By Dave Ramsey
Q. My 27-year-old brother-in-law moved in with us some time ago. He doesn’t have a job or contribute anything in terms of helping around the house or with bills. I think he needs to move out, but my wife isn’t so sure. She complains about the situation to me, but if I say anything, it makes me the bad guy with her family. How can I convince her?
A. I think you need to sit down with your wife, not all the other players, and gently explain to her you’re just enabling his bad behavior by allowing things to continue this way. Responsible adults don’t behave like bums, and I don’t give a flip what the rest of the family thinks. It’s your house, and this issue is between you and her.
You two are the only ones having to deal with this, so it’s really easy for others to chime in about what should happen. But hey, if they’re so concerned with the guy having a place to stay, maybe one of them should take him in. I’ll bet that idea would shut them up in a heartbeat.
I’m not advising you to just kick the guy out, but maybe you could formulate a plan that will give him a little time to get back on his feet. Have a loving talk with him about the situation, but let him know things can’t continue on the same path. Let him know that within 30 days he has to have a job, and 30 days after that he has to move into his own place. Write it down on the calendar, if it will help, but make sure he understands why you’re doing this and the date he has to move out.
I know these kinds of things can be difficult, but sometimes you have to take the bull by the horns and make something happen. There’s no reason it has to become an ugly situation, as long as you and your wife get on the same page and you do things in a helpful and kind way.
Q. My husband and I just finished Baby Step 1, and we have our $1,000 in the bank for an emergency fund. Our daughter may have to have kidney surgery in the near future. Should we beef up our emergency fund or move to Baby Step 2 and the debt snowball?
A. I know I’m the “get out of debt” guy. I want everyone to experience what life can be like when they’re debt-free and don’t have to send their paychecks out the door to creditors every month. But this little girl may need the kind of help only doctors and hospitals can provide. So for now, let’s push the pause button on your Total Money Makeover.
If I were in your situation, I’d pile up as much cash as possible. Live on a budget that’s tighter than tight and scrape together every penny you can find. Hopefully, your baby won’t need surgery. But if that kind of thing is a possibility, the only smart thing to do is prepare for the accompanying financial hit your family will experience.
Don’t feel bad about this either. If the surgery is necessary, you guys can jump right back in and start your debt snowball after your little girl is healed. But right now, baby comes first. And if you’ve already got $1,000 saved, you’re off to a good start when it comes to handling things.
Dave Ramsey has authored four New York Times best-selling books, and “The Dave Ramsey Show” is heard by more than 5 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow him on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.