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Debt Help

The Debt & Personal Finance Blog and Magazine

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cosigning for Kids - Is It Worth the Risk?

There are lots of parents who cosign for vehicles, apartments, and homes for their children who have little or bad credit. Sometimes a parent has to sign as a primary owner with the child as a secondary owner. My mother supported me in this way when I was younger. However, is it always worth the risk to go out on a limb for children and loved ones?

A friend of mine would be inclined to say no.

She took on the primary responsibility for her young daughter's car loan. The twenty-something daughter needed reliable transportation to move between freelance IT job opportunities, as that was how she made her living. She also was involved in weekly church activities that ended at night. No mother wants her daughter to be vulnerable, so she agreed to put her credit on the line for her daughter's protection and convenience.

Needless to say, this story does not have a happy ending.

In short, the daughter, who was also generally irresponsible, stuck her mother with the bill more often than not. The daughter was quite the diva, and her feelings of entitlement caused her mother to become financially strapped in order to keep from ruining her credit.

Sometimes kids need and appreciate a hand up. Sometimes parents can become enablers. My children aren't even old enough to ride bicycles yet, so I dread the day when they ask me for a set of keys. It must be difficult dealing with issues of whether or not to help certain children in certain ways. This must be another side of what people call "tough love."

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