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Dave Says Archives for 2023-05

It's Not a Joint Venture, It's A Marriage

 

 

Dear Dave,

 

When my wife and I got married, she had about $70,000 in savings and I had a lot of debt. We bought some property from her parents to build a home on, and she made a 20% down payment on the land from her savings. We’ve paid off some debt, and she has more in savings now. But I feel guilty, and it seems unfair to ask her to pay on our debt with her savings since most of it is debt I brought into the marriage. How do you feel about this?

 

Sonny

 

Dear Sonny,

 

This question tells me you’re a good guy with a good heart. But let me ask you a thing or two. When your wife gets sick, is it unfair for you to take care of her? You didn’t cause it. It’s not your fault. Of course, it’s not unfair. I’m not mad at you, buddy. I’m just throwing your own logic right back at you.

 

Maybe these next lines will sound familiar: for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health. The old “Book of Common Prayer” continues the vows and says, “Unto thee, all my worldly goods I pledge.” This is called oneness. It’s called unity. And it’s what a good marriage should be about.

 

Do you get what I’m saying, Sonny? The two of you are in this together. This is not a business partnership or joint venture. It’s a man and a woman pledging themselves, and all they have and are, to each other. I understand your feelings, but if you’re not careful, that kind of guilt will stand in the way of you two creating a successful marriage—both financially and emotionally.

 

When you got married, the “me” and “mine” became “we” and “ours.” You got all her stuff, the good and bad, and she got all of yours. Now it’s time for you to work as a team to make the bad stuff go away and the good things even better. What’s fair (and what’s right) is to combine all of your income, all of your assets and all of your liabilities.

 

I know it’s uncomfortable, but you’ve got to choose courage. Ask her to go all in on this with you and attack your debt together. Work toward making your dreams come true together as one.

 

That’s what’s fair, and that’s what’s best when you’re married.

 

— Dave

 

 

  * Dave Ramsey is an eight-time national bestselling author, personal finance expert and host of “The Ramsey Show.” He has appeared on “Good Morning America,” “CBS This Morning,” “Today,” Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and many more. Since 1992, Dave has helped people take control of their money, build wealth and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO for the company Ramsey Solutions.

My Retirement Savings Is Eroding Away!

 

 

Dear Dave,

 

I’m 61, and I hope to be able to retire soon, but I’m watching my retirement savings completely eroding away day after day. The only place I’m not losing money is $180,000 I have sitting in the bank earning almost zero interest. What should I do?

 

Jesse

 

Dear Jesse,

 

Come on, man. “Completely eroding away day after day?” That’s a little dramatic. One of the things you have to understand, and coming to grips with it has helped me since I began doing research on things like this 30 years ago, is we all have a drama queen living in our brain that exaggerates things—especially when it comes to investing. So, take a deep breath and calm down. Everything’s going to be okay.

 

Studies have shown us it takes $3 of gain in an investment to emotionally offset $1 of loss. Our brains record negative things at a much greater rate than they do positive things, and it takes a lot of emotion to recover from that. Your investments may be down a little. If you’ve got $1 million in there, it may be worth $900,000 right now. Next year, it’s liable to bounce up to $1.1 million. In other words, your entire retirement savings is not “eroding away.”

 

Have you ever heard people say they lost all their money in the stock market? Well, that’s mathematically impossible, unless you put all your money into one company, and that company completely closed and was worth zero. Remember Enron? What most people really mean when they say that is they lost a bunch of money because they freaked out and went into hyper-drama mode, then pulled all their money out while the market was down.

 

Jesse, did you know that in the last 20 years, every down year in the stock market was followed by two years of record gains? Facts and mathematics are your two best friends when it comes to telling your inner drama queen, “Shut up, we’re going to continue to invest!”

 

— Dave

 

 

 * Dave Ramsey is an eight-time national bestselling author, personal finance expert and host of The Ramsey Show. He has appeared on Good Morning AmericaCBS This MorningToday, Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and many more. Since 1992, Dave has helped people take control of their money, build wealth and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO for the company Ramsey Solutions.

A Lot of Red Flags Here

 

 

Dear Dave,

 

I live in Dallas, Texas, and I’m wondering if I should sell my condo in order to pay off debt. I owe $120,000 on it, and it’s worth around $260,000. Plus, the homeowners association fee used to be $450 a month and has gone up $100 each year for the last two years, so now we’re paying $650. No one has ever told us why the fee went up so much. There haven’t been any major improvements to the complex in the last five years, so I don’t know what to think. Can you give me some advice?

 

Daniella

 

Dear Daniella,

 

As a homeowner, I’d want some answers by the end of day as to why the HOA fees are so high. I mean, for a $260,000 condo, the fee you mentioned is ridiculous unless the building owners are doing a major renovation, like replacing the parking lot or updating the community’s clubhouse. Even then, it’s crazy! On top of all that, it devalues your condo. Nobody wants to buy a $260,000 condo with a $650 HOA fee every month, especially when the fee has gone up that much for no apparent reason.

 

There’s always the possibility the company is building up a war chest for improvements in the next year or so. But you have a right to know exactly where the money you pay in HOA fees is going. Ask to see a copy of their financials, and if they won’t do that—or explain why the fee is so high and where the money’s going—you need to sell the place because it’s being poorly managed.

