Financial peace in the new year

Published 2:04 pm Monday, December 31, 2012

If your New Year’s resolution involves getting out of debt, saving more money or spending less, a class being offered in Suffolk beginning this month can help you achieve your goals.

Financial Peace University, a program developed by money guru Dave Ramsey, will be held in three different places — at Nansemond River Baptist Church, in the Hillpoint Farms Community and at Beech Grove United Methodist Church. Leaders said they hope the class will help their friends and neighbors.

“I think we’re going through a pretty rough time in this nation, and I think a lot of people are going to be very interested in how to deal with their money and how to avoid some of the pitfalls we normally get involved in living in a credit world,” said Darrin Reinke, who is leading the class at Nansemond River Baptist Church.

Email newsletter signup

The program meets the same night per week for nine weeks and teaches participants Ramsey’s seven “baby steps” to financial peace. They start off small — save $1,000 to prepare for emergencies — and increase to larger goals like saving for children’s college funds and paying off the mortgage early.

According to a press release from Ramsey, the average family who completes the course pays off $5,300 in debt and saves $2,700 in the first 90 days.

Reinke, whose church has offered the class several times, said many participants have even taken it a second time.

“They always seem to get something else out of it,” he said. “Once people start to look and create these budgets and put names to dollars, they begin to really see some of the mess they’re in, but also the ways they can get out.”

Reinke said developing a budget was one of the hardest things for him and his family personally, and also seems to be difficult for many who take the class. But it’s all worth it, he said — no more fights over money and no more stress over expenses.

Cusi Hamlin also is organizing and hosting the class at the Hillpoint Farms community. Chris Bagley, pastor of Creekside Community Church, will lead it.

Hamlin said she is looking forward to reminding herself of some of the tenets of the program.

“I just want to get it done, so that way I can refresh to make sure I’m spending my money more wisely,” she said. “We’re approaching retirement this year, so we want to make sure all of our ducks are in a row.”

Her daughter also will be home, and Hamlin hope she will be able to go through the program as well.

The program will begin at Nansemond River Baptist Church on Jan. 9 at 6:15 p.m. At Beech Grove, it begins Jan. 13 at 1:30 p.m. In the Hillpoint Farms community, a preview will be held Jan. 17, and the classes begin on Jan. 31.

For more information or to sign up, visit There is a cost for the program.