Enter for a chance to win $5,000!

Skip to Main Content
Debt

A Look Inside Financial Peace University

Money. We can’t get away from the word. It’s in the news and impacting our daily lives. Maybe you feel like you didn’t learn enough growing up to manage your finances well now. Maybe money is so tight you worry you won’t have enough from one month to the next. Maybe you’re just exhausted and feel like no matter what you do, you just can’t get ahead.

Here’s some good news: Whatever your past, whatever your income, wherever you are with money right now—you don’t have to stay there. You can get the knowledge and motivation to make things different. To fight inflation, get rid of your debt, save more money, invest and get margin in your monthly budget so you can breathe again.

How? With Financial Peace University (aka FPU). This course gives you a step-by-step plan based on commonsense principles that actually make sense. It’s all the things you wish someone had sat down and taught you years ago. And thankfully, it isn’t too late to learn it now!

Let’s talk about how FPU started, and what it is today.

How Financial Peace University Started: Dave Ramsey’s Story

Okay, let’s set the scene and talk about the FPU origin story. It all started over 30 years ago when Dave Ramsey was at the top of his game. But then it all came crashing down.

money icon

Pay off debt fast and save more money with Financial Peace University.

At just 26 years old, he was making $20,000 a month in the real estate business. (Hit the pause button. With inflation, that’s around $50,000 a month today, for some perspective.) With that kind of money, Dave and his wife, Sharon, were able to do all the things they’d always dreamed of doing. 

You’ve heard the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses.” Well, if you knew Dave and Sharon Ramsey then, they were the Joneses. Just about everything in their lives seemed perfect—from the outside. But the truth? They were deep in debt. 

And this pretend perfect life they’d built around the debt? It couldn’t hold up. Everything changed when the bank called and gave Dave and Sharon less than six months to pay back millions of dollars. They worked like crazy to get all the property sold, but it wasn’t fast enough.

On the night of September 23, 1988, Dave and Sharon signed bankruptcy papers while sitting at their old oak kitchen table. They were terrified. Dave says, “I didn’t have any answers. I was the guy that had all the answers.”

It was rock bottom. And the family had a decision to make. Would they stay there, or would they climb out?

Financial Peace University: Through the Years

Going through bankruptcy made Dave realize he really didn’t know anything about money. So, he started digging into what God has to say about it. Even though Dave had the fancy finance degrees and letters behind his name, he looked to the Bible for any wisdom he could find.

After comparing biblical wisdom to what he learned in business school, Dave decided to live out a new plan (which later became the Baby Steps). That plan included making (and sticking to) a budget, saving an emergency fund, and getting and staying out of debt. The Ramseys started thriving with their money—and this time it really was their money, not a bunch of debt that could bring them tumbling down again.

One day, someone who knew what Dave and Sharon had been through asked for money advice over coffee. Through that conversation, Dave discovered the plan he’d used to crawl out of bankruptcy and create real security could help others—and maybe even help them avoid the same pain.

Inspired by this, Dave put on his best suit, grabbed an overhead projector, and started a class called Life After Debt. It was his way of sharing all the money lessons he learned the hard way. Five families showed up for the first class. Over the next three years, that number grew to 350 families, and Dave knew the knowledge he’d gained was something more and more people needed.

That Life After Debt class, and some of the info in Dave’s first book (called Financial Peace), evolved into Financial Peace University. The course broke down the Baby Steps and brought tons of other personal finance principles to light in easy-to-understand language.

And though FPU isn’t exactly the same as it was back then (goodbye, overhead projector), each change to the course was made with one goal: to help more people find hope. From Dave’s very first class (which lasted a whopping 26 weeks) all the way to the current nine-week course, that goal has remained the same. 

New faces have joined the team to share their stories and expertise—like Dave’s daughter and bestselling author Rachel Cruze, bestselling author Dr. John Delony, and Ramsey Personality George Kamel.

Today the course covers more topics than the original FPU—with a full lesson on wise spending and how to avoid the marketing scams that are literally all around you. Don’t worry, though, you’ll still learn how to make a budget, save an emergency fund, get out of debt, save for retirement and college, pay off the house, build wealth, and give generously.

The truth is, Financial Peace University isn’t a class you binge and forget. It’s an incredibly motivating—and also practical—money management course . . . without all the financial blah blah blah everyone else is dishing out.

You can go through the course in a virtual class setting or join an in-person FPU class near you. Or you can watch it at home in your pajama pants (because it’s a completely digital course experience)! You can even gift FPU to someone else so they can take the course as well. 

Listen, FPU gets results—because you make the results happen. The average household that completes the course pays off $5,300 in debt and saves $2,700 in the first 90 days! This course isn’t magic. It just gives you the foundation of knowledge you need and the motivation to put in the hard work. You are the magic.

Dave always says personal finance is 80% behavior and 20% knowledge. These lessons give you that knowledge—and help you see this truth: You can make the changes you need, you can put in the work, and you can do what it takes to thrive.

And it keeps growing! Today, nearly 30 years later, around 10 million people have taken the course and found practical financial wisdom—but most importantly, they’ve found hope

What You’ll Learn in Financial Peace University

No matter where you are with money when you step into FPU, it’s important to watch every single lesson. You’ll get the big picture, and then you can start taking each step to make it all happen.

But what exactly will you learn with FPU? Good question. Here’s a breakdown of the nine lessons.

