Why do I need a course like FF1?
Nobody else can learn personal finance for you. And yet financial maturity, so core to a self-determined life, is never taught in school. As adults, most financial literacy courses just give you principles and don’t talk specifically about YOUR finances. Most personal finance books don't force you to do the work. Most videos or webinars don’t provide support and accountability. And there isn’t a financial advisor in the world who can help you if you haven't gotten clear about money yourself.
Why take this course in particular?
It's specific to you. The lessons are paired with prompts and exercises designed to make you do the work—no matter where you are in your financial journey. Without you doing the work, nothing will change. It's less about learning the tactics of financial independence and more about thinking through the attitudes, mindsets, and beliefs you need to change to get there. Through 30 lessons, you'll learn the basics of successfully taking control of your financial future. All questions and answers are shared on the 24/7 discussion boards—a confidential space to discuss and test out ideas with peers on the same path.
What do I lose by not taking the course?
Most people know they should plan and invest in their future but push it to the back of their minds. Over 50% of Americans will not have enough money when they retire. They will depend on Social Security (which averages $1317 a month, not enough). That’s the cost of hiding and waiting. That impoverished retirement and spending their lives living a life they didn’t want.
If it’s so important, why do so many people avoid their financial education?
For many people, there's a lot of shame and secrecy surrounding the topic of money. "I’m not ready, I’m don’t want to think about it, I'm ashamed of my circumstances and the mistakes I've made…" The problem with of all these thoughts is that you can't help yourself until you can accept your situation and decide to move forward.
How does FF1 help students get past emotional roadblocks regarding money?
The best way to learn personal finance is to engage and think deeply about money with other people similarly committed to building their financial future. You’ll find the online forum a safe and encouraging practice of change. Throughout the lessons, you'll be led to connect with other classmates, to share your questions and ideas, to gain financial understanding, then to dig ever deeper. You can expect a process of internal inquiry, group connections, and recorded Q&A sessions. If you do the work (and it will be work), you will experience a steady and sustained change in your relationship with money.
What if I can’t make FF1 fit in my schedule?
The course is online and on demand, so you can engage with the FF1 on your own time. When a question or insight hits you at a random hour, you can make a post and then gather the feedback you seek. In FF1, you're never late, and you’re never alone.
When is a good time to enroll?
Like planting a tree, the best time to plan for your financial future was yesterday (the miracle of compound interest is something we'll discuss in class). The second best time is right now.
Who is FF1 for?
FF1 is designed for people of all incomes who want to face the facts of their financial life and find a way forward. It's a financial literacy course for people with an independent streak, willing to do things differently than the norm. It's for people who recognize they want something different, are willing to do the work, and ready to make a change. It's for people willing to invest in others, and themselves, in a learning community.
Who is it not for?
It is not for people looking for an easy solution, miracle cure, or get-rich quick scheme. There is no easy path to financial indepedence. This course is going to ask you questions and provide ideas that might require living differently and thinking differently. Financial freedom is about a new relationship with money and all the incremental changes to your life that come with that.
You call FF1 “the most effective way to learn personal finance online.” How can you make that claim?
Yes, it’s a big claim. And we believe it's true. PUGS Financial Freedom is structured to give you the benefits of online learning: flexibility to work at your own pace and schedule and at the same time, but benefits of learning in community: accountability, ideas, and support of a cohort. The whole course is geared not to have you read about financial freedom but actually build a system to ACT on it. Alumni report saving $100-$800 per month afterwards.
What does the course look like in terms of work and timing?
Over 60 days, you'll post your work on 30 lessons, develop your perspective, and get ever closer to making the contribution to the world you seek. You'll get feedback from other students and will give feedback to others as well. The more you give, the more you receive. The most generous are the most successful. You can plan on investing about 30-60 minutes each lesson, but you can work at your own pace and on your own schedule. There are no grades, no assignments with deadlines, and no tests. It’s timebound to those 60 days to give you urgency and commitment to do the work. That keeps the cohort together doing similar projects and helping each other out.
How does the discussion board work?
We're using Discourse, a platform that supports group discussions and one-on-one conversation. Discourse is open 24/7, providing a secure place to have conversations with cohort participants from all over the world, with different economic and social backgrounds. Douglas will focus discussions and to address concerns (or inappropriate behavior). But you'll be in charge of when and how generously you interact with others. In other words, how much you get.
What will my interactions with Douglas look like?
Douglas will moderate the discussion board and help keep you focused on asking the deep questions behind good financial thinking. You will benefit from his discussion moderation, from interactions with others on the same journey, and, most of all, from an ongoing discussion with peers who are also seeking to change their relationship with money and realize their dreams. Douglas will be available by appointment for video or group chat as well.
I'm a private person. I'm a little uncomfortable talking about the particulars of my financial situation with others.
Understood. We don't want anyone to feel like their privacy is violated. Part of the idea of the course is that talking about money is taboo. At the same time, there's a lot of shame and secrecy about money. Our belief is that you have to get comfortable about talking about money. Many of the discussions are focused on how you'd apply the lessons to your immediate life, because this kind of discussion helps to solidify the concepts and make them more memorable. We operate under a rule of unenforceable confidentiality: don't share what other people have shared with you. At the same time, don't share anything that would make you feel unsafe if that confidentiality was broken.
Tell me more about confidentiality.
It's sort of like Fight Club. The first rule of PUGS FF is: What is said here, stays here. The second rule of PUGS FF is: What is said here, stays here. The third rule is: Contribute more than you ask for. The fourth rule is: Use your best judgment. If it's something you would feel unsafe if shared outside the group, best generalize the info you’re discussing.
Why is tuition so much?
Alumni report saving $100-$800 a month after this course. Thousands of dollars a year for the rest of their lives. The tuition is not a cost, it’s a investment with a very quick-payback. With this high return on investment, the real issue is will you actually do the work. The tuition is simply a signal to yourself of your own commitment, that this matters to you. If all evidence, you won’t do it if this course was cheap. On our end, we want committed students. We want you and your fellow participants to be serious and to help each other along the way. A university personal finance course would cost at least 10 times as much and deliver far less value. If you do the work and commit to financial freedom, this will have a return on investment far larger than what you paid.
Do you offer financial aid?
Yes! At PUGS, we believe that everyone has the right to learn throughout their lifetime, no matter their income. See the PUGS Pricing Generosity Policy here: https://www.pugspdx.com/generosity-policy/.
Are there exams? Do you offer a certificate or credits?
No. What would be the point? And no grades, either. We feel really strongly that a test-and-measure culture is ruining education. This, more than any other course you'll ever take, is for yourself.