Dear Dave,

My husband and I are both teachers, and we’re on Baby Step 7. We’re struggling with things where our wills are concerned.

Three of our four adult children aren’t being wise with their money, and my husband and I disagree on how to talk to them about it and how it may affect us re-structuring our wills.

We don’t want to be judgmental, but at the same time we agree something needs to be said or done.



Dear Danielle,

Let’s say someone is working at my company, and taking my money in the form of a paycheck. Let’s also say this person isn’t doing a good job.

If I don’t talk to them about their performance because I don’t want to be seen as judgmental, I’m not doing my job. I owe them the feedback necessary for them to become a good team member.

Otherwise, they could just get fired one day without really knowing what happened because I refused to “judge” them.

You’re supposed to judge people. The idea that you’re not supposed to is ridiculous. But you don’t have to be a jerk about it.

There’s a big difference between judging people and being judgmental. But it’s unkind not to share insights or suggestions for a better way of life with those you love most.

Holding back and telling yourself the way someone behaves is just the way they’re made is wrong in most instances. Overspending and not saving money aren’t character traits — they’re decisions.

They’re adults now, and they’re going to do what they want. They don’t have to understand or support your ways of handling money.

But you and your husband have every right to tell them they have to start behaving in certain ways if they expect to receive your money when the time comes.

If they’re misbehaving, and you give them money, you’re funding that bad behavior. That’s not love, that’s enabling.

And a big pile of money isn’t going to heal the bad things — it’s only going to magnify them.

Sit down with your kids, and have a loving, clear discussion about the situation. Remind them that they’re adults, and you and your husband are no longer able to tell them how they have to live.

But let them know in no uncertain terms, gently but firmly, they will not receive your money if they continue to behave in ways you both consider foolish or unreasonable.

Let them know they’ll always have your love, just not your money, unless they begin behaving more intelligently and maturely with their finances.

You can’t make them do anything, Danielle. But you can ensure they understand you two won’t be sharing your wealth with people who can’t handle it and use it wisely.—Dave



Dear Dave,

My wife and I are in our late 20s, and we’re on Baby Step 6.

Recently, my mom reached out to me for help. She has a car lease that ends next month, and she asked to borrow $2,000 so she can pay it off.

It’s a weird situation, because my parents keep separate accounts and don’t combine their finances.

My mom also asked me not to tell my wife about all this. What’s your advice?—Daniel


Dear Daniel,

I don’t do anything I can’t tell my wife about — ever.

If I’m in a meeting, and someone tells me what’s said in that room has to stay in that room, that I can’t talk to anyone else about it under any circumstances, I’ll get up and leave.

In my mind, keeping things from my wife is against the law.

Your mom is out of control to even think about asking you to do this, and you need to have a serious talk with her.

Let her know you love her, but she has no right to ask this of you, and it’s not something you’d do. Let her know, too, that she’s never to ask for anything like this again.

If she needs $2,000, she should be talking to her husband about the idea. They should be living with combined finances anyway. So, it sounds like they’ve got issues to straighten out between themselves.

It’s time folks started laying their cards on the table and stopped sneaking around. That’s no way for a husband and wife to live, and your mom has no business trying to drag you into all of it behind everyone’s back!—Dave



Dear Dave,

I’m on Baby Step 2. I’ve paid off almost all my debt, and I’m living on a monthly budget.

Recently, I got a call from a debt collection company about an old medical bill. They threatened to garnish my wages and, from the way they talked, I’m afraid they may actually do it.

How should I handle this situation?


Dear Gwen,

First of all, they won’t garnish your wages. They can’t. For that to happen, they would have to go through all the formal, legal steps of suing you, and then they’d have to win the case.

Debt collectors like to play with people’s emotions because, many times, folks will give in and do whatever they want — whether they can afford it or not.

The worst thing you can do in these situations is react with panic or fear. Talk to them calmly and rationally, and explain your financial situation.

You may be able to reach a compromise that works for both of you.

If they get nasty, or continue to lie to you, let them know you’ll file a complaint with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission).

Pushy debt collectors have a habit of getting polite and reasonable in a hurry when faced with the possibility of the federal government stepping in.

Do everything you reasonably can to pay your debts, Gwen. You owe the money, and that means you have a legal and moral obligation to pay them.

But you don’t have to put up with a collector’s lies and harassment!



DAVE RAMSEY has written seven best-selling books. Since 1992, he has helped people regain control of their money, build wealth and enhance their lives. More than 18 million radio listeners hear him each week. Follow him at daveramsey.com.

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