Dating and the budget

Written by Editor in Chief on . Posted in Finance

davernewDear 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!

Dave

Hold on for now

Written by Dave Ramsey on . Posted in Finance

davernewDear Dave,

My husband was laid off a month ago from a job making $80,000 a year. We have no debt except our house payment. We owe about $82,000 on it, but it's valued at approximately $300,000. We've also got an emergency fund of $30,000, and I work part-time making about $2,000 a month while he collects unemployment and looks for another job. Do you think we should sell our home? We've also got a boat that's worth about $18,000 we could sell.

Sheila

Dear Sheila,

The first thing I want you to do is take a step back and breathe. Yes, you guys just hit a big bump in the road. But the good news is you're in pretty good shape financially to handle things for a while.

At this point, I'd strongly recommend selling the boat over selling the house. Boats are a lot easier to replace than nice homes, and the process isn't nearly as traumatic on the family. You can also dip into your emergency fund a little bit, but for the next little while you need to make sure you're living on a really tight, bare bones budget. I'd love to see you not have to touch the emergency fund, because he's gone out and found at least a part-time position while he's searching for something in his field. I know that's tough to do once you've gotten used to making $80,000, but there are jobs out there that will help you guys get through this.

As long as he's being diligent in seeking a new job, and you're budgeting and watching what you spend together, I think for now you should keep the house. God bless you both!

Dave

Refund or better planning?

Dear Dave,

Do you recommend having people keep their W2 numbers as close to their tax return numbers as possible, even if they might have to pay at the end of the year or have more taken out? Every year I get a big tax return. But after listening to you I began to think that if I did a better job of planning I would have more money throughout the year.

Charlie

Dear Charlie,

I like your thinking, and you're absolutely right. That's exactly what I recommend people do when it comes to their income taxes. Of course, you don't want to have to pay out a big chunk of cash. But a little number crunching and planning ahead of time can help you avoid those kinds of situations.

You really don't want a big refund, and here's why. If you get a fat tax refund every year, all it means is you've loaned money to the government interest-free for the entire year. Then, at the end of the year they gave it back to you. Some people seem to think Santa Claus has shown up when this happens, and that's completely wrong. You've had too much taken out of your check every payday during the previous year, and then you got it back.

Try to adjust your W2 so that you are hitting within $100 or so at the end of the year. Then you'll have more of your own money in your own pocket throughout the entire year!

Dave

Seminary money

Written by Dave Ramsey on . Posted in Finance

davernewDear Dave,

My wife and I recently followed your plan and became debt-free, and we're committed to never going back there again. Currently, I work for the state but I've been feeling God's calling to the ministry. We'll get an income tax refund of about $4,500 this year, and we've both agreed to put that money toward my first semester of seminary training. Does this, along with saving money as we go, sound like a good way to pay for this?

Bradley

Dear Bradley,

I love the move to get out of debt, and the fact that you and your wife are determined never to go back there. If you truly feel that you're being called by God to be a pastor or some other form of ministerial work — and you're both in agreement on how to make it happen — I think that's great, too. Just remember your promise to stay away from debt in making it happen.

But I did hear one problem you need to fix. You should stop having so much income tax withheld from your paychecks. That $4,500 you mentioned is the result of one or both of you overpaying your taxes. For the future, make sure to adjust your withholdings $375 a month. It's always better to have the cash you earn in your pocket rather than parking it with the IRS interest-free every year.

Best of luck in your new career, Bradley!

Dave

Avoid the gimmicks

Dear Dave,

What kinds of insurance should I avoid?

Rhonda

Dear Rhonda,

Well, in the life insurance world, you should buy only term life insurance. Avoid any kind of insurance that has a savings program built into it — things like whole life, universal life and variable life. Another thing to avoid is return of premium. This is where an insurance company charges you extra, but gives all your premium money back if you don't use the policy. It sounds good, but if you'd just invest the extra you pay for that stuff, you'd get all your premiums back, and more, whether you used the insurance or not!

