55.4 F
Waurika
Saturday, December 5, 2020
Advertisement

Dave Says April 8, 2020

0

Responsibilities come first

Dear Dave,

My husband runs a small business that has never done very well. We have three kids, and I make $55,000 annually in my job. Part of what I make has been going into the business for over a year to help keep it afloat, and we don’t have a lot of money in savings. What do you think we should do?

Stephanie

Dear Stephanie,

If you’re putting other money into a business account, that’s a pretty good sign you’re not making money in the business. You and your husband need to sit down together, and do a household budget and a profit and loss statement on the business. You’ve got to get on the same page financially.

Put all his business expenses on the profit and loss statement in detail, and write out what it would take for him to break even each month.  But honestly, with everything that’s been going on with your finances, if he’s not at least breaking even at this point, then it’s time for him to do something else for a living full-time.

I’m an entrepreneur and business owner. Trust me, I totally understand the allure and excitement that goes with running your own business. But your own household and its immediate financial responsibilities come first. The only money that should go into the business account is income the business creates.

—Dave

No free passes

Dear Dave,

I own a small business, and recently a relative asked for a job with the company. I hate to say this, but I’ve got reservations about hiring her. She’s basically a good kid, but not the most reliable person in the world. Do you have any advice on how to handle a situation like this?

Bill

Dear Bill,

As an entrepreneur, you have the right and responsibility to do what’s best for your company. That means you shouldn’t hire anyone who isn’t a good fit—even a relative.

If a relative is qualified, and the kind of person who understands they’ll have to bring it every single day, performing at a level equal to or above your other team members, that can be a special and rewarding thing. But if that relative is the kind of person who expects special treatment or is a problem child, that kind of situation can be a nightmare for you, your company, and the whole family.

Would you hire this person because they’d make a good team member? Would you hire this person if they weren’t part of the family? If the answer to either of these questions is no, don’t hire them. It’s as simple as that.

The bottom line is you have to do what’s best for your business, your immediate family, and your team.

—Dave

* Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books, including The Total Money MakeoverThe Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 16 million listeners each week on 600 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at daveramsey.com and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.

Dave Says February 4, 2020

0

Tighten up!

Dear Dave,

I’m beginning to think we got in over our heads with our house. My wife and I make about $125,000 a year combined, but we’ve never been able to put anything aside for an emergency fund. Our mortgage payment is 35 percent of our take home pay each month. We have two young children, so we eat out a lot, but we have no debt other than our house. Do you think we should refinance our home?

Jeff

Dear Jeff,

You two are making good money, and you’re debt-free except for your home. You can’t tighten up your budget enough to save up an emergency fund? Stay out of restaurants, dude! There’s no law stating you have to eat out a lot just because there are kids in the house. I mean, you’ve got no emergency fund. That’s a pretty basic thing.

You guys need to get on a written, detailed plan, and start hitting your goals. I’m talking about a strict, monthly budget. Now, I’ll admit your mortgage payment isn’t exactly what I would’ve signed you up for. Your house payments, or rent, should be no more than 25 percent of your monthly take home pay. But your house payment isn’t what’s holding you two back. What’s holding you two back is the fact that you haven’t been willing to tighten up the finances in other areas of your life to offset biting off more than you could chew in terms of a home.

No, I wouldn’t refinance. You’re fairly close where the mortgage payments are concerned, so I think you can make it through this by looking at ways to increase your income and selling stuff you don’t need to build an emergency fund. You two have been smarter than some, but you’re really going to have to buckle down and rearrange your priorities to make this happen!

—Dave

Cash out my Roth IRA?

Dear Dave,

I have around $15,000 in a Roth IRA. I just recently started studying your advice, and I was wondering if it would be a good idea to cash it out and put the money toward debt.

