DAVE RAMSEY: Getting out of debt shouldn't be only priotity

By Dave Ramsey

Q. When does reaching the point of being debt-free become more important than marriage? We’re following your plan and doing the debt snowball, but my husband’s been working a second job, and it’s really cutting into our together-time at night and straining our relationship. I’m afraid we’re going to end up debt-free but divorced. When does one outweigh the other?
A. Getting out of debt is never more important than your marriage. But families go through all kinds of stuff, and one of those things is cleaning up messes they’ve made. It’s not always fun, but there’s a price to pay if you want to win with your money or anything else.
It sounds to me like your husband has gone gazelle-intense about getting out of debt, and in the process may have left you behind a little bit. I don’t recommend that. He probably needs to take some time to come back and emotionally reconnect with you. And I’m sure some good, old-fashioned back rubs and words of encouragement from you are in order. Your man could use them if he’s been working two jobs.
But there’s plenty of time for snuggling and stuff later. Right now, you’re trying to do something really important for the good of your family. I know it can be difficult, but it won’t last forever. And I can promise you this: Once you’re done, you’ll be very glad you toughed it out.

Q. I graduated from college in May, and I already have a job in my field. It was a part-time position that went full-time, so I already have $15,000 in an IRA and about $23,000 in savings. I’m also debt-free because scholarships paid for my education. Am I ready to buy a house?
A. This is an awesome position you’re in right now. Financially, you’re OK to buy a house. I do have one slight hesitation, though. There are going to be lots and lots of things happening in your world during the next few years, and there’s a possibility you’ll end up moving – maybe for a girl or even another job – during this time. It’s going to be a time of transition, and having a piece of real estate tied around your neck could be a huge pain. But if you’re sure that’s where you want to be for a while, then it’s not such a big deal.
Keep in mind that there’s a word for real estate that sells quickly, and that word is “cheap.” Lots of times, the only way to get out from under something like that fast is to practically give it away. It’s a great time now to buy a home, though – it’s like they’re on sale. Interest rates are really low, too.
Don’t use the entire $23,000 as a down payment on a place, and keep an emergency fund of three to six months of expenses set aside. Make sure you get a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage, too. If you play this right, you’re going to be sitting pretty.
For more financial help, visit daveramsey.com.