Author Topic: UPDATE: Parents ask me to make worst financial decision imaginable...  (Read 55661 times)

cashstasherat23

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

The situation: woke up to a text this morning asking if I would consider co-signing for my brothers student loans. Cue instant sick feeling, and immediate NO reaction.

Out of my entire family, I am the most financially responsible. Two years out of college, will pay off the last of my $30k in student loans this year, and then planned to shift gears and skyrocket my savings for a retirement in my mid-20s.

My parents: used to be upper middle class, dad lost his job, mom still had hers. Continued to live UMC lifestyle, tried to open a business that went out of business, declared bankruptcy. They have cooled down a lot on spending, but still live pretty extravagantly in my eyes. I have made my dad an authorized user on my credit card to help build credit, and so far has been ok. He always pays, although often not the full payment. Any interest he accrues, he also pays. I don't love the situation, but trust my dad wouldn't leave me with the bill.

My brother: alright kid, but completely and totally irresponsible. He was going to school to be an engineer, failed out due to too much partying and going to see his gf, went to community college for a year, and is now trying to go back to another university. He has a part time job, but spends all the money he makes on alcohol and going out to eat with his girlfriend. He's also dishonest, and has stolen $400 from me recently. He also has screwed my other brother over with not paying him for things he promised he would pay for, leaving my other brother stuck with the bill.

I have yet to talk to my parents, as they asked late last night and I was asleep, but know that they will promise that if he doesn't pay, they will pay. I feel more comfortable with that, but what if something happens to them?

I know that my brother is not the type to pay off his loans quickly, like I have. If I sign for this, I feel like I'll have it hanging over my head for the next 30 years, or more, in a best case scenario where he actually pays. Then, what if he moves away, or just decides to stop paying?

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?


UPDATE: I told my parents no, they did not react well but have not asked me since. Will be calling them again to discuss the situation with the credit cards, and get my father off the card, but so far it seems like all is quiet and they have accepted my decision to not co-sign.  Thanks for the great advice.

UPDATE 2: Had another awkward conversation with my mother a few days after that first call, and it seemed like although I had told her no, she was determined to get those loans one way or another. I was actually nervous, because I although I didn't think she would go behind my back, I knew she knew my social security number, and the thought crossed my mind that she might do it anyway. However, I talked with them again last night and it seems that they've figured out another way to help my brother, although they haven't said what that is. Also on the phone call last night I finally brought up with my father that I'd like for him to stop using my cards. He joked around about it, and asked me what the big deal was because he was helping my credit score (which I know is not true), but I could also tell that he was hurt. That was confirmed this morning, when my mom texted me to tell me that he was very hurt, and to ask me what happened, what brought this on, etc... and also mentioned that they have always supported me.

I didn't want to discuss via text message, but have a hard time standing up to them on the phone and always cave in, so I just finished penning a very long email to explain to them where I'm coming from, and why I don't want to do this anymore. I just hit send, and actually feel very nervous and sick to my stomach, as I feel like a traitor to the family and am worried that they will not understand, but I hope that they understand where I'm coming from. I guess that this would have had to happen eventually, so it's better that I do this sooner rather than later, but it's an awful feeling!

You'll all be happy to know that as intended, I also offered to pay for the student loans that they took out in my name, as well as to remove myself from the family cell phone plan, rather than pay them the money for my portion every month as I've been doing, as I really would like to be fully responsible for myself financially. I also told them that I appreciate everything they have done for me thus far and don't want them to think for a second that I don't, but this is a completely different situation that I don't want to be a part of anymore.

I hope that they understand, and that this doesn't cause a huge rift in my family. Very nervous, but hoping that this is the right thing to do. Thanks for all of your input, MMM friends!
« Last Edit: September 01, 2015, 09:31:07 AM by cashstasherat23 »

Kris

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Quite honestly, I would give them all the reasons you wrote. Just the fact that he stole from you is reason enough. But all of these very clear signs of irresponsibility, plus the fact that he has not shown any effort to reform himself, plus the fact that he wasn't enough of a grown-up to ask you himself, but that your parents had to do it... All signs point to him not being mature enough to use the loan responsibly and take college seriously, much less pay it back.