Sarah

Dear Sarah,

I teach people to stop investing temporarily while they attack their debt. So, I wouldn’t add anything to it at this point, but the worst thing you could do is cash it out. If you do, taxes and penalties will steal a huge chunk of that cash. The only time I take money out of a retirement account to pay off debt is to avoid bankruptcy or foreclosure. 

Start working the Baby Steps from the beginning. Baby Step 1 is saving up $1,000 for a starter emergency fund. Baby Step 2 is paying off all debts from smallest to largest, except for your home, using the debt snowball method. This will free up a ton of money! Then you’re ready for Baby Step 3, which is increasing your beginner emergency fund to a fully-loaded emergency fund of three to six months of expenses.

Now you’re ready for Baby Step 4, which is 15 percent of your income going into retirement!

—Dave

* Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books, including The Total Money Makeover.The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 16 million listeners each week on 600 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at daveramsey.com and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.

Starting off on the right path together

0

Dear Dave,

I’m getting married next summer. My fiancé and I are in agreement about how to handle money, and we both follow your plan. Do you recommend pre-marital counseling? If so, what do you feel are some of the important areas of agreement for couples before they get married?

Allison

Dear Allison,

Congratulations! I’m glad you’re both on the same page with your finances, too.

I’ve worked with thousands of couples and numerous marriage counselors over the years. In that time, I’ve learned fights over money—and the resulting problems from those disagreements—are probably the biggest cause of divorce in America. In my opinion, in-depth pre-marital counseling is an absolute must. The idea of entering into something that’s supposed to be a lifelong commitment, without thoroughly addressing all the issues—and potential issues—is a really bad idea.

With that said, it’s been my experience that couples have a high probability of a successful marriage if they agree on four things, in detail, before the big day—kids, money, religion, and in-laws. With kids, the big question is do you want them? If so, how many and when? Are you going to let them run wild, or are you going to provide structure and make them behave?

When it comes to money, something it sounds like you two are already in agreement on, get all your cards out on the table, and construct an intelligent game plan for your finances that you both agree on. Staying away from debt, living on a written, monthly budget, and saving for the future are important parts of this. 

Also, be in agreement on religion. Statistically speaking, two people from the same faith have a better chance of making a marriage work. And finally, when it comes to your future in-laws, you need to learn who they are and what you’re getting into. What are they really like? What are the boundaries when it comes to their influence on your lives?

All these topics should be discussed at length, dealt with, and agreed upon before the rings are exchanged. God bless you two, Allison!

—Dave

* Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books, including The Total Money MakeoverThe Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 16 million listeners each week on 600 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at daveramsey.com and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.

Dave Says December 17 2019

0

Great start, but follow the steps

Dear Dave,

I’ve recently begun living on a budget, and I’ve got $1,000 saved. At the moment, I have $150 left over each month after everything is account for in my budget. I also have three debts totaling about $12,000. Should I use this extra cash to pay off debt, or would it be a better idea to start investing the money?

Leland

Dear Leland,

Let’s put off investing for the time being. You’ve done a great job so far by getting on a budget and saving $1,000. Making mature decisions and telling your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went, is the key to gaining control of your finances.

Now, let’s take a closer look at my plan and where you stand. You’ve already set aside $1,000 for a beginner emergency fund. That’s Baby Step 1. Don’t touch that money except in the event of an actual emergency. You’re ready now for Baby Step 2, which is to pay off all debt except for your mortgage using the debt snowball system.

To do this, make a list of your debts from smallest to largest. Make minimum payments on all but the smallest debt, and attack it with a vengeance. As soon as you get that one paid off, move on to the next one and then the next one.

Once you finish the debt snowball, and you’re debt-free except for your house, you go back to your emergency fund and stash more money away until you have a fully-funded emergency fund of three to six months of expenses. This is Baby Step 3. Now you can begin concentrating on investing for retirement, which is Baby Step 4. Start with your employer’s 401(k) plan. Then, you can invest the rest into Roth IRAs—one for you, and one for your spouse—if you’re married.

