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Smart Business Sense

By Dave Ramsey
Author, The Total Money Makeover – Financial guru Dave Ramsey answers questions about wise financial decision-making.

Real Estate Deal Digger

Dear Dave,

I’ve been a real estate agent for three years. I was wondering if you think the idea of a business that digs up information about potential deals for real estate investors is a good one.

– Charles

Dear Charles,

This is an interesting idea. The first thing I would do is see if there’s an investor group in your area. These are the folks who would stand to benefit from something like this.

Chances are if you were to gather good information on tax delinquencies, bankruptcies, foreclosures – anything with the potential to pick up a real estate bargain – packaged all the information and did the crunch work, you could publish a valuable newsletter to which investors could subscribe.

These days, with everyone gravitating toward technology, it might be even more economical and appealing if you made the service available via e-mail or on the Internet. This way you’d have no mailing costs, no paper costs, and really streamline the marketing process.

Good luck, Charles!



Transfer Small Business into My Name?

Dear Dave,

My father and his partner have owned a small business for 36 years. I’ve worked for them, along with his partner’s son, and now we’re looking to transfer ownership from them into our names. What’s the best way to handle this?

– Paul

Dear Paul,

General partnerships aren’t always the way to go. If your partner suddenly lost his mind and started running up a bunch of bills through the company, the business and you personally would be liable for that stuff. It can be a dangerous way to run a business in today’s world.

Incorporating would be an easy process. You’d need to sit down with a good business attorney to make it happen, and I’d suggest incorporating into a Sub-S where each of you owns 50 percent of the company.

Now, as the original owners of the business, your dad and your partner’s dad may want money in the deal, and that opens a whole other can of worms. Rather than have a note and owe them payments, you could let them participate in the process to a certain degree and have a retained ownership position.

Maybe just minor ownership as they go into retirement.


Checking, Savings, or Both?

Dear Dave,

I have a money market account that I use as my checking account. I get a decent interest rate, and they give me check writing privileges and a debit card. I’m trying to budget my money more wisely, though, and wondered if you thought I needed separate accounts for checking and savings.

– Charlie

Dear Charlie,

I think it’s a very good idea to have some separation between your checking and savings accounts – for your emergency fund, in particular.

I have two different savings accounts, in addition to a checking account. One of the savings accounts is for miscellaneous stuff and the other is for emergencies only. You need that mental and physical barrier that makes you realize you’re about to dip into savings – the cash you’ve worked so hard for and sacrificed to build up.

Otherwise, you’re likely to find yourself pulling cash out of your savings for everyday things. Then, what happens when you have a real emergency?
Bad news, that’s what!


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Dave Ramsey is a nationally-syndicated radio talk show host and author of the New York Times bestselling books, Financial Peace Revisited and The Total Money Makeover. His life-changing advice in the area of personal finance helps people get out of debt, stay out of debt and build wealth that will last a lifetime and beyond.

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