Dave Ramsey

Is consolidation a smart move?

Dear Dave,

I’ve got my beginner’s emergency fund in place, and I’m close to wiping out my consumer loan debt. I still have about $32,000 in debt from six different government-insured student loans, but they’re in deferment at the moment. I was wondering if I should try to consolidate them. --Jason

Dear Jason,

Well, you get to consolidate these one time. After that, you’re stuck. So, you’ll want to make sure that the net interest rate you get through consolidation is lower than your current rate. Also, make sure the interest rate is fixed. You don’t want to jump through hoops to make this deal happen, and end up with an interest rate that’s equal to or higher than the one you had before!

Student loans are the only things I’ll tell people to consolidate. They’re a little different animal than ongoing loans and other kinds of credit. Chances are you’re not addicted to going to class, so you probably won’t go out and ring up more student loans after you’ve finished your education and paid off these things.

Just maintain that gazelle intensity, keep working hard to get out of debt, and pay these things off early. Remember, too, that in lots of cases consolidating student loans will move them out of deferral. There’s a good chance you’ll have to start making payments right away! --Dave

Areas of Success for Marriages

Dear Dave,

What are the areas do you think couples should be in agreement on before marriage? --Tommy

Dear Tommy,

We’ve worked with several marriage counselors and thousands of couples over the years, and in the process we’ve learned that fights over money and the resulting problems are probably the biggest cause of divorce in North America. That’s why I believe detailed, in-depth pre-marital counseling is an absolute must. I’m not talking about one meeting, a high-five with the preacher as you walk out the door, and everything’s cool. You wouldn’t undertake an important work project or try to run a marathon without adequate preparation, right? So why on earth would you promise yourself to someone else, and enter what is supposed to be a life-long commitment without preparing yourselves?

Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey is a personal money management expert, popular national radio personality and the author of three New York Times bestsellers.
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