Dave Says –

(No more guilt trips!)

Dear Dave,
My parents left their six-figure jobs to enter the ministry when I was in high school. That was 10 years ago, and my mom still regularly asks me to share my money with them. I don’t mind helping out once in a while, but this has been going on for a long time and I’ve started feeling bitterness about the requests and their bad financial decisions. My mom also tries to make me feel bad sometimes if I can’t afford to give them as much as they want. She constantly references their calling, and that I should want to help with that. How can I stop this pattern?
Renee

Dear Renee,
This is not a healthy situation for anyone involved. By consistently giving or loaning your parents money, you’ve lost respect for them in the process. The relationship has become strained, and that’s a tough thing for anyone to deal with – especially in a parent-child situation. On top of all that, your mom sounds like a travel agent for guilt trips. It seems like she’s working you over while implying it’s all really for God. That’s toxic.

Going into the ministry is an admirable thing. However, I remember a guy in the Bible named Paul who made tents while he conducted his ministry. I’m paraphrasing, of course, but his line was something like, “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.” He had a job, remember? So, suggesting that someone work outside the ministry while trying to do God’s work isn’t mean or unfair.

No one should do this to their child, and it’s going to be hard to unravel it all and turn it into a respectable situation. I hope everyone will consider sitting down with a mature third party, and developing a situation where you’re no longer giving or lending them money.

In the meantime, read a book called Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud. After that and some objective intervention, I think this situation will become a lot healthier for everyone.

-Dave

(Finding the right motivation)

Dear Dave,
My husband and I make $180,000 a year combined, and we have a net worth of about $1.6 million. We’ve been blessed financially, and lots of times motivated by a survival point of view, but what do you do when you’re not motivated by that kind of thing anymore? How do you find and live out God’s purpose for your life?
Lisa

Dear Lisa,
Congratulations on your success! You guys really have been blessed, and it sounds like you’ve worked hard for your wealth. If you’ve ever studied psychology a little bit, you may remember Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Basically, once you get physiological and safety needs met, you feel a need to find other things to motivate you. It sounds like you’re a performance-oriented person. So am I. People like us get our relaxation and even fulfillment away from work in different ways than most people.

My suggestion would be to start thinking about ways you can serve and help other people or causes you care about. This could even mean becoming a stay-at-home mom for a while and really pouring into your kids, if you have them. If it’s something else, that’s okay too. How about this? You’ve obviously been thinking about this stuff for a while. Take a day all to yourself, away from everything and everybody, and bring along nothing but some food and drink, a bunch of notepads and pencils, and a Bible. Open up your mind and your heart to the things you care about and all the possibilities. You have to have a goal that is worthy in your mind, and you don’t have that right now.

I can’t tell you what your calling is, Lisa, but I can say this. There’s tons of joy and fulfillment to be found when you’re working in a way to serve the people and things that matter most in your life!

-Dave

* Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business, and CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 11 million listeners each week on more than 550 radio stations and digital outlets. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.

Dave Says—

*Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business, and CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored fie New York Times best-selling books. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 11 million listeners each week on more than 550 radio stations and digital outlets. Dave’s latest project, EveryDollar, provides a free online budget tool. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.

(Dating and the budget)

Dear Dave,
I’ve been following your plan, and I’ve finally gotten out of debt and feel I have
control of my finances. I’m also single, and I was wondering if you have any tips
for how to gracefully mention financial topics and budgeting when you’re on a date.

—Paula

Dear Paula,
Well, I don’t recommend bringing it up on a first date. If I’m a guy on the initial date
with a girl and the first thing out of her mouth is about finances and handling money,
that’s going to be pretty strange.

Now, if the first date turns into another and another and another, then you might
start talking about the deeper things in life and where you both stand. As you start
talking about more serious subjects, you’ll begin to learn if there’s enough of a basis
for a real relationship.

But the first date is just sort of an introduction, right? You’re both seeing if there’s any initial, mutual compatibility. Asking someone how much they make, or where they are
on their debt snowball in this scenario is officially weird-even by my standards. In other words, use manners and tact. They may be old fashioned words these days, but in
most cases they work well.
-Dave

(More of a long-term spending thing)

Dear Dave,
I’ve started my four-year-old on an allowance structure and a chore chart. I also have a mini-envelope system with spending and saving set up, but I’m having trouble helping him distinguish between the two. How can I solve this?
Monica

Dear Monica,
At that age, any type of saving is going to be more of a glorified, long-term spending plan. The point is to teach them to delay gratification when you’re first starting out. And when you’re only four, two weeks is long term. The contents of the spending envelope should be kind of spontaneous. Let him take it on trips to the store, and if he wants a pack of gum or whatever, he can get it. The saving envelope, though, stays at home. Then, as he grows and his mind and reasoning develops a little more, you can really start teaching him about long-term goals and how to get there-including giving.

Don’t try to force a four-year-old to think five or 10 years into the future. We’re just trying to teach lessons here, and it doesn’t have to be done perfectly. Just be intentional, and try to find teachable moments as you go along.

(Don’t tithe with credit cards)


Dear Dave,
What is your opinion of churches encouraging members to do e-giving with credit
cards and debit cards?

—Melissa

Dear Melissa,
I’m against debt, so I’m not particularly fond of churches asking people to use a debt vehicle to pay their tithes. I realize that few businesses and organizations distinguish between debit cards and credit cards when accepting payment. However, this practice bothers me a lot when it comes to churches. The Bible mentions debt several times in Scripture, and every time it does, it’s always in a negative light. It’s not a salvation
issue or anything like that, but the Bible basically says debt is a foolish thing.Now, I think e-giving in itself is fine. But if I were the pastor or on the leadership board, and we had an e-giving process, I would strongly encourage people to use debit cards and not credit cards. There’s nothing wrong with a draft or an ACH kind of thing. A lot of people do that and like the ability to give online.