To do this, I would say, would border on enabling behavior.  Your brother isn't yet adult enough to succeed. When he is, he will figure out how to do this on his own.

AlwaysLearningToSave

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Just say no.  And don't try to explain yourself or give justifications, because then you will get into a never-ending discussion of why you should or should not do so and you will likely never be able to convince them that your reasons are correct.  They will try to play the family card and twist your arm into doing it even though you know doing so is a potentially terrible financial decision.

A question I have is why does he need a co-signor for student loans?  Doesn't he have access to federal student loans without the requirement of a co-signor?  The fact they are looking for a co-signor suggests to me that they are looking at private student loans, which makes me think that perhaps these loans would be over and above the federal student loans available, which makes me feel even stronger that you should run, not walk, away from this.

The one justification I can think of that your family might understand is that you don't ever want to be in the position of being a creditor of your brother because it would strain the family relationship.  Consigning the loans would potentially place you in the position of being a creditor of your brother if you ever had to make good on the loans.  Therefore, you won't cosign.  But again, you don't need to explain your decision.  Just say no.

MissStache

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Gads, what an awful situation!  Can't believe your parents even asked you to do that.

I know when I'm faced with an emotional and awkward situation like this, I'm way better in writing than in person, because I get cry-y and off track.  Could you write an email similar to this post, outlining the reasons why you don't want to do it?  I'd start the email with an emphatic no and end with an emphatic no, just to be clear where your position is.

Good luck!  And stay strong! 

rubybeth

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I would say no, absolutely not; he should be able to go to school on whatever the minimum subsidized loans are he can qualify for. If that means going to community college or state school and living at home or with lots of roommates and working while in school, so be it. It sounds like he needs to learn some responsibility anyway, so doing these things would be a step in the right direction. If he won't do these things, maybe he shouldn't be going to college yet.

I have a cousin doing just what I described above, so I know it's do-able--she's working a full time retail job and getting as much overtime as she can this summer, living with parents, and will be able to afford most of her tuition for the next year at the nearby university. She's also going to continue working part-time once school begins, and her parents are maybe going to kick in about $1,000 to help her out, if needed. Tuition is running about $8,000 a year for off campus residents taking 15 credits each semester, plus books.

Erica/NWEdible

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No! No! No! No! No!

My mom used to tell me to "listen to my little voice" when making a decision. Your little voice is clearly screaming at you that this is a terrible idea.

Just tell your parents you aren't comfortable legally binding your finances to your brothers. Stay strong. Do not waver. Do not compromise. Do not feel guilty about it.

Good luck, man.

Another Reader

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Your parents have enabled this brother's irresponsibility all his life.  Now they want you to take over the enabling.  The answer is no.  You need to protect yourself and no guilt is warranted here.

mtn

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Just tell them No. If they ask why not, tell them you're not in a position to do that. If they disagree, tell them all the reasons why you're in a position not to do that.

GizmoTX

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You say (hell) no, period. And advise the rest of your family to do the same.  Your brother had his chance at college & he blew it. He alone is responsible for funding the rest of his life, with or without college. He is already showing what his priorities are. People do manage to get an education without student loans -- it's time your brother figures this out for himself. He needs his skin in the game, not yours.

I would be put off if my parents expected me to take on the liability for a sibling's bad choices. You are correct in assuming that you would likely be making the payments. Don't do it, even if your family threatens to be mad at you.

bsmith

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Do not do this. No. NO.

little_brown_dog

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Re: Parents just asked me make the worst financial decision, please help!
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2015, 07:46:52 AM »
ďIím really sorry but Iím still paying off my own student loans. I really canít take on any more debt.Ē

What reasonable parent would disagree?

Basenji

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Re: Parents just asked me make the worst financial decision, please help!
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2015, 07:51:55 AM »
No fucking way. And don't get into reasons, you don't want that debate. Just say you are regretfully unable to. Even bringing up the stealing is bad juju. So sorry you have to deal with this.

