By Dave Ramsey
Q. My boyfriend has a lot of debt. The other day a creditor called, and he wouldn’t answer the phone. Then he told me it would be easier for him to pay off his debts if we were married because I could act as his accountability partner. I don’t want to be the money cop, and I wonder if he would truly be more motivated. What do you think?
A. Someone who isn’t making any headway in getting out of debt while he’s single probably isn’t going to do a complete turnaround just because he gets married. You can act as his accountability partner if you want, but you don’t have to get married to help him. In fact, dating is probably a better way to do this, because you can determine whether he’s really changing or if he’s just trying to get you on board to help pay the bills.
Don’t misunderstand. Debt doesn’t keep someone from being marriage material. But you’re definitely not marriage material if you don’t work, you’re irresponsible, you haven’t taken control of your life, have no character or can’t manage your own behaviors. These kinds of people are going to stay in debt and not be able to pay their bills for the rest of their lives.
I’d say date this guy a little longer, just to see if he’s serious about changing. But don’t get engaged yet, and don’t pay one penny of his bills.
Q. My son is a sophomore at a local college, and he wants to transfer to a very prestigious university. If he did, this he would incur more than $100,000 in student loan debt, and that’s with us picking up half of the cost. What do you think I should tell him?
A. I’d have a hard time telling anybody that one school is $100,000 more valuable than another one. The fact is, unless he has $100,000 lying around somewhere, he shouldn’t go to that other school for one very simple reason – he can’t afford it.
We hire people every week at my company, and where they attended college is a very minor deal. There always will be a few corporate types out there who play games and try to turn the office into some kind of snooty country club, but the fact is most employers don’t care where you went to college.
It’s what you learn and being able to use that knowledge in the marketplace that’s really valuable. Knowledge is king, and we live in a knowledge-based economy. If you can’t retain and apply what they’re teaching, then the only thing more worthless than a college degree is a college pedigree.
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