Don’t make financial promises you can’t keep

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  • Debt burden: promising to spend money on someone else when you're heavily in debt is not smart

    Debt burden: promising to spend money on someone else when you're heavily in debt is not smart


Dear Dave,

My husband and I are just starting Baby Step one of your plan. Prior to this, we told my two nephews we would buy them laptop computers for college. They donít get a lot of encouragement or support from their immediate family, so we try to help them when we can. Should we go ahead and honour this commitment, postpone getting our starter emergency fund in place, and possibly take on a little more debt, or bow out of the agreement?

ó Lisa

Dear Lisa,

Well, itís difficult to be generous when youíre broke. You donít even have $1,000 to your names, and youíre going to buy two laptops? I donít know how much debt you have, or what your household income is, but I do know neither of you have managed your money very well in the past.

If you make $50,000 a year, and you have $70,000 in debt, you should sincerely and apologetically bow out. Explain that you made a big mistake, and just be honest about why you canít provide the laptops. If you make $200,000 a year, but youíve just been incredibly silly and lazy with your money, you should buy the laptops and then get serious about growing up and getting control of your finances.

Donít make promises, financial or otherwise, you canít keep. I know this is a tough, embarrassing situation, but itís what I would do if I were in your shoes.

ó Dave

ē 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 daveramsey.com and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey

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Published Apr 21, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Apr 20, 2018 at 10:25 pm)

Don’t make financial promises you can’t keep

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