Author Topic: UPDATE: Parents ask me to make worst financial decision imaginable...  (Read 55047 times)

Cathy

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cashstasherat23, you might want to remove your dad as an authorised user right now, before you talk to your parents again about the brother's proposed loans. There is a risk that your parents may decide that if you are not going to cosign the loans, they will just take a large cash advance on your credit card to finance your brother's education themselves. They may even rationalise it as merely doing what you should have done. I wouldn't take the risk. I would contact the credit card company this very moment and remove your dad now before he even get a chance to consider how he could use the card to help your brother.

I would also note that your brother owes you $400. You don't need to write off that loss. You are already his creditor, and he is in default of his obligations to you. I would take steps to recover the $400. That will show that you are not a pushover. If you can prove the alleged theft, you can obtain a judgment for the debt in small claims court. Judgments are public records and will appear on the brother's credit report, making it harder for him to benefit from his dishonesty in the future.

cincystache

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I would also note that your brother owes you $400. You don't need to write off that loss. You are already his creditor, and he is in default of his obligations to you. I would take steps to recover the $400. That will show that you are not a pushover. If you can prove the alleged theft, you can obtain a judgment for the debt in small claims court. Judgments are public records and will appear on the brother's credit report, making it harder for him to benefit from his dishonesty in the future.

You don't mess around Cathy! Do you happen to be a lawyer?

cashstasherat23

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cashstasherat23, you might want to remove your dad as an authorised user right now, before you talk to your parents again about the brother's proposed loans. There is a risk that your parents may decide that if you are not going to cosign the loans, they will just take a large cash advance on your credit card to finance your brother's education themselves. They may even rationalise it as merely doing what you should have done. I wouldn't take the risk. I would contact the credit card company this very moment and remove your dad now before he even get a chance to consider how he could use the card to help your brother.

I would also note that your brother owes you $400. You don't need to write off that loss. You are already his creditor, and he is in default of his obligations to you. I would take steps to recover the $400. That will show that you are not a pushover. If you can prove the alleged theft, you can obtain a judgment for the debt in small claims court. Judgments are public records and will appear on the brother's credit report, making it harder for him to benefit from his dishonesty in the future.

The $400 is a bit of a complicated situation. It was actually a birthday present from my parents to me, which I felt uncomfortable about accepting anyway, as I don't need the cash (and know that they shouldn't really be just handing it out)...but it was intended to be used while myself and my two brothers were on a trip together in South Africa. Because I live away from the family on my own, my father deposited the money into my brothers account, intending for him to withdraw it and give it to me . We ended up using my credit card the entire time we were there for all of our expenses, as that was easier than finding ATMs, and I figured I would get extra CC points for it. The deal was that once we got back to the US he would give me the money my father gave me as a gift, and then some of his own to pay for the things that I paid for him (dinners, activities, etc), but instead spent it all on trips with his girlfriend and who knows what else, and has ignored messages from me asking about it.

As I don't need the money/honestly probably would have given it to him at that time if he had just asked for it/didn't feel comfortable taking it from my parents in the first place, I consider it more so a good lesson in my brother's character. I think I'd rather not pursue it, but definitely will be wary of lending or accepting any money in the future.


ETA: Yes, I realize more and more as I type all this out just how crazy my family sounds. 

Mississippi Mudstache

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Geez, this is worse than when my financially irresponsible mom had co-checking accounts with my financially irresponsible brother and my financially responsible brother. When Brother 1 overdrafted on his checking account, and Mom had no money in her checking account to cover it, they just pulled the money out of Brother 2's checking account, who had been working all summer to save up money to buy a car. Not good for family harmony! You've gotten good advice, so please don't co-sign your brother's loans!

AlwaysLearningToSave

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cashstasherat23, you might want to remove your dad as an authorised user right now, before you talk to your parents again about the brother's proposed loans. There is a risk that your parents may decide that if you are not going to cosign the loans, they will just take a large cash advance on your credit card to finance your brother's education themselves. They may even rationalise it as merely doing what you should have done. I wouldn't take the risk. I would contact the credit card company this very moment and remove your dad now before he even get a chance to consider how he could use the card to help your brother.

Cathy brings up a valid concern.  At least consider immediately imposing a limit on how much he can charge on the card and ensure he is not authorized to take cash advances.  The limit should be low enough that you are comfortable paying it off yourself if your dad doesn't make good. 

