Our last class was this week, and I want to share our take on it for those of you who might be considering it for your own group of teens.
Here are a few details of how we conducted the class.
Class makeup: 25 boys and girls, mostly 16-year-olds who drove themselves to class. Although spring is the worst time to hold a small group due to graduation, Spring Break, Easter, Mother’s Day, and other conflicts, this class number held fairly constant until the end. The kids finished strong, and a competition at the end where they were quizzed on the concepts showed that they retained what had been taught during the entire course.
Place: in a home with a basement large enough for kids to assemble, view the videos, and fellowship after class.
Duration: 9 weeks, with several breaks in between for holidays.
Food: light snacks were provided by parents of those attending.
Class Format: Each class began with a video, narrated by Rachel Cruze (Dave Ramsey’s daughter) and Ramsey himself. After the videos, the class materials and homework were discussed in a group setting. We initially broke into small groups but eventually decided that keeping the whole group together worked best.
Bottom line: The principles taught in this class are ones that IF applied, can help teens have a view of money that can be life-changing. Understanding concepts such as the power of compound interest, the rule of 72, the power of saving/investing, and the freedom which comes from budgeting (“telling your money where to go”) can turn a teen with no idea how money works and no plan for the future into one with a plan, a purpose, and a goal for his or her financial future.
Although these principles, if followed, can and likely will result in individual wealth, Cruze and Ramsey emphasize that being financially free isn’t simply for one’s own benefit but for God’s work and His purposes. Everything they teach in the class is ultimately based upon what the bible says about money, debt, and giving.
Rachel Cruze is the primary narrator on the videos and does an excellent job of delivering in a fun, lighthearted way information that could otherwise be quite boring. She shares her love for cute clothes, designer accessories, and a cool car but points out her commitment to buying these things only after saving enough to pay for them with cash. She educates and inspires teens without lecturing, and she makes the material relevant to their season in life.
In the last class video, Dave Ramsey shares his financial testimony. He was worth millions through several high dollar real estate investments, but due to one loan being called when he wasn’t prepared, he lost everything and went bankrupt. He points out that debt (owing anyone anything at any time) equals slavery and is to be avoided at all costs. Now, he is once again financially abundant, but more importantly, he is financially free (no debt). This is the most important and most emphasized part of this course–that true financial freedom only comes when one is debt free.
Learning these principles early can be life changing for teens as they prepare to enter the real world–college, career, marriage, and beyond. Giving teens the opportunity to learn these concepts early on will bless them in every area of life and give them an edge over other young adults who have no idea of how to handle money wisely and who end up shackled by debt early in life.
I asked the teens in our small group to jot down their opinion of the class. Below are a few of the responses:
- I liked this class. It taught me a lot about debt, college, and what life will be like once I graduate.
- This class motivated me to want to save and use my money to glorify God. It also taught me how to do it.
- This class has really opened my eyes to how serious money is. Being at Briarwood has hidden me from debt and hardships with money. Overall, this class has been an awesome experience that will be much-needed as I grow up.
- It’s amazing how much I didn’t know about money. This class was well needed.
- This class was worth it because these are great things to learn before graduating from high school.
Having attended all nine sessions and seeing what is entailed in this course, I can wholeheartedly recommend it. I highly encourage it for parents who want to give their kids the tools to become financially savvy as young adults and reap the benefits throughout life.