Dave Ramsey says: In unique circumstances, paying off mortgage loans can come before investing in retirement

Published: Wednesday, May 22 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

 (Damian Dovarganes, AP) (Damian Dovarganes, AP)

Dear Dave,

I live outside Houston with my wife and our 9-month-old daughter. Iíve received a job offer from a company on the other side of the city that would pay, with bonuses, $25,000 a year more than Iím currently making. This would require moving to a new house and away from our extended family. My wife wants to move because my mom can be a little overbearing. I understand how she feels, but Iím not certain I want to move or take a new job. Whatís your advice?


Dear David,

Iím not so sure this is a job change question as much as it is about the state of your relationships. I know itís hard to keep the grandparents away when thereís a baby in the house; that kind of goes with the territory. But I can also understand how lots of unexpected visits and unsolicited advice can wear on a person.

If it were me, I wouldnít change jobs just to run from something. My advice is to try setting boundaries in your relationships with your parents instead of installing geographical boundaries. You might want to pick up a copy of Dr. Henry Cloudís great book Boundaries. Remember, your mom may not realize sheís intruding on your lives. This book is full of insight, and it will give you both some good advice on how to manage relationships in a healthy, loving way.

Like I said, I really donít feel this is a job-move issue. I think you guys just need to establish some fair and reasonable emotional distance between yourselves and your family.


Dear Dave,

My husband and I are debt-free except for our mortgage, and we make $65,000 a year. At this point, we have only $17,000 left to pay on the house. We havenít fully gotten into all the retirement planning you say should come before paying off your home. But with so little left on the house, should we attack this last bit of debt and pay it off as soon as possible? We can have it done in five or six months.


Dear Nancy,

I donít see anything wrong with going ahead and knocking out the house, especially if youíre that close to making it happen. Normally, the people I talk to still have $100,000 to $200,000 left on their mortgages. This is a little bit different story.

Usually, Iím pretty hardcore about sticking with the proper order while doing the Baby Steps. Even in my book The Total Money Makeover, I didnít leave room for people to go ahead and pay off a tiny, little mortgage ahead of investing for retirement. But in this situation, I think thatís exactly what Iíd do.

Think about it, Nancy. You could be completely debt-free by yearís end, and youíre still underway with retirement planning. What a great Christmas gift for you and your husband to give each other!


* Dave Ramsey is Americaís trusted voice on money and business. Heís authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 6 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com

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