Derick Dillard and Jill Duggar spoke their truth and were well paid for it. Jill recently penned a best-selling memoir about her time on TLC’s hit shows 19 Kids and Counting and Counting On. Now, she and her husband Derick are wondering how to invest the windfall they received from the book. To get some advice on what to do next, Derick recently turned to one of the best-known financial gurus in the country: Dave Ramsey.
On Oct. 9, Derick called into The Ramsey Show (via YouTube) with a question: What should he and Jill do with the money they were getting paid for her book Counting the Cost?
Derick identified himself as a “long-time listener, first-time caller.” He explained that he and Jill had received a $50,000 check on the day of the book’s release. But they were unsure of the next steps to take with that money. Derick, a lawyer, said he had already maxed out his retirement contributions at work. And he and Jill are debt-free, with no mortgage or student loan payments. They also have a comfortable income from Derick’s job as an assistant district attorney in Oklahoma, plus whatever Jill earns from her sponsored social media posts. The former reality TV personality also said he expected to earn about $85,000 next year and that he and Jill had $50,000 in an emergency fund.
Ramsey preaches the importance of debt-free living and financial independence. He was impressed by Derick and Jill’s financial situation, especially considering they are still in their early 30s.
“To see what you’ve done as a couple, it’s very impressive,” he said. “It’s very cool.”
Given that they’re in a solid spot in terms of retirement and debt, he suggested that the couple set aside some of the money in a college fund for their three children.
Ramsey’s co-host, Jade Warshaw, had similar advice. She suggested breaking dividing the money into thirds. Jill and Derick should spend some (perhaps on a trip or a car), save some, and give some away. Ramsey concurred.
“Throw some at the kids to make sure we got the college fund beefed up a little,” he said. “Enjoy some of it and be generous with some of it.”
Jill and Derick’s comfortable financial situation today is a far cry from where they were roughly a decade ago. When the couple got married in 2014, Jill was still appearing on 19 Kids and Counting. But neither she nor her siblings were compensated for their work on the show. Nor did she get paid for the spin-off Counting On, which focused on her and the older Duggar children. She was taught to see the show as a ministry, not a job.
For years, Jill’s father Jim Bob Duggar kept her in the dark about how much money was coming in from the family’s reality TV empire, she explains in Counting the Cost. The day before her wedding, Jim Bob even tricked her and Derick into signing a contract that obligated them to keep working on the show.
Once Jill and Derick started asking Jim Bob questions about where the money was going and why they weren’t being paid, things turned hostile. After a legal fight that severely damaged her relationship with her dad, the couple eventually received $175,000 as payment for Jill’s years of work on the family’s reality shows.
“I never knew that victory could feel so hollow or so overwhelmingly sad,” she wrote of her feelings when she finally received the check.
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