Ask Dave Ramsey Healthy Finance

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Using the grandchild for money

Dear Dave,
My wife and I have been helping our adopted daughter financially for some time. She’s 25, has been married for three years, and we don’t see this cycle stopping anytime soon. The worst part is, they will often throw in that our grandchild will go without something unless we help. We’re certain this isn’t teaching them to stand on their own feet, but we don’t know what else to do.

Dear David,
You’re right about one thing. It’s time they both learned how to handle money like mature, responsible adults. I don’t know how much your tried to teach her about finances when she was growing up, but it sounds like this “needing help” thing is turning into an endless cycle.
You’re giving them money left and right, and it’s not working. You’re giving them fish, and you’ve heard that whole saying. You could also teach them to fish and then not give them any fish, but I like a third choice in this scenario — give them fish only if they take fishing lessons. They get no more money from you unless they get financial counseling together and make a serious move toward straightening up their lives.
If they try to play on your feelings by saying your grandchild is hungry, tell them to send the child over for a meal. If they run out of money until payday, tell them to go to their financial counseling session to find answers. Right now, every time they have a problem they call mom and dad. Guess what? They don’t have any problems as long as you’re doing what you’re doing.
Love them well. Hold their hands and say, “When I was your age, I wish someone had done this for me. I’m not going to give you any more money unless you go to financial counseling sessions regularly and together. If you do this, turn in a budget to us and let us coach you on how to be adults and handle your own money well, we’ll help and set up a matching system. If you don’t do the matching part though, you won’t see anything from us.”
They’ve figured out if they hold your feet to the fire when it comes to this grandbaby, you’re going to open the wallet. They’re playing you right now, and it’s not to their benefit — or yours!

Balance rebuilding and repaying

Dear Dave,
My wife and I have had marriage problems, and a lot of them were related to money. We’re working through those issues and are on Baby Step 1 of your plan. In the process, we’re talking more and things are getting better. We have $40,000 in credit card debt, along with a combined income of around $70,000, so I talked to her about taking an extra job or two. She said she would rather I be at home so we can spend more time together in working on our marriage. What should I do?

Dear James,
First and foremost, I would urge you two to begin seeing a good marriage counselor together. Money problems and fights over money are the number one cause of divorce in our country today. Continuing to deal with these issues, with the help of a good, caring counselor, will create even more communication.
I think you’ve both realized you’re going to be in a mess if you don’t address your income and money management issues. However, her concern about spending more time together and becoming closer is valid. Since you’ve just started the rebuilding process, maybe you could put off the extra jobs for a month or two – but no longer. That should give you both time to talk, hug on each other a lot, and start developing a solid plan together for the future!

* 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 13 million listeners each week on 585 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.


About the author

Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey is a personal money management expert, a national radio personality, and best-selling author of The Total Money Makeover. Ramsey earned his Bachelor of Science in Finance and Real Estate from the University of Tennessee. A frequent speaker around the country at large-scale live events, he has a nationally syndicated talk show, The Dave Ramsey Show.

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