Worry about your wallet, not your image

Dear Dave,

I’m a new doctor, and I drive a car that has over 200,000 miles on it, is 10 years old, and a few dings in the doors. I’ve heard image is everything when you’re a doctor, but I like not having a car payment. Should I just get over being selfconscious about my old car?

Mario Dear Mario,

I like not having a car note, too. I’d walk, ride a bike, or drive your car with a great, big smile on my face before I picked up a car payment!

As new, young doctor you’ve probably got six figures in stu- dent loans hanging over your head right now. So you need to get out from under all that before you start thinking about driving something fancy. If this car is truly on its last legs, then I’d say save up for a few months then upgrade to a good, reasonably-priced, used car.

Just remember, a Mercedes or BMW doesn’t prove you’re a doctor, and it doesn’t mean you’re a good doctor, either. You just need to worry about what’s smart for you instead of what other people think!


Asking for trouble?

Dear Dave,

I want to keep one of our credit cards open and use the bill-pay option for utilities and other monthly bills. I want to do this so we can continue earning rewards points, and the way I look at it, we’d just be re-routing the money and paying it off every month. My husband doesn’t like this idea and thinks we should get rid of them all. Am I just asking for trouble by wanting to keep the rewards card open?

Cheryl Dear Cheryl,

Yes, you are. Life never works out exactly the way you think it will. You can make all the wellreasoned and best-intentioned plans you want, but sooner or later that snake is going to bite you.

The only thing I’d consider in a situation like this is a debit card that has a rewards system attached. Lots of debit card programs offer the same kinds of rewards programs offered by credit card companies, with one big exception—you don’t have to go into debt!

You need to stop chasing these stupid brownie points, Cheryl. According to Consumer Reports, 78 percent of credit card airline miles are never redeemed. Studies also show that people spend more when using credit cards as opposed to cash. That extra money you spend on things you don’t need is money you could have been saving and investing. So, where’s the reward?

Cut up the card and close the account, Cheryl. You don’t build wealth by using credit cards!

—Dave For more financial advice, visit daveramsey.com.

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2012-04-12 digital edition

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