Dear Dave,

Iím retired, and I have $400,000 in an IRA thatís earning 10 to 12 percent. The only debt I have is $20,000 on a home equity line of credit, and my home is worth $500,000. Should I pay off the home equity loan using funds from my IRA?


Dear Janet,

Wow, you have a half-million dollar home on the line for only $20,000? Thereís no way Iím going to have a $500,000 asset pledged for that kind of money. No way! If I were in your shoes, Iíd pay off the loan today.

Youíre obviously a smart lady. Youíve got an IRA thatís busting it, and this little loan is the only thing standing between you and complete financial freedom. But that loan represents risk you donít need in your life. I know you probably havenít been lying awake at night worrying over it, but youíre going to have a wonderfully weird experience when you knock this thing out. A wave of peace is going to wash over you, and youíre going to feel lighter and more liberated than ever before.

Your retirement isnít at risk, and it wonít cost you much money. Pay it off today, Janet, and discover the true meaning of financial peace!

Exchange-traded funds as investments?

Dear Dave,

How do you feel about an exchange-traded fund (ETF) as an investment device?


Dear Charles,

The main reason to do an ETF is it allows you to trade your stocks or mutual funds easily and often. I canít recommend them because I donít advise buying and selling all the time where your investments are concerned.

In most cases, getting into this kind of thing implies that youíre trying to time the market. It means youíre trying to buy at the low point and ride them up to the high point. Based on my understanding of the market, Iím a buy-and-hold kind of guy. So, I have no need for ETFs whatsoever.

Fixing the transmission

Dear Dave,I have $2,400 in transmission repair work that needs to be made on my old truck, and I donít have the money to pay for it. I tried to get a loan, but was turned down. Iím single and make $26,000 a year. Do you have any ideas?


Dear Eric,

As you probably know, I teach people not to borrow money. So Iím glad you were turned down for the loan. Thatís the last thing you need in your life right now, plus the terms of the loan wouldíve been a rip-off.

My advice is to sell the truck as is. You probably could still get between $500 and $1,000 for it. Combine that with as much money as you can save in the meantime. This could put you in a little beater that would last a while, then save up some more and get a nicer beater a few months down the road.

Sell the truck, save money and work your way up through some better vehicles. Thatís what I had to do years ago in a very similar situation!

Dave Ramsey is Americaís most trusted voice on money and business. Heís authored four New York Times best-selling books: ďFinancial Peace,Ē ďMore Than Enough,Ē ďThe Total Money MakeoverĒ and ďEntreLeadership.Ē The ďDave Ramsey ShowĒ is heard by more than 5 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the Web at