Dave Ramsey

Dear Dave,

In your plan, you talk about Baby Step 3 as saving enough to have three to six months of expenses in your emergency fund. My husband and I were wondering how you can determine whether you need to be on the low end or high end of that range?

Amanda

Dear Amanda,

Lots of times in a marriage you’ll have a situation where one person wants to save more, while the other is excited to move on toward investing. Technically, neither is wrong. So, the emergency fund really deals with someone’s own personal level of peace. Remember Murphy’s Law, and how it says that says if something can go wrong it will go wrong? Your emergency fund is Murphy Repellant. Some people just want to make sure he doesn’t knock on the door, while others make sure he stays in the next county!

There are always practical considerations you can use to determine the amount of your emergency fund. If you both have very stable jobs, you’ll probably be okay saving up three or four months of expenses. But if just one of you works outside the home, or if one is self-employed or on commission, leaning toward the six month side is probably a good idea.

Of course, you can always compromise. Start out with three months, but add a little every once in a while until you reach a point where you’re both comfortable.

—Dave

Dear Dave,

We’ll be completely out of debt in September and looking to buy a home in the next year or two. We’re thinking of buying a repo home. Do you have any suggestions on where to find these?

Levi

Dear Levi,

One way is to buy the home from the owners before the sale happens. It’s better for them because they realize some money and it stops the foreclosure. It’s better for you, too, because you won’t find yourself in a bidding war later on the courthouse steps!

You can also find listing in your local newspaper under the legal notices section, and if you live in a metropolitan area it’s not hard to find a legal newspaper that lists incorporations, real estate transactions and foreclosures.

—Dave

Dear Dave,

I’ve never heard you discuss at what point it’s advisable to let someone else make and manage your investments. Also, is there a point at which it’s good to go with a fee-only financial planner?

Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,


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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