“We’re backing the wrong horse”: I co-signed my nephew’s $ 55,000 student loan: He has no degree and no job. What should we do?
My wife and I signed her nephew’s student loan together so he could go to a small private college. Six years later he has no degree, no job, no prospects and I don’t think he can repay the loan either. It’s around $ 55,000. He lives with his mother and rarely answers our calls or emails.
His mother and grandparents also have no way of repaying this loan. A time machine aside, what solutions do we have to avoid getting stuck on the tab in this mess? We believed in good faith that this clever young man would succeed and keep his word. We are obviously betting on the wrong horse.
I don’t want to keep the bag in Des Moines
You loaned your nephew money by co-signing his loan with the expectation that he would graduate from college, get a job, and pay it back. In other words, you co-signed the loan so your nephew would make the investment in his own future. The hard, difficult truth is that the real investment here was made by him, not you, and that was the risk you took in giving this money to your nephew.
It is similar with people who invest in stocks. They expect the company to pursue strategies to increase revenue and market share, build investor confidence, and increase its share price. But once you’ve turned over the money – whether to sign a loan, invest in a stock, or play blackjack – it’s no longer in your hand. Only borrow money you can afford to lose.
Unfortunately, if your nephew fails to repay this loan, you are caught and the failure to pay could affect your creditworthiness and your ability to get a loan or refinance your home. This is a conversation you should have as a family. The interest rates are low. You can repay this loan if you can afford it on condition that you co-sign a loan with a lower interest rate.
The money is: My late husband has not seen his son in 30 years. Should I send photos and other memorabilia to his son – and risk his son claiming his estate?
This is a warning to others who may be tempted to co-sign a home student loan for a family member. Personal student loans make up $ 120 billion of the $ 1.5 trillion student loan industry. For adults over 50, the most common way to fund another person’s education is to jointly sign a private loan. according to AARP. A quarter had to make at least one additional payment.
“In the past, people have tended to take on debt when they were younger – to pay for college education and buy houses – and then pay off the debt during their working years,” the AARP report said. “This enabled them to retire debt-free and had better chances of achieving and maintaining financial security in old age.” Not anymore.
But the other big investment you’ve made here is the emotional investment. You have done something good and feel cheated and disrespected by your nephew if he doesn’t graduate from college, get a job, move back in with his parents, and avoid your calls. Make peace with it before reaching out to your sister and nephew to discuss what steps he will (hopefully) take to repay it.
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