Advice from Nashville's leading Financial Aid Advisor Dave Ramsey
Author of Financial Peace and The Total Money Makeover
Accept help from father?
We have $21,000 in credit card debt and ongoing medical expenses for our special-needs child. My husband works very hard, brings in about $25,000 a year and we’re living in a 30-year old trailer. My dad is willing to help us pay off some of the debt and get us moved into a house if we’ll get financial counseling. Is there a better way out this situation?
Sheryl in Dallas, TX
If you’re going to have to make payments to your dad, in other words, if the money is going to be a loan, don’t do it. The borrower is always slave to the lender. If you really want to ruin family events, have debt to your parents. It twists you up inside, makes the food taste funny and it’ll be especially hard on your husband.
Now, if this is going to be a gift and there are no expectations of re-payment being made, that’s a little different. But if you were my child and I wrote you a $21,000 check, I’d expect you to go into financial counseling and start saving money for your child’s future and for yours. That’s only reasonable. You guys obviously aren’t wasteful yuppies spending money right and left, but having a family and raising kids in the Dallas-Fort Worth area on $25,000 a year is tough - even without the credit card bills you’re talking about.
Another thing I’d advise, Sheryl, is that your husband get on a five-year game plan to improve his earning potential. Sit down with him, hold hands and let him know that he can be anything he wants to be. Then, help him decide what he wants to be in five years, what he wants to be making five years down the road and the steps he’s going to take educationally or training-wise to achieve that goal.
He’s a hard-working man, but today’s culture doesn’t always reward just hard work. You’ve got to engage the gray matter a little and boost your brain power, too. You make more money when you PLAN to make more money.
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