I also don't recommend gimmick insurances, like double indemnity for accidental death. Think about it. You're not double-dead if you die by accident; you're just dead. Your family needs the same amount of money whether you die by accident or heart attack. If you have a family, I suggest 10 to 12 times your annual income in a good, level term policy. Also, stay away from cancer insurance policies. Your regular health insurance policy should include cancer coverage. If it doesn't, you've got a crummy policy and you need to get a better one right away.

So, for the coverage you do need, we're looking at level term life insurance, good health insurance, long-term disability and homeowners and/or renters insurance. Throw in auto coverage and, once you hit age 60, long-term care insurance and you're pretty much set!

Dave

Thankfulness and boundaries

Written by Dave Ramsey on . Posted in Finance

davernewDear Dave,

My fiancé and I are getting married in May. He's a youth pastor, and I'm in grad school. His mom and dad found a home they think we'll like, and they want to gift us money for a down payment. I'm not sure how I feel about this under our present circumstances. Do you think we should go ahead and accept when I'll still be in school and we'll still have debt to pay off?

Emily

Dear Emily,

You need to get to know each other before you buy a house together. I always recommend that young couples rent for a year and concentrate on each other, the new marriage, cleaning up any debts you have, and establishing an emergency fund. Then, after another year or so when you've had time to take control of your finances, the idea of looking for a home becomes much smarter.

It sounds like your future in-laws are really generous people. They're trying to do something nice for you two, but they kind of got out ahead of things with this idea. And in the process, they violated some boundaries in your relationship with your fiancé.

My advice is to have a conversation with your fiancé about all this and get on the same page about what is the smart thing to do. Then the two of you need to have a loving discussion with his parents. Let him do most of the talking, and say thank you a lot, but let them know you both feel it would be best to start out by renting something for a year or so. Then after a little time has passed, tell them if they still want to help with a down payment you'd both very grateful.

I think this approach would be good for the boundary issues and for your finances!

Dave

Welcome to life

Dear Dave,

Our son just turned 8 years old. Is it time to start giving him an allowance?

Dan

Dear Dan,

There's never a time for an allowance, no matter the child's age. In my mind, that kind of thinking is the best way to plant the seeds of entitlement. You want your son growing up with the idea that he's owed money simply because he's alive.

Instead, work out a plan to pay him commissions. Assign him weekly chores that are age-appropriate. Then, when the work gets done, he gets paid. And guess what? If the work doesn't get done, he doesn't get paid! Not only do we want to teach a healthy work ethic, but we also want him to learn that work creates money.

Of course, there are some things a child should be expected to do without financial reward. Everyone needs to pitch in and do certain things to help out when they're part of a family. But once you've taught him about work, make sure to also teach him about the three uses for money—saving, spending, and giving.

Lessons on the basic handling of money are some of the best teachable moments you can have with your child. Not only does it make them more knowledgeable about finances, it helps them learn about life!

Dave

Goals limiting one another

Written by Dave Ramsey on . Posted in Finance

davernewDear Dave,

My husband and I are currently renting an apartment for $1,200 a month. Together, we bring home about $7,000 a month, and we'd really like to buy a house soon. Right now we have about $10,000 in debt on a boat along with ongoing stable bills, food and upkeep for our three horses. What price range of houses should we look at in our situation?

Michelle

Dear Michelle,

Homeownership is a great goal, but first you two need to clean up your debt and build an emergency fund of three to six months of expenses. After that, I want you to save up enough for a down payment of at least 10 to 20 percent. When buying a home on a mortgage, I always recommend the monthly payments be no more than 25 percent of your monthly take-home pay on a 15-year, fixed-rate loan.

Now, let's get to the other issues. You have some things in your life that are pulling at you financially. At some point, you may have to take a long look at the situation and ask the hard question, "What is more important to me: horses and boats or home ownership?" Getting rid of that boat, or finding new homes for one, two or all of your horses, would bring in some cash to put toward your debt and cut down on at least some of the animal maintenance.

Anyway, that's how I would look at it. My wife and I both are big fans of boats and horses. But we like boats more. One reason is because they don't eat as much! I can't get mad at you about either one, but right now you've got three things pulling at you as financial priorities — home ownership, a boat and three horses. They're all pulling at you, and they're pulling at each other and limiting each other.

Of course, you can always buy a lot less in house. But what it really comes down to is what's most important to you. That's the big question, and it's one that only you can answer.

