AskEMME: OH, BROTHER!
Q: My younger brother has found the car of his dreams, but he has bad credit and can’t afford it. He wants me to co-sign for the car and put the insurance in my name. I said no, but he’s been begging me constantly. Now he’s dragged our mother into it. They are making me feel like I’m obligated to bail him out because I am his “big sister.” I want to help him, but I am worried about how this will affect me financially. How can I stop this feeling of familial obligation, and is there a safer way to assist him?
A: Red flag! Manipulation to the max! Your brother knows all the tricks and is trying to pull you into his master plan. Thank God your gut is telling you to hold back. First of all, you are right not to get involved: Without a doubt, you’ll put yourself in financial peril if you do what he asks. Also know that being a good “big sister” doesn’t mean solving his money woes, so just try to tune out the guilt trip your mom is laying on you. Here’s a better way to help your bro: Tell him that there are banks out there that can assist him in paying off his debts through a consolidation plan, and classes he can take to teach him how to manage his money. You can even go to the bank with him and sign up for the class, too (you might learn something!), to give him some extra support. After that, it’s up to him. Believe me, you’ll be doing more for him by not co-signing and forcing him to accept responsibilities- and finally grow up!
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* AskEMME previously published in MODE Magazine