I would also note that your brother owes you $400. You don't need to write off that loss. You are already his creditor, and he is in default of his obligations to you. I would take steps to recover the $400. That will show that you are not a pushover. If you can prove the alleged theft, you can obtain a judgment for the debt in small claims court. Judgments are public records and will appear on the brother's credit report, making it harder for him to benefit from his dishonesty in the future.

I don't know that I would go this far because of the potential it has to burn bridges with your brother and other family members.  But that is your decision that depends on how important the relationships are to you.  If he doesn't know that you know he stole the money, then it might be worth calling him out on it so that he knows he was caught and won't be able to do it again.  I would likely just chalk the $400 bucks up as tuition to the school of hard knocks and make for damned sure he can't steal from you again.   

Cassie

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I would not take him to small claims court either. That is like using a sledgehammer to kill an ant.  I would however, close the CC account-say you lost the card & then get a new one without your dad.

gillstone

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If you decide to cancel the card, you should be honest about why.  You may disagree with your parents and have issues with how they handle money, but to lie is to say you don't respect them.  Given what you've written, I think you respect them, even if they frustrate you.

bsmith

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Suggestions:
1. Don't try to justify yourself. Set boundaries and stick to them. Get these people away from your finances.
2. Don't lie about why you're doing anything. That's bad for you and your family.
3. This IS your family, so don't take them to court over peanuts.
4. Think about the future, specifically that these people will be in your life. Don't be a liar now, or a jerk about any of this, because it will come back to haunt you later. Be calm, respectful, don't talk too much about your reasons, and close these issues once and for all.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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I agree, you should close your dad's card right now and tell him about it. Your brother might just take it. Thieves are thieves.

cashstasherat23

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If you decide to cancel the card, you should be honest about why.  You may disagree with your parents and have issues with how they handle money, but to lie is to say you don't respect them.  Given what you've written, I think you respect them, even if they frustrate you.

I definitely do respect them, and of course am thankful for the opportunities they have given me so far. However, I really don't agree with the way that they spend, and no longer want to be wrapped up in it.

I don't intend to cancel the card, but I would like to remove my father from the card. Besides the risk, it's annoying each month to have to chase him down for the payments, and worry about it, especially when I only charge very small amounts on there and he's billing hundreds. I don't believe he'd stick me with the bill, but would rather not keep doing this.

Faraday

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Could really use some mustachian advice on what to do here!
...insane stuff here...

In my gut I know it's the worst decision I could make, but also feel incredibly put on the spot and uncomfortable. How can I say no...its family!

Are there any suggestions I could give my family to help them figure out how to pay for his school, without me having to put my name on this train wreck?

It's IMPORTANT for you to say no. What if you meet someone and want to get married? You gonna bring that debt to the relationship like a nasty, puke-filled sock.

Ya wanna know how else this is gonna play out? In addition to your brother being an (apparent) asshole, he's gonna get angry with you being his debt-holder. he's going to be rebellious, irresponsible and angry.

This is gonna go way, way worse if you say YES vs. if you say NO.

There IS one important thing you can bring to the table here to support your "No": Tell your parents you want to get married and have babies someday, but you won't be able to do that if you have a debt obligation hanging over your head"

Any grandparents who would sacrifice a potential future grandbaby for co-signing a loan need their heads examined....

cashstasherat23

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Could really use some mustachian advice on what to do here!
...insane stuff here...

In my gut I know it's the worst decision I could make, but also feel incredibly put on the spot and uncomfortable. How can I say no...its family!

Are there any suggestions I could give my family to help them figure out how to pay for his school, without me having to put my name on this train wreck?

It's IMPORTANT for you to say no. What if you meet someone and want to get married? You gonna bring that debt to the relationship like a nasty, puke-filled sock.

Ya wanna know how else this is gonna play out? In addition to your brother being an (apparent) asshole, he's gonna get angry with you being his debt-holder. he's going to be rebellious, irresponsible and angry.

This is gonna go way, way worse if you say YES vs. if you say NO.

There IS one important thing you can bring to the table here to support your "No": Tell your parents you want to get married and have babies someday, but you won't be able to do that if you have a debt obligation hanging over your head"

Any grandparents who would sacrifice a potential future grandbaby for co-signing a loan need their heads examined....