Dave

A frank discussion about credit cards

Dear Dave,

I don't understand why you don't like it when people properly manage their credit cards and pay them off every month. By doing this, you pay no interest and in my case I even got a free trip to Europe from using my credit card. Please explain.

Patrick

Dear Patrick,

I truly doubt that I can explain it to your satisfaction, but here goes. First, the credit card company did not give you a free trip to Europe. They're not going to lose money on transaction after transaction, year after year. The fallacy is that you feel like you've outsmarted a multi-billion dollar company that studies human behavior at incredible levels. You maybe, possibly came out ahead against them during that particular calendar year, but even that's debatable.

Over the course of your life, you'll spend more when using credit cards as opposed to cash. There's plenty of research proving this to be fact. If you use a credit card repeatedly with the idea that you're getting a free trip to Europe because you're building up your miles, you spend more. An example would be McDonald's. When they started taking credit cards years ago, they found that the people using them spent 47 percent more.

In a good way, you are very unusual. You're not playing over in the stupid zone like most people who use credit cards. But both I and the credit card companies have found that, on average, your behavior would put you in a class of less than one-half of one percent of their customers. Can 0.5 percent of people handling snakes manage not to get bitten? Sure. But that doesn't mean I'm going to start recommending snakes!

Dave

You can catch up later

Written by Dave Ramsey on . Posted in Finance

davernewDear Dave,

I work in IT, and I recently learned that I'll be losing my $88,000 a year job at the end of February. We're debt-free, except for our home, and we have a full emergency fund in place. The problem is we just cash-flowed one daughter's wedding, and we'll be paying for another daughter's college soon. I'll receive a severance package of around $30,000 to $40,000, but we're wondering if I should stop contributing to my 401(k) and stockpile cash until another job comes along.

Steve

Dear Steve,

You've done a great job handling your money, so going a couple of months without contributing to your 401(k) isn't going to mean the difference between retiring with dignity and eating Alpo in your golden years.

In this case, I would temporarily stop funding the 401(k). You're in a high-demand line of work, so I think you'll probably land something soon and maybe even get a raise in the process. The main thing is to be intentional. Go ahead and start networking and lining up interviews now. Try to land something as soon as possible so that you can start at the end of February or the first of March. At that point, you could look at the severance package as a signing bonus.

There's not much lost between now and then with what you'd actually gain from what you put into your 401(k). There would be going forward, for sure, but I think you'll be able to make that up pretty quickly.

Dave

No New Year's debt next time?

Dear Dave,

We've always just assumed that we would use credit cards for Christmas, and accepted the fact that there would be a mountain of debt to pay off in January and February. Can you tell us how to make it through the Christmas season next year without accumulating debt?

Carol

Dear Carol,

Giving is a wonderful thing if your intentions—and your finances—are in the right place. But don't let yourself get trapped in the shopping bonanza just because everyone else is doing it. It's all too easy to try to justify overspending in the weeks ahead just because it's a gift.

It's pretty simple. Look at your budget, and see what you can afford to pay cash for during the holiday season. Once you and your spouse agree on this amount, make a list, check it twice and stick to it! Include the names and amounts you are going to spend on each person or charity. It's just common sense, but it's easy to find something in the mall you "just have to buy." That's where problems start.

Giving is not meant to be stressful on your finances. Give with the right intentions, and give with a financial plan in mind that does not include debt. Another thing to remember is Christmas always falls on December 25th. Don't wait until Thanksgiving to realize it's right around the corner. You could even get a real jump on things, and set a little bit aside each month toward Christmas starting right now!

Dave

Getting back on the wagon

Written by Dave Ramsey on . Posted in Finance

davernewDear Dave,

I started working your plan earlier this year. I even budgeted for Christmas and got my shopping done early, but in the process I overspent and blew my whole monthly budget. Now I'm having a hard time getting motivated again. Do you have any suggestions?

Misty

Dear Misty,

Lots of folks make mistakes like this, even though they went into things with the best intentions. The Bible says that no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but it yields a harvest of righteousness.

