Dear Dave,

My husband and I have been married five years, and we’ve decided we want to have children. We’ve both been working full time since our wedding, and we were wondering if we should adjust our emergency fund and retirement investing to accommodate all the upcoming life changes that go along with having a bigger family.

Rachel

Dear Rachel,

When it comes to an emergency fund, I’d stick with what I recommend in the Baby Steps. A good emergency fund of three to six months of expenses should be fine. If you feel safer leaning toward the six-month side, that’s fine. As far as investing is concerned, that’s Baby Step 4. This means 15 percent of your household income going toward retirement. None of that really changes.

Now, with another person in the house, your day-to-day expenses are going to increase. That’ll make it even more important to make sure you’re living on a written monthly budget. What you don’t want to do, is quit your job to come home and be a full-time mom, then find yourselves dipping into the emergency fund. Being a stay-at-home mom is fine. It’s a wonderful thing if you can afford it. But if that’s the plan you need to budget accordingly, and practice living on just your husband’s income before you quit your job.

God bless you two, Rachel!

—Dave

 

Micro investing apps?

Dear Dave,

What is your opinion on micro investing apps like Acorns and Betterment? Are these good vehicles for building wealth in the long term, and are there any major drawbacks to these types of services?  

Alex

Dear Alex,

I’m not saying there’s anything really wrong with Acorns or Betterment, but they do different things. Acorns is more of an invest pennies, round-up kind of program, where Betterment is kind of a robo-investing deal.

Here’s the thing. Micro investing is going to create micro wealth. And the big downside is you’re going to feel like you did something important. The way you end up with money is by investing money. The way you end up with more moneyis by investing more money. You can argue all you want that using things like these create extra money. Yeah, but not really. The returns are still micro. An app doesn’t make two dollars turn into twenty dollars.

It’s okay to use apps like that. I’m not mad at them, and I don’t think they’re a rip-off. What worries me about these kinds of things, in an investing sense, is they give the illusion that you’ve done something significant with your money.

—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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