Thinking more of a nomadic, traveling around the world, living where I want, unattached kind of life, but even more so, I would like to be able to travel around debt-free and FI, without someone else's student loans hanging over my head!

GizmoTX

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As I don't need the money/honestly probably would have given it to him at that time if he had just asked for it/didn't feel comfortable taking it from my parents in the first place, I consider it more so a good lesson in my brother's character. I think I'd rather not pursue it, but definitely will be wary of lending or accepting any money in the future.

The fact that you don't "need" the money doesn't change the fact that your brother failed to do what he promised to. I agree that you should not legally pursue YB, but do think you should let both YB & parents know that not only are you aware that he kept your money, that has destroyed your trust in him & is the prime reason you will not co-sign. if he repays you, still do not co-sign. Actions (& lack of them) have consequences, which YB still has not learned.

Suggest you immediately stop saying you don't need money -- this plays into YB's help himself attitude & parents regarding you as a financial resource. Years from now you may be in a position to make gifts to them, but by your choice.

domo

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OMG, I did this!
Don't do it. It's a terrible idea. My parents had been burned before, cosigning for a brand new Suzuki coupe that lasted for three days before he totaled it without having gotten insurance first. They refused any further assistance. He never paid them back.
Later he wanted to turn his life around and get a good paying job, so I cosigned for my brother's very small $5,000 loan to get his CDL. He didn't even tell me before defaulting on it after the second payment! I am very glad they called me before sending the account to collections. I paid it off immediately with a low interest loan (as I didn't have that amount in liquid assets), then paid that loan off in a few months. Over the years he has paid me back <$600 of the $5000. He worked as a driver for only three months before quitting (with no job leads!).

Your brother will not learn if people keep bailing him out. It's a fact of life.

I am glad to say that my brother did eventually get things straight. He had to hit rock bottom first, though. I love my brother, he's always been a very kind person. He never meant to screw my parents or me over financially. He just needed to learn that lesson to really wake up to the responsibility.

cashstasherat23

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As I don't need the money/honestly probably would have given it to him at that time if he had just asked for it/didn't feel comfortable taking it from my parents in the first place, I consider it more so a good lesson in my brother's character. I think I'd rather not pursue it, but definitely will be wary of lending or accepting any money in the future.

The fact that you don't "need" the money doesn't change the fact that your brother failed to do what he promised to. I agree that you should not legally pursue YB, but do think you should let both YB & parents know that not only are you aware that he kept your money, that has destroyed your trust in him & is the prime reason you will not co-sign. if he repays you, still do not co-sign. Actions (& lack of them) have consequences, which YB still has not learned.

Suggest you immediately stop saying you don't need money -- this plays into YB's help himself attitude & parents regarding you as a financial resource. Years from now you may be in a position to make gifts to them, but by your choice.

Very true. The parents are also both aware of this, and have said they will "talk to him," but nothing has come of it.

Faraday

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As I don't need the money/honestly probably would have given it to him at that time if he had just asked for it/didn't feel comfortable taking it from my parents in the first place, I consider it more so a good lesson in my brother's character. I think I'd rather not pursue it, but definitely will be wary of lending or accepting any money in the future.

The fact that you don't "need" the money doesn't change the fact that your brother failed to do what he promised to. I agree that you should not legally pursue YB, but do think you should let both YB & parents know that not only are you aware that he kept your money, that has destroyed your trust in him & is the prime reason you will not co-sign. if he repays you, still do not co-sign. Actions (& lack of them) have consequences, which YB still has not learned.

Suggest you immediately stop saying you don't need money -- this plays into YB's help himself attitude & parents regarding you as a financial resource. Years from now you may be in a position to make gifts to them, but by your choice.


OMG yeah - I missed that. GizmoTX +1 on that. I NEVER UTTER THOSE WORDS. Saying those words reveals too much about your own situation and enables people who will attempt to victimize you.

re: "Potential grandkid" - I'm with you on wanting to travel around the world - awesome. But hey, the possibility IS a card you can play!

cashstasherat23

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As I don't need the money/honestly probably would have given it to him at that time if he had just asked for it/didn't feel comfortable taking it from my parents in the first place, I consider it more so a good lesson in my brother's character. I think I'd rather not pursue it, but definitely will be wary of lending or accepting any money in the future.

