banner
banner
banner
banner

Dave Says Archives for 2023-08

Life Insurance Isn't a Baby Step

 

 

Dear Dave,

 

I just discovered you and your teachings a couple of weeks ago. I’m already on Baby Step 2, and I was wondering if I should buy life insurance now or wait until I’ve finished paying off debt. I’m single with no children, and I owe a total of $44,700. I have a $25,000 company-funded life insurance policy through my employer. What do you think I should do?

 

— Elizabeth

 

Dear Elizabeth,

 

If you have a life insurance need, it’s not a Baby Step. It’s a necessity in your budget and something you need to put in place as soon as possible. But from what you’ve told me, you don’t have a great need for life insurance at this point. No one, except you, is depending on your income, and the $25,000 policy you have through your employer is more than enough to take care of any final expenses if something happened to you.

 

The main purpose of life insurance is to take care of those you leave behind when you die. If someone is financially dependent on your income, I recommend having 10 to 12 times your annual income wrapped up in a good level term life insurance policy. That means if you make $80,000 a year, you should have a policy worth anywhere from $800,000 to $960,000.

 

If I were you, I wouldn’t buy another life insurance policy at all right now. If you get married or have kids somewhere down the road, then buy it immediately. In that case, both you and your spouse should have 15- to 20-year level term policies of 10 to 12 times your individual incomes.

 

And never buy anything except level term life insurance. The reason? That covers you until you’re out of debt—should a spouse bring some into the picture—and the two of you have so much cash piled up that you don’t need to pay for a life insurance policy anymore. It’s called being self-insured, and that’s a great place to be.

 

Good question, Elizabeth!

— 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 Ramsey Solutions.

A Degree Isn't Power, Knowledge Is Power

 

 

Dear Dave,

 

I’ve heard you talk about paying for college for your kids. Why is this a requirement? I’m not trying to shirk my responsibility, but I worked my way through college and so did my parents. My wife and I have talked about paying for their books and maybe rent. Am I missing something here?

 

— Thomas

 

Dear Thomas,

 

First, I don’t believe it’s a requirement that all parents pay for college for their kids. It’s not a moral issue, and you’re not an immoral person if you don’t or can’t do it. I’ve told plenty of single moms, single dads and parents who don’t earn a big income that their kids need to apply for as many scholarships as possible, learn how to work, and choose an inexpensive school if they want to continue their education.

 

As a parent, one of your biggest jobs is to give your kids a moral compass and the tools they’ll need to succeed in the real world. And one of the keys to being a successful adult is engaging in a lifetime of learning. If the last time you read a book was when you were in high school or college, and you’ve never done training of any other kind since, you’re probably not very successful. Never. Stop. Learning. If I’d stopped learning after getting my bachelor’s degree, do you think I would’ve been able to build Ramsey Solutions? Absolutely not!

 

Do you see where I’m going with this, Thomas? As an adult, learning is your job. An entire lifetime of learning is your job. And if you can encourage that in your kids with some level of help, financial or otherwise, then it’s your obligation to help them. You can’t expect a 17-year-old to figure it all out. They don’t have the tools yet.

 

The point is this: You don’t have a moral responsibility to pay for your kids’ college education. You do, however, have a moral responsibility to highlight the importance of knowledge, share what you have, and show them how to get more. If you can’t afford to help with money, do everything else you can. There are plenty of more important things than cash. If you want to help financially, that’s fine too.

 

Just don’t use debt to make it happen!

 

— 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.

It's a Guideline, Not a Rule

 

 

Dear Dave,

 

Is there any flexibility in your rule about not spending more than 25% of your take-home pay on rent or monthly mortgage payments? I live downtown in Washington, D.C., and I’m finding it’s pretty hard to do here. I make about $90,000 a year, but I’m spending a little over $2,000 a month in rent. Rent is my largest expense by far, and I don’t spend a lot of other money, so I’m still able to save a little and do other things. Can you give me your opinion about this approach?

 

— Tanner

 

Dear Tanner,

 

True, I advise people to spend no more than 25% of their take-home pay on housing. Math still works in every city and state in the country. You don’t get a pass on math just because you live in Washington, D.C., even though Congress and a lot of other people there think you do.

 

But there’s really nothing magical about 25%. The purpose behind it is, I don’t want you to be house poor. If you find yourself still able to save and invest because you keep other financial aspects of your lifestyle so low, then you’re okay. The problem with most people starts when they’ve got a high cost of housing, and those payments put a real squeeze on their budgets. It doesn’t leave them enough room to save up to buy the next car, so that car becomes debt. The same thing happens with Christmas and vacations and everything else. They don’t have enough extra money to save for things because a huge chunk of their income is flying out the door every month wrapped up in rent or a house payment.

 

Now, you’re telling me your situation works for you because you’ve made room in your budget and live a very frugal lifestyle by choice. That’s cool. I’m not mad at you about that. But here’s the thing: Whatever you spend on rent disappears. And the more money you burn, the less you’ve got on hand for other things.

 

I’m not exactly sure how you adjust that in your situation. Maybe you move outside the city and commute, or perhaps you add a roommate into the equation. Or, maybe you’re fine with how things are and that’s the way you want to live. That’s okay too. But my reasoning behind the 25% figure—which is actually more of a guideline than a rule—is so you don’t become house poor. I want you to be able to save, invest and give generously. Plus, I want you to own your own home one day. 

 

And you won’t be able to do that if everything you make is going toward big payments!

 

— 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.

You Need a Better Plan

 

 

Dear Dave,

 

My husband recently opened his own commercial painting company. We know he will have three months or so every year when he’s making very little, if any, income. We also started following your plan recently, too, and have $1,000 set aside for our starter emergency fund. We were ready to begin paying off all our debt except our home in Baby Step 2, but now he wants to skip that, and move to Baby Step 3 to build a fully funded emergency fund of three to six months of expenses. I think I know why he feels this way, but would you give me your thoughts?

 

Crystal

 

Dear Crystal,

 

Your husband’s excited about the new business. I get that. And in his own way, it sounds like he’s trying to make sure there’s extra money on hand for the down months he may experience as a commercial painter. But I wouldn’t advise this approach, not for his business, and not for your family’s finances.

 

Baby Step 3 is an emergency fund of three to six months of expenses. The scenario he wants to plan for, however, isn’t an emergency. He knows it’s coming. It’s the same with things like Christmas, birthdays and stuff like that. You know they’re coming, and you even know which months and days. Things like that aren’t emergencies, and they don’t catch anyone by surprise. They’re things you plan for—and budget for—ahead of time.

 

But the first thing your husband needs to do is re-work his business model. He needs something to do during the down months, so that his income doesn’t dry up completely. Setting money aside in a business for an expected down time is smart, but it’s not a Baby Step 3 issue. It would be a line in the budget where you set money aside because you know something’s coming.

 

Again, if it’s something predictable, something that happens at the same time every year, it is not an emergency. If you want to budget some household money for the down time, that’s fine. But do you know what would be even smarter? Figuring out a plan for this time, based on his skill set, which will allow him to keep earning money! 

 

— 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 Ramsey Solutions.

On Air Now

Dial A Deal
7:00am - 10:00am
Dial A Deal

Weather

On Facebook

Submit Items For Tradio!