Financial Peace University: Is It Worth The Price Of Admission?

Over the years I’ve written quite a bit about Dave Ramsey here on this site. For those that don’t know Dave Ramsey is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host, author and financial guru.  I’ve written about his 7 Baby Steps plan for getting out of debt, as well as his 13 week financial class called Financial Peace University.  I’ve also read and recommend his book Financial Peace Revisited as it was included in the Financial Peace University packet when we took the class.

As you can probably tell, I’m a big Dave Ramsey fan. I’ve taken his classes, helped facilitate the class as a leader.  I think his methods are great for helping people to get on a solid financial footing, and to get rid of debt.

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With all that said, today I wanted to talk about something that I’ve heard quite a few people talk about in the last few months – the pricing of Dave Ramsey’s programs.  I’ve heard some people say that his programs cost too much, and that he’s making his fortune off of the mis-fortune of others.  I’ve heard this even more since it was revealed that Dave Ramsey had built a huge new multi-million dollar house for his family.  Others say that his programs are priced reasonably, and are well worth the cost for what you get.  Today I thought I’d examine just what his program costs, and whether or not it’s a good value.

Financial Peace University

What Is The Cost Of Financial Peace University?

The main Dave Ramsey offering that I’ve heard people talk about and complain that it’s too expensive is Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.  How much does it cost?  From Ramsey’s site as of 4/2011

Class Cost: Lifetime Membership – Memberships include all class materials and usually cost around $100 per family. You can purchase your membership from Dave’s online store or from the class coordinator.

So the class costs $100 per family.  $100 is exactly what we paid when we took the class 2-3 years ago.  So apparently it hasn’t gone up in price.  One thing that should be noted is that the $100 covers a lifetime membership to the class, so if you decide you want to take the class a second or third time – you won’t have to pay the $100 cost again.  I’ve been through the class now twice, and I found it helpful to attend more than once.  Sometimes the first time through you may have some confusion about certain topics, and want to go over them again. Taking the class a second time can help you with that.

Financial Peace University also has a home study program as well, which will cost more because it also includes the DVDs of the lectures, which aren’t included in the regular class package.  The cost for that package is currently $169.

Note: I’ve been told that you can also attend the first class of Financial Peace University at no cost to decide if it’s something you might want to do.  Something to consider for those on the fence.

What Do You Get For Your Money?

When you sign up for the Financial Peace University class and pay your $100, what exactly are you getting?  You get the class itself and a membership kit:

  • 13 weeks of class (lifetime membership)
  • The book Financial Peace Revisited
  • The Financial Peace University workbook
  • Audio CDs of the 13 weeks of lectures, in a nice faux leather folder.
  • CD with some sample video content
  • CD to share with a friend
  • Cash envelope system for envelope budgeting
  • Debit card sleeve (to remind you to think twice about spending)

To me that’s actually a pretty good value. You’re getting all that books and materials as well as the class for only $100.  For the 13 weeks of class alone that would be around $7.70 per class. That’s pretty darn affordable I think.  (Check out my FPU Kit unboxing post for more pictures of the materials)

You also get some intangibles when taking the class, one of which is a sense of peace knowing that you’re in better control of your money.  Having a budget and a plan can really give you a sense of power that many didn’t have before.

Where Could You Find $100 In Your Budget?

The question a lot of people bring up when talking about the class is – “If I can’t afford to pay my bills, how can I afford to pay for the class?”.

In some instances I know that some churches that offer the class will help people to pay for the class with full or partial scholarships.  Even Ramsey suggests, however, that it is a good idea for people to pay their own way.   They’ve found that people who pay their own way tend to have more success in the program, in part because they have something invested in it.  If they don’t pay, since it’s not their own money they don’t feel as bad dropping out after 2 weeks if they don’t like it. Pay the cost, and they’re more willing to stick it out and do the hard work.  We saw this very clearly in our own class, one of the few people who got a scholarship ended up dropping out after the 3rd week.

So where can you find $100 in the budget?

The point is, there are a ton of ways that you can come up with an extra $100, you just have to be creative!

So Is It Worth It? Is FPU A Good Value?

So is Financial Peace University a good value, and will you be glad you spent the money?  In my opinion it is an extremely good value for what you’re getting – a roadmap to a solid financial footing.   It really isn’t that hard to find an extra $100 in your budget if you put your mind to it, and the returns you’ll get through the program will more than pay for it.

If you don’t like Dave Ramsey or his methods, you may want to look elsewhere because there are other programs out there that may cost a bit less – like Crown Financial’s Money Map program.  But for my money, and from my experience, Dave’s program is effective, engaging and fun, and it just works.

What are your thoughts? Are you convinced that the program is a good value? Do you still think it costs too much, or do you have other issues with Ramsey and his program?

