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Dave Says: Pursue your dream career and avoid debt with a rock-solid savings plan

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

Dear Dave,

My wife and I recently followed your plan and became debt-free and we’re committed to never going back there again. Currently, I work for the state but I’ve been feeling God’s calling to the ministry. We’ll get an income tax refund of about $4,500 this year, and we’ve both agreed to put that money toward my first semester of seminary training. Does this, along with saving money as we go, sound like a good way to pay for this?   

– Bradley

Dear Bradley,

I love the move to get out of debt, and the fact that you and your wife are determined never to go back there. If you truly feel that you’re being called by God to be a pastor or some other form of ministerial work — and you’re both in agreement on how to make it happen — I think that’s great, too. Just remember your promise to stay away from debt in making it happen.

But I did hear one problem you need to fix. You should stop having so much income tax withheld from your paychecks. That $4,500 you mentioned is the result of one or both of you overpaying your taxes. For the future, make sure to adjust your withholdings $375 a month. It’s always better to have the cash you earn in your pocket rather than parking it with the IRS interest-free every year.

Best of luck in your new career, Bradley!


Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business, and CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored five New York Times best-selling books. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 11 million listeners each week on more than 550 radio stations and digital outlets. Dave’s latest project, EveryDollar, provides a free online budget tool. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at

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