AlwaysLearningToSave

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Re: Parents just asked me make the worst financial decision, please help!
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2015, 08:01:13 AM »
ďIím really sorry but Iím still paying off my own student loans. I really canít take on any more debt.Ē

What reasonable parent would disagree?

I agree that no reasonable parent would disagree.  But the fact they have already asked shows that OP's parents are NOT reasonable.  Therefore, OP should not try to reason with them.  Just say no.  Don't explain.  Just say no. 

cashstasherat23

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Re: Parents just asked me make the worst financial decision, please help!
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2015, 08:14:44 AM »
Thanks for the emphatic no's everyone!

They do enable this brother, and he did have the same chances that we other two siblings had in the beginning with college, and he messed them up. Since he failed out the first time, he's been living at home while going to CC, but not saving, and rather spending like crazy. They even still give him money for gas and to take his girlfriend out for dinner, and he's 21! He is the baby of the family and everyone treats him as so, but I CANNOT do this and have him ruin my finances. I 100% agree it's time for him to grow up and start handling his own problems.

I do feel bad because I have talked money with my parents quite a bit...they know that I am rapidly paying off my loans and starting to invest heavily, but that I am very frugal and responsible even though I have money. I regret telling them so much about my strong financial situation, but they are the ones I go to for advice, and normally they are very reasonable and helpful. They also co-signed for my loans when I was starting school, but I feel like that was a very different situation. I am really mad at them for putting me in this position, but hopefully they will understand.

Jack

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Re: Parents just asked me make the worst financial decision, please help!
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2015, 08:17:43 AM »
I'm kind of a jerk, so I would respond by meme:




fitfrugalfab

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Re: Parents just asked me make the worst financial decision, please help!
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2015, 08:21:46 AM »
I'm sorry you are put in this position. I come from a family in which it is unspoken that everyone has to take care of each other fiscally, which my DH and I don't agree with (long story, won't bother getting into it).

I would simply say "I don't have the means to leverage myself to help him right now. I really hope it works out but I simply can't afford to help him." Hopefully your family doesn't know enough about your finances to call you out on this. If your family digs for details, simply say you're uncomfortable talking about it. It might be awkward with your family for a bit, but hopefully the situation ends there and is never brought up again.

 I understand what it's like to be fiscally responsible and others aren't, and because of it you feel this weird burden that shouldn't have been placed on you in the first place. You're essentially getting punished because you made sacrifices to be in the position where you are in while others decided just to spend when they shouldn't have been.

If you give in to co-signing with your bother, I guarantee it won't stop there. I've seen it first hand. It will probably snow ball with homes, cars, his kids college, et. all because you said yes one time. I know he's your family but this is a position where you need to think about number one: yourself. It wasn't your decision for your brother to go to college so why do you need to foot the bill?

I know I may sound harsh but I emphasize so much with your situation and unfortunately, tough love is the only way out of this one.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2015, 08:24:08 AM by fitfrugalfab »

fb132

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Re: Parents just asked me make the worst financial decision, please help!
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2015, 08:21:56 AM »

I do feel bad because I have talked money with my parents quite a bit...they know that I am rapidly paying off my loans and starting to invest heavily, but that I am very frugal and responsible even though I have money. I regret telling them so much about my strong financial situation, but they are the ones I go to for advice, and normally they are very reasonable and helpful. They also co-signed for my loans when I was starting school, but I feel like that was a very different situation. I am really mad at them for putting me in this position, but hopefully they will understand.

THEY decided to co-sign for your loans, your brothers are not your kids, it is not your responsibility to take care of your brothers. You can offer them advice if they wish, but they are adults and shouldn't be sucking your blood dry. If you co-sign, you will be paying those loans and whatever dreams you have with your money will be delayed big time.

i do understand your situation, my family is the samething, they suck with money and they usually come after me. I don't mind helping out my parents, but the rest of my family (like my cousins), I refuse to help them out. I am not their banker.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2015, 08:25:03 AM by fb132 »

I'm a red panda

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Re: Parents just asked me make the worst financial decision, please help!
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2015, 08:36:59 AM »
No. No. Absolutely not. No.