The fact that you don't "need" the money doesn't change the fact that your brother failed to do what he promised to. I agree that you should not legally pursue YB, but do think you should let both YB & parents know that not only are you aware that he kept your money, that has destroyed your trust in him & is the prime reason you will not co-sign. if he repays you, still do not co-sign. Actions (& lack of them) have consequences, which YB still has not learned.

Suggest you immediately stop saying you don't need money -- this plays into YB's help himself attitude & parents regarding you as a financial resource. Years from now you may be in a position to make gifts to them, but by your choice.


OMG yeah - I missed that. GizmoTX +1 on that. I NEVER UTTER THOSE WORDS. Saying those words reveals too much about your own situation and enables people who will attempt to victimize you.

re: "Potential grandkid" - I'm with you on wanting to travel around the world - awesome. But hey, the possibility IS a card you can play!

I agree with that, and don't want to make it seem like I'm oh so rich that money ain't a thang, cause that's not true. But I also don't really feel comfortable accepting their money anymore. If it was a gift, that's one thing, but they still continue to offer things like cash for gas or food whenever I'm visiting them, which I really do not need, and don't want to accept. I'll have to work on phrasing that better, although I fear the damage is already done.

Faraday

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....
I agree with that, and don't want to make it seem like I'm oh so rich that money ain't a thang, cause that's not true. But I also don't really feel comfortable accepting their money anymore. If it was a gift, that's one thing, but they still continue to offer things like cash for gas or food whenever I'm visiting them, which I really do not need, and don't want to accept. I'll have to work on phrasing that better, although I fear the damage is already done.

What about accepting their cash paybacks and using it to start an investment fund for THEM? So they can see how little amounts can add up?

cashstasherat23

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....
I agree with that, and don't want to make it seem like I'm oh so rich that money ain't a thang, cause that's not true. But I also don't really feel comfortable accepting their money anymore. If it was a gift, that's one thing, but they still continue to offer things like cash for gas or food whenever I'm visiting them, which I really do not need, and don't want to accept. I'll have to work on phrasing that better, although I fear the damage is already done.

What about accepting their cash paybacks and using it to start an investment fund for THEM? So they can see how little amounts can add up?

Hm..good idea in theory, but I'd rather not meddle like that. Even with all of their terrible decisions and irresponsible spending, they tell me that they are "millionaires" with all of the money they have saved for retirement, and my mother also still has quite a good paying job ($100K+). They wrecked their credit, but at this point, I don't think an investment account for them would even make a difference...it's peanuts compared to what they supposedly have. And again, don't really want to get that involved in telling them how to live their lives. Would rather just extract myself and keep myself separate.

MissStache

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....
I agree with that, and don't want to make it seem like I'm oh so rich that money ain't a thang, cause that's not true. But I also don't really feel comfortable accepting their money anymore. If it was a gift, that's one thing, but they still continue to offer things like cash for gas or food whenever I'm visiting them, which I really do not need, and don't want to accept. I'll have to work on phrasing that better, although I fear the damage is already done.

What about accepting their cash paybacks and using it to start an investment fund for THEM? So they can see how little amounts can add up?

Hm..good idea in theory, but I'd rather not meddle like that. Even with all of their terrible decisions and irresponsible spending, they tell me that they are "millionaires" with all of the money they have saved for retirement, and my mother also still has quite a good paying job ($100K+). They wrecked their credit, but at this point, I don't think an investment account for them would even make a difference...it's peanuts compared to what they supposedly have. And again, don't really want to get that involved in telling them how to live their lives. Would rather just extract myself and keep myself separate.

"Thank you so much for the $XXXX.  I donated it to XXXX Charity!  I'm sure they will really appreciate it and it felt so good to be able to give a substantial amount."

coffeehound

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But I also don't really feel comfortable accepting their money anymore. If it was a gift, that's one thing, but they still continue to offer things like cash for gas or food whenever I'm visiting them, which I really do not need, and don't want to accept. I'll have to work on phrasing that better, although I fear the damage is already done.
[/quote]

No, thanks.  I budgeted for food/gas for this trip.

domo

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 And again, don't really want to get that involved in telling them how to live their lives. Would rather just extract myself and keep myself separate.


