You know, I’ve always thought Dave Ramsey had good things to say, and his company promoted good ideas and values…. But I never really dove into his stuff.

Until now!

Last Sunday was our first FPU class. For those of you who don’t know, FPU stands for Financial Peace University. I don’t know about you, but financial peace sure sounds good to me!

The website makes it easy to find a local class. They’re usually hosted by churches. The classes last for thirteen weeks, a couple hours each. For the first hour, you watch Dave’s presentation of the lesson on dvd. For the second, you meet in a small accountability group.

This last Sunday’s lesson covered the Seven Baby Steps (click here to see a list of all the FPU classes)


  • Step 1:  $1,000 in an emergency fund ($500 if your income is under $20,000 per year)
  • Step 2:  Pay off all debt except the house utilizing the debt snowball
  • Step 3:  Three to six months expenses in savings
  • Step 4:  Invest 15% of your household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement plans
  • Step 5:  College funding
  • Step 6:  Pay off your home early
  • Step 7:  Build wealth and give!

My husband and I are both so excited to be heading down this path!

Some people have commented that we don’t need a class like that–we handle our money so well. Some people tell us we need to take it. We decided since we’re in a transitional stage of life, trying to figure out how to financially handle living in a new area, it was a good time to get some education.

Have you heard of FPU before? Why did you or did you not take it? If you did, how has it impacted your life?

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Financial Success: James Smith

My husband and I attended a three-day seminar about growing wealth, put on by the Smith Companies. We arrived an hour early the first day. While waiting for the seminar to start, I watched the PowerPoint they had cycling on two large screens. Several of the slides contained quotes:

“Do or do not. There is no try.”  -Yoda

“Look back in forgiveness, forward in hope, downward in compassion, and up in gratitude.”  -Zig Ziglar

“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering out of a fear of the unknown. They prefer suffering that is familiar.”  -Thich Nhat Hanh

Most of the first day was introductory to what we would be learning the next two days, and for the majority of the time Ryan Smith, James Smith’s son, was our teacher. There were a number of things he shared with us that can be applied to daily living—not just financial growth.

  • There is always going to be another problem.
  • The ability to work hard is a gift.
  • The only person who hates competition is one who can’t compete.
  • Money is a tool for serving others, not for self.
  • Everything is an investment:  marriage, children, what you eat, what you wear.
  • Having a written plan increases your odds 300% of getting it accomplished.
  • Education without application is entertainment.
  • Fear is the opposite of love.
  • If you have the ability to demolish someone and you don’t, you’re an adult.
  • When you make better choices you have better options.

Our Current Cash Flow

We also heard from Steve Sitkowski, cash-flow specialist:

  • Coachable:  willing to learn, and willing to step outside comfort zone and try something new.
  • It’s not what happens in life that matters, it’s what you do with it.

Robert Bluhm, attorney:

  • If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
  • Give like you’ve already been blessed.

And there were a number of things shared that tended to be more business-specific:

  • Business:  to provide a product or service that blesses someone’s life and creates a profit.
  • If you don’t have a systematic approach in your business, you won’t get a standard return.
  • Just because you call something an investment, doesn’t make it one.
  • Find motivated people and train them.
  • Checklists are more imperative the more experience you have.

What I learned that first day will always be in my mind when I contemplate working toward the impossible. I love finding life-truths in unexpected places. And I hope you gain something from the speakers’ points as well. I want to leave you with one last quote they shared:

“I would rather attempt to do something great, and fail, then to do nothing and succeed.”  -Dr. Robert Schuller