But I don’t want a giving situation to your church turn into debt to you. And it does just that when it’s a credit card!
– Dave

(Don’t insure cell phones)

Dear Dave,
I just bought a new smartphone, and the company I’m with offers insurance for
the device. Do you think it would be wise or foolish to do this?

—Lisa

Dear Lisa,
The purpose of insurance is to transfer a risk that you can’t afford to take. When it comes to things like cars or houses, I absolutely recommend that people have insurance. Most folks couldn’t just write a check for another car if the one they drive were totaled. It’s the same with a house. If your home is destroyed, the insurance takes care of things instead of putting you in the position of having to pull tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars out of your own pocket for a new home-also something most people can’t do.

No, I don’t insure inexpensive things like smartphones. And if a smartphone is an expensive item to you, then you probably shouldn’t have that phone. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with having a cell phone if you can afford it. But if you tear up a phone or it breaks down and you can’t afford to replace it out of your own pocket, then you’ve got too much phone!
– Dave

Dave Says column

Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business and the CEO
of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored five New York Times best-selling books. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 8.5 million listeners each week on more than 550 radio stations. Dave’s latest project, EveryDollar, provides a free online budget tool. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at www.daveramsey.com

(Helping them budget)

Dear Dave,
My husband and I live on a budget and are getting out of debt. Our daughter is in
high school, and we’ve been teaching her about your plan. Is it realistic to expect a 16-year-old with a part-time job and a hand-me-down car to make and live on a budget?
Marcie
Dear Marcie,
Anyone who has an income can make and live off a buget. Your daughter is at a great
time in her life to learn how to prioritize spending, saving and giving – and making her money behave!

Even in her situation, when she’s still living at home with you guys, there are plenty of things she can include in a budget. Think about it: She needs gas for the car, basic maintenance and insurance … things like that. She’ll also want a little spending money, and she might even have ideas of going to college. So sit down with her and show
her how to make out a budget to figure out the upcoming month’s expenses before
the month begins. Make sure she knows how to properly balance and reconcile her
bank account, too.

Of course, at this point it’s still your responsibility as parents> to provide her with the basic necessities. But I love your attitude and your willingness to teach her how to handle money intelligently. The sooner she learns some basic money management principles, the sooner she’ll be able to handle her finances in the real world responsibly.
-Dave

(Saving is doing something)

Dear Dave,
I know you’re all about getting out of debt, and I agree with your stance on that. I started college last month, and scholarships and Pell Grants will pay for everything. But is saving money really that important if you’re young and have a good income? What good does money do you if you don’t use it for something?
Tim

Dear Tim,
Congrats on beginning college! I’m glad, too, that you understand how I feel about debt. But it worries me that you seem to think that you’re not doing anything with your money when you save. Saving money is one of the most important things you can do with your money, because when you save you’re planning for the future and the unexpected.

Retirement may seem long way off right now, but think for a second how it would feel to have worked your entire life only to end up broke at age 65. If that thought doesn’t scare you, it should. Have you ever seen someone that age, or older, wrangling shopping carts in the rain or flipping burgers at a fast food joint? In most cases, it’s not because they love the job and being around people. They’re doing it because they have to, because they failed to plan for the future and save some money.

Let’s talk about something a little closer. You said you agree with my stance on debt. Okay, so how are you going to buy your next car without going into debt if you haven’t saved anything? How will you survive if you get laid off from your job if you haven’t saved any money? Bad things happen when people are foolish enough not to save money.

Saving is doing something with your money, Tim. It’s one of the most important things you can do with money – for yourself and those around you!
-Dave

Dave Says—

* Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business, and CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored five New York Times best-selling books. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 8.5 million listeners each week on more than 550 radio stations. Dave’s latest project, EveryDollar, provides a free online budget tool. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.

Dear Dave,
I’ve spent most of my marriage not being a good husband and not being involved in our family finances. After being introduced to one of your programs at work, I realized how irresponsible I had been and went home to apologize and tell my wife about it. During this conversation I learned that we have about $80,000 in debt I didn’t know about, plus $45,000 in debt on a new car and motorcycle I did know about. We also have a mortgage on our home. My wife apologized for making a mess of things, but it wasn’t all her fault. She wasn’t sneaking around spending and taking out debt, she just made mistakes and was afraid to tell me. Together, we make about $100,000 a year. Can you help us?
Curtis

Dear Curtis,
I’m really glad you’ve made the decision to man up. That’s a big step in the right direction for you and your marriage. To me, what you described is a lot different than her completely lying, hiding stuff, and actively having a financial affair – so to speak – on the side. You weren’t plugged in and she wasn’t doing a good job, but she didn’t have anyone to talk to about it. Things got worse, then she probably felt ashamed about how ugly it got and didn’t want to tell anybody.

Not counting your house, you’ve got about $125,000 in debt. You’ve got to look at all this with a $100,000 income and say, “What is the fastest way to clean up this dadgum mess?” That’s going to mean beans and rice, rice and beans. That means a scorched-earth lifestyle and living on a budget, which also means you’re not going out to eat, not going on vacations, and you’re going to start selling so much stuff that the kids think they’re next.

I’d probably sell the car and the motorcycle. Get into a couple of basic cars, and spend about two years of crazy intensity getting debt free except for your home. You can clean this up that fast, but you’re going to have no life during that time.

The two of you have some relationship work to do also. It sounds like you’ve already started on that with you owning your part and her owning hers. The thing is not to blame. From this point forward you need to sit down together and make all of your decisions – financial and otherwise – together.

Trust me, if you’re both willing, you can heal the math problem, the debt problem and the marriage problem all at the same time. It will be an amazing thing!
-Dave