I would never cosign for anyone for anything.  Honestly, parents shouldn't really even cosign for loans for their kids, unless they just intended to take the loan out themselves.

Just say no.

Strong financial situation or not, you likely do not have the money to pay for someone else to go to college. And that is exactly what you will be doing by cosigning his loans.  You say you have your own loans! Clearly, you don't have millions just sitting around.


Normally, I would say maybe there is something else you could do (like offer a rent free room if you are near the school?) but the brother you described, I don't think I'd do that either.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2015, 08:38:54 AM by iowajes »

Tbill

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Say No and feel great about it. I have a brother with a similar reputation and I have had to tell him no, but I dont regret it and life moves on. I feel he respects me more because he knows he cant steam roll me like he does other people.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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No, and the next time you ask, I am mailing you a box of warm raw chicken.

That last part might be a felony, I think I saw something on @CrimeADay about that. But seriously. No.

cashstasherat23

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Say No and feel great about it. I have a brother with a similar reputation and I have had to tell him no, but I dont regret it and life moves on. I feel he respects me more because he knows he cant steam roll me like he does other people.

Yeah well, that's the other thing that make me think 100% no. He used to be a great kid, but has turned into kind of an asshole in the past few years, and only thinks of himself and his girlfriend, and partying with his friends. He has not asked me for it himself, and he has done similar things in the past, where if he wants something from me, he'll have my mom call.  I wouldn't feel comfortable lending him $50 and expecting to see it back, let alone tens of thousands.

GizmoTX

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Re: Parents just asked me make the worst financial decision, please help!
« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2015, 08:48:30 AM »
OP, mixed in with this is your challenge to change your child-parent relationship to an adult-adult one. The responsible child wants to please parents, but this dynamic has to change for you to become an autonomous adult. I am not saying abandon your relatives, but don't let them pull a guilt trip on you either. Your role now is to create your own family of loved ones & friends.

It sounds as if your parents believe that your brother will only move out on his own when he has a college degree and/or that it's their obligation to provide him with one, including making you part of the means. You already know they should be charging him rent, not funding his playtime. Their decisions, & it's not helping your brother. Your parents are already anticipating your brother not paying you when they promise to pay if/when that happens, when they already piggyback on your credit card. That should stop too, BTW.




GoodStash BadStache

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Re: Parents just asked me make the worst financial decision, please help!
« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2015, 08:50:44 AM »
I predict it would be a personal/family disaster to cosign for a loan like that, not necessarily a financial disaster for you if you're fiscally responsible.  People with differing values regarding money who have a personal relationship as well should never be financially linked in the way you would if you cosign the loan.

Even if he graduates and he keeps making the student loan payments you'd probably view his poor money management even more critically, through the lens of your financial values.  When he buys a loaded SUV, when he goes on a two week vacation, when he buys a round of drinks at the bar, you can start to see it as your money that he's spending and either resent it or try to impose your values.  In a worst-case scenario it could even become a point of leverage for him to get more money out of you (i.e. if you can't loan me that couple hundred I know you're on the hook for 5k, 10k, whatever the amount is).

If you feel like you need to give your parents a reason, I'd sell it as caring enough about your brother to not want to destroy your relationship over money.  If he did in fact literally steal $400 from you, I can't see how your parents would even ask you to consider cosigning for him.

cashstasherat23

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Re: Parents just asked me make the worst financial decision, please help!
« Reply #23 on: August 20, 2015, 08:51:44 AM »
OP, mixed in with this is your challenge to change your child-parent relationship to an adult-adult one. The responsible child wants to please parents, but this dynamic has to change for you to become an autonomous adult. I am not saying abandon your relatives, but don't let them pull a guilt trip on you either. Your role now is to create your own family of loved ones & friends.

It sounds as if your parents believe that your brother will only move out on his own when he has a college degree and/or that it's their obligation to provide him with one, including making you part of the means. You already know they should be charging him rent, not funding his playtime. Their decisions, & it's not helping your brother. Your parents are already anticipating your brother not paying you when they promise to pay if/when that happens, when they already piggyback on your credit card. That should stop too, BTW.

