Financial Peace University – Week 2

Two weeks ago  BF and I attended week 1 of Financial Peace University (FPU). I started saving for my $500 Emergency Fund hard core at this meeting and as of today (two weeks later) I have $350 towards my $500 saved up. By the end of this month I should have this goal completed. Woo hoo!

Week 2 of FPU was about relationships and money.

Of course the big focus was on marriage relationships – because money is such a big deal in marriage relationships. I’m not married, but I am going to FPU with BF.

We determined that I’m the “nerd” as Dave calls it. I enjoy making the spreadsheets. I love doing the budget. I am very controlling when it comes to the finances.

BF is definitely the “free spirit”. He wants someone to just do it for him so he doesn’t have to worry about. He gets bored with the finances. He just spends what he has and hopes it works out. Which it has for him so far, to a point. Other free spirits? Not so much.

In fact, our homework assignment from Week 1 (two weeks ago) was to make up a simple budget. Just a budget of our “necessary” expenses. I came home and did mine that night… because I’m the nerd. And also because all I had to do was copy the information from my Excel spreadsheet that already had it in there.

Him? Well… I reminded him to do it that weekend. I encouraged him to do it the middle of last week. I bugged him about it this weekend. And asked again if he had done it before we left last night – “Did you do it?Nope. Hadn’t done it.

Which annoyed me, of course, because his budget is a lot simpler than mine. Rent, car payment, cell phone, food. That’s it. His utilities are included in his rent and he has no other expenses every month aside from those. Of course, it drove me nuts that he didn’t do it.

After listening to Dave and realizing I’m a nerd and BF is a free-spirit, on the drive home he said that he really did want to do the budget but he can’t do it alone. He said he was glad I was there so that I could help him. Not do it for him, I’m far too much of a teacher at heart to allow that, but to help him.

So he’s going to work on it Saturday, with me there for guidance.

Dave gave some amazing tips for how a nerd and a free spirit can work together – and even how they need each other for balance. I especially loved his tips on the “Budget Meeting”.

Rules for nerds:

  1. Bring the budget, give it to your free spirit.
  2. Shut up.

Rules for free spirits:

  1. Go to the meeting.
  2. Bring your brain to the meeting.
  3. Change something on the budget. (Of course, my nerd self hated this rule, because I know my budget it awesome. But Dave made an excellent point that the budget shouldn’t seem like the 10 commandments handed down from God to be bestowed upon your family. The free spirit should be involved. And they can’t just say “sounds good to me” – they have to be active in the process for it to mean anything.)

Rules for both:

  1. Agree and commit to the budget.
  2. Come back to a Emergency Budget Meeting if either stray from the budget.

Reflections of Week 2

Once again I had a wonderful time at FPU. There are so many people there, it is really encouraging to listen to their stories. There were around 26 people at this meeting – with 11 couples. The total of all of our debt? $408k. That means the average one of us has $16,000 worth if debt. Makes me sick that I have almost double that.

The best thing about FPU so far is that Dave is enjoyable to listen to, which makes it unpainful for BF. The conversations that we have afterward are so helpful. It is nice to have a means each week to talk about finances in a non-threatening way. Since we aren’t married and we don’t have joint finances, FPU is helping both of us get on the same page before we even think about combining things. We’re learning how to communicate, we’re learning about financial values, and we’re learning shared goals – all before we even think about sharing a life together. I think that going through FPU together should be a requirement for all people who are starting out in their life together.

If most marriages end in divorce because of issues regarding money, why shouldn’t we put time and effort before getting married into learning how to effectively talk with each and have common goals about money beforehand?

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14 Responses to Financial Peace University – Week 2

  1. I was looking at some of the classes in my area. Is it Dave teaching via video or some other guy teaching?

    • SS4BC says:

      The way they do it where I go (which I assume is standard) is that there is a group leader who facilitates discussion and then we watch the Dave videos.

      So we get there, talk about anything that we want to talk about as a group. Watch the hour video. Then we have a facilitated discussion by the group leader about the concepts in the video.

      It seems a little weird at first, but works really well.

  2. Really cool. I think it’s great that you are taking the workshop together. It will definitely help later on in your relationship when you need to combine finances etc.

  3. Amber says:

    Hey! I think it is great that you and BF are going to FPU – together. I am already hitched and my significant other’s attention span for finance is like 1 week… then the budget is out the window.

    In your opinion, do you think it would be worth going to FPU by myself without my significant other? Everything that I have read/heard on his radio show makes me think it won’t work without both of us going and being on board. I know you have only been to 2 weeks of it, but I’m curious as to what you think.

    • SS4BC says:

      Amber, I would say that you should try to drag him. About 1/3 of our class are spouses who are being forced by their partners. If nothing else, have them go to the (free) preview week or the (free) first week of the program to see how painless it is.

      What I’m really learned so far is that if one person in the relationship is working towards the goals and the other person doesn’t have a part – even a small part – in helping with those goals that you’re not going to get anywhere quickly.

      If absolutely nothing else, try to see if you can got to the Week 2 class together. That is the one about relationships and you both can learn together how to talk about money and get a plan together.

  4. Mercedes says:

    This definitely sounds like something my DBF and I could use. He is more the free spirit and I am the nerd. He has told me many time he’d like to just hand all his finances over to me and let me pay his bills for him. I am trying to get him to put more stock into his finances, and it is slowly working, but we’ve both got a long way to go!

    • SS4BC says:

      Yah, my BF has told me he wants someone to do it for him as well.

      And of course the nerd in me wants to take control of that!

      But it is important for the two to work together, in some fashion, for a variety of reasons:

      1. So that you have a common goal. You may make the spreadsheets, and design the budget, but if he isn’t on board then it didn’t matter that is what you did.

      2. So that if anything happens to you he has a GENERAL idea of what is going on with the money. And while losing you may be traumatic, he also doesn’t want to have to worry about his finances on top of that as well.

  5. Wow, FPU sounds fun which clearly makes me a “nerd.” Were there any couples there that were comprised of two nerds or two free spirits? I could see how this could lead to disaster, but just curious as to what Dave’s thoughts were on those.

    • SS4BC says:

      There wasn’t a duel free-spirit couple. Which kinda makes sense because two free-spirits would never drag themselves to a 13-week class on personal finance. 😉

      There was a nerd-nerd combo, but even in that case one was MORE of a nerd than the other. Also, two nerds may be able to talk to each other about money in an easy way without needing to be facilitated by the class.

      Generally opposites seem to attract from the evidence I’ve seen. Which I consider a good thing. =)

  6. Serendipity says:

    I think its great that you are doing this together as a team. A lot of marriages do end in divorce over money matters so it makes complete sense to work on them now as a team. Good job!

  7. Pingback: Financial Peace University – Week 3 «

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