Dave Says

Should couples wait until they are debt-free to have children?

Dave Ramsey

Dear Dave,

My husband and I are both 29, and we have good jobs that allow us to bring home $100,000 a year combined. Recently, we began talking about starting a family. We live on a budget, but we still have about $15,000 in credit card debt and student loans we’re working hard to pay off. Do you think couples should wait until they are debt-free to have children?

Missy

Dear Missy,

You and your husband are chipping away at your debt, and that’s a good thing. It sounds like you two are determined to get it paid off and take control of your finances. You’re also making pretty good money, so keep up the good work!

OK, so the truth is kids can be expensive. From medical costs and diapers, to childcare and beyond, it costs money to raise a family. But here’s the thing: If you let money alone, or the perfect financial situation, determine whether you have kids or not, you may never have them. Now, would it be easier from a financial standpoint only to wait on having kids until you’re debt-free and there’s a huge pile of cash in the bank? Sure, it would. But children are worth more than any amount of money. If you love each other and want to be parents, and you’re mature adults in every other area, don’t let this debt stop you. 

A child isn’t going to derail your journey to financial peace. Having kids might cause you to press pause for a while on some financial matters, or slow your pace a little bit, but as long as you both stay focused and determined to manage your money wisely, chances are things will work out fine.

Just don’t make the mistake lots of parents do – especially first-time parents. Many of them think they have to run out and buy a new, “safer” car, spend a fortune on a fancy crib, or buy all things baby from some overpriced boutique. Do you get what I’m saying, Missy? Why buy a brand-new, $400 stroller, when a friend or relative has a perfectly good, barely used one they’re willing to give you?

It’s easy to get carried away spending for a baby. But children will be just fine as long as they have food, clothing, shelter – and most importantly – loving, caring parents. God bless you two!

Dave

How to win with money after graduation

by Anthony ONeal

 Heading into the workforce after college and living on your own is hard enough without a global crisis messing with the job market. But listen, you can make a steady income and win with your money if you make a few smart moves starting right now.

Here are my top tips for staying in control of your money, and getting ahead in an unstable job market after graduation:

1. Budget

If you’re going to be making any kind of income, you need to be able to plan out how you’ll use every single dollar of it. And you can do that by making (and sticking to) a zero-based budget where your income minus your expenses equals zero.

2. Live below your means

That just means living on less money than you make, so you have some margin for saving. Don’t rent a big, fancy apartment when you could save a ton by getting a simple one-bedroom. Don’t drive a new Lexus when you can get by just fine with a used Honda. Get the picture?

3. Have an emergency fund

This is key, especially these days, when circumstances can change at any time. You need to have some cash stored away for the stuff that always seems to happen when you’re trying to get on your feet. Start by saving a $1,000 emergency fund. Then, once you’re out of debt, save three to six months of expenses in a fully-funded emergency fund.

4. Look for jobs you wouldn’t normally take 

Keep in mind you may have to make some sacrifices and work somewhere that wouldn’t be your “ideal” job until you can find something else. A few places really needing employees right now are restaurant/delivery services, cleaning services, factories and (weirdly enough) airlines. And of course, continue looking for your dream job on websites like Glassdoor, Indeed, FlexJobs, and LinkedIn.

5. Talk to your former teachers

If you had a good relationship with your teachers, think about reaching out to them. They might be able to connect you with people in your field who are currently hiring. Plus, they’ll probably like hearing from you).

6. Get a side hustle

If one stream of income isn’t enough, try virtual or in-person tutoring, nannying, dog walking, selling stuff on eBay, freelance writing, managing social media accounts for small businesses, or driving for Lyft or Uber—anything that helps you bring in extra cash. I know it’s hard to think about surviving after graduation when things still seem crazy. But if you’ll just be wise about your work and your money, I promise you’ll be more than okay—you’ll be crushing it!

For more tips on stacking your cash, dumping student loan debt, and earning extra income, check out this article.

Dave Ramsey

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.

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