At the beginning and end of each semester of Financial Peace University, participants fill out an anonymous questionnaire meant to measure how the class has impacted them over the course of the nine-week program.
On average, families and individuals see a $4,000 turnaround in their finances — which might mean debt paid off, money saved, or both.
This winter, that number doubled, tripled and quadrupled. On average, participants saw a turnaround of $7,723 in the Sunday morning class, $10,726 in the Monday evening class and $17,000 in the Thursday evening class. And that was just the financial impact of the class. Those who take the class also experience the freedom of seeing credit cards and student loans paid off, stronger marriages and a renewed sense of confidence. Even for people who aren’t in debt and those who already consider themselves financially savvy, the course has the potential to change the trajectory of their finances – and their entire life.
“Even though it’s a class about finances, it doesn’t stop there,” said Kristin, one of the FPU facilitators.
Another semester of FPU is starting this month, and those who take the class will have the opportunity to become facilitators themselves this fall, when we want to encourage our entire family to walk through FPU together. But in order for that to happen, we will need many more FPU facilitators to help facilitate — and you can only become a facilitator if you’ve taken the class. The role itself is a small commitment, mostly involving putting on a video for the group and then leading a discussion about that week’s topic – whether it’s saving, budgeting, insurance, mortgages or giving.
For Andrea, leading a group has given her an up-close look at the many ways lives can be changed.
“I’ve seen marriages restored (the no. 1 reason for divorce is money-related), people being set free from thousands of dollars in debt, and overall false money-related arguments confronted with God’s truth,” said Andrea, who became a facilitator at Hoboken Grace this year after moving from Miami, where she and her husband also led an FPU group.
One story that sticks out is a man at their church in Miami who paid off $200,000 in debt after going through FPU. And that’s just one way someone’s life has changed, she said.
“There’s not one week during FPU that you don’t hear about a breakthrough in someone’s life,” Andrea added. “It encourages your own path with God.”
For Kristin, being an FPU leader has provided the tools and community to keep her accountable in her own finances.
“When I start falling off track, I have a community of people to talk with who are on the same journey with me,” she said. “We keep each other motivated.”
But she’s also seen countless people impacted.
“It helps facilitate conversations for couples that they’ve never had before or struggled with,” she said. “It’s really amazing to see the peace it brings to people’s lives knowing they are finally on the same page about this and have a structured way to talk about it and do it.”
And she’s also watched singles realize how capable they are of being financially free and independent.
“It can be scary living in such an expensive area on your own, and if you have debt, that maximizes the fear and your decisions start reflecting that,” she said. “You take on guilt and shame for decisions you made years ago. But FPU provides a plan, something to follow — that structure provides peace in itself. Then, once they start seeing actual results, it’s really cool to watch the confidence individuals adopt and the joy that it brings.”
Financial Peace University groups start September 9th. Registration is now open.