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Who is supposed to take the lead – husband or wife?

By Dave Ramsey

Dear Dave,

My husband is really laid back, and I’m more boisterous and observant. When it came to your plan, I took the ball and ran with it. In our background, growing up in church, I was always told it’s the man’s place to do finances and the woman should sit back and let her husband take charge. It’s not that way here. The plan is working, but I hear everyone saying that the man is supposed be in charge of the home and the finances. What do you think about that?


Dear Rachel,

I’m in charge of my business, and I make the financial decisions here. The execution of the game plan is delegated, but that doesn’t mean I’m not in charge.

What we have found, Rachel, is that in most households there is a nerd and a free spirit. In my house, I’m the nerd and Sharon is the free spirit. In your household it sounds like you’re the nerd, and your husband is the free spirit. Free spirits don’t like to do budgets. They listen to my show for the entertainment value and the humor. That doesn’t make them irresponsible, and it doesn’t mean they’re not leading or involved in the decisions. It just means they’re not the ones crunching numbers and implementing the details.

The man does not have to sit down and do the budget and write the checks in order to be a leader in his home. Many men can best lead by getting out of the way on this issue. Now, if he totally turns it over to you and you’re carrying the burden for every major financial decision, that’s wimping out. Eventually, even if it’s working, you’re going to become resentful and feel like you’re carrying a very large teenager around. Then, he’s going to feel manipulated and controlled because he gets an allowance like he’s a kid or something. That’s not a good formula either.

I would have you meet in the middle on this issue. The nerds should create what they think the budget ought to be, because we’re pretty good at that. Then, rather than just going and taking care of everything, sit down with him for a few minutes at what we call a budget committee meeting where you go over the whole budget with him. I want him to really look at it and be emotionally, spiritually and financially part of the decision of how to implement your family’s resources. I want you both to have input, because the opportunity is there to change it. This is pure communication, two adults pulling the wagon together.

You’ll get the same results you’re getting now in terms of the wonderful progress you’re making, but with added benefits – you won’t feel like you’re carrying the entire household and that he’s another one of your children. You’ll also get increased communication, of which you want more, and he’s going to feel like he’s the man of the house. You’ve just got to be working as a team going forward with shared goals, shared passions and even shared fears.



Retire Without Health Insurance?


Dear Dave,

I haven’t heard you talk much about insurance needs after retirement. An older friend of ours is going through a terrible time right now, because he had an extended hospital stay and no insurance. Is it possible to retire with no health insurance and be okay?


Dear Karen,

It’s possible, but it’s very tough. You’re taking a huge risk if you allow yourself to be in that situation. Medical bills are the number one cause of bankruptcy in America. The second biggest cause is credit cards. If you don’t have an emergency fund or health insurance, then you’re a moving target. Man, in that situation if you even walk past a hospital someone might run up and hand you a bill!

There’s no magic to it, Karen. Health insurance is something I strongly advise having, because it’s a basic part of any good financial plan. You need it, because if you don’t you run the risk of having to crack and scramble your nest egg if serious health issues arise.


Dave Ramsey is the bestselling author of The Total Money Makeover.

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