And there it is. You can't keep them from helping your brother, but you can remove yourself from the equation. You don't have to be a party to this. The fact that they asked you to do it shows that they have hesitations cosigning for your brother as well. Tell them that you don't support this decision and you can't be involved with them financially if they go through with it.

cashstasherat23

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 And again, don't really want to get that involved in telling them how to live their lives. Would rather just extract myself and keep myself separate.


And there it is. You can't keep them from helping your brother, but you can remove yourself from the equation. You don't have to be a party to this. The fact that they asked you to do it shows that they have hesitations cosigning for your brother as well. Tell them that you don't support this decision and you can't be involved with them financially if they go through with it.

Whoops may have missed an important detail here! Not that they are trying to put this on me rather than them do it...they have tried to co-sign his loans, and cannot get approval because of their terrible credit. Still doesn't change the fact that they really shouldn't have asked me though...

GizmoTX

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But I also don't really feel comfortable accepting their money anymore. If it was a gift, that's one thing, but they still continue to offer things like cash for gas or food whenever I'm visiting them, which I really do not need, and don't want to accept. I'll have to work on phrasing that better, although I fear the damage is already done.

Just say thanks but no thanks to all cash gifts from now on. This is a habit your parents are in, & may think is necessary to keep you all showing up. The gifts come with strings, as you are discovering. You are now a guest in their home, so it's actually more appropriate for you to bring a contribution of food or beverage to family events.

domo

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Whoops may have missed an important detail here! Not that they are trying to put this on me rather than them do it...they have tried to co-sign his loans, and cannot get approval because of their terrible credit. Still doesn't change the fact that they really shouldn't have asked me though...
In that case, just tell them no. Broach the subject of taking your Dad off your card later, it needs to be done but both at once may seem like a personal attack. Tell them that your brother will only learn by standing on his own two feet, and advise them to limit their support of him.

AlwaysLearningToSave

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Just say thanks but no thanks to all cash gifts from now on. This is a habit your parents are in, & may think is necessary to keep you all showing up. The gifts come with strings, as you are discovering.

+1.  The more I read, the more I think your family and my family have in common.  I also had to stop accepting "gifts" from my parents because I did not want the unspoken strings that were attached.  My mother never would have acknowledged that strings were attached--and I truly believe she did not believe there were strings attached-- but the strings were there. 

It's hard to refuse because you know you are making a decision that is directly contrary to your financial interests, at least in the short term.  But it is a small price to pay for freedom from the unfair expectations, unsolicited opinions, and emotional manipulation. 

BBub

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I disagree on broaching the subject with your Dad later.  Do it now.  Use this moment as a clear sign that things have gone too far & seize the opportunity to draw the line on commingling of family finances.  If not now, then when?  There will not be a better time.  I personally hate having that type of thing hanging over my head.  The killer bee analogy comes to mind.

AlwaysLearningToSave

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I disagree on broaching the subject with your Dad later.  Do it now.  Use this moment as a clear sign that things have gone too far & seize the opportunity to draw the line on commingling of family finances.  If not now, then when?  There will not be a better time. 

Yes.  Rip the band-aid off now. 

GizmoTX

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I disagree on broaching the subject with your Dad later.  Do it now.  Use this moment as a clear sign that things have gone too far & seize the opportunity to draw the line on commingling of family finances.  If not now, then when?  There will not be a better time. 

Yes.  Rip the band-aid off now.
+1
Earlier I suggested waiting for the monthly settlement, but now I too think you should remove your dad from your credit card ASAP.

Just so you know, you should calculate what your total college cost was & how much was covered by parent loans & direct payment.

MBot

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Just to chime in with another "please say NO!!!"

Zamboni

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cashstasherat23, you might want to remove your dad as an authorised user right now, before you talk to your parents again about the brother's proposed loans. There is a risk that your parents may decide that if you are not going to cosign the loans, they will just take a large cash advance on your credit card to finance your brother's education themselves. They may even rationalise it as merely doing what you should have done. I wouldn't take the risk. I would contact the credit card company this very moment and remove your dad now before he even get a chance to consider how he could use the card to help your brother.

I'm going to reiterate Cathy's advice here. Your parents are not behaving rationally in this matter. If they are sitting on such a big pile of cash, then why don't THEY loan your brother the money from their own retirement accounts? Oh, that's right, because that is a terrible idea! Just like asking your child to co-sign another child's student loan is a terrible idea. So, it makes me wonder what other irrational ideas or actions they will pursue . . .