 

You’ve got to get an explanation. You’re owed one. And, if you try to sell the place, you’re going to have to tell prospective buyers why the HOA fee is so high. Maybe there’s a good reason for it buried somewhere. But without knowing more, as a buyer, there’s no way I’d take this thing off your hands.

 

There are a lot of red flags fluttering around the situation, Daniella. Even in a place like Dallas, this HOA fee is about double what it should be for a $260,000 condo. I’m not saying this just because I don’t like HOAs, which I don’t. And that’s mainly because I don’t like paying money for something, and then being told by someone else what I can or can’t do with it. But you need some answers for your own information, peace of mind and to give potential buyers an honest answer when they ask why the fees are insanely high.

 

Lose the headache. Sell it.

 

— Dave

 

 

* Dave Ramsey is an eight-time national bestselling author, personal finance expert and host of “The Ramsey Show.” He has appeared on “Good Morning America,” “CBS This Morning,” the “Today” show, Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and many more. Since 1992, Dave has helped people take control of their money, build wealth, and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO of Ramsey Solutions.

Is the Threat of De-Dollarization Real?

 

 

Dear Dave,

 

I’m hearing more and more about “de-dollarization” and how several countries are moving away from the U.S. dollar as their basis of international trade. Will this affect the strength of the dollar, and should I be concerned about how I’m saving and investing because of this?

 

Zack

 

 

Dear Zack,

 

First and foremost, I care enough about you to say you may be spending way too much time on the internet, buddy. You’re drifting into the realm of conspiracy theories here, so let’s slow down and take a look at some facts.

 

China, Brazil and Russia are the three main players in all this. They already don’t use the U.S. dollar as their basis of international trade—all three have their own currency, and there’s a conversion rate between all those currencies and the U.S. dollar. Those three countries, along with some of the oil-producing countries from the Middle East they’re trying to get on board with the idea, are talking about developing one currency they all use. In international trade, that currency would be converted back and forth to dollars—much like what Europe did with the euro. Which, by the way, really hasn’t worked out so well.

 

Are those countries going to be able to devalue the dollar by doing that? No. Why? Because while those countries take up a lot of land mass, they don’t take up a lot of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the world. The United States still represents the vast majority of the world’s GDP. Sure, China’s big in that regard. But Russia doesn’t bring much to the table, and Brazil is barely scraping by in a failed economy. Plus, they’re tiny as far as economics are concerned. I mean, Texas probably has a larger GDP than Brazil.

 

In other words, they just don’t have the muscle to take down the dollar mathematically speaking. Now, if they do manage to put this idea together, it still won’t end in “de-dollarization.” The dollar will not be done away with. Even if they create their own currency, they’re still going to have to trade with the 800-pound gorilla, which is America. And they’re going to have to trade with us in dollars.

Am I worried about this, Zack? Not one bit. And you shouldn’t be either.

 

— Dave

 

 

* Dave Ramsey is an eight-time national bestselling author, personal finance expert and host of “The Ramsey Show.” He has appeared on “Good Morning America,” “CBS This Morning,” “Today,” Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and many more. Since 1992, Dave has helped people take control of their money, build wealth, and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO of Ramsey Solutions.

 

Never Have Just One

 

 

Dave,

 

As a small-business owner, should I work with multiple banks to avoid what happened with Silicon Valley Bank?

 

Matt

 

 

Matt,

 

You should work with multiple banks, but that has nothing to do with Silicon Valley Bank. SVB shouldn’t be a business model anyone follows. It was a crash of high-tech, start-up and venture-capital players. It was a “players” bank. In other words, it was a bunch of Silicon Valley posers misbehaving under the heading of a bank—and it all came crashing down on their heads. But it didn’t have anything to do with the kinds of banks you or I do business with.

 

Believe it or not, a bank is just another vendor. They are helping you, and they are a supplier to you—whether it’s a checking account, debit card or anything else. Anytime you’re doing business, especially when it comes to key areas of your company, it’s always good to have more than one vendor in that category. That way, you’re not stuck if they decide to raise their prices or their quality of service declines.

 

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not talking about jumping from vendor to vendor every time the wind blows. We have vendors we’ve worked with for 20 years at Ramsey Solutions. But I’m also not going to let myself or my business become a prisoner of one provider. Currently, we have three banking relationships. We have a primary bank, and we’ve been with them for 35 years. We also have two other minor banking relationships. Do you see what I’m saying, Matt? If you’ve only got one supplier for one of the key elements of your business and they suddenly go sideways, so do you! We deal with smaller, regional and local banks at my company too. That way, we get to talk with actual human beings who make reasonable decisions. The big banks? No, thank you. Small businesses, especially, are just numbers to them. You get no respect, no mercy and no real help.

 

Develop banking relationships with people in your own town and area. I’m talking about the kind of folks you could sit down with, have a cup of coffee, and engage in a real discussion about your needs and what’s going on in your business. A bank is a key vendor relationship for a small business, but make sure you protect yourself and diversify. Never have just one!

 

— Dave

 

 * Leadership and small-business expert Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored eight national bestselling books, including “EntreLeadership,” and is a host of “The Ramsey Show” and “The EntreLeadership Podcast.”

 

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