So Close To the Goal

Jeremy has saved $70,000 this year and has $80,000 in the bank with another $15,000 in an emergency fund. He and his wife wanted to buy a home with cash. They have a year to go, and his wife is ready to buy.

QUESTION: Jeremy in Texas started a business two years ago. He’s been able to save $70,000 just this year and has $80,000 in the bank with another $15,000 in an emergency fund. He and his wife wanted to save $140,000 to buy a home with cash. They have a year to go, and his wife is ready to buy. Dave tells Jeremy what he would do if he were in Jeremy’s shoes.

ANSWER: I think there are a couple of issues here. The first is that you’re very close to being able to just write a check and buy the house. What we’re arguing about is a few months. You need to sit down and look at how many months you’re arguing about and lay that out.

Is it 18 months or eight months or four months until you hit this mark? Tell her that you made a deal and you guys set a goal in place, and nothing has really changed. There’s no new information other than you are just supposed to respond because she stuck her lip out. That’s not how you’re going to play this. You are two adults. You are not her father, you’re her husband. She’s not your daughter, she is your wife. These two adults have made a deal here and set a goal.

Now, if new information is on the table that was not there when the goal was agreed to, then we’ve got something to talk about. If you had an extra child that you didn’t have before, or there was a crime in the house two doors down, that’s new information. Then I would say there’s something to talk about. That’s one big issue on the table.

The second thing is, what would Dave Ramsey do? Dave and Sharon would save up the money and pay for it. We wouldn’t budge because we don’t borrow money. On this radio show, you’ve probably heard me say a hundred times that I don’t yell at someone for taking out a small mortgage that they pay off very quickly. You may start with the idea of a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage or less. You could certainly take out a very small mortgage and pay it off in a year.

What she is proposing is not that big a deal. On this call, you’re really arguing about four or five months. If you are renting and the lease isn’t up until February, you have to pay until February. You can’t just walk off from the lease. Start talking in February about how close you are. It’s not like you’re asking her to wait two years.

I think you need to sit down with her. She’s just getting impatient and tired of the little rental house. My wife, Sharon, was the same way. We lived in a rental house for two years after we went broke, and she hated it. It wasn’t a little house, but it was old and some things needed to be updated on it. It was a nice place, but we were just in a bad mood. She hated that house.

We had this exact conversation about 15 years ago. The trick is to know what the actual time is that we’re talking about. You can’t walk away from this lease; you’re there until February. With the numbers you’re giving me, you’ll be able to pay cash for something then, or so close to then that it’s not that big a deal.

I’d say to wait and pay cash because I do not borrow money. I’m not telling you that you can’t do that, I just want to be consistent with what I live and what I say. I think it’s all right to talk to her and say that you made a deal here. Ask if there’s something you are missing that has changed in our deal.

Maybe there is something you don’t know about that is really bothering her. You need to be careful that you are playing by these same rules and you’re doing everything you can to get this goal hit. This was the game plan you all laid out, and I think you should stick with it. But you need to hear her in the process of sticking with it, not just put your foot down and say you’re not going to budge.

There needs to be a discussion about the not budging, and how and why this process is like this. It’s not an unreasonable thing what you are proposing here.