Saving and investing are both very important. But it’s also important to become debt-free. That’s what makes them easy!

—Dave

Who will be liable for the debt?

Dear Dave,

My parents are getting up there in years, and they aren’t really prepared for when they pass away. They can’t afford life insurance at this point, and they also have a lot of debt. When they die, who will be liable for their debt?

Tammi

Dear Tammi,

Any outstanding debt your parents have upon passing will likely go against their estate. If they have a positive net worth—meaning they owned more than they owed—there will be money left over after the debts are paid, and this could go toward an inheritance. If they have a negative net worth, which means they owed more than they owned, everything could be sold off to cover as much of the debt as possible. Regardless, you would only be held liable for any of their debt if you were a co-signer on the loans.

I’d also suggest getting their permission to buy burial policies on them. If they won’t agree to this, you might have to save up money for their final expenses yourself. In most areas, $10,000 to $15,000 is enough to cover basic burial costs for two people.

—Dave

* Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books, including The Total Money MakeoverThe Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 16 million listeners each week on 600 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at daveramsey.com and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.

Dave Ramsey Says October 29 2019

0

Mini emergency fund?

Dear Dave,

I’m 26 and single, and I have about $35,000 in credit card and student loan debt. I’m only making $20,000 a year right now, but I expect to be making almost $30,000 soon. Under the circumstances, can I get by with $500 in my emergency fund, or do I need to have $1,000 set aside like you recommend in Baby Step 1? I’m worried about keeping up with bills while saving money for my starter emergency fund.

Thomas

Dear Thomas,

I know it will be tough, but a $1,000 emergency fund should be your first big goal. Also, if you’re not already doing a monthly budget—and spending every dollar on paper before the next month begins—start doing it now! Living on a budget will help you control your money instead of allowing a lack of money to control youThat’s how you can keep up with the bills while you save that first $1,000.

Let’s say you know you’ll be getting two $750 paychecks each month. You go ahead and plan out how to spend that money before you ever get it. Take care of necessities first. I’m talking about food, clothing, shelter, transportation and utilities. After that, make sure you’re current on your debts. Once those things are out of the way, pump every spare dollar you can into your emergency fund. And remember, limit your spending to necessities only!

Start working on that now, Thomas. It’s very important. Remember the old saying about Murphy’s Law, and how anything that can go wrong will go wrong? If you keep living without a plan and no emergency fund, Murphy will hunt you down!

—Dave

They’re just trying to help, but…

Dear Dave,

My husband and I are in our twenties, and we work for the same company. We’ve been thinking about going back to school and finishing our degrees, because our employer is willing to pay for up to 10 credit hours, plus books, per semester with no strings attached. My parents think we should get student loans instead, so we can finish faster. We both have less than two years to go to complete our degrees, so what do you think?

Janet

Dear Janet,

Wow, this is a fantastic opportunity! How many times does someone offer to pay for a college degree with no financial strings attached?

I’m sure your folks want what’s best for you, but the truth is you probably couldn’t take more than nine or 10 hours per semester, work full-time jobs, and keep your relationship and your marriage healthy. If you’ve both got less than two years of school left, it’s not going to take that long, anyway. You’re still young and have plenty of time to make this happen.

I don’t think your parents mean any harm, but they’re wrong on this one. I’ve got a feeling they’re like most people in America today. They’ve spent most of their lives swimming in debt, and they’ve reached a point where they’ve just accepted it and think there’s no other way. To me, that’s sad.

If you and your husband really want to finish your degrees, I’d say the two of you need to march into work tomorrow morning, and take advantage of that wonderful offer. Stay away from debt! 

—Dave

* Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books, including The Total Money MakeoverThe Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 16 million listeners each week on 600 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at daveramsey.com and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.

Dave Says August 1, 2019

0

Adjust our emergency fund?

