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dave SAYS

Surviving a Layoff

By Dave Ramsey
Author, The Total Money Makeover – These days it pays to be smart about money. That's why it's important to take this wise counsel from financial expert Dave Ramsey.

Laid off and waiting ...

Dear Dave,

My husband was laid off three months ago, and I’m afraid we’re about to lose our home. I’ve been working three part-time jobs to help keep our heads above water, but he says the economy’s bad, and he’s waiting for the “right” job. The bills are piling up, and I don’t know what to do.

– Paula

Dear Paula,

When a guy loses a job it’s a devastating blow. Many guys are task oriented, and define themselves by what they do rather than who they are. That’s not a good thing.

When I went broke several years ago, I had to re-define myself. I lost my business, and in many ways I looked at that company as who I was. My identity was suddenly gone. Lots of guys go through that when they lose their jobs, and in the process they can lose the courage to go fight again.

I think you two should sit down with your pastor or a good marriage counselor, and talk through this thing. I also think your husband needs a good friend – someone he admires and respects – to verbally knock him around a little and put the fight back into his spirit. Three months of a guy sitting on his butt in this situation is unacceptable. I don’t want to hear a bunch of stuff about the economy, a career path, or that he’s overqualified. It doesn’t matter if you’re delivering pizzas or mowing yards, you’re never “overqualified” to be a man and take care of your responsibilities!

Sometimes people need a little time to get their heads together when something traumatic happens. I went through some of that, too. There were times when I was just no good to anyone. But at the end of the day I didn’t lose my home because I was sitting around doing nothing. Even when I lost all my confidence and felt like a dog, I still got out there and did stuff to put food on the table.

It’s time for your husband to get out and do something!


How much help should we give?

Dear Dave,

Our son is 27, has two children, and now he’s getting divorced from the woman he’s been married to for seven years. Her parents gave them lots of money throughout their marriage, and now he’s coming to us for money. If we ask what the money is for, he tells us it’s none of our business. We know he’s going through a rough time right now, but we don’t have a lot of money. We’re not sure what to do.

– Dee

Dear Dee,

How about just saying no? Then, if he asks why tell him it’s none of his business.  

Seriously, this is grown man we’re talking about. If he’s going to take on the lifestyle and actions of a grown-up he needs to act like one. I understand he’s hurting right now, but he’s acting pretty arrogant for someone who’s running back to mommy and daddy for money!

I think you need to cut off the cash supply before this gets any worse. Instead, you could offer to help with the kids, or let them all stay at your home for a few weeks while he works through this thing and gets his head and his life together. If he’s willing to get into some serious financial counseling, and start becoming accountable for his money, then you might look into helping him money-wise from time to time in the future. But at this point it’s like giving a drunk a drink.

Anyone can make a mistake, Dee. But it’s not your job to fund his arrogance or his irresponsibility!



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Dave SaysDave 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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