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Dave Says

By Dave Ramsey
Author, The Total Money Makeover – Finanacial Guru Dave Ramsey answers questions about wise financial decision-making.

Pray outstanding debts of parents’ estate?

Dear Dave,
My parents have never really handled money well and they aren’t prepared for their passing. They’re both getting up in years, so traditional insurance isn’t really an option. They also have a lot of debt. When they die, who will be liable for all that debt?

Dear Tom,
Any outstanding debt that your parents have upon passing will go against their estate. If necessary, their house may be sold by the executor in order to pay the debt.
If they have a positive net worth – meaning they owned more than they owe – there will be money left over after the debts are paid and you’ll have an inheritance. If not – if they have a negative net worth – everything could be sold off to cover as much of the debt as possible. In any case, you will not be held liable for the remaining debt.
There is also the concern as to where money is coming from to cover their burial expenses. I’d suggest getting their permission to let you buy a burial policy on them. If they won’t agree to this, you may have to just save up the money yourself. In most states, about $10,000 - $15,000 is enough to cover burial expenses for two people.
It’s a tough situation, Tom. But at least now you’ve got some options.

(husband and wife think differently … call it quits?)

Dear Dave,
We have three kids and are under a mountain of debt. I keep talking to my husband about the problem, but he brushes it aside and keeps on spending whenever he likes. It’s almost like he gets high when he’s buying something. I try to budget and we get by, but I’m scared. I was wondering when it’s time to call it quits in a situation like this.

Dear Ellen,
I Don’t think it’s time to end the marriage, unless he’s some kind of addict and the family is literally being destroyed by his obsessive-compulsive shopping. What you’ve got here is a spender who is immature.

You’re right about one thing: spenders DO get an emotional high when they make a purchase. This is registered physically as well as mentally. Their skin temperature changes, their pupils dilate and endorphins are released in the brain. In other words, they get excited.

Maybe the idea is to get him excited about other things. Ask him to sit down with you when it’s time to do the next budget, and show him on paper how his spending is affecting your financial future. Spenders are often so into the next toy or gadget that grabs their attention that they don’t realize how it all adds up. It’s like death by a thousand cuts!
Lay it out in front of him, and explain what it’s doing to your finances AND your marriage. Let him know you’re afraid, too, and how this overspending keeps you two from being able to do other things that are really important AND really fun.

“Stuffitis” is not an incurable disease. Most of the time it just takes a little education and growing up to get past it all.
- Dave

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