Talk to Mom and Dad

Written by Dave Ramsey on . Posted in Finance

davernewDear Dave,

My boyfriend is wondering if he should buy life insurance for his mom and dad. They're both in their seventies, and they're no longer married to each other. His mom is disabled and remarried, and she doesn't have any life insurance coverage. The only coverage his dad may have would be through his employer. He's afraid he would have to pay funeral expenses if one of them died, and he's not in good enough shape financially to do that right now. What's your advice?

Cherie

Dear Cherie,

If the only insurance his dad may have is furnished through his employer, then yeah, when he stops working he probably won't have life insurance anymore. It would be fine if he wanted to buy them each a small policy, but it's going to be very expensive at their age. He would have to get them to sign off on it, and they'd also have to be healthy enough to have a policy issued.

This isn't a good long-term plan, however. As a long-term plan, I'd tell your boyfriend that he needs to build up his own wealth. If he had $15,000 to $20,000 in savings, that's more than enough to bury two people. I don't mean to sound insensitive, but we're talking about the economics involved in this kind of situation. You can have a nice funeral for as little as $5,000.

The other thing I'd do if I were him is I'd have a discussion with mom as to whether or not the stepfather has the funds to handle this sort of thing. When it comes right down to it that would be his responsibility, not the son's. Then, he should have a similar discussion with his dad. If his dad's got insurance through work, and the stepdad is ready to pay for his mom's burial, then I wouldn't buy insurance on them. They're covered for the immediate future.

So I wouldn't do it unless they absolutely don't have this sort of thing covered. Even then I'd prefer you just cover it with cash, because all we're talking about is just enough to cover burial costs. Nothing needs to be elaborate.

I hope this helps, Cherie!

 Dave

Pausing the Baby Steps to celebrate?

Dear Dave,

My wife and I are in Baby Step 2 of your plan, and we've got our twentieth wedding anniversary coming up in a few months. We had always planned on taking a 10-day luxury trip to celebrate, but now that we're trying to get out of debt it seems pretty unrealistic. Should we pause the Baby Steps and celebrate like we originally planned, or would it be better to concentrate on paying off debt?

Don

Dear Don,

If it were me, I'd want to pause and celebrate in a smaller way. Then, in a year or two when you've reached your goal of being debt-free, you could have a big double celebration — for your anniversary and for gaining control of your finances.

Think about it. Why isn't the twenty-first, twenty-second or twenty-third anniversary just as big as the twentieth? No reason really. It's just an arbitrary milestone we as human beings decided on and created. But you can "undecide" stuff like that anytime you want.

If you two, as a couple, are in agreement on that point, then it suddenly becomes easier to delay pleasure in order to win. And trust me, when you agree on things like that, the celebrations become even sweeter!

Dave
Author Information
Dave Ramsey
About:
David L. "Dave" Ramsey III (born September 3, 1960) is an American financial author, radio host, television personality, and motivational speaker. His show and writings strongly focus on encouraging people to get out of debt.

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