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May 24, 2013

Dave Ramsey: Move or set family boundaries?

NEW CASTLE — Dear Dave: I live outside Houston with my wife and our 9-month-old daughter. I’ve received a job offer from a company on the other side of the city that would pay, with bonuses, $25,000 a year more than I’m currently making. This would require moving to a new house and away from our extended family.

My wife wants to move because my mom can be a little overbearing. I understand how she feels, but I’m not certain I want to move or take a new job. What’s your advice? — David

Dear David: I’m not so sure this is a job change question as much as it is about the state of your relationships. I know it’s hard to keep the grandparents away when there’s a baby in the house; that kind of goes with the territory. But I can also understand how lots of unexpected visits and unsolicited advice can wear on a person.

If it were me, I wouldn’t change jobs just to run from something. My advice is to try setting boundaries in your relationships with your parents instead of installing geographical boundaries. You might want to pick up a copy of Dr. Henry Cloud’s great book “Boundaries.” Remember, your mom may not realize she’s intruding on your lives. This book is full of insight, and it will give you both some good advice on how to manage relationships in a healthy, loving way.

Like I said, I really don’t feel this is a job-move issue. I think you guys just need to establish some fair and reasonable emotional distance between yourselves and your family. — Dave

Dear Dave: My husband and I are debt-free except for our mortgage, and we make $65,000 a year. At this point, we have only $17,000 left to pay on the house. We haven’t fully gotten into all the retirement planning you say should come before paying off your home. But with so little left on the house, should we attack this last bit of debt and pay it off as soon as possible? We can have it done in five or six months. — Nancy

Dear Nancy: I don’t see anything wrong with going ahead and knocking out the house, especially if you’re that close to making it happen. Normally, the people I talk to still have $100,000 to $200,000 left on their mortgages. This is a little bit different story.

Usually, I’m pretty hardcore about sticking with the proper order while doing the Baby Steps. Even in my book The Total Money Makeover, I didn’t leave room for people to go ahead and pay off a tiny, little mortgage ahead of investing for retirement. But in this situation, I think that’s exactly what I’d do.

Think about it, Nancy. You could be completely debt-free by year’s end, and you’re still underway with retirement planning. What a great Christmas gift for you and your husband to give each other.

— Dave

 

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