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Dave Ramsey says: Keep job, keep paying off debt, go back to school

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Dear Dave,

My wife and I have $72,000 in debt from student loans and a car loan. We’re trying to pay off our debt using the debt snowball system, and we each make about $45,000 a year.

She’s a teacher, and she’s planning on going back to school for her master’s degree, but she’s thinking about quitting her job to do this.

She’ll be able to make more money with the additional education, and she would only be unemployed for two years. The degree program will cost us $2,000 out of pocket per semester for two years.

Does this sound like a good idea?

— Chris

Dear Chris,

There’s no reason for your wife to quit her job to make this happen.

Lots of people — especially teachers — hold down their jobs and go back to school to further their education. I’m not sure trying to make it on one income when you’re that deep in debt is a good idea.

Whatever you do, don’t borrow more money to make this happen. Cash flow it, or don’t do it.

We’re talking about $8,000 total, and you’ve got $72,000 in debt hanging over your heads already.

My advice would be to wait until you’ve got the other debt knocked out, then save up and pay cash for school.

You could slow down your debt snowball, and use some of that to pay for school, but I’d hate to see you lose the momentum you have when it comes to getting out of debt.

The choice is yours, but don’t tack on any more student loan debt.

I know her income will go up with a master’s degree, so from that standpoint it’s a good thing to do. But if you do a good thing a dumb way, it ends up being dumb!

— Dave

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