Lesson 1: Baby Step 1 & Budgeting

Baby Step 1: Save $1,000 for Your Starter Emergency Fund

Baby Step 1 is all about having a plan for those life happens moments. You know, when your fridge gives out or your garage door comes off the track and is just hanging there like a loose tooth. You can be ready to pay for this stuff—in cash—with Baby Step 1. Later you’ll get that full 3–6-month emergency fund, but this lesson will show you how to build in a financial buffer while you work on the next step.

Then you’ll learn how to make a budget. Because listen: Making (and sticking to) the budget is kind of Baby Step 0. It takes you from wondering where your money’s going to telling it where to go. It shows your money exactly who’s in charge here. (You.) And using the premium version of EveryDollar (which, by the way, you get access to for three months with your FPU purchase) makes the whole process way smoother, simpler and more accurate. (Yes, please!)

Lesson 2: Baby Step 2

Baby Step 2: Pay Off All Debt (Except the House) Using the Debt Snowball

Your income is your greatest wealth-building tool. But when you’re sending part of each month’s paycheck to pay for the past . . . you can’t make progress. You’ll never get ahead. In this lesson, Dave shines light on what debt really is and debunks some common myths. You’ll learn the debt snowball method, aka the absolute fastest way to attack debt and get it out of your life. For good.

Lesson 3: Baby Step 3

Baby Step 3: Save 3–6 Months of Expenses in a Fully Funded Emergency Fund

Once you’ve got your starter emergency fund saved and your debt paid off, it’s time to save even more! In this lesson, you’ll learn the importance of saving 3–6 months of expenses in your fully funded emergency fund. Baby Step 3 keeps you from going back into debt when a big emergency arises, and it helps you sleep better at night knowing you’ve got security like never before.

Lesson 4: Baby Steps 4, 5, 6 and 7

Baby Step 4: Invest 15% of Your Household Income in Retirement 

Baby Step 5: Save for Your Children’s College Fund 

Baby Step 6: Pay Off Your Home Early 

Baby Step 7: Build Wealth and Give 

Once you’ve got your past paid off and your present secure, it’s time to start investing in your future. This is where it starts to get really fun! It’s time to make your money build the retirement of your dreams and pay it forward by giving generously.

Lesson 5: Wise Spending

So, there are plenty of marketers out there trying their absolute best to get your money. Whether you need what they’re selling or not. (And let’s be honest, most of the time you don’t need it—like that full home gym equipment bundle that practically does the workout for you, yet somehow you’re the one who gets cut like Mount Rushmore in the end.) Outsmart them all. Say, “Nope” to falling for their schemes and busting your budget. This lesson will teach you how to gain power over your spending.

Lesson 6: Understanding Insurance

Insurance. We get it—it’s not the most exciting topic. But. It’s. Critical. You’ve got to protect your family (and all that wealth you’re working so hard to build). The good news is, it’s not as complicated as it seems. This lesson breaks down the eight types of insurance you actually need (and which ones to avoid).

Lesson 7: Building Wealth

You know what’s confusing? Retirement planning. IRA this and 401(k) that. And who the heck is Roth? (Wasn’t he in Friends?) Whew. Thankfully, this lesson breaks it all down so you’ll feel confident to start investing in tried and true ways to build wealth.

Lesson 8: Buying & Selling Your Home

Owning your own home is part of the American Dream. But if you bite off more real estate than you can chew, it can quickly become a nightmare. Don’t worry. This lesson will help you understand mortgages and whether or not you should buy, sell or rent.

Lesson 9: Outrageous Generosity

Here’s one huge goal—a North Star to fix your eyes on during all the hard work. When you finally feel financial peace, you can be generous in ways you’ve never imagined possible. The truth is, generosity is the most fun you can have with money. Seriously.

What’s Included in FPU?

When you purchase FPU, you get:

  • Access to all nine video lessons
  • A three-month subscription to the premium version of EveryDollar
  • A fully editable digital workbook
  • Digital tools and calculators
  • Unlimited group coaching with our team of financial coaches
  • Access to in-person or virtual FPU classes across the country

Your Journey Starts Here

Just imagine the feeling you’ll have when you finally pay off that last student loan. Or you log into your retirement account and see the years you’ve spent investing have earned you seven figures.

Or even when you get your budget stable enough that you finally see a light at the end of this inflation tunnel.

Think about how the generations of your family tree could trace their own financial peace all the way back to you! Believe us—it can happen. It won’t happen overnight, but watching that very first lesson in FPU is the perfect start to this journey.

There. Is. Hope. Where you are now isn’t where you have to be. You can feel peace—and even empowerment—with your money. Yes, really. You just have to decide it’s time to take that first step.

And then take it.

Are you ready?

Make that hope-filled first step toward financial peace.

Take FPU

Ramsey Solutions

About the author

Ramsey Solutions

Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners. Learn More.

Related Articles

What Is Debt?
Debt

What Is Debt?

Let's break down what debt actually is and how it works—in words a real human can understand. We’ll look at the types of debt and define common debt terms.

Ramsey Solutions Ramsey Solutions

Get a FREE Customized Plan for Your Money!

Get a FREE Customized Plan for Your Money! 

Answer a few questions, and we'll create a plan tailored just for you. It only takes three minutes!
Take the Assessment

Get a FREE Customized Plan for Your Money! 

Answer a few questions, and we'll create a plan tailored just for you. It only takes three minutes!
Take the Free Assessment