Just recently, a Dave Ramsey FPU class finished up at my church. It’s been really amazing to hear the stories from the people who have attended. Everyone has something that they’ve learned in the class, whether they are young, old, married, single, have children or not. And what’s funny to me is, after attending this church for basically my whole life and never hearing much of anything from other members regarding money, all of a sudden they are willing to get into all sorts of details with you about their personal finances.
So what changed for them? Did they become rich all of a sudden? Did they have someone tell them “everything’s OK now, you don’t have any work to do”, which caused them to become comfortable with their life situation?
Quite the opposite, actually.
The big change that has taken place for them is all about perspective; they now understand where they are, what they’ve got, and where they are trying to get to. They’ve heard many stories and seen many examples during their class, both of what they need to do and what they don’t need to do, and mostly they’ve learned from the experiences of others.
So far, the people I’ve talked to are all expressing regret over past decisions, yet optimism about the future, and they are excited about what they could accomplish with their finances!
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Some tend to scoff at taking a Financial Peace course, claiming that people get all excited about the experience but the information isn’t 100% sound. That’s fine. Those people are entitled to their opinion.
But I believe that one of the fundamental practices of FPU gives us a good tip about properly managing our finances, and that’s the small group discussions that go on towards the end of the meeting. The attendees hear a talk, watch the DVD lesson, then split up into their same small groups week after week, talking about how things are going and how they are implementing Dave’s steps.
Talking about your financial state (or mess) is tough! Not many people love going through their dirty laundry when it comes to money. But it’s also therapeutic to clean out the cobwebs of your accounts and spending habits, to lay them out for others to see.
And listening to others tell their stories is so enlightening! Those stories can give us warnings, correction, encouragement and ideas. They keep us focused and accountable. And it gives us boldness and confidence when we see change taking place, both in our own lives and in the lives of others.
If you’re reading this blog you’re probably in search of good stories that will educate and encourage you on your financial journey. As bloggers, we tell our stories for many of the same reasons I described above.
But nothing can substitute for the power of telling our stories to someone we know, and who knows us. Yes, it can be difficult, but it’s well worth the experience.
So who can you tell your story to today? Is there someone you could meet with who would understand your desire for financial improvement and accountability? What could you learn from them? What could you encourage or support them in? Take the initiative and tell your story whenever you get the opportunity.