Very much agree with that one, Gizmo. I have told my dad several times that even though he pays me on time, I'd really like for him to stop using the card because I feel like he's spending irresponsibly/above his means, but he insists that I shouldn't be annoyed, because he always pays, and hey, I'm getting free credit card points!

I very much am trying to change the parent-child relationship to an adult-adult, but as you can see, am having some struggles along the way. I think now may the be time to definitely put my foot down on the loans, but also to finally cut off the credit card usage and remove the cards in his name.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2015, 08:53:38 AM by cashstasherat23 »

partgypsy

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I don't understand how your parents think it's even OK to ask you to do this! Really crossing the line. Your younger (irresponsible) brother is not your responsibility. Heck they are not even your parents' responsibility anymore, he is 21 years old!

If he was truly serious about going and completing college, he would find a way to do it, co-signer or no co-signer. The fact that he is living at home and not saving money for college but spending it instead, looks to me like he is still not mature or motivated enough to complete his college degree.
I hope your brother figures it out (some people are slower to mature than others), but having your parents enable him at this time is really eroding his ability to develop self-sufficiency skills which are critical to being an adult. They are setting him up to be at a disadvantage, long term.

Duchess of Stratosphear

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Wow, that's a tough situation. I would absolutely say no, but if you want to help your brother, maybe you could give him a "scholarship" if he shapes up and does well in school--whatever help with tuition you could afford to kick in. Of course, you may not want to GIVE him money, but it seems like that would be a way to help him and not risk losing so much (I'm thinking $1000 bucks a year or something that's not going to ruin your own finances). It could also be a safe way out to say: "No, I can't cosign the loan, but if he gets back in school and does well, I'll consider kicking in $XXX if he stays in good academic standing" or something. It seems that he may be unlikely to do this, at least right now, so you're off the hook, but if he does do it, then you can feel good about contributing and maybe keep everybody happy without lots of risk to you. I'm assuming, of course, that he will have access to other federal loans that could make school possible even if you don't cosign.

cashstasherat23

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Thanks for the good suggestions! I just really appreciate being able to talk to someone, anyone about this! My parents requested that all of us children not share their financial situation with anyone outside the family...which has already led to some awkward times with friends and acquaintances as they've gone bankrupt, and are in the process of losing the family home to foreclosure. They are now renting, and like I said before, doing a better job at living within their means, but I feel like they also still have a skewed idea of financial responsibility. I have no one to talk to, so I talk to you all anonymously!

Although I'd like to help out because it is my family, I wouldn't be comfortable letting him stay with me, or giving him any "scholarship" money...I honestly think it would just go to waste. It's unfortunate, but he's kind of aimless. I think he's going to college because he doesn't know what else to do. It seems like he thought that being an engineer would be a quick way to lots of money, but then realized that he actually had to put in a lot of work to do that. He's still going for it, but I don't think his heart is really in it, and don't want to be stuck paying for an engineer's schooling worth of student loans for someone who may just end up working part time jobs for a very long time.


UGH such a frustrating situation, but at least now I feel more confident in saying a big N-O!


abhe8

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Just say no. it's a terribly idea for you and for him. I know it's hard to tell family no, but it's the eighth thing to do. Strongest predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

Cookie78

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I just popped in to agree with EVERYONE ELSE and say NO. You have zero responsibility to enable him and to let him drag you down with him.


pachnik

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Say No and feel great about it. I have a brother with a similar reputation and I have had to tell him no, but I dont regret it and life moves on. I feel he respects me more because he knows he cant steam roll me like he does other people.

+1 This is exactly it.  Please say no to your parents' suggestion that you co-sign. 

GizmoTX

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OP, you don't need your dad's permission to take him off your account. He can still spend without a CC but you won't have to see what he's wasting or have to deal with a day when he doesn't pay you.

When you settle up the statement, ask him for the card back as a courtesy notice. Then take him off the account regardless of whether he gave you the card or not. It isn't your fault he ruined his credit. The card is a temptation he doesn't need. The reward points are not worth the risk.

