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Dave Ramsey says: Contentment has to do with your state of being

Published: Tuesday, July 8 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

Wealth is for quality of life, and quality of life includes giving. It also includes a safe and stable future. But if you have to surrender the joy in life to do that — to build extra wealth or build at a different pace — well, to me, that’s just wrong.

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Dear Dave,

My husband has a great job, and I love my work and schedule as a substitute teacher. However, he wants me to take a full-time position so we can build more wealth. The only debt we have is our house, and we’ve already saved and invested a lot of money. What’s your suggestion for this situation?

— Marie

Dear Marie,

First and foremost, you two have a responsibility to take care of each other and your own household. It sounds like you’re doing that pretty well. So if he wants you to take a full-time job only to build more wealth, I think that’s a bad idea.

Wealth is for quality of life, and quality of life includes giving. It also includes a safe and stable future. But if you have to surrender the joy in life to do that — to build extra wealth or build at a different pace — well, to me, that’s just wrong. Contentment has nothing to do with how many hours you work or how many zeros are in your bank account. Contentment has to do with your state of being. It’s connected to your sense of gratitude, happiness and your priorities. The idea that contentment is on the same spectrum as ambition? No, it’s not.

I don’t think you should take on a job or a schedule you hate just to pay off your house a couple of years earlier. I wouldn’t do that, and I don’t recommend you do it either. People should do something with their lives they find enjoyable and they’re called to do. Now, if your kids are going hungry and your bills aren’t getting paid, then you do whatever it takes. But in this case, Marie, you’re happy and you guys are in a great place. I’m sure your husband is a great guy, but I think he’s wrong on this one.

— Dave

Dear Dave,

My credit union offers free accidental death and dismemberment insurance. Should I take it?

— Alaina

Dear Alaina,

That’s fine if it’s free. However, I wouldn’t rely on it as an integral part of my overall financial plan.

In most cases, accidental death and dismemberment policies are just a gimmick. You’re not double dead if you die by accident, and your spouse or family doesn’t need the money if you die by accident rather than a heart attack. They need the same coverage and the same protection regardless. When it comes to life insurance, I recommend a good level term policy that’s 10 to 12 times your annual income. That means if you make $50,000 a year, you need $500,000 to $600,000 in coverage.

Still, if it’s really free, I’ve got no problem with the policy. Just make sure you’re not paying some other big fee to join a club so you can get “free” stuff. When that happens, it’s not really free after all.

— Dave

Follow Dave on Twitter at DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.

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