My wife and I are in our late 20s, and we’re on Baby Step 6. Recently, my mom reached out to me for help. She has a car lease that ends next month, and she asked to borrow $2,000 so she can pay it off. It’s a weird situation, because my parents keep separate accounts and don’t combine their finances. My mom also asked me not to tell my wife about all this. What’s your advice?
I don’t do anything I can’t tell my wife about – ever. If I’m in a meeting, and someone tells me what’s said in that room has to stay in that room, that I can’t talk to anyone else about it under any circumstances, I’ll get up and leave. In my mind, keeping things from my wife is against the law.
Your mom is out of control to even think about asking you to do this, and you need to have a serious talk with her. Let her know you love her, but she has no right to ask this of you, and it’s not something you’d do. Let her know, too, that she’s never to ask for anything like this again.
If she needs $2,000, she should be talking to her husband about the idea. They should be living with combined finances anyway. So, it sounds like they’ve got issues to straighten out between themselves.
It’s time folks started laying their cards on the table and stopped sneaking around. That’s no way for a husband and wife to live, and your mom has no business trying to drag you into all of it behind everyone’s back!
I’m on Baby Step 2. I’ve paid off almost all my debt, and I’m living on a monthly budget. Recently, I got a call from a debt collection company about an old medical bill. They threatened to garnish my wages, and from the way they talked I’m afraid they may actually do it. How should I handle this situation?
First of all, they won’t garnish your wages. They can’t. For that to happen, they would have to go through all the formal, legal steps of suing you, and then they’d have to win the case. Debt collectors like to play with people’s emotions because, many times, folks will give in and do whatever they want – whether they can afford it or not.
The worst thing you can do in these situations is react with panic or fear. Talk to them calmly and rationally, and explain your financial situation. You may be able to reach a compromise that works for both of you. If they get nasty, or continue to lie to you, let them know you’ll file a complaint with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). Pushy debt collectors have a habit of getting polite and reasonable in a hurry when faced with the possibility of the federal government stepping in.
Do everything you reasonably can to pay your debts, Gwen. You owe the money, and that means you have a legal and moral obligation to pay them. But you don’t have to put up with a collector’s lies and harassment!
Dave Ramsey is a seven-time #1 national best-selling author, personal finance expert, and host of The Ramsey Show, heard by more than 16 million listeners each week. He has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Today Show, Fox News, CNN, Fox Business, and many more. Since 1992, Dave has helped people regain control of their money, build wealth and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO for Ramsey Solutions.