You may think that your Dad (or Mom) would never do something like take a couple of $10K cash advances from your card (in this case for the "good reason" of helping your brother, of course) without asking or telling you about it, but I had a family member do exactly that to me once. Prior to it happening, I never would have thought the person would do something like that. Thankfully in my case the second cash advance attempt triggered an "usually high cash advances" request flag and they called me because it tripped a fraud-control wire in their computer system. I immediately closed the account on the phone as the caller recommended, but there was nothing they could do about the first $10K already advanced since the advance went to an authorized user, which they don't consider fraud. I had to get a lawyer involved to make the other person held responsible for paying that money back.

So, take your Dad off the card. Just tell him that you are taking him off so he doesn't get embarrassed by a declined card, and suggest that a prepaid card (like a Serve card or Target Redcard) is probably his best bet for places where he needs to use credit cards. He doesn't need to be "building back up his credit" while he is in bankruptcy. Probably plenty of companies will offer him cards either way once enough time has passed. He just wants the convenience of having a credit card, and he is taking advantage of your kindness in the process. It sounds to me like both your parents and brother need to be on "cash only" for awhile since they've proven they can't handle credit responsibly.

Oh, and I'll third (fourth? fifth?) that your "No" should from this day ever forward be "We've already discussed this and I'm not changing my answer. I'm not going to discuss it with you anymore. Thank you for your consideration." You are under absolutely no obligation to call them to discuss is further.

11ducks

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Figure out what you owe your parents for college, and start paying them back at a few hundred a month. That way, they have the cash to front for your brother to pay for classes, if that's what they choose to do with it. It would be frustrating if they were that stupid, but, as they apparently are, you can assuage your own guilt by ensuring you owe them nothing.

JAYSLOL

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Crazy thread, count me with the NO votes.  That kid needs to earn his way through school. 

GoldenNeko

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Please OP, keep saying no and DO remove your parents from your credit card.

My little sister is like your brother. She borrowed money from all of her siblings (me included), lived for free a whole year at my older sister's home (yet never helped pay any food or brought a gift) and although she was working, she was spending all her money in crazy things. Debts were not her concern, she felt is was normal people helped her. She never even gave back a single euro.

Stop enabling this. Protect yourself. This kind of people cannot be helped. Their own behavior creates their own doom. Don't risk your own assets with someone like that. Especially if your brother already owes you money he doesn't want to give back.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2015, 07:05:09 AM by GoldenNeko »

MidWestLove

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Wow. OP - 3 pages and you still need support?!

Stop (expletive) apologizing, stop worrying. Fuck no! move on. don't you have a life to live that does not involve worrying about things that do not need to be worried about.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2015, 09:07:03 AM by MidWestLove »

Kaikou

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But I also don't really feel comfortable accepting their money anymore. If it was a gift, that's one thing, but they still continue to offer things like cash for gas or food whenever I'm visiting them, which I really do not need, and don't want to accept. I'll have to work on phrasing that better, although I fear the damage is already done.

Just say thanks but no thanks to all cash gifts from now on. This is a habit your parents are in, & may think is necessary to keep you all showing up. The gifts come with strings, as you are discovering. You are now a guest in their home, so it's actually more appropriate for you to bring a contribution of food or beverage to family events.

"Remember that 400$ we gave you for your birthday? Yeah we need it for the mortgage. Thanks son."

Yeah money should be a no topic for your family.

BrickByBrick

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No.  The advice on this thread is solid.  Enablers will continue to enable until they can't afford too anymore, then they'll turn to you.  Your brother is using your parents to guilt trip you.  That they would even ask for you to co-sign on their behalf makes it sound like they are far closer to the abyss than you might realize.  Immediately place a low limit on your father's credit limit with the goal of getting him off you card ASAP.

As others have mentioned, tell your parents your brother can contact you directly.  When/If he does, tell him he doesn't owe you that $400, forgive him that debt so you both can move on.  If he asks about co-signing, give him all the reasons you want, so long as the answer is a clear and firm NO.

Your family has to change their behavior.  They may (or will) go ballistic.  Hold on and don't give in to their guilt trips.  If they threaten to or do cut off contact with you, that is 100% on them and had absolutely nothing to do with you.