See if you can remove his co-sign from your loans. Should the cosigner die or file for bankruptcy before the loan is paid in full, the student loan servicer may place the loan in default and demand that the balance be paid in full, even if all payments have been made on time. Besides removing this risk, it takes your loans off the table as a rationalization.

Valetta

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Do not do this.

I have a friend that cosigned on her sister's student loans ten years ago and continues to regret it to this day. It ruined her financial life, destroyed her credit, etc. when her sister didn't pay and didn't tell her she wasn't paying. It was a disaster.

Just don't do this.

cashstasherat23

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OP, you don't need your dad's permission to take him off your account. He can still spend without a CC but you won't have to see what he's wasting or have to deal with a day when he doesn't pay you.

When you settle up the statement, ask him for the card back as a courtesy notice. Then take him off the account regardless of whether he gave you the card or not. It isn't your fault he ruined his credit. The card is a temptation he doesn't need. The reward points are not worth the risk.

See if you can remove his co-sign from your loans. Should the cosigner die or file for bankruptcy before the loan is paid in full, the student loan servicer may place the loan in default and demand that the balance be paid in full, even if all payments have been made on time. Besides removing this risk, it takes your loans off the table as a rationalization.

Good to know. I have $15K left on the loans that I am solely responsible for, but know that they have some loans in their name that they took out for my schooling, that my name is on too I believe. My intention has always been to help them pay off those loans after I finish the loans that I am solely responsible for, but I think it's time to get it all out on the table, and figure out how to move forward with that.

Also, RE the credit cards, I know I can just take him off whenever I'd like, and it is my own card, not one that he gave me. Its hard because that is the one awkward point in my father and my otherwise pretty good relationship. I definitely don't imagine anything would happen like him cutting me out of his life, but it's very hard to put my foot down on these things.

mm1970

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

The situation: woke up to a text this morning asking if I would consider co-signing for my brothers student loans. Cue instant sick feeling, and immediate NO reaction.

Out of my entire family, I am the most financially responsible. Two years out of college, will pay off the last of my $30k in student loans this year, and then planned to shift gears and skyrocket my savings for a retirement in my mid-20s.

My parents: used to be upper middle class, dad lost his job, mom still had hers. Continued to live UMC lifestyle, tried to open a business that went out of business, declared bankruptcy. They have cooled down a lot on spending, but still live pretty extravagantly in my eyes. I have made my dad an authorized user on my credit card to help build credit, and so far has been ok. He always pays, although often not the full payment. Any interest he accrues, he also pays. I don't love the situation, but trust my dad wouldn't leave me with the bill.

My brother: alright kid, but completely and totally irresponsible. He was going to school to be an engineer, failed out due to too much partying and going to see his gf, went to community college for a year, and is now trying to go back to another university. He has a part time job, but spends all the money he makes on alcohol and going out to eat with his girlfriend. He's also dishonest, and has stolen $400 from me recently. He also has screwed my other brother over with not paying him for things he promised he would pay for, leaving my other brother stuck with the bill.

I have yet to talk to my parents, as they asked late last night and I was asleep, but know that they will promise that if he doesn't pay, they will pay. I feel more comfortable with that, but what if something happens to them?

I know that my brother is not the type to pay off his loans quickly, like I have. If I sign for this, I feel like I'll have it hanging over my head for the next 30 years, or more, in a best case scenario where he actually pays. Then, what if he moves away, or just decides to stop paying?

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?

Ah, this is a tough one, but just say no.  I don't think a text is the right way.  In person, on phone is better.

First of all:
Mom/Dad, my brother recently stole $400 from me.
He dropped out of school already due to partying too much.
He spends too much money on booze and eating out.
Frankly, he is irresponsible with money and he's done nothing to show me that he'd be a good risk.

So sorry, but no.
If he manages to get through two years of school on his own, cuts down on drinking, and maintains at least a 3.0 gpa, then we can discuss it later.  But I make no promises.

Otherwise, you know how I paid for school?  1-800-USA-NAVY.

