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Dave Says: Concentrate on Your Quality of Life

by | Sep. 25, 2012

Finances

Dear Dave,

Several months ago, I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. I have about $30,000 in credit card debt and would like to continue getting my finances in order. My husband has been unemployed for six years due to his own health issues, but I do have life insurance, a 401(k) and receive Social Security. How should we handle this?

Vivian

Dear Vivian,

God bless you and your husband. I know this is a really rough time for you both. I hope you guys are sticking by each other and loving on each other a lot. That may not make these problems go away, but it will make you each stronger and bond you together in incredible ways.

If I’m in your shoes, the last thing I’m going to worry about is credit card debt. Your concern right now should be your quality of life and taking advantage of all the medical options that are available to you. That’s the primary goal. You and your husband need to use your financial resources to prioritize, but at the moment you come first. For someone in your situation, that’s not being selfish.

The hard truth is this. We’re all going to die some day. Anything you own, like the 401(k), has to stand good for what you owe when you pass away. In other words, the credit card debt would have to be paid before your husband or others received anything from your estate.

I appreciate your diligence and honor in wanting to make sure your debts are handled. But in this situation, so what if a credit card company has to wait a while to get paid? It will happen when it happens. Right now, you are the number-one priority.

—Dave
 
Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He’s authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover, and EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 5 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.
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