Education

More Savings + Less Debt = Financial Peace

More than 5 million people nationwide have participated in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University classes, and enrollment for the next session starts soon.

Don Milne Aug 23, 2018

Fifteen years ago, newspaper headlines in Utah regularly announced that the Beehive State had more bankruptcies per capita than any other state. Recognizing the negative consequences that bankruptcy creates for a household, Zions Bank executives decided to address the problem. Fewer bankruptcies would be a good deal for all parties.

Zions looked into an education program called Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. Back in 2003, the reaction was likely to be “Dave who?” Ramsey was a lot less well known than he is now.

We invited Zions employees to participate in the 13-week class and the results were overwhelming: They were able to add significant amounts to savings and set up a process to help eliminate needless debt in less time than they thought possible. For example, in the very first class the average household saw a $10,000 turnaround in more savings and less debt in three months’ time.

A Great Program, Even if You’re Debt-Free

One thing we learned was this program was not just for people at risk of bankruptcy. Anyone who wanted to do better with money found the material useful. We even had people with no consumer debt attend the class. It is a great way to learn how to work with your partner with money goals.

Within a year Zions was promoting the class at locations throughout Utah and Idaho and thousands of people from the general public attended the program. Participants would come to class and watch lessons on VHS videos, which were also available on audio cassette.

Over the past 15 years the number of Utah and Idaho participants is now nearing 70,000 (nationwide it is more than 5 million). The basic program hasn’t changed that much, but now there are nine weekly lessons instead of 13 and there aren’t any VHS tapes or cassettes.

Participants can stream video lessons online and download the audio to their smartphones. They also have access to a budgeting app that ties into their bank account to plan and track their monthly spending.

Zions Employees Reaping Benefits 13 Years Later

What also hasn’t changed is the ability for people to add big dollars to savings and help eliminate big dollars of debt. It is not uncommon for people who attend the class to be 100 percent debt free within two to three years. But don’t just take our word for it – read some of the many success stories for yourself.

A 2016 survey of past Zions Bank employee participants reported the following:

  • 88 percent reported their financial situation improved after taking the course.The average employee has paid off $17,000 in debt.
  • The average employee has added $22,600 to savings.
  • 21 percent report having paid off all consumer debt in amounts ranging from $4,000 to $64,000.
  • 82 percent anticipate they will be able to retire sooner and/or with more money due to what they learned.
  • 47 percent have increased the amount they contribute to their 401(k) by an average of 3.8 percent of salary.

Sign Up for a Class Near You

This September Zions Bank is encouraging interested households to attend one of dozens of class locations set up throughout Utah and Idaho. For those who want to amass more savings and less debt, this is a proven way to achieve that goal.

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