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Ramsey column: Simple steps can protect you

Dave Ramsey
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St. James Plaindealer

Dear Dave,

With COVID-19 and all the resulting economic problems, do you have any advice for what a young person can do to prepare for the future?

Kyle

Dear Kyle,

Regardless of the coronavirus or any economic situation that might arise, there are always a few smart, simple things people can do to protect themselves financially. The number one thing is to live on a written, monthly budget. When you give every dollar a name, and write it down on paper, you’re telling your money what to do, instead of scratching your head and wondering where it went.

Staying out of debt and saving as much money as possible are two other great ideas. Remember, your income is your biggest wealth-building tool. If you’re saddled with a bunch of debt, your money goes to creditors - not into your pocket. Saving prepares you for the future and all the unexpected things, both good and bad, life will throw at you.

Even though you’re young, investing is a key component in creating a stable financial outlook for yourself. In your 20s, just $100 a month invested properly in good growth stock mutual funds can make you a millionaire by the time you’re ready to retire.

Like I said, these are all simple things. But they’ll make a huge difference in your financial situation now and in the years to come!

Dave

Pay that thing off!

Dear Dave,

My only debt right now is a car payment. I still owe $12,000 on the vehicle, and I currently have $25,000 in savings. I’m in a very stable line of work, but my income can vary somewhat from month to month. Should I hang on to my savings, or pay off the car?

Erik

Dear Erik,

Debt is a bad thing to have in your life, especially when your income can vary from paycheck to paycheck. You’re in good shape, except for the car note, though. It’s like a ball and chain around your neck.

You’d still have $13,000 left if you paid off the car. And with the money you’d free up, you could rebuild your savings in no time. Pay off the car, dude!

Dave

Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books, including "The Total Money Makeover." "The Dave Ramsey Show" is heard by more than 14 million listeners each week on 600 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web atdaveramsey.com and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.