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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.

Should young widow return to work?

Dear Dave,

My husband passed away unexpectedly five months ago at age 30. He had life insurance, so I was able to pay off all our debt and have about $110,000 left. I'm drawing enough Social Security to pay the bills and have a little left over for me and our two children, ages five and two. People are telling me I need to go back to work. What do you think?

- Sharon

Dear Sharon,

I am so sorry you have to go through this. Thirty is way too young for anyone to leave this life.

You don't need additional money right now. Your husband was smart enough to make sure he provided for you guys. Now, there's nothing wrong with going back to work if you feel the need to do something to occupy your time and your mind. That's between you and God. You're dealing with a terrible loss right now, and sometimes we all need a distraction when life gets hard.

But I'm guessing those little ones really need their mommy right now. I'd hug and love on them a lot, and be there for them every second I could. Plus, all those hugs will help YOU get through this bad time, too.

If I were you, I'd invest the $110,000 in good mutual funds and just let it grow. It can give you enough to retire on comfortably, and send your kids to college when the time is right.

Just think and pray a lot on what's right for you, Sharon. If you want to go back to work later on, that's fine. But you don't need to do it for the extra money right now.

- Dave 

Getting serious with someone who's irresponsible with money

Dear Dave,

My girlfriend lives in Massachusetts, and I'm planning to move there when we get married. I know I love her, but I'm worried because she's not very responsible with money. Lots of times she'll do things like get her nails or hair done instead of paying bills. What can I do?


Dear Langston,

You mentioned marriage, so that tells me that you're not talking about just dating for fun. This is the process of finding out if you want to spend the rest of your life with this girl.

If I were you, I'd move slowly until she gets her spending under control and see if she gets past this immaturity. Sometimes when things like this happen it's just a situation where a person needs to grow up and learn how to do things the right way.

If this is the case, you could talk to her about it gently and help her make out a monthly budget. That way, once she understands the process and value of having a plan and spending her money on paper before the month begins, it will be easier for her to stick to it.

But if it doesn't work, and this turns out being a character flaw, then it will cause issues later on - and in other areas - of your relationship. And someone like that just isn't good marriage material!


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Celia Sankar

by Dave Ramsey