Dear Dave: My wife and I are recent graduates with advanced degrees. We also have about $300,000 in student loan debt. We’re thinking about buying a rental property, and the plan is to get a mortgage with monthly payments of $400 and charge $800 in rent. We could use the extra to help pay off our debt. Do you think this is a good idea?
Dear Jeremy: Are you serious? You’re in a financial crisis, and you ask if it’s okay to buy a rental property? No, no, no!
Right now, you guys are acting like Congress. You have a huge mess on your hands, and you’re both going to have to work like crazy to clean it up. That means living on rice and beans for the foreseeable future. It means no vacations, and you should not see the inside of a restaurant unless you’re working there to make extra money.
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Again, no! You should not buy a rental property. Even if you did, this plan assumes that it’s constantly occupied and the renter actually pays. Those are two pretty big assumptions. Use whatever money you have to get out of debt, and live simple, inexpensive lives until you get this behind you.
Stop trying to borrow your way through all of your dreams, Jeremy. Doing that will only turn those dreams into nightmares!
Dear Dave: I’m 61 and on disability, but I’m completely debt-free and I have more than $1 million in assets. I even try to spend no more than four percent of the principal each year, so I don’t dip into it. I need to buy a better car, and I realize that I have three options — pay cash, do a lease or finance the vehicle. What do you suggest?
Dear Linda: There’s no way I’ll ever tell you to lease or finance a car. You have a nice, peaceful financial life, and you don’t want to mess that up.
New car leases are one of the biggest rip-offs on the planet. Consumer Reports, and my calculator, both say leasing is the most expensive way to operate a vehicle. And why would you want the hassle of car payments when you’re in such good shape with your money?
I’m alright with you buying a new car, because for someone like you it’s such a small portion of your overall financial picture. I advise people to always buy good, used cars unless they have a net worth or $1 million or more, and you definitely fall into that category. Still, my advice is to pay cash or don’t do the deal. You’re more than able to do this every few years and not move the needle where your finances are concerned.
Go get that new, better car, Linda. Just don’t go into debt to make it happen!
Dave’s EveryDollar, provides a free online budget tool. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.