Dave Says

Friday, May 23, 2008 at 2:15am
Dave says lakefront property is generally speaking a good investment.

Dear Dave,

I was wondering if you think we can afford to buy a lake house. The house we’re looking at costs $1 million. I bring home about $15,000 a month, and we have no debt.

I started saving and investing when I was 18, and right now my wife and I have about $4 million sitting in our savings account. Even though we both love the water, part of me thinks we should just rent one for a few weeks a year.

— Mike

Dear Mike,

Dude, you are a classic! You have done an absolutely phenomenal job with your money!

Generally speaking, lakefront property is a great investment. Plus, if you buy instead of rent, it’s YOUR investment and you get to leave your clothes in the closet.

If I’m you, I’m buying that house before the week is up. I own a lake house, and I can tell you it’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made — money-wise and relaxation-wise.

Do the deal, Mike. You guys have earned it!

— Dave

Dear Dave,

I’m about to get a settlement of $35,000 from an auto accident. Do you think we should use it to pay down our mortgage, or save it, sell the house and try to find something cheaper?

Together, we bring home about $3,200 a month, and our monthly mortgage payment is $2,400. We also have about $5,000 in credit card debt, plus medical bills from the wreck.

— Sherry

Dear Sherry,

I don’t say this often, but you’ve got to get that house sold. And I mean today!

You’ve got 75 percent of your take home pay wrapped up in a mortgage payment, and it’s eating you alive! Your house payment should be no more than a fourth of your take home pay on a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage.

And with what you guys bring in, that means your house payment should be around $800 a month — not $2,400.

If I’m in your situation, Sherry, I’m selling the house and finding a decent, inexpensive apartment to live in for a couple of years while I get my finances stabilized.

Start on the Baby Steps, and get $1,000 in the bank as fast as you can for an emergency fund. After that, attack your debt using the debt snowball and pay them off from smallest to largest.

After you do all this you might be ready to think about owning a home again. I know you’ve been through some hard times with the car wreck and all, but you guys really need to practice being conservative right now so things don’t get out of hand again.

— Dave

Dear Dave,

I went through a divorce about six years ago. Recently, I re-married and when we went to apply for a home loan my TransUnion credit report said that I was deceased.

What should I do to let these people know I’m not dead?

— Stacy

Dear Stacy,

This is too much! But I think we can revive you.

Write a letter to TransUnion — certified mail, return receipt requested — advising them that according to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act you’re challenging the accuracy of the credit bureau report listing you as deceased.

They’re usually pretty good about clearing these kinds of things up. But the reason for sending a certified letter is there will be proof of the letter being delivered. At that point, the fuse is lit and by law they’ve got 30 days to fix the problem.

Good luck, Stacy!

— Dave

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By: global_citizen on 12/31/69 at 7:00

A person who's saved and invested since they were 18 now has $4 million sitting in a savings account? Earning maybe 0.5% interest? Call me skeptical. And I'm surprised Ramsey didn't make mention of such an incongruous statement.

By: kevin47881 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

What's the problem GC? The OP didn't give age or how long they've been earning $15k a month.The numbers work just fine as long as they aren't house poor, which is pretty obvious.