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Dave Says: Sprint to the End of Your Debt

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Dear Dave,

My husband and I are debt-free except for our mortgage, and we make $65,000 a year. At this point, we have only $17,000 left to pay on the house. We haven’t fully gotten into all the retirement planning you say should come before paying off your home. But with so little left on the house, should we attack this last bit of debt and pay it off as soon as possible? We can have it done in five or six months.

Nancy

Dear Nancy,

I don’t see anything wrong with going ahead and knocking out the house, especially if you’re that close to making it happen. Normally, the people I talk to still have $100,000 to $200,000 left on their mortgages. This is a little bit different story.

Usually, I’m pretty hardcore about sticking with the proper order while doing the Baby Steps. Even in my book The Total Money Makeover, I didn’t leave room for people to go ahead and pay off a tiny, little mortgage ahead of investing for retirement. But in this situation, I think that’s exactly what I’d do.

Think about it, Nancy. You could be completely debt-free by year’s end, and you’re still underway with retirement planning. What a great Christmas gift for you and your husband to give each other!

—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 6 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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