Paul der Krake

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Somewhere on page 3 of this thread it was disclosed that the family is struggling financially even though OP's parents' income is still over 6 figures.

At this level of cluelessness, all bets are off. Take Cathy's first piece of advice (removing Dad from the card), and consider the lost $400 a cheap warning that helped you see the writing on the wall before you got sucked into much bigger amounts.


GizmoTX

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No.  The advice on this thread is solid.  Enablers will continue to enable until they can't afford too anymore, then they'll turn to you.  Your brother is using your parents to guilt trip you.  That they would even ask for you to co-sign on their behalf makes it sound like they are far closer to the abyss than you might realize.  Immediately place a low limit on your father's credit limit with the goal of getting him off you card ASAP.

As others have mentioned, tell your parents your brother can contact you directly.  When/If he does, tell him he doesn't owe you that $400, forgive him that debt so you both can move on.  If he asks about co-signing, give him all the reasons you want, so long as the answer is a clear and firm NO.

Your family has to change their behavior.  They may (or will) go ballistic.  Hold on and don't give in to their guilt trips.  If they threaten to or do cut off contact with you, that is 100% on them and had absolutely nothing to do with you.

Expect the guilt trip. When I was 21 & told my dad I was engaged, his first comment was that he would "cut me off" rather than congratulations. By then I was mainly living away at university & paying my own way, so it was clearly a meaningless threat. After our wedding, we immediately moved several states away for jobs, which really helped us be frugal & find our own way. Two years later my grandmother's will put $10K into a 10 year trust for him because she didn't think he'd hold on to it, & made me the trustee. He hounded me constantly to break it, finally hanging up on me when I again told him no. He didn't contact me for a year after that, which by then was a sad relief. I hope something like this doesn't happen to you, but you need to be strong.

Argyle

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So OP, have you said no to co-signing yet?  And have you taken your father off your credit card yet?

Kaikou

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So OP, have you said no to co-signing yet?  And have you taken your father off your credit card yet?
He said no to the cosign, but the guilting and I'm so disappointed in you and we'll talk more later started. Poor guy.

Where's the update?

NoraLenderbee

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So OP, have you said no to co-signing yet?  And have you taken your father off your credit card yet?
He said no to the cosign, but the guilting and I'm so disappointed in you and we'll talk more later started. Poor guy.

Where's the update?

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/parents-just-asked-me-make-the-worst-financial-decision-please-help!/msg776702/#msg776702

bsmith

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Good thinking having that conversation by phone, and in a situation where you couldn't spend a lot of time discussing it. Nice strategy. Now if it comes up again, you can say, "We've already discussed this, and I'm not going to go through it again."

Looking forward to an update on the credit card issue as well.

Basenji

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Last time on "The Parent Trap" (Update 1 from OP)
Have you responded yet?  How did it go?

(Put me in the "no, NO, NO!!!!" camp on this one, BTW.)

I did respond, but it didn't go as smoothly as I'd hoped. I actually was out on a date, but stepped away quickly to call them, as I knew they we're waiting to hear from me. I told my mom, and she was not happy about it. She just said why not? And I told her that I couldn't make that kind of commitment, and some of the other reasons given. She didn't accept it, but said we could talk about it later. She sounded really disappointed, and maybe a little angry. I'll have to give the family a call again later tonight to discuss, but I was truly not expecting that reaction...although I'm shocked she asked me too, so I guess I don't know her as well as I thought! Will definitely keep you all posted on the situation as it evolves.
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« Last Edit: August 23, 2015, 10:31:24 AM by Basenji »

Basenji

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Update 2ish

Yeahhhh...I kind of got into explaining reasons last night, and just started rambling. Going to keep it much more concise tonight and just say no. Will need to work up to asking my dad to get off my credit card, but that's a whole other thing that will take a few weeks to figure out.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2015, 10:32:43 AM by Basenji »

Basenji

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Side detail, which makes parents' behavior even more curious

Hm..good idea in theory, but I'd rather not meddle like that. Even with all of their terrible decisions and irresponsible spending, they tell me that they are "millionaires" with all of the money they have saved for retirement, and my mother also still has quite a good paying job ($100K+). They wrecked their credit, but at this point, I don't think an investment account for them would even make a difference...it's peanuts compared to what they supposedly have. And again, don't really want to get that involved in telling them how to live their lives. Would rather just extract myself and keep myself separate.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2015, 10:41:39 AM by Basenji »

Argyle

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You don't have to "ask" your dad to get off your credit card it's not his decision, it's your card.  You can tell him, in a calm and kind manner, that you've reviewed things and you've removed him from the card, and you wish him every kind of luck going forward.

