Dave Ramsey's high energy story telling and the excitement of this being the first night of FPU (i.e. seeing who's in the class, anticipating the unknown) helped keep me awake and focused in both the video session and small group interaction. Seven to Nine o'clock in the evening is generally a tough time for me. Because I get up each morning at 4:45 am, I am generally sleeping at 9:00 pm each night.
I was also very excited about the FPU package we received at registration. The contents included a workbook, audio cds, a book by Dave, and several other items that will be used in the budgeting process. Furthermore, each participant has full access to online resourse galore throughout the 13 weeks of the program. I love information and so I'll be sifting through it all online.
To me financial planning is just like exercising and eating right. Essentially both disciplines are bloated by information overload and yet all the "best ways" and "top 10 things to do now" ideas can be paired down to critical principles that everyone needs to follow to progress to success. The knowledge is abundant but the key aspect is always much more personal because it involves heart and behavior changes. There is always some deep motivation that drives human behavior and unless that drive is retooled, all the information in the world is useless.
Its obvious Dave seeks to motivate people to change behavior regarding how they handle money. His principles in this session are common but he does a fantastic job articulating a compelling vision of success. I tend to quickly grasp hold of another's enthusiasm and passion and so Dave's personality served me well in this session.
The topic was all about identifying baby steps and committing to movement toward the first step of building an emergency fund of $1,000. As soon as possible. One month is what Dave pushed a bit. Set aside $1,000 asap! I committed to this step.
My ears were especially tuned into how Dave used Scripture in this lesson. There is no mistaking where Dave places God in his life - its obvious Dave seeks to glorify God with the work of FPU. But slight proof-texting was also obvious. For now I am still listening as the references were not all that out of place. But, my guiding presupposition is the fact the scripture refers to money over 2,000 times and Jesus taught more about money than heaven and hell. The purpose of all these teachings about money is to point the student to his/her own heart - how one handles money exposes what a person really thinks about God's promises. With that said, the meaning of some of the scripture references used was cut short by only pointing to proof of the principle Dave was describing. It really is not that bad yet so I'll keep an eye on it.
There is homework. Establish a quick budget and read four chapters in Dave's book. With that said however, it was a good opening night.