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Dave Says Archives for 2022-02

Choosing an Executor Is a Vital Part of the Estate Planning Process

 

 

Dear Dave,

 

What exactly is an executor, and what part do they play in someone’s will?

 

Gabe

 

 

Dear Gabe,

 

Simply put, an executor manages the last will and testament of someone who dies. Acting as an executor is an honor and a huge responsibility. As the designated representative of the deceased, executors are responsible for making sure the deceased’s assets are distributed according to the will. Executors deal with probate court, tell everyone who needs to know about the death, pay outstanding debt, distribute assets, and generally represent the deceased person whenever needed.

 

Think of someone you know who is trustworthy, conscientious and good at talking to people. This person also needs to be mature, capable of handling life events with a level head and have an honest heart. You need to think about where your potential executor lives, too, because they could end up spending a lot of time working with the courts in your area. If you already have someone in mind who has all the right personal qualities, but lives out of state, research your state’s requirements for an executor’s location. Virtual meetings could be a possibility.

 

The amount of time needed for an executor to handle your affairs when you’re gone could be enormous. Depending on the complexity of your estate, it could take months—or even years. Once you settle on someone as executor, be honest with them about all the responsibilities that come with the job. And if you’re unable to find someone appropriate, you can always hire a professional executor.

 

Great question!

 

— Dave

   *Dave Ramsey is a seven-time #1 national best-selling author, personal finance expert, and host of The Ramsey Show, heard by more than 18 million listeners each week. He has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Today Show, Fox News, CNN, Fox Business, and many more. Since 1992, Dave has helped people regain control of their money, build wealth and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO for Ramsey Solutions.

These Debt Reduction Strategies Are Bad Ideas

 

 

Dear Dave,

 

I’ve been seeing lots of ads lately for debt consolidation companies, debt settlement companies and the HELOC. Are any of these methods for reducing debt a good idea?

 

Brent

 

 

Dear Brent,

 

No. These are all bad ideas when it comes to getting out of debt. There’s a lot of buzz these days surrounding all the “quick” and “easy” ways to clean up debt and get control of your finances. But the truth is neither one is ever easy. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

 

Debt consolidation is basically a loan that combines all your debts into one single payment. Sounds like a great idea at first, right? But then you find out the lifespan of your loans increase, and that means you’ll stay in debt even longer than before. The low interest rate that looks so appealing in the beginning usually goes up over time, too. Stretching out the amount of time you’re paying off debt, plus adding interest, is just dumb.

 

Debt settlement companies are awful. These crummy outfits will charge you a fee, then promise to negotiate with your creditors to reduce what you owe. In most cases, they take your money up front, do a bad job “negotiating” your debt and leave you responsible for what’s left.

 

A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is also a bad idea. With a HELOC, you’re borrowing against your home. On top of that, you risk losing your house if you can’t pay it back on time. All these plans are really just gimmicks that only treat the symptoms of your money problems. They never help you address the root issue of why you landed there in the first place. Personal finance is always 80% behavior, and 20% head knowledge. You have to change your behavior if you want to make a lasting, positive impact on your finances!

 

— Dave

   * Dave Ramsey is a seven-time #1 national best-selling author, personal finance expert, and host of The Ramsey Show, heard by more than 18 million listeners each week. He has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Today Show, Fox News, CNN, Fox Business, and many more. Since 1992, Dave has helped people regain control of their money, build wealth and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO for Ramsey Solutions.

Is It a Loan, Or Is It a gift?

 

 

Dear Dave,

 

We have $15,000 in credit card debt. My husband works very hard, but only makes about $25,000 a year. We’re also living in a very old trailer right now, and I stay at home with our newborn. My dad told us he is willing to pay off our debt if we agree to get financial counseling together, and show that we are serious about doing better with our finances. What should we do?

 

Harper

 

 

Dear Harper,

 

I wouldn’t accept the money from your dad if it’s going to be a loan. If you really want to ruin family events, have debt to your parents. It twists you up inside. And it’ll be especially hard on your husband. No matter what anyone else says, the borrower is always slave to the lender.

 

If it’s going to be a gift, meaning there’s no expectation of repayment, that’s a different story. Still, I think your dad has a great idea in making the debt payoff contingent on you two going to some kind of financial counseling, and making a proactive effort to change things, get out of debt and save money—for your child’s future and for yours. I’d probably do the same thing.

 

It doesn’t sound like you’re being crazy with your money, but it’s tough to provide for a family on that kind of income. You and your husband need to sit down together, develop a monthly budget and a realistic five-year plan to improve his earning potential. Make it a date night. Hold hands, do something inexpensive you both enjoy, and let him know he can be anything he wants to be. Then, help him decide exactly what and where he wants to be in five years. What does he want to be making, and what feasible steps can he take educationally or in terms of job training to get there?

 

If you want to go to work at some point when your baby is a little older, that’s fine. I completely understand the desire to be at home with a brand new baby. But hard work alone just isn’t enough these days. You’ve got to boost your brain power and value in the marketplace, too. God bless you guys!

 

— Dave

 

 

   * Dave Ramsey is a seven-time #1 national best-selling author, personal finance expert, and host of The Ramsey Show, heard by more than 18 million listeners each week. He has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Today Show, Fox News, CNN, Fox Business, and many more. Since 1992, Dave has helped people regain control of their money, build wealth and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO for Ramsey Solutions.

 

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