Dear Dave: Why do I need a will if I’m still young and haven’t acquired a lot of wealth? — Laura

Dear Laura: In a case like yours, you don’t need a complicated will. But you do need an inexpensive, basic will. The larger and more complicated your estate is, the more you’d spend on estate planning and a will in order to ensure everything is properly addressed—and to keep the government’s hands off everything.

Let’s say you’re in your early- to mid-twenties and single. You have a car and a bank account, and that’s it. In this kind of scenario, it’s going to be easy to work through your estate. But it’s going to take your parents—or whoever’s left—a whole lot longer to get those few simple transactions taken care of if you don’t have a will in place.

The other thing you’ll always want to have in your will package is a healthcare power of attorney directive. This includes things like who’s going to make medical decisions for you if you’re unable to make decisions for yourself. As a part of this, you’d want to fill out the paperwork on whether to disconnect life support systems in the event of a coma. These things aren’t fun to think about, but doing it will take a huge burden off the people you love. And all this becomes even more important if you have children, because the state will step in and decide what happens to them if you don’t.

Having these things laid out ahead of time, and sharing them with your family and close friends, is a very thoughtful and mature thing to do for those who would be left behind in the event of your death. They’re already going to be distraught and grieving, and you don’t want to make it worse by leaving them with a lot of important, difficult decisions to make. — Dave

Dear Dave: My wife and I are on Baby Step 2, and the only debt we have is $90,000 in student loans. We bring home about $90,000 a year. In addition to this, we have almost $60,000 in equity in our home. We also have a toddler, plus another baby on the way. Do you think we should sell the house, and rent for a few years, while using the money from the sale of the house to pay down our student loan debt? — Chris

Dear Chris: No, I wouldn’t sell your home in this situation. You’re going to be out of debt in a couple of years or so, anyway. You’ll just have to lean into it, and make sure you’re living on a strict, written budget. I’m talking about no vacations, and no eating out. You shouldn’t see the inside of a restaurant unless you’re working there. And the new kid’s crib may have to come from a garage sale, but so what? Mine did, too. Want to know something else? I survived without having a rich kid’s nursery, and so did my kids.

There’s a price to be paid anytime you decide to get serious about gaining control of your money and cleaning up a financial mess you’ve made. You’re going to have to work like maniacs and have no lives for a while. That might even mean picking up a part-time job at night or on weekends. You’ve got a tough couple of years ahead of you, but I think it’s worth the tradeoff.

Keep your house. — Dave

Dear Dave: I’ve got about $3,000 in credit card debt. Would it be a good idea to transfer the balance from my credit card to another one that has a much lower interest rate? — Tammi

Dear Tammi: Lots of people who find themselves in your shoes make the switch to low-interest rate credit cards. A lower interest rate will help you save a little money in the short-term, but the drawback is it can also make you feel like you’ve addressed your problem with debt when you really haven’t. You’ve got to change the behavior and the mindset that put you in that situation in the first place. Besides, most low-interest, or no-interest, credit card offers are only good for a short period of time. There’s always a catch!

I discovered long ago that personal finance is only about 20 percent head knowledge and 80 percent behavior. Emotion is a key element to getting out of debt and staying out of debt. You’ve got to get really mad at debt, the impact it has on your financial life, and attack it with a vengeance. Think about how many times debt has been a negative influence on your life. My guess is there were many occasions in the past when you could have done great stuff—I’m talking about meaningful, important things — if you hadn’t had to send a bunch of money to those bozos at the credit card company every month. I want you to really think about it.

How about this? First, cut up your credit card and close the account. Then, sell some stuff and take a part-time job nights or weekends for just a little while. You could wipe out all your debt in less than a year by doing that and starting to live on a strict, written, monthly budget.

If you don’t get mad about it and take a stand against debt, and become determined you’re never going to fall into that trap again, you’re liable to find yourself back in the same situation or worse! — Dave

Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books, including The Total Money Makeover. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 14 million listeners each week on 585 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at daveramsey.com and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.

Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books, including The Total Money Makeover. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 14 million listeners each week on 585 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at daveramsey.com and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.

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