I started listening to your radio show recently, and I heard you say people should have 10 to 12 times their yearly income in life insurance. I’m single, with no plans to get married. Plus, I don’t have any children. Do I still need a big life insurance policy like that? — Kris
Dear Kris: I do recommend most people, if they work outside the home and are married — especially if they have kids—have 10 to 12 times their annual income in a good, level term life insurance policy. You only need life insurance to take care of things you leave behind when you die. So, when it comes to this kind of coverage, just think about anyone who might be left in a bad financial situation if you died. Your family could never replace you, but in most cases, they would need to replace your income.
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Someone in your shoes might not need a traditional life insurance policy, especially if you’ve been smart with your money and saved up a pile of cash. A simple, inexpensive burial policy might work. There’s also a good chance you already have a small amount of life insurance coverage built into an existing health insurance policy or bank account.
Good question, Kris. I’m glad you’re looking for answers! — Dave
Are you willing to do what it takes?
Dear Dave: I owe $17,000 on my car, and it is my largest and only debt. I think I can have it paid off in two years, because I bring home about $2,800 a month and my monthly expenses are $2,100. I also just got a $2,000 tax refund. Should I pay it off as fast as possible, or sell the car? — Justice
Dear Justice: If you think you can have the car paid off in two years or less, that’s what I’d do. The question is this: Are you willing to do what it’ll take to make that happen? It’s going to mean lots of discipline and hard work on your part, in addition to living on a really strict budget. But in return, you’ll have that car loan off your back for good.
You don’t want the debt on all your vehicles to be more than half of your annual income. If that’s the case, it means you have too much money tied up in things that are going down in value. If you bring home $2,800 a month, you probably make around $40,000 a year. Technically, your car loan is under half in this scenario, but it’s still pretty expensive. I’d get serious about getting out of debt, and pay the thing off!
Dave Ramsey is a personal money-management expert, a bestselling author and host of the nationally syndicated radio program “The Dave Ramsey Show,” which is heard locally on KROC-AM. For more financial advice, visit daveramsey.com.