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Prioritise paying for children’s education over weddings

Dave Ramsey

Dear Dave,

My wife and I have three young daughters. Is there a Baby Step for weddings? We didn’t see one in your plan, but I was wondering if it was included in any of the other Baby Steps.

— Cedric

Dear Cedric,

This is a really good question. I’m glad you’re thinking about the future and planning accordingly.

I don’t have a specific Baby Step for weddings. If I did, it would probably come after Baby Step 5, which is setting aside a college fund — or trade school fund — for your kids. Maybe you could look at it as Baby Step 5b.

Once you have retirement, education savings and extra house payments underway, you could start putting aside a little something for weddings.

Don’t get me wrong, weddings are special. You absolutely should mark these kinds of milestones with a celebration. But a wedding is only a one-day event. And to be blunt, a good education is more important than a fancy wedding. This idea may not make me popular with some folks, but it’s the truth.

Maybe this is the dad in me coming out, but if I had to choose between paying for more education and paying for big weddings, I’m going to pay for school every time.

Besides, there’s no correlation whatsoever between the size and cost of a wedding, and the happiness and success of the marriage.

Good luck, Cedric!

— Dave


Dear Dave,

My husband and I are following your plan, and we’re on Baby Step 2. We just learned that the person who has done our taxes for the last three years made mistakes on all our returns. They were really nice and did our taxes for free, but now we owe back taxes in the amount of $18,000. Since we’re still paying off debt, the only savings we have is the $1,000 in our beginner emergency fund. Should we take out a personal loan to take care of this, or set up payments with the Internal Revenue Service?

— Laura

Dear Laura,

Take out a personal loan. Period.

Let this sink in for a minute. How often does Dave Ramsey tell people to borrow money? Almost never. Why am I doing it now, in this situation? Because the IRS is the worst creditor on the planet. They have almost unlimited power, which they use and abuse, and they have ridiculously high penalties and interest rates. With a personal loan from a local bank or credit union, you’ll at least have more input and flexibility in deciding the terms of the agreement.

Now, I don’t know about you, but if the person doing my taxes screwed things up to the tune of $18,000, I’d find someone else in a heartbeat. I understand you want to work with someone nice, and free is usually a great price. But in this case, free was not so free after all.

Just go to your local bank or credit union, explain the situation and see what you can work out. I always recommend small banks or credit unions over any of the mega banks. Places like Bank of America and Fifth Third just have no soul or empathy whatsoever. And the customer service at a credit union or small bank is a hundred times better than what you’ll find at a big bank. Sure, they’re still bankers, but there’s a human element in there. You’re not just a number to them like you are to the mega banks.

I hate debt, Laura, and I’m sorry you guys are in this situation. But 100% of the time, I’d rather have personal loan debt than IRS debt. In my mind, it’s the lesser of two evils.

— Dave

Dave Ramsey is an eight-times national bestselling author, personal finance expert and host of The Ramsey Show. He has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Today, Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and many more. Since 1992, Dave has helped people regain control of their money, build wealth, and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO of Ramsey Solutions

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Published May 11, 2024 at 7:58 am (Updated May 11, 2024 at 7:21 am)

Prioritise paying for children’s education over weddings

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