Local couple teach others how to handle money


Published: Saturday, March 1, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 29, 2008 at 9:04 p.m.

Gainesville citizens will get a lesson on financial spending and saving starting March 4, thanks to a local resident who was inspired by a book by Dave Ramsey.

Josh Fischer heard Ramsey speaking on his radio show about eliminating debt. He and his wife bought Ramsey's book "The Total Money Makeover" and applied its principles to their lives, Fischer said.

"Dave Ramsey played such a large part in our life in becoming debt-free," Fischer said.

As a member of Christ Community Church for almost two years, Fischer decided to bring Ramsey's program, Financial Peace University, to the church. It aims at teaching families and individuals how to handle their money through common-sense principles and small group accountability.

Fischer saw two benefits to offering the program at the church. Not only would the program help people become debt free, it would also help raise funds for a permanent church building because the church now meets in Oak Hall School's auditorium.

The program consists of 13 lessons. Topics covered include budgeting, saving for emergencies, college and retirement planning, getting out of debt, real estate mortgages, understanding insurance and investments, and relationship and money issues, according to a press release.

Fischer and his wife began applying Ramsey's principles from his book in January 2006, and by December 2006 the couple was debt-free except for its mortgage.

"We thought we were good with our money. In reality we weren't."

The Fischers, like many, accumulated debt on credit cards.

Fischer believes in Ramsey's program because his book helped him so dramatically.

"The principles that he taught in his book changed my life. He and his process have certainly changed my way of handling money," Fischer said.

The program begins March 4 and will run every Tuesday for 13 weeks from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. During the first hour, the class will view a DVD of Ramsey presenting a lesson. The second hour will consist of small group discussion where attendees apply the principles, hold each other accountable and support one another, Fischer said.

Because of limited physical space the class is filled to capacity with 14 people. It will meet at the church's office at 1603 SW 122nd St. Fischer hopes to host the program again, he said.

Ramsey offers distance classes for many groups including churches, companies, military bases, financial literacy programs, Spanish speaking organizations and community groups.

This particular class is biblically-based, Fischer said.

"God has given us over 800 scriptures about money, showing us how to handle our finances His way. The Bible has a lot of interesting things to say about money, debt, and personal finance," according to Dave Ramsey's Web site.

You don't have to be a member of the congregation to attend. Young and older people, married couples and a UF graduate student are among those attending, Fischer said.

Fischer's goal is to assist people who are in debt to get out of debt and those that are not in debt to better handle their money so they can save, build wealth and give, he said.

"It feels much better to have no debt at all," said Fischer, who is now building a six-month emergency fund. "It feels good to save."

For more information on Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University program visit www.daveramsey.com or listen to his radio show 1-3 p.m. weekdays and 8-10 p.m. weeknights on The Star 99.5 FM.

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