advice from children, I learned wives don’t like taking it from their husbands. I decided to go right to the source, and let Dave take over her education. By this point, all my debt had been cleared up and our emergency fund completed, we’d even begun paying extra on our mortgage (a concept she was immediately on board with), but I wanted us to power into the final Baby Steps as a fully-committed team! Courtney agreed to read “The Total Money Makeover” in 2011 and as she learned more about the power of a unified vision for the future, of working and dreaming together, she began to understand what I’d been trying to say. She got excited about the possibilities and agreed to attend FPU. We started just a few months ago, and as each week passed I was proud as punch to hear her reciting baby steps, explaining the difference between a Roth IRA and a 401(k), and proclaiming her gazelle intensity!
We finished the last lesson just before the end of 2012 and our communication and commitment, to each other and our plans, are stronger than ever. We paid an extra $9,200 on our mortgage just during the 13 weeks of FPU! We’ve gleefully become that couple that tells all our friends and relations about our ‘weird’ plan and how much peace we’ve gained in our lives. Some are even starting to listen! It’s a wonder and a pleasure to see a future free of debt and full of hope. It’s not something I could grasp a few years ago. Thanks to Dave and the whole team for the plan and the know-how, and thanks to my incredible wife for daring to dream a radical dream that has truly set us free!”