NEW CASTLE — Dear Dave: My husband and I have been through Financial Peace University. I’ve always been the numbers nerd, although he’s catching on and doing pretty well. He has a motorcycle he bought a few years ago before we got married, and still owes $7,000 on it. My common sense says we need to sell it, but he doesn’t want to, even though we haven’t been riding in over a year. What should I do? — Gina
Dear Gina: It sounds like he’s making progress, so we don’t want to ruin that. Here’s the question: if you win the bike battle, do you lose relationship war? In other words, if you force him to give up the motorcycle, will it damage the marriage and the progress he’s made toward getting out of debt and learning how to handle money?
If I were you, I’d first sit down with him and tell him how proud I am for the way he’s trying to improve the financial situation in your home. Then, I’d suggest that the motorcycle is a stumbling block to your shared financial goals. Ask him what he’d be willing to do to get the motorcycle paid off more quickly. Would he pick up a part-time job, or maybe sacrifice something else he’s spending money on?
But let him know the motorcycle isn’t really the issue. The issue is that you guys need a plan to get this $7,000 debt out of your life! — Dave
Dear Dave: I got divorced recently, and have custody of our children, who are 12 and 17. I’m lucky enough to be debt free, and I own the house we’re living in, which is worth about $350,000. I also have $160,000 in savings, and we receive $1,200 in child support every month. People are all telling me I should be investing, but each one tells me to do a different kind of investing. What do you suggest? — Mary