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Ask Dave

Giving The Newlyweds Their Baby Emergency Fund

Shione says her brother-in-law is getting married. Shione and her husband want to give them $1,000 as a wedding gift. However, they aren't sure how to give it to them.

QUESTION: Shione in Dallas says her brother-in-law is going back to school in the fall, and his new wife will be working. Shione and her husband want to give them $1,000 to help them start out as a wedding gift. However, they aren’t sure how to give it to them. Dave offers an idea or two to help.

ANSWER: If you just give a newly married couple $1,000, you know what they’re going to do. They’re going to spend that. You might have a dinner or coffee with them and say, “This is the biggest wedding gift we’ve ever given. You guys are really special to us. We’re going to give you Financial Peace University to go through because it made a big difference in our lives. One of the things we learned in there is how important it is to have a rainy day fund—an emergency fund. A starter emergency fund is $1,000.” Just teach them a little bit of what you’ve learned over coffee. “We’re giving you this gift. Now, you can go waste it, but our strong suggestion with love is for you to set it aside and pretend like you don’t have it unless some big emergency comes up. As you go through the class, you’re going to see how important that is.”

Really give a good strong explanation with the gift so that it goes to what you want it to go to, at least potentially. If you don’t think there’s any chance of them behaving, then you may have to rethink this. Since it’s going to be a huge gift, I don’t mind making a big to-do out of the giving of it. Count out 10 $100 bills. Make it kind of dramatic.