Dear Dave,

I owe the IRS $6,000, and currently I'm making monthly payments. Should I roll this debt into my debt snowball, and then really attack it when it gets to the top of the list?


Dear Jared,

My advice would be to put the IRS at the very top of your debt snowball. Usually, when it comes to paying off debt, I advise people to arrange their debt snowball from smallest to largest, then start with the smallest one and work their way up. This doesn't always seem to make mathematical sense, but the truth is personal finance is 80 percent behavior and only 20 percent head knowledge. Paying off some small debts quickly energizes you and gives you motivation. It makes you feel like you can really do it. Besides, if you were such a math genius you wouldn't have debt in the first place.

But the IRS is a different animal altogether. Their interest rates and penalties are ridiculously high. Plus, they have virtually unlimited power to collect. So put them at the top of the list, and get them paid off as fast as you can!


Dave Ramsey is America's trusted voice on money and business. He's authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. His newest book, written with his daughter Rachel Cruze, is titled Smart Money Smart Kids and is out now. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 6 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at