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Dave Says: Bad Boat Deal

Dave Ramsey - July 31, 2012

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Help! Should I accept partial payment and a boat in exchange for my motorcycle?

Dear Dave,

My wife and I are on Baby Step 2 of your plan, and we’re paying off our debt. I’ve been trying to sell my motorcycle and listed it for $5,000 on Craigslist. The other day, a guy offered me $2,000 cash and a boat for the bike. I’ve always really wanted a boat, but I’m not sure this is the time. And the money would only make a small dent in our debt. Would this kind of deal be legal in the Dave Ramsey universe?

Matt

Dear Matt,

It’s an interesting deal, but at this stage of the game I think you have to ask yourself what your goal is. If it’s to get a boat, then you’ve accomplished that goal. However, if your goal is to get out of debt, this deal doesn’t get you where you want to be. Plus, it could add even more expense and hassle to your life. Upkeep and maintenance on some boats can really add up.

But this is Matt’s universe, not Dave’s. In my mind, getting out of debt comes first. There’s plenty of time later for you to save up and buy a nice boat after you get control of your finances. In this scenario, you’re simply trading one recreational vehicle for another.

If you’re on Baby Step 2, it means you’ve already got $1,000 in the bank for emergencies and have moved on to paying off all your debt, except for your home. This tells me you guys are motivated, but the idea of a boat has caused your resolve to waver a little.

So, if you’re looking for someone to tell you to forget the boat and stay on track with getting control of your lives and money, then I’m your guy. Don’t do the deal!

—Dave

For more financial advice, please visit daveramsey.com.

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