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Dave Says: Get finances quickly under control — sell the cars, keep your dignity

Dear Dave,

My wife and I are in our late twenties, and we have two kids. Our combined income is about $110,000 a year, but we have $70,000 in loans on two cars, plus about $15,000 in credit card debt. My in-laws have offered to let us move in with them to save money and make things easier while we pay down debt. Do you think this is a good idea?

Adam

Dear Adam,

In my mind there are only two scenarios where you should even consider taking the in-laws up on their offer. One, is where they’re absolutely wonderful folks and you both have great, healthy relationships with them. By this, I mean there’s a mutual sense of love, respect and everyone knows their boundaries. Even if this is the case, I’d still only consider it for an agreed-upon and very small amount of time.

The second scenario is if taking them up on their offer is the only way you two can accomplish your financial goals. That’s not the case here.

You and your wife can get rid of most of your debt, and take a big step toward gaining control of your income, if you’ll do one thing—get rid of those stupid cars! That’s an insane amount of money wrapped up in cars for you two. If you had a couple of decent, paid-for used cars your lives would be so much different. You’d be in a situation where you could even start putting a little money aside while you paid off the credit card debt. Then, once the credit card debt is gone, you’d have some cash freed up to find better cars.

If I were in your situation, I wouldn’t move in with the in-laws. I’m sure they’re great people, but I’d keep my dignity and sell the cars, start living on a budget and pay off debt as fast as possible!

— Dave

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