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Dave Says: An umbrella liability insurance plan will help protect family assets

Dear Dave,

We live in Colorado, and we need some advice on protecting our assets. My wife is a teacher, and I’m a nurse. We make around $180,000 a year combined, and we’re set to pay off our home next month. We also have two teenagers who are both driving, so we were wondering about the best way to protect everything if one of them has an accident and we get sued, or something else tragic happens.

Spencer

Dear Spencer,

With your income, and the stage you’re in when it comes to wealth building, I think it’s time to add an umbrella policy. This is a liability policy, and you could probably buy an extra million in liability coverage for around $250 a year. It attaches to the liability policy that’s already part of your homeowners and car insurance.

With a couple of teenage drivers in the house it might run a little more than $250, but I wouldn’t think it would be much more, if any. It would just add an extra million to the mix, just in case someone decided they were going to come after you because of a bad situation.

As you continue building wealth later, like if you get into real estate and start buying rental properties, make sure you put those in a limited liability company (LLC). You’re not there quite yet, but it’s always a good idea to plan ahead and do whatever you can to keep the size of the target on your back relatively small.

—Dave 

Control your own destiny

Dear Dave,

I have a pension plan that will pay me 80 percent of my top three highest years’ income. Should I continue to invest 15 percent towards retirement? I will top out at $79,000 yearly, and I plan on retiring in 28 years.

Jordan

Dear Jordan,

You should always put 15 percent of your income into retirement once you reach Baby Step 4. I would never count on a pension as my only retirement income, because the truth is many pension funds are very poorly managed.

You’ll probably get the pension when the time comes. I’m not predicting it will go broke or anything like that, but there’s no way I would leave the financial state of my retirement in other people’s hands. That’s exactly what you’re doing when your plan is to count on a pension or Social Security. With Roth IRAs, 401(k)s and so forth, you’re building wealth that you control.

You have to control the controllables, Jordan. There are plenty of things in our lives we have no control over whatsoever, but you have to take charge of the stuff you can control in order to win. Building wealth is one of those things!

—Dave

Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books, including The Total Money Makeover. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 16 million listeners each week on 600 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at daveramsey.com and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.

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