If you can spare any money, you could set aside money for books or tuition for him, but I'd say only do that if you have it, and only after he sticks it out and cleans up his act for AT LEAST two years.  I'd be willing to help out for senior year maybe.

BBub

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Of course you don't need co-sign for your brother, and yes you need to remove your dad as authorized user on the cc.  Try to have these conversations in as calm a manner as possible, keeping it logical and very respectful.  You don't want it to blow up into a me vs. them emotional mess.  Explain that you don't have unlimited means, and you are working very hard to get yourself on a solid financial footing. You aren't in a position to be loaning other people money at age 23 with debt of your own.  Plain and simple.

Then once you get out of these situations, make it clear that you are not going to be the family's central banker from here out.  You don't have to say it with a big announcement, but if they come back in the future continue to repeat the message that you are concerned with your own financial well-being and not in a position to help.

MayDay

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How about refusing to discuss with your parents? Anytime they bring it up, you respond with, "have brother call me and I'll discuss the situation directly with him.". 

Then if your brother does actually call you can tell him no and advise him to use non-private loans.

If your parents ask again, respond "brother and I already talked about a plan (him using non-private loans) but if brother still has questions, he can call me again".

If they try to convince you, just keep responding that you're happy to discuss that directly with brother.

gillstone

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Its OK to say no, even if its very hard.  And you definitely need to say no.  Back when my older sister was married, she and her husband took out extra student loans and asked my mother and stepfather to cosign on a large one so they could "focus on school".  The husband then took the cash and plowed it into an illegal marijuana growing operation because he is an asshole.  Cue divorce a few years later and he's defaulted on the loan and left my parents holding the bag. 

Don't give money to assholes, even if (and especially if) they are family.

Also, don't let your parents say they will cover if he doesn't pay.  If they can't sign onto his loan, they can't cover it.  Having both your parents and your brother leave you holding the bag is a recipe for strife that can last decades rather than the relatively short shit-storm that may ensue from saying no right now.

sallyanne

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How about refusing to discuss with your parents? Anytime they bring it up, you respond with, "have brother call me and I'll discuss the situation directly with him.". 

Then if your brother does actually call you can tell him no and advise him to use non-private loans.

If your parents ask again, respond "brother and I already talked about a plan (him using non-private loans) but if brother still has questions, he can call me again".

If they try to convince you, just keep responding that you're happy to discuss that directly with brother.

I really, really like this!

RobinAZ

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I agree with everyone else, this is not in your best interests.  But it is also a terrible thing to do to your brother.  You KNOW he needs to grow out of his current selfish and self serving attitude, and that there is almost a 100% chance he will default on the loan if he continues in this manner.  You would be setting him up for failure, and the shame will make it harder for him to eventually turn things around FOR HIMSELF.  Sometimes, we have to hope someone hits rock bottom so they finally get the message, but they can hit rock bottom themselves-- we don't have to be a part of the descent!!!!

As for what to say, there are lots of suggestions already but remember, "No." is a complete sentence!!!

Good luck!  I am sorry to hear that your parents put you in this position, that sucks.

Reynolds531

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If you can't get your dad off the card I would at least lower the limit on it - $1000 is plenty of room for transactions and to rebuild his credit. In Canada here, supplemental cards don't even build the second persons credit - they only hit your report not dads. Maybe double check that.

And NO do not cosign for bro.

And can you work to pay out loans your parents had for your school? If you can even determine the amount of yours vs theirs?

What a mess.

backyardfeast

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I really like the "I will talk directly with brother about it" angle too. 

Other suggested phrasings, in case they help: "Mom, Dad, you know I've been working really hard to get myself onto a solid financial footing, and that I've had to make some tough choices and sacrifices to do this.  Because of this, I'm finding it difficult to have my financial life tied to anyone else, because I find myself worrying about how their decisions will affect me.  I really value my relationships with you and friends, and I don't want to find myself resentful or bitter, or to judge other people's financial choices.  For instance, in my mind, brother was given the same opportunities that I was for college, and he made choices with those opportunities that I don't respect.  If I tied my finances with with brother at this stage, I know it would ruin our relationship.  If he would like financial advice, or suggestions on how to still go to school without student loans (or military funding, whatever), I'm happy to talk with him and share what I've learned.

