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Personal Finance

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Balancing Work and Family

By Dave Ramsey
Author, The Total Money Makeover – These days it pays to be smart about money. That's why it's important to take this wise counsel from financial expert Dave Ramsey.

Missing out

Dear Dave,

I’ve only got a high school education, and I’m stuck in a dead-end job. I’ve always been a hard worker, so the 70-hour weeks don’t bother me. However, I do miss getting to spend time with my kids. I feel like I’m missing out on their lives. Do you have any advice on how to change my situation?

– Scott

Dear Scott,

I think you’ve already solved a lot of the problem by realizing that you’re like a mouse stuck in a wheel. You know you’re not getting anywhere, and you’re ready for things to change. Identifying the problem is a huge step in solving the problem.

Now, mechanically and logistically, how do you make the change when you’re handcuffed to a job that works you 70 hours a week? You’ve got a family to feed, so you can’t just quit your job. But you can talk to your boss, and see if the company will back down on your hours a little bit. Let them know what’s happening with your family, and that you’d like to take some classes and improve yourself and your value in the workplace.

But before you do any of that, you’ve got to have a definite direction in mind. The idea of making more money and working less isn’t the answer. You need an in-depth, detailed game plan for where you want to be in the next three to five years and how to get there. It may involve going back to school for some classes, or even getting a full-blown degree. If you identify your long-term goal in detail, it will lead you to some of the short-term goals that will help you arrive at your final destination.

The best book I’ve ever read on this kind of thing is 48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller. He’s my all-time favorite career coach. He’ll lay out the steps to discovering what it is you really love to do and how to get there.

God bless you, Scott!


What’s included?

Dear Dave,

I’ve heard you say that your mortgage payment shouldn’t be more than 25 percent of your take-home pay. Does this figure include taxes and insurance, or just principal and interest?

– Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

That figure includes taxes and insurance. Just remember, the whole idea is to make sure your house payment is manageable. You don’t want to have so much money going toward your mortgage every month that you can’t enjoy life or take care of your other financial responsibilities.

I figured out a long time ago that I’ve got more money when I don’t have debt. It’s a pretty simple formula, isn’t it? If you want to build wealth, you have to get out of the payment business. I don’t beat people up for getting a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage, but you don’t want all of your income going toward your house payment, either. If half of what you make every month goes straight to the bank, you’ll have less money for other stuff. Plus, after a while that great house will stop looking so great. It’ll be a chain around your neck instead of a place you love to call home.

Don’t try to figure out how much debt you can get into. Instead, figure out how much debt you can get out of!



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Dave SaysDave Ramsey is a nationally-syndicated radio talk show host and author of the New York Times bestselling books, Financial Peace Revisited and The Total Money Makeover. His life-changing advice in the area of personal finance helps people get out of debt, stay out of debt and build wealth that will last a lifetime and beyond.

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