The best way I know to encourage you to get back on the wagon is to ask one simple question: Where do you want to be in five or 10 years? Is your current path going to reward you with a financially secure life? Is it going to give you the ability to retire with dignity and to have fun living and giving in your golden years, or is it going to leave you broke, scared and desperate? There's one simple answer if the path you're on isn't going to get you what you want and where you want to be in life: Change the path!

Most people don't even take the time to identify where they want to go in life or how to get there. They just shuffle along, blame others and circumstances for their situations, and think someone will take care of them. That's called being a child. Children do what feels good at the moment, but adults devise a plan and stick to it.

Lazy is always easier, and more fun, in the short term. But it's a huge mistake when it comes to the future, Misty. Think ahead, plan ahead, and jump back on the wagon!

Dave

Personal vs. business

Dear Dave,

Do you view personal debt and business debt the same way? I have about $210,000 in farm loans that are mostly tied up in land I rent to farmers. It's the only debt I have, and the rental prices supply me an income of about $200,000 a year.

Anne

Dear Anne,

Your debt required you to personally sign for it, right? So, it's all personal debt. The law is going to treat you exactly the same if you don't pay a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan as the law treats you with an unsecured personal line of credit. You're still going to get your butt sued, and they're still going to come take your stuff or garnish your wages. It's debt! The only way it's personal debt versus business debt is in your mind.

If I'm in your shoes, I'm going to live on as little as I can and pay this off like I was trying to pay off a house. If I made $200,000 a year on investments, and everything was paid for except one of my investments, how quickly would I pay that one investment off? Two years. In your situation, surely you can live on $100,000 a year!

 Dave

Is loaning or giving helping?

Written by Dave Ramsey on . Posted in Finance

davernewDear Dave,

The guy who has been my best friend since grade school recently asked me to loan him $5,000. All I have in savings in $5,000, but I would be willing to give him $1,000. The problem is that while he's a great friend with a good heart, he's always getting himself into binds when it comes to money. Do you think I should give him $1,000?

Israel

Dear Israel,

If I were in your shoes, and I was going to give this guy a fifth of everything I had, I'd want to know it was going to save his life. From what you've said, it sounds like he's just out of control with his money while you're trying to save. That being the case, I'm not sure you'd really be helping him.

If you want to gift your friend some money, then do it. But there's no way I'd tell you to give him everything you've managed to save. And I certainly wouldn't do it as a loan.

Ask yourself if you believe deep down in your heart that giving this guy $1,000 would truly be a blessing to him or if, by doing it, you'd be acting as an enabler and basically just funding more of his stupidity with money. From what you've told me, I think there's a good chance the answer is the latter. And if that's the case, you can be a much better friend by saying you love him enough to not ruin your friendship.

Dave

Confirmation of payoff?

Dear Dave,

After struggling with it for several years, I finally made the last payment on my Sallie Mae student loans this week. Do you think I should ask for a formal letter stating that it's officially paid off?

Angela

Dear Angela,

Congratulations on finally kicking that old woman out of your house! It feels great, doesn't it?

Sure, it couldn't hurt anything to write and request formal confirmation that the book on your loans is closed and everything is paid in full. You can do this through email so you'll have a record of contact, or you can send a certified letter, return receipt requested, through the post office. That way, you'll have a record they signed for it.

Following up on paid-off debts is always a good idea, Angela. You don't want the hassle of possibly having to deal with greedy or incompetent collectors sniffing around three or four years down the road and no way to prove you're free and clear!

Dave

How do you have a wedding without debt?

Written by Dave Ramsey on . Posted in Finance

davernewDear Dave,

How do you have a wedding without debt?

Lynn

Dear Lynn,

Wow, where do I start on this one? I guess the best way is to tell the truth. Honey, that question kind of makes you sound like a little princess.

How do you have a wedding without debt? It's really simple. You have a wedding with the money you have. There's nothing wrong with small, inexpensive weddings. And once you accept that and start thinking about things from a mature, adult point of view, you'll start realizing you can scrimp and save and have a really nice, small wedding.