By the same token, Dad, I'm having a tough time with our shared credit card.  I love and respect you, and I don't want to worry about your financial choices, either.  So I'm going to....blah blah (put whatever boundaries up that you want, including taking him off the card by x date, be gentle but firm).  I know this is kind of an awkward thing moving from a parent-child relationship to a more adult one, but I think it's an important step.  You have always worked so hard so that I could be a successful adult, and I think it's time I stepped up into that role."

Just in case it helps to have some possible words! :)  Good luck--and congrats on being so responsible and in such good shape at such a young age!

cashstasherat23

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If you can't get your dad off the card I would at least lower the limit on it - $1000 is plenty of room for transactions and to rebuild his credit. In Canada here, supplemental cards don't even build the second persons credit - they only hit your report not dads. Maybe double check that.

And NO do not cosign for bro.

And can you work to pay out loans your parents had for your school? If you can even determine the amount of yours vs theirs?

What a mess.

Definitely intend to ask them about it. It's weird because I think some of my other brothers loans are all included in the payments as well, but will have to figure it out. They've never told me how much they have in loans, just that they'll be "paying these off for the rest of our lives!" I went to a state school, so don't think it's that much, especially with the $30K that I took on, but know it's the right thing to do to get that settled with them.

Mr. Green

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NOOOOOO! Brother's character alone merits a denial. Don't do it!

abiteveryday

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"No." is a complete sentence.     

Go back and read it again.

FLA

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Re: Parents just asked me make the worst financial decision, please help!
« Reply #44 on: August 20, 2015, 11:19:04 AM »
Just tell them No. If they ask why not, tell them you're not in a position to do that. If they disagree, tell them all the reasons why you're in a position not to do that.

I would barely tell them the reasons why you cannot do that, none of their business, I'd say something along the lines of being on a strict budget and cannot take on his risk.  Also, he's an adult but has his parents asking for him?  There is no way I would ever do this.  Any guilt heaped on you by your parents, remind them of what you did/do for them and now you are taking care of you.

Harvestqueen

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Absolutely say no. 

neil

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Everything said so far is good advice.

Your parents are responsible for debt they took on to support your college.  But if you feel more comfortable, I would consider squaring that up first.  Instead of talking to your parents first, get your college financial statements and find out how it was financed.  This should give you an idea of where they might be, but there might also be some capitalized interest as well.  Perhaps it is possible to refi with Sofi or some other avenue to get the loans in your name, and you can wipe the slate clean.  I am not sure what the rules allow, but it is worth considering more immediate alternatives if you feel like your parents have a right to ask for help after helping you.

robartsd

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Your parents are responsible for debt they took on to support your college.  But if you feel more comfortable, I would consider squaring that up first.  Instead of talking to your parents first, get your college financial statements and find out how it was financed.  This should give you an idea of where they might be, but there might also be some capitalized interest as well.  Perhaps it is possible to refi with Sofi or some other avenue to get the loans in your name, and you can wipe the slate clean.  I am not sure what the rules allow, but it is worth considering more immediate alternatives if you feel like your parents have a right to ask for help after helping you.
OP's parents cosigned on loans - OP has paid of those loans. Presumably OP's parents want OP to cosign on brother's loan because OP's parents credit is too screwed up to help him.

charis

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How about refusing to discuss with your parents? Anytime they bring it up, you respond with, "have brother call me and I'll discuss the situation directly with him.". 

Then if your brother does actually call you can tell him no and advise him to use non-private loans.

If your parents ask again, respond "brother and I already talked about a plan (him using non-private loans) but if brother still has questions, he can call me again".

If they try to convince you, just keep responding that you're happy to discuss that directly with brother.

I really, really like this!

Do this.  Don't let your brother off the hook by letting him make things weird between you and your parents.  You don't have to say no to them.  You can say it to him.

Kaikou

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No way!