Bruce, my husband and I are taking Financial Peace University. We just finished the 10th week. I can’t recommend it highly enough! A lot of what is covered is common sense but we learned some things we didn’t know, either, and his envelope system has saved our rear ends. We spend so much less on most things than we used to and we’re starting to pay off some very old debts now.
As for staff, I’m not sure what you’re asking. Our FPU class is led by a woman who took the class and wanted to facilitate it for others. She still has some money issues but she’s working on them. 🙂
We read TMMO about two years ago and are reading FP Revisited as part of FPU. The information is excellent and Dave’s enthusiasm is contagious!
There happens to be a Dave Ramsey site which I am member of. I’ve received a wealth of information and motivation from those members. I was also able to “beta test” his newst Financial Peace website about 6 months ago. It includes recorded sessions of Dave Ramsey himself teaching the class and printable copies of the workbook pages as you move along. This was a better course for me to take versus his live courses taught at local churches and community group, although I’ve heard they are good too. Have you had a chance to read any of his books yet? You can attempt to borrow them from the local library, but having moved in the past 6 months, both cities I lived in had a waiting list for them. You can also check out his website and try to listen to his past radio talk shows (can be MP3 downloadable) for free. I also found he has a live show on one of the the business channels, I think its the same one you can view Suzy Ormond (?sp) and that crazy stock guy…Cramer I think. Dave takes live calls and guides you on howto get out of debt. He does practices and believes in a “no credit” lifestyle. He touts that his credit history is horrible because he carries no credit at all and has not for over 10 years now. He is extreme when it comes to that. But he and several of the members on the yahoo group are examples that it is doable. The main idea is to conquer your debt (all of it, car loans, house loans, everything), have the allotted savings and thus retirement, and only pay cash from then on. Yes, even owning a car, home, and education. One thing surprising I learned from him is that when you have cash on hand, especially for big ticket items (appliances, furniture, vehicle, even homes) you have the greatest bargaining tool. He has several examples of this. He also touts on backing off of the “have it now” attitude and take the time to save the money you need in cash.
He does have what he calls baby steps to follow, you can see a printable version of this on DaveRamsey.com and the yahoo group files, and I do follow it somewhat. I have found that being 36 and having a military family, credit is needed for auto insurance, getting kids enrolled in private school, etc., so I still fret about my score, but I do have a $1000 emergency fund (baby step #1) and are more than halfway through our debt snowball plan (baby step #2). We are fortunate enough to not to have a mortgage, but we both had college degrees which mean college loans. But no matter, with his plan, we will be debt free in 2011 and we are talking of over $100,000 in debt.
Good luck to you. I’ve read, and as you should too, read several self-help finance books including Suzy Ormond, etc and have found Dave’s way to make more sense. But as I mentioned before, hit the library or pick up a used on on Amazon.com or your local Half-Price books.