What would you do if you were handed $10,000 tomorrow? $20,000?
The easy default answer–if you spend time in the personal finance world–is to pay off debt and save the rest.
But is that the right answer?
When my mother-in-law died, we inherited a little bit of money, a house that hasn’t been updated since the 60s, and a new-ish car that still has an active loan.
We also have about $16,000 in credit card debt and a small mortgage.
The Dave Ramsey answer would be to pay off the card at all costs and worry about the inherited house later, but that seems off. If we modernize the house and fix the things that are broken, we have a mortgage-free rental property. Our local rental market is strong; we should be able to clear $800 per month after expenses.
Is the right answer to pay off our card and scrape to get the house ready or should we fix up the house and use that new income to pay off the card?
My wife has also inherited an IRA that–due to its status as a Beneficiary IRA and the fact that there have been disbursements–has to be drained within 5 years. It’s not huge. After taxes, it’s about the size of the car loan. Should we make the $200/month payments, or cash out the temporary IRA and make the car loan go away immediately? Should we cash out the IRA and open one for my wife?
Although the cause was sad, these are good problems to have. If we manage this right, we’ll be more financially stable than we would have been for decades, otherwise.
I want your opinion, please.
1. House or credit card?
2. What would you do with a $10,000 IRA that has to be cashed out over the next 5 years?