Dear Dave,

My husband and I have been married five years, and we’ve decided we want to have children. We’ve both been working full time since our wedding, and we were wondering if we should adjust our emergency fund and retirement investing to accommodate all the upcoming life changes that go along with having a bigger family.

Rachel

Dear Rachel,

When it comes to an emergency fund, I’d stick with what I recommend in the Baby Steps. A good emergency fund of three to six months of expenses should be fine. If you feel safer leaning toward the six-month side, that’s fine. As far as investing is concerned, that’s Baby Step 4. This means 15 percent of your household income going toward retirement. None of that really changes.

Now, with another person in the house, your day-to-day expenses are going to increase. That’ll make it even more important to make sure you’re living on a written monthly budget. What you don’t want to do, is quit your job to come home and be a full-time mom, then find yourselves dipping into the emergency fund. Being a stay-at-home mom is fine. It’s a wonderful thing if you can afford it. But if that’s the plan you need to budget accordingly, and practice living on just your husband’s income before you quit your job.

God bless you two, Rachel!

—Dave

Micro investing apps?

Dear Dave,

What is your opinion on micro investing apps like Acorns and Betterment? Are these good vehicles for building wealth in the long term, and are there any major drawbacks to these types of services?  

Alex

Dear Alex,

I’m not saying there’s anything really wrong with Acorns or Betterment, but they do different things. Acorns is more of an invest pennies, round-up kind of program, where Betterment is kind of a robo-investing deal.

Here’s the thing. Micro investing is going to create micro wealth. And the big downside is you’re going to feel like you did something important. The way you end up with money is by investing money. The way you end up with more money is by investing more money. You can argue all you want that using things like these create extra money. Yeah, but not really. The returns are still micro. An app doesn’t make two dollars turn into twenty dollars.

It’s okay to use apps like that. I’m not mad at them, and I don’t think they’re a rip-off. What worries me about these kinds of things, in an investing sense, is they give the illusion that you’ve done something significant with your money.

—Dave

* Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books, including The Total Money MakeoverThe Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 16 million listeners each week on 600 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at daveramsey.com and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.

How to Budget for Christmas in July

0

Can you believe Christmas is right around the corner? It seems like we were just celebrating the Fourth of July, and now it’s time for another Christmas season.

Okay, don’t get mad and protest that I’m bringing up Christmas too early. Even though the actualholiday is still five months away, it’s not too early to budget for it.

One of the most frequent stressors I hear about during the holiday season is overspending. So many people have the best intentions—and they want to give to as many people as possible—but those good intentions often come with a lot of bills in January.

If you’re worried about overspending this Christmas, the fix is to do a Christmas budget. Here’s how you make a very simple zero-based Christmas budget:

Step 1: Decide how much you can spend on Christmas gifts

I’m not talking about throwing Christmas parties or decorating your house. This is just about gifts.

Last year, 33% of Americans planned to spend $1,000 on Christmas gifts. Now, depending on your family and money situation, that might be a lot or not nearly enough. But chances are you don’t have that kind of cash just lying around in your bank account, which is why you’ll want to start putting a little bit aside each month starting now.

For example, let’s take that number and reduce it a little. Let’s say you budget $600 for Christmas gifts. That’s the total amount of money you plan on spending on your family and friends this holiday season. If you start saving for that this month, you’ll need to set aside $120 per month. That’s if you do all your shopping in December.

Step 2: List the people you want to buy for, and how much you plan to spend on each

Your Christmas budget might look like this:

Kid One: $135
Kid Two: $135
Spouse: $50
Mom: $50
Dad: $50
In-Laws: $100
Sister: $30
Friend: $30
Office Secret Santa: $20

Step 3: Subtract all those numbers from the total amount you’ve budgeted for gifts 

If you end up with zero, then you’ve perfected a zero-based Christmas budget!

Every dollar you’ll spend is attached to someone’s name, just like categories in a normal budget. It’s that simple, and all you really need is a sheet of paper. If you prefer a digital budget, check out EveryDollar. It’s the budgeting app I use.

