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Dave Ramsey is a personal money management expert, US national radio personality and author of the New York Times bestseller The Total Money Makeover. For more financial advice and a special offer to our readers, please visit or call 1-888-22-PEACE.

College kid clueless about inheritance

Dear Dave,

I’m 21 and currently in college. Next month I'll be receiving an inheritance of about $40,000. I don't know anything about stocks, mutual funds or CDs, but I don't want to lose all this money. I don't have any debt, so what should I do?

- Jessie

Dear Jessie,

I'm glad you're asking questions. One of the fastest ways to lose money is to put it into something when you don't know how the investment works. You don't need to change your major to finance to make this happen, but you do have a $40,000 responsibility that you didn't have before. For now, a simple savings account is fine. I'd park $30,000 in there and just forget about it for a while. Then use $5,000 to set up an emergency fund , and blow $5,000 on some things just for you. After all, spending and having fun with money is one of the things it's good for! But here's something to think about once you've educated yourself on investing, Jessie. If you put that remaining $30,000 in a good growth stock mutual fund, by the time you're ready to retire you'll be looking at about $10 million. Talk about being able to retire with dignity and change your family tree!

- Dave 

Finding homes in foreclosure

Dear Dave,

We'll be completely out of debt in September and looking to buy a home in the next year or two. We're thinking of buying a repo home. Do you have any suggestions on where to find these?


Dear Levi,

One way is to buy the home from the owners before the sale happens. It's better for them because they realize some money and it stops the foreclosure. It's better for you, too, because you won't find yourself in a bidding war later on the courthouse steps! You can also find listing in your local newspaper under the legal notices section, and if you live in a metropolitan area it's not hard to find a legal newspaper that lists incorporations, real estate transactions and foreclosures. Good luck, Levi!


Checks she hasn't written
are bouncing!

Dear Dave,

I've started getting phone calls about checks that are bouncing. These are not my checks, they're not on my account and I didn't write them, but they've got my name and phone number on them. I called the police, and they contacted the banks and are investigating. I've also put passwords on my checking and savings accounts. Is there anything else I can do?


Dear Joanne,

This is one big mess! But you're right on track in doing what you should to clear your name and protect yourself. You'll want to put a fraud victim alert on your credit bureau, too. And make sure you get copies of the police report. Then, send a copy to TeleCheck as proof that you're a victim of identity theft and not some kind of deadbeat!

- Dave

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Celia Sankar

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