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Dave Ramsey encourages a reader to start saving to help his future spouse get out of debt.

Dear Dave,

I’m 29, and I have no debt. I’ve gotten a good start on my savings and retirement, too. My girlfriend and I plan to get married in the next couple of years, and she has about $90,000 in debt. I’m not paying on her debt yet, but I think together we can save up enough to pay it off by the time we’re married. Should I temporarily slow down saving for a house and start saving toward paying off her debt?

— James

Dear James,

Yes, I would have a “girlfriend debt” account. That way when she becomes your wife, you two can write a check the moment you get back from the honeymoon and be debt-free — or at least knock out a huge portion of the debt. After that, the two of you — together — resume saving for retirement, a house and so on.

That, James, is exactly what I would do. You’re right in line with my thinking on this, brother. Best of luck to you both!

— Dave

Dear Dave,

I’m a small-business owner with a lawn care franchise. It’s common in our industry, after the season is over, to send out pre-pay letters for the upcoming season. If we send out these letters offering a 5 or 10 percent discount for early payment on next year’s services, is that too similar to borrowing money from our customers at 5 to 10 percent?

— Kevin

Dear Kevin,

Not at all. I definitely would send pre-pay letters. It takes some of the seasonality “ouch” out of your financial equation, and it gives them the opportunity to take advantage of a bargain. It’s not a bad plan from a marketing standpoint for your business, either. You might even be able to add some new customers with an offer like this.

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You obviously have to be really secure and confident in your ability to provide the service. Otherwise, you could end up in a really bad situation. Your equipment, staffing and track record in the business will all come into play. But if all this is strong, and you’ve been in the business for a number of years and plan on staying in the business for years to come, then this is something I’d definitely do.

— Dave

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