Lots of people have beautiful, memorable ceremonies and even small receptions for less than $1,000. Sure, you can run out, go into debt and wear an $8,000 wedding dress for a few hours on one day of your life. Or, you can find one that's much cheaper — even something that's been worn one time — for a couple hundred dollars. Think that's tacky? Well, let me tell you what's even more tacky and dumb — going $15,000 to $20,000 in debt for one day!

To have a wedding without debt you have to be creative and think within your budget. That means growing up and not throwing a temper tantrum just because you can't have every little thing you want. Most people don't have lavish, expensive weddings, and guess what? Years down the road they're still married, madly in love and laughing and hugging when they remember the best day of their lives.

Please, don't turn what's supposed to be a happy occasion into a financial mess that will take years to clean up!

Dave

What to do with restricted stock?

Dear Dave,

My husband works for a large company and receives restricted stock bonuses of approximately $5,000 each year. We're not sure exactly how long they're restricted, and we both wonder if we're allowed to sell these options?

Patty

Dear Patty,

You said your husband works for a large company, so my guess is they do this as an employee retention move. That's why they restrict the stock. They're trying to get people to stay with the company, and you'll only be able to sell them after they are no longer restricted.

Usually, these kinds of things have a one- or two-year restriction. I doubt they'd put a five-year hold on it, but check with the company to find out the specifics. They can tell him when the stock is free to be sold.

If it were me, I wouldn't hold on to too much of it. I don't own single stocks. They have too much risk for my taste. Keep a little bit, if you want, but don't put all or even most of your financial eggs into that one basket!

—Dave

A hiring predicament

Written by Dave Ramsey on . Posted in Finance

davernewDear Dave,

I work as the executive director of a nonprofit charitable organization. Lately, I've been wondering if I should hire an employee as a development person. I don't want to damage the work we do, and I can't help but look at bringing in someone new as a gamble. Do you have any suggestions? How do you handle situations like this?

Denise

Dear Denise,

Over the years, I've found that you can reduce a lot of the fear when it comes to hiring simply by doing your due diligence – and then some – during the hiring process. I get what you're saying, though. It's kind of a gamble anytime you hire someone. But if you do your job during the hiring process, I've found that in most cases it turns into an investment rather than a gamble. Even then, some investments are better than others.

In your line of work, you need a lot more than a warm body in a chair. You need someone who really cares about your cause and is really gifted when it comes to physically, mentally and spiritually involving people in the community. In a sense, a development person is kind of like a salesperson. A good one is worth their weight in gold, while a bad one will only cost you a ridiculous amount of time and money, while potentially tarnishing your good name.

Look for the best of the best, and don't rely on résumés to tell you the whole story. At my office, we always have numerous interviews, and the process can go on for months. We're also okay with not hiring someone and putting the position on hold for a while if we can't find the person who is an exact fit professionally and personally. And remember, Denise. Like with all things, it never hurts to ask God for a little guidance!

Dave

Sell as-is

Dear Dave,

My husband and I are about to relocate to another part of the country. We'd like to sell our house, but we're thinking about taking out a small loan to have some work done first. We could get in the $180,000 range selling it "as-is" but closer to $200,000 if we installed new roof, carpeting, exterior paint and concrete work. I know how you feel about debt, but what are your thoughts in this scenario?

Kim

Dear Kim,

From what you just described, and assuming the concrete work wouldn't be too extensive, you looking at going into debt probably $12,000 to $15,000 in order to get $20,000 more out of the deal. I'd just sell it. I wouldn't go to all that trouble for $5,000.

Every piece of debt you take on compromises your financial security and robs you of your largest wealth-building tool—your income. Even if you guys are in good shape, you've got a lot of uncertainty and the potential for unexpected expenses in the months ahead. Just sell the house and get on with your lives. It's not worth the hassle.

Dave

Doing the right thing

Written by Dave Ramsey on . Posted in Finance

davernewDear Dave,

Our son is a senior in college. We all signed a contract before he left for school a few years ago stating that we would pay for school and provide him a car to drive as long as he maintained good grades and behaved in a respectful and mature manner. Over the last couple of years, his grades have dropped and he's been acting more and more disrespectful. We learned recently that he even told a family friend that he hated us. My husband went to confront him about his behavior and this statement, and our son admitted he said it and was unrepentant. My husband immediately took the car and cut off his cell phone, like we had agreed. But now, I just feel sick with worry. Did we do the right thing?

