Dear Dave: My husband is a union member and works in a paint factory near us. His union’s current contract will expire in nine months. We have about $ 27,000 in debt left to pay off and he earns just over $ 80,000 a year.
I’m nervous because his slow season is approaching by then. During that time, he typically gets about half the hours – and, of course, less money – than during the rest of the year. I’m a little scared, even though there hasn’t been a strike for six years. Do you think we should go ahead and pay off our remaining debt or keep every penny in case they pull out?
Dear Cheyanne: I’m going to tell you something that might surprise you: you can pay off the debt and have some money set aside to live on during this time. If you do this, you will in fact be more prepared than ever for a strike. You both need to be on the same page financially and do things with a sense of urgency, but right now I don’t think you have too much to worry about.
The likelihood of them going on strike is quite low. Chances are they will snap their sabers and speak loudly to position themselves for negotiations. Most factories are running late now and the last thing they want is to fall further behind. Everything has been screwed up so much by COVID-19 that unless the union demands some completely ridiculous stuff, things will probably be fine.
I think you’re okay, Cheyanne. Should you be intentional and thoughtful about the situation? Absoutely. It is always wise to look ahead and plan for the future. Paying off that debt and saving a lot of money will give you real peace of mind.
Dave Ramsey is a financial consultant, author and radio host.