When people don't like the changes someone makes, they have a "Change back!" reaction it's a kind of emotional manipulation to try to get back to the old ways, the ways that were more advantageous to them and their (often dysfunctional) behavior.  That's completely standard.  When they see that you're serious, and that you're not angry or emotional, you're just determined and moving ahead, they'll calm down.  Right now they're just testing to see if they can manipulate you into continuing to play the game.  (The game right here seems to be "Buy into unwise financial decisions." Both your brother and your parents are heavily invested in this game.)  But you won't, end of story.  As the saying goes, "You don't have to show up at every argument you're invited to."  They'll try withholding affection, levying disapproval, various accusations of how you don't care and you're not supportive of the family.  That's all smoke and mirrors for "Buy into unwise financial decisions."  It's like a toddler screaming because he can't have ice cream for dinner.  All you have to do is hold fast and not let their emotionality make you emotional.  It will pass over.

Rosy

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OP - if there are any loans left that your parents co-signed, but you did not pay them off - get the info and pay them off. Given the financial situation they are in, that seems a morally right thing to do. Sure, you don't have to, but then again your Dad went bankrupt, but still he has to pay on the student loans, since they are not forgiven even in a bankruptcy.

If you sat down with your Dad and offered to pay your own student loans (the ones they co-signed on) - then, if he really felt the obligation to finance your brothers college tuition - he could do so. It is their decision, but you may want to ever so carefully point out why you think it is a bad idea.

You, however, say HELL NO, to co-signing for your brother! That is not your obligation. I get that he is family, but in this case your gut tells you NO and based on his past deeds - I would say it is in your best interest to say loud and clear - NO. He would destroy your plans and go partying - say NO.

TomTX

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1) Fuck, no. No naked cosigning ever.* However, you will happily give your brother a gift of $400. Coincidentally, he already spent it. It's not worth the heartache of trying to get repayment from a deadbeat relative.

2) Get your Dad off your card. Now. He should get his own.

3) What the fuck? They make $100k and can't make ends meet?

*Only exception to cosigning is if you are already covered 100%, such as using the loan as a no-risk financial tool to help build credit. ie - my sister gives me $10k, I cosign an $8k loan and make the payments to help her build credit.

GizmoTX

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You don't have to "ask" your dad to get off your credit card it's not his decision, it's your card.  You can tell him, in a calm and kind manner, that you've reviewed things and you've removed him from the card, and you wish him every kind of luck going forward.

When people don't like the changes someone makes, they have a "Change back!" reaction it's a kind of emotional manipulation to try to get back to the old ways, the ways that were more advantageous to them and their (often dysfunctional) behavior.  That's completely standard.  When they see that you're serious, and that you're not angry or emotional, you're just determined and moving ahead, they'll calm down.  Right now they're just testing to see if they can manipulate you into continuing to play the game.  (The game right here seems to be "Buy into unwise financial decisions." Both your brother and your parents are heavily invested in this game.)  But you won't, end of story.  As the saying goes, "You don't have to show up at every argument you're invited to."  They'll try withholding affection, levying disapproval, various accusations of how you don't care and you're not supportive of the family.  That's all smoke and mirrors for "Buy into unwise financial decisions."  It's like a toddler screaming because he can't have ice cream for dinner.  All you have to do is hold fast and not let their emotionality make you emotional.  It will pass over.
+1

OP, you don't need the credit card angst hanging over your head every month, wondering if/when your dad will pay. Removing him helps with boundaries. It's high time for your parent to figure out how to handle spending without your card.

My mother came to me in tears (21 years ago) because two of my sibs were on her card & not reimbursing her for their charges after they were no longer all living in the same house. She could barely afford the minimum payment & the debt was building. Yet she couldn't bring herself to drop them because "what if they had an emergency?" Looking back at all their charges showed absolutely no emergency & no consideration for poor dear mom. Oh, yes, my sibs were furious at both of us when told the bank of mom was closed, but they got over it.