Dave and Bradie Hall took Dave Ramsey’s nine-week Financial Peace University course in 2014 and paid off all of their debt in February of this year.
Dave has since taught the course at the church they attend in Bedford.
With him serving on the Jackson County Council and Bradie serving on the Brownstown Central Community School Corp. board of trustees, the Brownstown couple wanted to offer the class in their community.
Dave came across Ramsey’s foundations in personal finance class that’s geared toward high school students and teaches budgeting, balancing a checkbook and entrepreneurship.
He paid $2,000 to be a sponsor of the class, which will provide the materials for up to 250 students in the 2018-19 school year.
He shared that with Superintendent Greg Walker, and Brownstown Central High School Principal Joe Sheffer asked business teacher Robin Perry if she would be interested in teaching the class. She immediately said, “Yes.”
“It just shows you what the black and white is,” Dave said of the course. “If you set a goal, then you know how to get there because you know how the money works. If you’re tracking your own money and you’re budgeting and you’re setting a budget and living by it, your chances of success are a lot better than if you just kind of fumble through and hope that it works out.”
Perry said she has been wanting to revamp her personal financial responsibility class to ensure what she taught was current and to make it more interactive for students. That class covers topics such as credit, insurance, budgeting, stock market, being a good consumer and more.
“I like how the Dave Ramsey course makes the information more personal for the student so they have greater understanding of the topics,” Perry said.
At Brownstown Central Middle School, eighth-graders spend a trimester taking a personal finance course. Perry said it’s good to offer that type of course in high school, too.
“High school students are on the cusp of adulthood and all that goes with it — employment, driving a car, getting student or home loans, learning to live in a budget, etc.,” she said. “It is beneficial for students to hear this information more in-depth again. I still remember things Mr. Ed Louden taught me in business classes, so I know they are old enough to receive the information and act on it.”
During the recession, Perry said legislators realized the lack of offerings of finance classes statewide and also the importance of financial education for students. It became more of a push from the state to have students take finance classes, she said.
“I am very glad to have this opportunity to teach this course, and I am very happy for the students to have the opportunity to get this information,” she said. “This really is the class you will use every day when you graduate. I tell the kids, ‘You may not use some of the things you learn in school again, but this personal financial responsibility class is one you will use daily.'”
She appreciates Dave’s generosity in making the opportunity happen.
“Students will have the tools to live better lives financially as adults because knowledge is power, right?” Perry said. “We are giving them the power to make informed decisions and participate actively in their finances. That is a great gift to the next generation.”
Dave said he is passionate about personal finance and personal accountability.
Some people make mistakes because they lack basic life skills, he said. They may spend time in jail for drug-related charges, and then when when they get out, they go right back to the same life.
“They get overwhelmed with stuff that should be easy and they should know,” Dave said, giving examples of balancing a checkbook and making a budget. “Then they go right back to drugs again because that’s where they feel safe. Once they are broke or make the mistakes, it’s so much harder to fix that person or get them on the right track.”
That’s where he hopes Ramsey’s class can benefit the high school students so they have those skills as they move on in life.
“It’s not exciting to talk about balancing a checkbook, but that’s the things they need to know,” Dave said.
Ramsey makes the high school course fun and interesting for students, Dave said.
“It’s a lot easier to follow than just someone sitting down and teaching you how to balance a checkbook,” he said. “It’s geared toward the kids.”
Based off of his experience teaching the class at church, Dave said adults think there is a taboo around talking about money or finances. It shouldn’t be that way, he said.
“You could just see there was stress and tension even talking about money, and it’s just a tool,” he said. “It shouldn’t have that emotional tie to some kind of pain sensor where it’s hard to talk about. It’s just it is what it is. When you know how to handle it and you know how to balance a checkbook, it takes that emotional part away, and it’s just money.”
Dave said he encourages others to think of ways they could take their passions and find a way to help students.