Last Thanksgiving David and I were visiting his mom, MSIA Minister Linda Whitaker, in West Virginia. We were all cozied up on her red sofa watching the Minister’s Meeting and hearing Paul Kaye introduce Claudia Olguín to share about her experience of tithing. Claudia walked onto the stage and shared about her experience working to get out of debt so she could build wealth to live and give like no one else. As I heard her speak, I knew she must have taken Financial Peace University (FPU), a course that I took more than 10 years ago when I lived in New Orleans.
When I was originally introduced to FPU by one of my co-workers, I admit that I only said yes because I thought that I would meet better dating prospects in a financial class then I would at the bars I was going to. Although I was initially disappointed that everyone in the class was married, my disappointment soon faded as I recognized the value I was receiving through my participation. I had not yet learned how to manage my money and FPU was providing practical tools to support me in living within my means and building wealth. I promised myself, if I ever got married, I would take this course with my husband.
As many of you know, in 2017, I did get married to fellow MSIA Minister David Whitaker. When we were engaged and decided to combine our finances, I asked David if he would take Financial Peace University with me. He agreed. Within the 9-week course, we established our process for working with our finances. At first, it was challenging, neither of us had ever had to consult a partner before using our money. Now, we had to not only be conscious of the money we had coming in and going out, but we had to agree on it in advance! As of today, we’ve been doing monthly budget committee meetings for three years and, although there are still a few bumps in the road, they come with a lot more ease and grace. I think both of us would agree that this a foundational tool in our relationship.
After taking FPU for the second time with David, whenever I noticed people in my life talking about their financial challenges, I knew that someday I wanted to coordinate a Financial Peace University Class. When I heard Claudia share at the Minister’s Meeting, I realized that someday was now.
In October 2019, Claudia and I, with the Loving support of Paul Kaye, Susan Valaskovic, and David Whitaker, coordinated two Financial Peace University Classes: one traditional in-person class at Prana West and one “Flex Class” that watched the weekly video on their own and joined an online discussion via Zoom. Claudia’s story had not only inspired me but the majority of the people in the class, who shared that they were motivated to join based on hearing her experience. To me, Claudia is inspiring because she not only received the information but integrated it into her everyday life to create change. As many of us probably know, it takes great strength of character to create this level of behavioral change with our finances. FPU is not for people who are looking for a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s for those who are dedicated to long-term financial peace and generosity
Like Claudia, Participants in the October 2019 Financial Peace University classes demonstrated this strength. At the start of the program, 23 people submitted a financial snapshot. Here are the totaled results:
$250,455 of non-mortgage debt
$347,181 of liquid cash
88 Credit Card Accounts
Nine weeks later, 12 people submitted a second financial snapshot. Here are the results:
$53,501 of debt Paid off
$77,900 additional savings
29 credit cards cut up
That means that in nine months, each of those 12 people paid off an average of $4,458 in debt, saved $6,492, and closed 2 credit card accounts.
We heard from numerous participants about how this experience supported them in becoming not only more conscious of their finances but more generous as well. For me coordinating FPU was a highlight of 2019.
Claudia and I agreed that we would commit to coordinating the in-person class again. If there is interest and before Baby Whitaker comes along (I am expecting in March).
The request was there so Financial Peace University at Briggs starts on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, and will meet weekly for two hours for nine weeks.
What better year than 2020 to bring your finances into clear focus?
Please note, that this is an in-person class. To register for the in-person class at Briggs, please click here.
If you are not local, there is an option to take FPU as a self-study online. For more information, click here.