Carla

Dear Carla,

I'm sure you do feel sick inside. If you didn't feel that way to some extent, you'd be a terrible person. This is your child we're talking about. And even though he brought this on himself by being a twerp, and you guys are simply following through on the agreement, it hurts you because you're human — and a good mom.

It may seem extreme to some folks, but what you guys did wasn't capricious or arbitrary. There was a deal in place, and he knew the terms of the contract. If someone worked for me and did or said or tweeted the kind of stuff you're talking about, I'd fire them on the spot. This kid has got to learn how to behave in the culture and that there are consequences for breaking your word and violating contracts.

But here's some good news for you, Carla. You married a real man — a strong and loving man. What he did took a ton of strength and courage. There are so many wimps in our culture today, but you married a good one. And whether this kid realizes it or not, he's got one heck of a dad who really cares.

I'll give you a prediction. Within 30 days, your kid comes home wagging his tail behind him. Even if he's stubborn, being hungry and strapped for cash — along with losing his wheels — will solve a lot of that. From diapers until they're out of the house, and even after they're out of the house, you make a lot of those kinds of calls if you're a good parent.

—Dave

Pursue nursing another way

Dear Dave,

I'm 45 years old and a single mom. I have a decent job, but I want to go back to school to become a nurse. The money would be much better than what I make now, but I'd have to take out student loans to make this happen. Is it worth the risk?

Susan

Dear Susan,

Is nursing a field worth pursuing, especially when it is something you love and would increase your income significantly? You bet! Nursing is a very honorable profession. Am I going to tell you to take out loans to make it happen? Absolutely not!

Save as much as you possibly can first — even if it's just a little each month. Then, I want you to look into Pell Grants, traditional and non-traditional scholarships and what I call the "indentured servitude" program. There's still something of a nurse shortage in this country, and there are hospitals and drug companies that will agree to pay your school bills if you go to work for them afterwards for a specific number of years.

I'm proud of you, Susan. Gaining knowledge and improving yourself and your career prospects are all good things. But stay away from student loan debt. It's bad and unnecessary!

—Dave

Make the decision with her

Written by Dave Ramsey on . Posted in Finance

davernewDear Dave,

My wife and I just started your class, and we're determined to get out of debt. At the same time, I'd like to do something to reduce the stress in her life. She's a nurse, and she works three 12-hour night shifts a week. I'm a teacher, and I think we possibly could get by if she cut down to just two nights a week and worked part time. Would this be a good idea?

Randy

Dear Randy,

The truth is there's no "possibly" involved. Even without knowing your income and other numbers, it all boils down to one simple question — can you live on that?

It's a simple math thing. You need to look at your income and her income at 24 hours. Then, go over all of your bills and make a budget. If you can live on that, and it's what she wants to do, you have the answer.

There's no reason to do this immediately, either. I mean, we're only talking about one day a week. Chances are it won't change your lives that much. It probably won't hurt anything if she works her regular hours through the end of the year. That way, you guys can keep looking at the numbers and decide on what's best.

You obviously love your wife, Randy. But remember, this is up to her, too. Continue, with her, walking through the idea and the numbers. Make this decision together, so that you'll both be happy and it will be a blessing in your lives!

Dave

Be wise when selecting a roommate

Dear Dave,

I'll be moving out to finish college next year, and I'm not sure how to find a good roommate. I know this isn't a money question exactly, but I listen to your show and value your opinion. Do you have any suggestions?

Carson

Dear Carson,

I'm always happy to try to help someone who wants to make good decisions in life. I say that what I do is about life and money, so this question definitely qualifies.

Finding a good roommate can be tough. You need to choose someone you like and get along with, but someone who is responsible and has a little maturity, too. Sometimes you'll have different schedules, and this may lead to people working, studying or playing at all different times. You also have to be respectful of each other's needs and values, and remember, too, that certain things about another person will eventually get on your nerves a little.

Spend a lot of time talking to people and try to find someone with whom you have a lot in common. You won't always be on the same page with another person, but, if you take some time and try to choose wisely, it can be a fun and rewarding experience!

—Dave

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