Dear Dave,

Iím 22 and trying to follow your plan to take care of my money. Iím working my way through school. The other day I paid cash for a nice little used car. The rest of my family made fun of me, saying I should have bought a new car.


Dear Dave,

Iím 22 and trying to follow your plan to take care of my money. Iím working my way through school. The other day I paid cash for a nice little used car. The rest of my family made fun of me, saying I should have bought a new car. They also think I take out student loans for school. They all have car payments, credit card debt and things like that. How do you deal with criticism like this, especially from your own family?

ó Lakeisha

Dear Lakeisha,

Criticism is a tough thing to handle at any age, especially when itís coming from your own family. Iím sure your family loves you, but I think you have to recognize the fact that when it comes to handling money, they are a dysfunctional bunch. This doesnít make them bad people, and you should still respect and love them, but hooray for you for breaking the mold and showing them thereís a better way!

ďThose convinced against their will are of the same opinion still.Ē

Thatís one of my favorite sayings, and it is so true! You, on the other hand, know what you want to accomplish, and you already know what youíre doing is smart.

So, Iíd suggest taking the bobble-head approach. Just sit there and nod your head when they start telling you how you should handle your finances. You donít even have to really listen.

Then, when they run out of air, go on with your life, follow your excellent plan and work toward your goals.

Remember, this isnít about you, so donít take it personally. Itís about them, and how little they really know.

I can already tell youíre going to be a success, kiddo. Youíve got a tremendous amount of backbone to go against the current in your family. Just donít be disrespectful, and donít try to talk them into following you. In their minds, youíre just 22 years old, and you donít know a thing. Later, if they decide they want to follow you, it will be because they see the stuff youíre doing works.

It may not happen for a few years, and it may not happen at all, but if you stay on this path, theyíre going to come to you for money one of these days. You can be polite, just say no, and tell them youíre not going to support their dysfunction. Youíll gain their respect over time. And once they reach that point, they just might be willing to listen to you.

ó Dave

Pros of survivor insurance

Dear Dave,

My husband is 30 years old, and already has gone through open-heart surgery twice. He has $250,000 in term life insurance, which is all we can afford, but his company started offering survivor insurance. It would provide money for me and the kids over a period of years until I die or if I get re-married. He makes $60,000 a year, and the insurance only costs about $15 a month. Considering his medical history, what do you think of this idea?

ó Jocelyn

Dear Jocelyn,

You guys are awfully young to go through all that and be fighting those kinds of medical bills, let alone having to deal with the disease itself. God bless you both. Iím really proud of you, though, for thinking ahead and planning for the future in the midst of such difficulties.

Usually, Iím not a big fan of specialty insurance products, but your case it might be a good idea. It may be the only affordable insurance you can get. You might want to take a look at mortgage life insurance, too. Itís a rip-off most of the time, but itís usually a guaranteed issue, meaning theyíll give it to you regardless of your health situation. Plus, it will pay off your mortgage in the event of his death. Hopefully, you wonít have to cash in anything like that for a long, long time.

Do more than pay early

Dear Dave,

Will it improve my credit score, and help my ability to buy home later, if I pay my rent 30 days early for the next two or three years?

ó Tanner

Dear Tanner,

No. Your landlord probably isnít going to report early payments to the credit bureaus. Just make sure you pay it on time.

It is smart to pay a few days early, though ó maybe seven to 10 days ahead of time, but for a different reason. That way if something goes wrong at the bank, youíve still got time to fix the problem.

Chances are your credit score wonít be impacted by your rental payments unless youíre late, and especially if you have several late payments. That could sure become a black mark against you later!

Iím not a big fan of the FICO score, because it doesnít measure things like assets, income or net worth. Itís really just an indicator of your interaction with debt! This is one of the reasons why itís really dumb for companies to base lending decisions solely on a FICO score.

Fortunately, you can still find lenders that provide mortgage loans based on manual underwriting procedures, but theyíre getting harder and harder to find.

Dave Ramsey is a nationally known personal finance expert and the author of ďThe Total Money Makeover.Ē Visit www.davesays.org for more financial advice.