Recently, I got married and I have $10,000 in student loan debt. I have $50,000 that came from my grandmother, but the money is in a trust controlled by my father, who is an attorney. He says I should use it all to buy a small house outright. I think it makes more sense to pay down my student loan debt. Who’s right?
Why not completely pay off the student loan, and put $40,000 toward a big down payment on a house? I’m sorry, but your dad is just plain wrong on this one. You should be debt-free before you buy property, because if you aren’t, Murphy will move into your spare bedroom. Plus, he’ll bring his three cousins—Broke, Desperate and Stupid—with him.
Now, part of the reason I’m saying your dad is wrong is based on the assumption that you guys are going to be responsible and live on a plan that’s logical and mature. If he knows better and has seen evidence that you’re irresponsible, he may have decided he’s not releasing the money in a way that would allow you to potentially blow it all.
So really, a lot of it depends on where you and your husband are in the growth process as a young married couple. Are you going to budget and live on less than you make? Are you going to have a plan and clearly defined goals for your future and your money, perhaps use the remaining $40,000 as a methodology to build up an even bigger down payment? Or, are you going to use the fact that the student loan is gone to consume even more?
In other words, how grown-up are you going to be?
Dave Ramsey is America’s most 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.