Dave Ramsey says: A readers asks if he should buy vacation home and rent it when not in use?

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Dave Ramsey answers a question about buying a vacation home and then renting it out when not using it.

Dear Dave: What is your opinion of buying a vacation home, then renting it out when you’re not there?

— J.P.

Dear J.P.: I see nothing wrong with it, as long as you’re buying with cash and you’re also debt-free. A vacation home is a wonderful “extra” as you start building wealth. Remember, though, it’s still basically a very large, very expensive toy. In most cases it will go up in value, and if you rent it, it might become something of a moneymaker for you.

But here’s another side to vacation home rentals. You’ll probably make some money, but in most cases there will be several weeks during a year when it sits empty. You’re not going to get rich renting it out. So, they’re not really great investment properties. What you’re talking about is more of a plan to offset the annual costs of your toy. If you look at it that way, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

If you’re determined to go this route, be ready to deal with spills on the carpet and damage from your guests, along with general maintenance and repairs. There’s always something that needs attention when you own a property. But if you can handle all that emotionally and financially — and you’re not looking for it to be a big-time investment that will make you rich — you’ll be fine.

— Dave

Dear Dave: My wife and I are on Baby Step 2 of your plan. We have about $60,000 in debt left to pay off before we’ll be debt-free and a household income of $140,000 a year. We have one child, but we would like to expand our family. We would have to do this using in vitro fertilization. We’ve talked to a doctor, and he’s given us a ballpark figure of about $20,000 for the procedure. Should we wait until we’re debt-free to have this done?

— Jim

Dear Jim: Babies are wonderful, important things. Having kids, even the thought of having kids, is a big emotional deal. But sometimes it can cause people to change their financial plans and directions.

I would urge you not to accept the first opinion and pricing model you…

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