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Last Edited: 10th February 2014

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Comments

    Share Your Thoughts:

  1. says

    Good for Dave for being a wise steward and helping others AND being able to afford a big house. Those that complain about his wealth are simply jealous. Your post as well as your experience proves the worth of Ramsey’s stuff.

  2. says

    I agree that FPU is well worth the money. We have hosted FPU numerous times at our church and have never heard even one attendee complain about the price. As Dave says, you can easily get the money back by following the teaching in any one of the thirteen lessons.
    For us, using the envelopes has forced us to live within our means and has therefore saved us hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

    • says

      Dave Ramsey was the one who really got me to buy into the idea of a zero based budget, and giving every dollar a job and a name. That tip alone has saved us hundreds – so I agree – You’ll most likely save more from taking the class than you spend on it – as long as you follow through with the program.

  3. says

    I discovered FPU after we were already debt-free except the mortgage, so I havent gone through the course, but I’ve read many of his books and followed his broadcasts, and find his advice and the way he presents it to be excellent.

    Yes, you could probably piece together this info and tools for free. But sometimes you get what you pay for. And sometimes when you pay for things, it makes you work harder at them (at least that’s the way it’s been for me and Weight Watchers!).

    Good post!

    • says

      Christina, I can relate to the Weight Watchers analogy, translates well to FPU – dropping pounds or dropping debt.

      I’m doing WW right now as well – and the fact that I’m paying for it every month keeps me motivated to stay on the program, and to get the most out of it. I’m down 25 lbs so far! Hopefully I’ll reach my goal weight sooner than I got rid of all non-mortgage debt. :)

  4. says

    If your going to invest $100 into getting better control over your money I think that is a big motivation too. Do you feel like got enough motivation to keep up with your finances after the course? Think others that took the class with you felt the same way?

  5. Olivia says

    I’m a tightwad by necessity. We hate debt and have never had a good income. It took us years to pay back a $3500 graduate school loan and we avoided debt like the plague after that. We found our information in books. The first was a Christian writer from Canada, don’t recall his name, who emphasized stewardship. It was given to us by a retiring pastor at his yard sale. Then we discovered Larry Burkett. His work popped up at yard sales and thrift stores, so we never paid full price for anything. It was the encouragement we needed at the time. I think if Financial Peace University is a good fit, you’ll have the cash and motivation to follow through with it. If you don’t have the cash and have a desire to be obedient with what you have, God will make another way for you.

  6. finco86 says

    I started with Dave’s original Financial Peace book and slowly converted to the envelope system. That made all the difference. I took FPU just so I could bring it to my church and never thought that the price was too much. I have facilitated classes at our church for the last 6 years and we make it very clear that if the price of the kit is keeping you from attending the class, then we will offer a scholarship. Most of the hundreds of people that have attended our classes thought that the class was well worth the price.

  7. says

    Hi Peter,
    It’s only worth the price if you take the program seriously, and like you pointed out, the people who pay out of pocket for the program usually do. It’s not hard sparing $100 from a monthly budget and it’ll definitely be worth it in the long run. Great article, full of useful information about FPU. I’ll be passing it along!
    Thanks,
    Timothy

  8. says

    My problem with Dave is that he is essentially repackaging common sense and open source information into a slick package and then reselling it to naive or trusting individuals and using the church for his monetary gain.

    I know, we live in a capitalistic society, if people want to pay for it, more power to him. So maybe my problem is with the people who use his methods and then never realize that they didn’t really need Dave Ramsey to begin with. All they needed was for someone to lay out some good personal finance ideas and then show them how to apply them. Is that worth $100? Sure, maybe to some people. But be wary of anyone who offers to make you rich if you only give them some of your money first. It becomes quickly obvious who is really getting rich in that transaction.

    You want to know how to achieve financial peace? Start selling people the idea of financial peace and charge them $100 for it. Which week was that covered in FPU?

    • says

      You obviously have a pretty low opinion of Dave, and that’s your choice. I can understand why some people don’t like him, he’s got a pretty strong personality, and I don’t agree with everything he teaches either, especially when it comes to investing.

      The FPU program may be mostly just common sense, I can’t disagree with that. The problem is, so many people grow up without common sense being taught in their families, and as a result they don’t really know or understand how to manage their money. I don’t think that putting together a package that truly helps people to get out of debt, and selling it for $100 (which includes the 9 week class by the way, people often forget that) is a bad thing. Some people just need help – and he’s there to provide it. Has he become wealthy from his radio show, FPU program, etc? Sure. I have no problem with it though because he actually is helping people, his program works. It’s not just snake oil or a worthless product.

      I’m not sure where you saw that he promises to make people rich, that was never in any of the classes that I attended. It was more about getting out of debt, being responsible with your money and then having enough to save for retirement and especially to give to others.

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