Don’t get too caught up in the specifics of this example. Your situation might be totally different. The main thing is being intentional, proactive, and precise with your spending. And when December comes around, your Christmas shopping experience will be much more merry and bright. You’ll be checking everyone off your budget list, instead of spending first and worrying about the consequences later.

Merry Christmas in July, and happy budgeting!

About Rachel Cruze:

As a #1 New York Times best-selling author, host of The Rachel Cruze Show, and The Rachel Cruze Show podcast, Rachel helps people learn the proper ways to handle money and stay out of debt. She’s authored three best-selling books, including Love Your Life, Not Theirs and Smart Money Smart Kids, which she co-wrote with her father, Dave Ramsey. You can follow Cruze on Twitter and Instagram at @RachelCruze and online at rachelcruze.comyoutube.com/rachelcruze or facebook.com/rachelramseycruze.

Dave Ramsey Says July 25, 2019

0

Time for fun money?

Dear Dave,

I had about $12,000 in debt when my husband and I got married three years ago. Since that time, we’ve been given cash gifts from my parents from time to time, and we keep having discussions on how to use this kind of money when it is given to us. I’d like to put it toward paying off debt, but he would rather treat it as fun money. What are your thoughts on this, please?

Sara

Dear Sara,

If there’s something you need, and you agree on it together and choose to buy it as a couple, that’s cool. I’ve got no problem with that. But you guys are still just starting out, and you’ve got debts to pay. I’m sure your husband has a good heart, but I think it’s time for him to grow up a little and realize the importance of getting your financial house in order.

Did your parents have specific and reasonable thoughts on how they’d like you to use the money? If so, you should honor their intent. If not, then how it gets used is pretty much up to you guys. But in your situation, life’s not a birthday party when this kind of thing happens. You should be making mature, responsible decisions together regarding any money that comes into your household. It’s really no different than a paycheck. You take care of obligations and other important things first.

Adults waste money on play things and fun stuff just because it was handed to them by mom and dad. That’s how a 10-year-old behaves. Sit down with your husband, and explain how important it is that you guys start making better decisions with your money. If you two start working together, you could knock out this debt in a hurry!

—Dave

First, catch up!

Dear Dave,

I’ve had enough of living paycheck-to-paycheck. I’m going to start following your plan, but I have a question. Should I catch up on my past due bills before beginning Baby Step 1?

Simon

Dear Simon,

Go for it! You’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, and you’re going to get control of your money. I love it!

First, make sure you’re up to date with necessities—food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and utilities. Next, get current or make payment arrangements for any other types of debt you have, including credit cards.

You mentioned Baby Step 1, which is getting $1,000 in the bank for a beginner emergency fund. Baby Step 2, the debt snowball, comes next. Start paying off all debts, except for your home, from smallest to largest. Then, in Baby Step 3 you’ll save more and increase your emergency fund to a full three to six months of expenses.

Now, you can really start looking at the future. In Baby Step 4, you’ll start investing 15 percent of your household income for retirement. College funding for the kids, if there are any, is Baby Step 5, and Baby Step 6 is a milestone—pay off your house early!

But the real deal is Baby Step 7. This is when all your hard work, sacrifice, and smart financial decisions put you in a place where you can build wealth and give with outrageous generosity. At this point, you’re securing your family’s future and helping others in a big way!

—Dave

* Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books, including The Total Money Makeover. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 16 million listeners each week on 600 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at daveramsey.com and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.

Dave Says May 2 2019

0

When to start the process?

Dear Dave,

My husband and I are debt-free, and we have an emergency fund of six months of expenses saved. We’d like to buy a home in the $250,000 to $275,000 price range in the near future, and we plan on saving $60,000 for a down payment. It should take a little less than two years to save that much money. When should we begin the search for a good real estate agent and start the underwriting process?

