Iím 19 years old, and Iím putting myself through college debt-free. I usually work part time during the semesters, but right now Iím working full time. I have about $2,000 in mutual funds, and I was wondering if I should add my full-time work income to that or save it all to help pay for school.
Wow! Great job, man! I appreciate that youíre looking toward the future with your investment, but right now I want you to invest in you. I want you to make sure, first and foremost, that you graduate college debt-free. So, if Iím in your shoes, Iím piling up the cash to pay for school.
Youíre in a season of your life where things are more hectic than you probably ever dreamed they could be. My advice is to keep that money liquid. Keep it available and on hand, and donít tie it up in mutual funds at the moment. Youíll have plenty of time to continue investing once you graduate.
Itís best for you to concentrate on finishing school, then landing a job and finding a place to live after college. Even if you end up living in the same place for a while, starting life in the real world takes money, so letís make sure you can make that happen. In other words, Chandler, as long as you do something with your education and that education is in an area thatís useable, you are a better investment than mutual funds right now!
A free ride?
My son is going off to college soon, but heís never had a job. His uncle has offered him a really nice, low-mileage, used car for $3,000. My husband doesnít want us to give him money for the car, but I think this deal is just too good to pass up. What do you think?
Unless thereís some sort of disability thatís prevented your son from working part time over the last few years, Iíve got to agree with your husband on this. Your son needs a car, but he also needs to get off his butt and work for it. If you get this car for him, youíre just teaching him that mommy and uncle will take care of everything. Thatís not a good lesson for any child to learn, and itís an especially bad thing for a teenager.
When you and your husband first started out in life, Iím guessing you didnít start out rich. Am I right? Itís not really the car deal thatís the problem here; itís the lesson that will be learned. At his age, itís silly for him not to want to work for a car, and you and your husband need to be up in his face about that. Then, if he chooses not to work for a car, he can walk. He shouldnít be rewarded for showing no desire to go earn things and make stuff happen.
When my son was around that age and wanting a car, he was working his tail off around my office packing boxes and painting stairwells. Thatís how you learn about the benefits of hard work. If you donít teach your son how to work now, heíll be living with you when heís 30 years old and doing exactly what heís doing now Ė which is nothing.
This automobile deal is a bad deal, because it doesnít teach your son to work for it.
ó Dave Ramsey is Americaís trusted voice on money and business, and CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 11 million listeners each week on more than 550 radio stations and digital outlets. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.
Dave Ramsey: Invest in yourself to graduate college debt-free