Can’t Afford Student Loans

Q: I have a lot of student loan debt, and I can’t afford the payments right now. Should I send them what I can, even if it’s not the minimum payment, or should I not send anything at all? A: They’re not going to stop bothering you no matter ...

Dave Says: Using Their Emergency Fund

Q: My wife and I are working the Baby Steps, and we have our budget in place. Sometimes the budget gets busted because of home improvements and various other things. I think we should take money from our emergency fund when this happens, but she ...

Dave Says: Brother’s Bad Deal

Q: My husband and I hired my brother as our real estate agent. He’s just starting out in the business and working two jobs, but it’s been five or six months and he hasn’t helped us find a house. On top of this, we signed an exclusive buyer’s ...

Dave Says: A Tricky Joint Account

I’m getting married soon, and we plan to open a joint account. Keeping a register accurately will be difficult because I travel two weeks out of every month. Do you have any suggestions for keeping track of things, or should we just rely on ...

Draining the Emergency Fund

Is there ever a time you should dip into emergency fund savings in order to pay off your home early? Eric Dear Eric, The only time I would advise this is when your emergency fund is too big, and you have a very small amount left to pay on the ...

Dave Says: Make Decisions Together

My husband doesn’t like dealing with money. For years, I’ve handled everything from paying the bills to making the decisions, and he just does whatever I tell him. This makes things really hard on me, but he says financial issues cause him ...

Dave Says: Paying for Career Change Classes

My wife and I have our fully funded emergency fund in place, and we’re debt-free, except for the house. She wants to return to school to get a master’s degree and change careers. She’ll be reimbursed up to $7,000 a year. Can we use some of our ...

Dave Says: Why Not to Cash Out

Is it a good idea for a married couple in their early thirties, who have a lot of student loan debt, to cash out one of their 401(k)s to pay it off? Marcy Dear Marcy, No way! You never cash out a 401(k) or IRA to pay off debt, unless it’s to ...