Sarah

Dear Sarah,

I’m really proud of you two. You’re being very intentional and goal-oriented about getting control of your finances and the home buying process.

I’d advise starting a conversation with a quality mortgage company when you’re about five or six months away from your savings goal date. There’s “pre-approval,” but there’s also something called “certified.” That’s a step beyond pre-approved, and it basically puts you in a position to make an offer when you’re ready for the purchase. So, getting certified as a buyer is very helpful. After that, sit down and talk with a few agents. Interview them, and decide on someone you like and trust. Find an experienced agent you’re comfortable with to guide you through the real estateworld, and then start outlining your search and buying strategy.

What I would not do is jump from agent to agent. There’s a tremendous benefit in finding someone you trust and feel good about. I’m talking about a buyer’s agent who’s going to fight foryou. This means someone who will show you several different properties, keep your wants and needs foremost in their mind, and help you get the best possible buy on your new home!

—Dave

A home shouldn’t leave you house poor

Dear Dave,

My husband and I were listening to your radio show the other day. In it, you were speaking to a lady about buying a home. When you talk about mortgage payments being 25 percent or less of your take-home pay, does this figure include taxes and insurance or just principal and interest?

Ann

Dear Ann,

That figure includes taxes and insurance, too. The whole idea is to make sure your house payment is manageable. You don’t want to have so much money going toward your mortgage every month, what I call being “house poor,” that you can’t take care of your other financial responsibilities or enjoy life.

It’s simple. You have more money when you don’t have debt. If you want to build wealth, you have to get out of the payment business. When one-third to one-half of everything you bring home is going to creditors, you have less money for other stuff—other important stuff.

Trust me, I get it. A home is a huge expense that very few people, especially those just starting out, can afford to pay for in cash. That’s why I don’t beat people up for getting a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage. But that’s the only kind of mortgage I recommend. 

And yes, make sure the monthly payments are just 25 percent, or less, of your take-home pay!

—Dave

* Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books, includingThe Total Money MakeoverThe Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 16 million listeners each week on 600 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at daveramsey.com and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.

Dave Says April 25 2019

0

Before or after?

Dear Dave,

I’ve started following your plan, and I’ve got a beginner emergency fund of $1,000 saved. Now that I’m ready to start paying off debt in Baby Step 2, do you recommend paying off credit card balances before or after closing the accounts?

Maeve

Dear Maeve,

I’m really proud of you. Congratulations on starting the journey toward getting out of debt and gaining control of your money!

Honestly, either way is fine. The point is to get rid of them, and stop using the stupid things. I like the idea, and the finality, of going ahead and closing the accounts and cutting up the cards. Personal finance is 80 percent behavior. Getting credit cards—and credit card debt—out of your life is a great first step in really learning to behave with your money.

Remember, you don’t build wealth or save money by using credit cards. And you’re naïve if you think you’re going to play around with a multi-billion-dollar industry and beat them at their own game. The only way to win against credit card companies is by refusing to play around with them!

—Dave

Paying extra

Dear Dave,

I’d like to start paying a little extra each month on my car loan, so I can get out of debt faster. Would it be a good idea to write a separate check for this extra amount?

Steve

Dear Steve,

I think that’s a great idea! You can include the extra check in a separate envelope with the regular payment. In addition, write “principal only” in big, bold letters on the extra envelope and on the extra check. Make sure to also include the account number in the notation line at the bottom. Follow these guidelines, and you’ll be much less likely to run into problems as result of someone at the bank not paying attention.

Some companies use payment booklets that have a box specifically for entering any amount you want applied directly to the principal. See if this is available to you, as well. Regardless, make sure you keep an accurate, written record of the monthly and overall amounts you’re designating as “principal only.”

Great question, Steve!

—Dave

* Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books, including The Total Money MakeoverThe Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 15 million listeners each week on 600 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at daveramsey.com and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.