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Dave Says – January 22, 2012

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Lay the foundation first! Dear Dave, We’ve read about your plan, and we’re in pretty good shape financially, but we don’t know what to do next. We have $400,000 in a 401(k) for retirement, but we don’t have an emergency fund or any other savings. The only debt we have is our house. What should we do about Baby Steps 4 and 6? Mary Dear Mary, You guys have done a great job of saving for retirement and staying out of debt. Let’s go over the Baby Steps you mentioned. Baby Step 4 is putting 15 percent of your income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement plans. Baby Step 6 is paying off your home early. The thing that worries me is you’ve completely skipped Baby Step 3, which is having three to six months of expenses in an emergency fund. This is money set aside strictly for emergencies, not vacations, toys or a new car. The problem right now is if you have a real emergency, you’ll have to cash out your 401(k). If you do that, the government’s going to penalize you 10 percent, plus your tax rate. That’s about a 40-percent kick in the teeth just because you didn’t do things in the right order! Again, you’re in pretty good shape overall, but in building your financial house you’ve put the roof on before you’ve laid the foundation. If I’m you, I’m going to temporarily stop my 401(k) contributions until I get my emergency fund fully loaded. By temporarily, I mean six months at most. That way, you’ll be covered when life happens without having to sacrifice your retirement savings! —Dave


Just what she needs Dear Dave, My daughter is a student and has $13,000 in student loan debt. Recently, her grandparents dissolved an LLC, and they want to give her a gift of $12,500. Should she use this money to pay off the loans, or invest it in a Roth IRA and keep working to pay off the student loans herself? Meg Dear Meg, Let’s look at it this way. Pretend she didn’t have any student loan debt. Would it be wise for her to borrow money on a student loan in order to invest in a Roth IRA? Of course not. If you don’t pay off the loans, and invest it instead, it’s just like you borrowed money to invest. That’s not a good plan. Your daughter needs to get her student loan mess cleaned up, and this is the perfect opportunity to do just that. And I think it’s pretty cool that God gave her what she needs to fix things. Besides, she can’t do a Roth IRA, except to the point that she has an earned income, anyway. The last thing this girl needs is a pile of debt waiting on her when she gets out of school. She’s not in a position to be an investor right now. The minute she pays off her student loans, she should get to work on saving a pile of money for an emergency fund so she can complete her studies without racking up more debt! —Dave * For more financial help, please visit daveramsey.com.]]]]> ]]>

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Vicksburg native Jaron Smith launched Run Your Gun Tactical to train firearm users

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(photo courtesy Jaron Smith)

Vicksburg native Jaron Smith has launched Run Your Gun Tactical, a firearm training and manufacturing company based in Brandon, Mississippi.

Smith is a 2010 graduate of Vicksburg High School where he was known for his intelligence and being a great student.

He started his company in early August, and it has taken off in a good direction with Smith teaching multiple classes on firearm safety.

The company began after an incident at a local church where windows were broken out. The incident prompted the pastor to investigate firearm protection, and Smith stepped in to help by getting certified as a firearms instructor. Run Your Gun Tactical now deals with church security where Smith trains someone in the church to be prepared for incidents such as an active shooter situation.

“I want to build confidence in people while they are handling a firearm,” Smith said. “Safety cannot and will not be compromised.”

Smith and Run Your Gun Tactical are trained to handle any type of firearm but only offers training in handguns and AR-15-style rifles at this time. One of the purposes for the company is getting individuals prepared for concealed carry permits, which are popular in Mississippi. He gives firearm training to individuals 13 years old and up, and training with Run Your Gun Tactical begins with a classroom session before hands-on training.

The company is growing more each week and Smith has major goals for his business. In just a short amount of time, he has held firearm training classes in Tupelo and Greenwood, Mississippi.

By the beginning of next year or sooner, Run Your Gun Tactical will be able to manufacture and sell firearms made by Smith.

“Success can be yours,” Smith said. “Do not be afraid to succeed, and there will be many obstacles you will have to face.”

For more information, visit the Run Your Gun Tactical website or Facebook page.

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Farmer Jim’s Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze open through Oct. 31

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A variety of gourds and pumpkins are available at Farmer Jim"s (photo courtesy Farmer Jim"s)

Farmer Jim’s Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze co-owner Lynn Newman says they are thrilled to be open again this year as the Delta Backwater Flood of 2019 prevented them from planting last year.

The business is open to the public from now until Oct. 31 on Fridays from noon to 6 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Farmer Jim Newman (photo courtesy Farmer Jim’s)

They are open Tuesday through Thursday by appointment only to groups of 15 or more. Please call 662-907-3359 to schedule an appointment for a group.

Admission is $7 per person for ages 1 year and up and includes access to the corn maze.

Free admission per person with the purchase of a pumpkin valued at $5 or higher.

Best value is the $10 ticket per person for all activities and includes a traditional $5 orange pumpkin.

Night rates for a scheduled group of 15 or more is $10 each. Ask about set up rate for a bonfire.

Check the Facebook page for nighttime activities including the Haunted Maze Oct. 24.

Social distancing is required. If you cannot social distance, they ask that you wear a mask.

Farmer Jim’s Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze is located on state Highway 16 west of Rolling Fork, Mississippi. For directions, call or visit the farm’s website.

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Hinds CC and Continental Tire announce new apprentice programs

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From left, Brenda Myers, state director of the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship in Mississippi, Hinds President Dr. Stephen Vacik, Dr. Chad Stocks, Hinds Vice President of Workforce & Community Development (Photo courtesy Hinds Community College/April Garon)

Hinds Community College and Continental Tire have signed an agreement to launch two new programs that will support the academic goals and professional development of students who are interested in manufacturing careers.

The Production Apprentice and Mechatronics Apprentice Programs offer paid, on-the-job experience with a global company and industry certifications.

“Continental is proud to partner with Hinds Community College to establish a program that will create a solid foundation for many careers in Mississippi,” said Michael Egner, plant manager of the Continental Plant along Interstate 20 in Clinton, in a statement.

The program will be open to students who are dually enrolled in high school and the college’s Industrial Maintenance and Mechanics program. Initially, the program will be offered to high school juniors and seniors at Clinton High School and Hinds County Career and Technical Center.

The Mechatronics Apprentice Program, a combination of both mechanical and electrical disciplines, is a growing industry within advanced manufacturing. The program will be open to Hinds students who complete the company’s Production Apprentice Program.

“The Hinds Community College team is extremely excited about this partnership,” said Hinds President Dr. Stephen A. Vacik. “It is a great opportunity for students, and we are committed to implementing exceptional programming that allows us to train citizens in central Mississippi to work with a world class company.”

Both programs require students to balance a 2.5 GPA and 32-hour workweek. Participants will receive paid tuition and book fees while in the apprentice programs.

In 2017, Continental and HCC introduced the Maintenance Technician Internship Program.

Four students spent the summer in Mount Vernon, Illinois, working with specialists at Continental’s tire plant. Twelve of the interns were promoted to full-time maintenance technicians at the new plant in Clinton.

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