If getting out of debt is on your to-do list for 2011, Redeemer Lutheran Church is offering individuals and couples a chance to turn their money worries around by attending Financial Peace University, a 13-week course developed by best-selling author and radio show host, Dave Ramsey.
Ramsey, who once had a real estate portfolio worth $4 million, lost his fortune at the age of 26. Returning to the basic principles of personal finance, Ramsey and his wife, Sharon, were able to recover financially and start over. Since then, he has devoted his life to helping others avoid the mistakes he made. He is the author of Financial Peace and The Total Money Makeover, and hosts the nationally syndicated Dave Ramsey Show.
Rev. Scott Stiegemeyer, who will be facilitating the class at Redeemer Lutheran, said January seemed like the logical time to offer Financial Peace University to the community.
“Right after the holiday is a time when people are feeling sticker shock from all their Christmas purchases,” he said. “And the new year is a good time to re-evaluate the family budget.”
The classes begin on Sunday, Jan. 23. Each two-hour session will begin with a video of Dave Ramsey addressing a specific aspect of personal finance, such as saving, paying down debt, planning for college and retirement, investing and being a better shopper.
Even though each class will include a time for group discussions, Stiegemeyer emphasized that participants are not required to share personal information.
“You write down your goals for yourself," he said. "If a husband and wife take the class, hopefully they will be very specific in their conversation with each other. But in terms of what we speak of as a group, it won’t be invasive.”
This is the first time Stiegemeyer has offered the class, but from talking with graduates of the curriculum, he has learned that the strength of the course is the support and rapport that develops between the members of the group. In fact, Stiegemeyer has already been contacted by one family who will be enrolling in the course for the second time.
“They want to do it again because they miss that interactivity,” he said.
Do Finances and Church Go Together?
Stiegemeyer says that he has already been asked why a church would be inviting members to come into its doors to talk about money. Besides the fact that Ramsey has designed the Financial Peace University around Christian values and scripture passages from the Bible, Stiegemeyer said the tie-in between personal finance and spirituality isn’t really that far off.
“Jesus talks about money and our attitudes about money,” Stiegemeyer said. “He says, ‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ In other words, you can tell where people’s heart is by what they spend all their money on. A person can become owned by their possessions instead of owners of their possessions.”
First Session Free
For those interested in learning more about the course, a special preview session will be held at 11:45 a.m. this Sunday, Jan. 9, in the basement of Redeemer Lutheran Church, 345 S. Kenilworth Ave. For those still not convinced, anyone is welcome to attend the first session on Jan. 23 for free, without committing to the rest of the course.
“If you’ve never seen Dave Ramsey on TV or heard him on the radio, he’s very funny,” Stiegemeyer said. “It’s very entertaining. I think a lot of people will be surprised at how much they’ll enjoy the class, even if they’re initially a little bit hesitant to do it.”
Financial Peace University at Redeemer Lutheran Church will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sundays, Jan. 23-April 17. The cost of the course is $93 (for individual or couple), and includes two books by Dave Ramsey, CDs with the curriculum and a workbook with all 13 lessons. More information can be found on the church Web site.