My husband and I are debt-free except for our home, and we have about $100,000 in savings. Recently, one of our daughters was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. We're worried about this, and the fact that she and her sister are both teenage drivers. Do you think we should drop full coverage, and have just liability, since we'll probably have lots of medical bills over the next few years?
I'm really sorry to hear about your daughter's medical situation. But speaking from a financial perspective, you guys are in pretty good shape to handle things. You have a pile of cash in savings, I assume you have some kind of medical insurance and you're debt-free.
Under the circumstances, I get where you're coming from and the idea of having even more money available to put toward medical issues. In your case, however, there's no way I'm going to have only liability coverage when there are two teenage drivers in the house. There's a reason insurance rates are so high for teens. It's called statistical analysis of their driving ability. They're not good drivers!
I haven't had a wreck in over 20 years, but I've had some kids who did. No, I wouldn't drop the coverage. Hopefully, your daughter will be okay. But I wouldn't take a chance on having to write a check for another car on top of medical expenses.
I receive child support payments for my two kids from my ex-husband. My new husband and I are using your plan to improve out finances, but we can't agree on how to handle these payments. I've been keeping it in a separate account. He thinks we should combine it with the rest of our house money and budget. What do you think is best?
I don't blame you for being protective of the child support money. I'm sure the feelings you have stem from a desire to protect your kids. But if your new husband is a good guy, one who's kind, loving and willing to treat these kids like they're his very own, then my opinion is the money should go into the pile where it helps take care of the kids and family.
Your job as a parent is to be a blessing to your kids. That means feeding them, clothing them, educating them and giving them a good home. As long as these things are happening, and we're talking about a functional, loving marriage, then all the money should be combined and be part of the family. Put it right at the top of your monthly budget, along with all your other household income.
Money is important, and I'd expect you to make sure your kids and your cash are treated properly. But I'm talking about two responsible people being involved in a happy marriage, too. A healthy, loving relationship is one of the best gifts any couple can give to their kids.
* Dave Ramsey is America's trusted voice on money and business. He has authored five New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover, EntreLeadership and Smart Money Smart Kids. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 8 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.