Be a wise giver, not an impulsive one

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  • Doing it right: by all means give to a worthy cause, but do so in a balanced way, taking care of your own needs so you donít destroy your ability to save and do other important things

    Doing it right: by all means give to a worthy cause, but do so in a balanced way, taking care of your own needs so you donít destroy your ability to save and do other important things

Dear Dave,

Our son is 13, and he wants to give half the money he received for his birthday to the nursery at our church. They need new baby toys and things like that. Should we let him give that much, or should we tell him that maybe 25 per cent is enough?


Dear Kyle,

I hope youíre proud of this kid. Heís a got a good heart, and itís probably a reflection of the way his mom and dad are raising him. I like this a lot.

I would very gently, and without any commanding or control verbiage, use some examples from the Bible when talking to him. There are several things to be learnt about money from Scripture, and the concepts of generosity and giving are in there. Thereís also a verse that says we need to take care of our own households first. Another one says in the house of the wise are stores of food and oil.

We need to do all of these things with money ó in balance. Thoughtfully and prayerfully decide what your giving amount will be, so that you donít destroy your ability to save and do other important things. Talk to him about these concepts, then ask him to wait two or three days and think about his decision.

If he comes back and says he still wants to give half of it, I would encourage him to do so. But slow things down a little, and make sure this isnít a kneejerk reaction. You need to be a wise giver, not an impulsive giver!


Dear Dave,

My husband and I are currently in Baby Step 2, and paying off all our debt except for our home. A friend recently told us to pay off everything except for the credit card debt. She says we can then settle for a far less amount and not have so much money going out the door. This feels a little unethical to me. What are your thoughts?


Dear Jennifer,

Thereís a good reason this idea feels unethical to you ó it is unethical! Would a good friend, a smart friend, encourage you to do something as dishonourable as not pay a bill youíre morally and legally obligated to pay? I donít think so.

If youíre able to pay your bills, you pay your bills. Itís as simple as that. Now, if you honestly canít pay the bill, and you have to settle upon a mutually agreed upon amount with the creditor or collector, then itís okay at that point to try and reach a settlement.

Otherwise, itís a simple question of ethics. Pay the bill.


Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven bestselling books, including The Total Money Makeover. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 13 million listeners each week on 585 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey

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Published May 13, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated May 12, 2017 at 9:00 pm)

Be a wise giver, not an impulsive one

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