Sunday, May 9, 2010

Financial Peace University Week 13: The Great Misunderstanding

This last week was our last Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University Class!  It was such a great class.  If anyone has the opportunity to take it, I highly recommend it.  We loved being the moderators.  We learned so much!  The staggering thing to me was how much debt our class paid off.  On the last night of class, we calculated the totals.  Averaged out, each couple paid off $6974.47 and saved $6,323.33!!  And that was in only 91 days!!! Fabulous!

This week – "The Great Misunderstanding"- being a good steward over what we have been given, and GIVING!!

Key points:

  1. The Great Misunderstanding, the paradox, is that we believe that the way to have more is to hold on to what we have more tightly.
  2. A steward is a manager, not an owner.
  3. Give the first 10% of your income to your church or favorite charity.
This was one of my favorite lessons.  Some people think that holding on tightly (clenched fists) to everything we have is the way to get more.  Wrong!  Here’s a passage from the Dave Ramsey website on avoiding “stuffitis” and finding true contentment.
In 1913 a cartoonist named Arthur R. Momand coined the phrase “Keeping Up with the Joneses” when he created a daily comic strip by the same name. The strip was Momand’s satirical take on his experiences living in an affluent society. It struck such a cord with Americans that it ran for 28 years.
We’re not that much different today. We still strive to keep up with friends, neighbors and even strangers – partly because we inherently crave prestige and partly because we’re bombarded with ads for all the things that will allegedly make us happy.
Dave says that the most important key to financial peace is not budgeting, debt snowballing or investing. The key is contentment. You have to know how to be content with less before you’re able to dig in and do the practical things that lead to financial freedom. Ironically, the people who are most content with their finances and their possessions are those who actually have less.
Marty Nemko of says, “Most wealthy people know that additional money beyond a fairly modest income yields little additional happiness.”
In her book You Don’t Have to be Rich, Jean Chatzky goes a bit further and says, “The financial habits of people who believe money equals happiness stand in the way of achieving that happiness.” This type of person is less likely to do the things that lead to true contentment and control.
So what’s the answer? How do we go against the grain of a greedy, possession-driven society? One thing we can do is not allow our possessions to possess us. Working just to buy the best clothes, the newest car, the latest technology or the biggest house is futile. Our aim should be a life of peace and freedom where our family, health, and wholeness are the priorities.’
 He spent some time talking about how we are merely managers of our money, and that God is the owner.  He said it is much easier to give when it is someone else's money!  If we remember this principle that we are the stewards, it will be easier to give.

He then talked about the importance of giving your first 10% to your church or charity.  He explained that even while in debt, we should be giving.  He explains: 
Nearly every day callers to “The Dave Ramsey Show” ask Dave, “If I’m still in debt, should I stop giving to my church or charitable organizations?”

For Christians and practicing Jews, this is a slightly more complicated situation because the Bible and the Torah instruct believers to give at least 10% of their income to the church. There are many people who simply want to be able to give whether they attend church or not, but they don’t feel they can afford it while they’re working the debt snowball.
In this situation, Dave offers some very sound and simple advice: give.

While it may be tough during the rice-and-beans, debt-dumping days of Baby Step 2, Dave says that even if it’s not much, don’t worry. It’s not about the amount or what it does for the organization to which you give. It’s about what it does to you, deep down inside.
You’ll be happier, healthier, and you’ll get so much more out of life when you intentionally and regularly give. Plus, continuing to give during the financially dry spells will solidify in you a spirit of generosity that will carry over when you’re cup is overflowing!
Whether you give to your church, your synagogue, or a charitable organization, just give. And even if you’re working the debt snowball, just stick to your budget and you’ll be in good shape.
There are three things to do with money: spend, save and give. You have to spend in order to have the things you need to live and should save in order to secure your family’s future. But there’s something special about giving, something about the way it refreshes your heart and helps you see what is most important. No matter the amount or the recipient, just give.

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1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on finishing FPU!! I loved the last lesson too, it is just the icing on the whole wonderful cake. Generosity is the key to everything. I believe its what God has made us to do...take care of each other in little ways that require us holding our resources with a very loose grip. I hope you enjoyed the class as much as I did. It certainly has changed our life for the better.

    Krysten in Ohio