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Ask Dave

Keep Up Retirement While in Debt?

Is it all right to invest for retirement while you have debt?

QUESTION: Carrie and her husband have $30,000 in credit card debt, $13,000 in a home equity loan, and a $70,000 mortgage.  They stopped paying on the credit cards last year.  They bring home $50,000 a year and they have a 401k.  Should they keep funding their retirement while they have this debt?

ANSWER: Stop the 401k immediately and work your way through the Baby Steps.  Only invest in your 401k plan after you’ve finished paying all your debt except the house.