Save The Sister Relationship

Ladonna allowed her sister to do a balance transfer on her credit card to the tune of $7,000, and her sister has been late on two payments. Dave advises Ladonna to just pay it off.

QUESTION: Ladonna in Los Angeles allowed one of her sisters to do a balance transfer on her credit card to the tune of $7,000, and her sister has been late on two payments. Ladonna wishes she hadn’t done it, but now it’s the only debt she has left. Dave advises Ladonna to just pay it off and ask her sister to pay it, but if her sister pays it, Ladonna should be pleasantly surprised.

ANSWER: I’ve done lots of stupid things in my life that have cost me money, and years ago, I started calling those “stupid tax.”

She’s paid some of the payments. I guess you’ve got two options. Hope she pays it and sit there in debt until she does, or pay it off and ask her to pay you. I guess your third option is just pay it off and forget it. I’d pay it off. I’d just treat it like it was your debt and pay it off. Ask her to pay you, and if she does, be pleasantly surprised. If she paid it off at $200 per month with no interest because you paid it off and she pays you, on $7,000, it’s going to take her three years. If she pays you 36 $200 a month payments, you just mark them off one at a time. You don’t have to charge her interest. If you get your money back, fine. If you don’t, fine. Don’t lose your sister’s relationship over this. It’s just money. And you’re as complicit in this behavior as she is. You shouldn’t have done it. She shouldn’t have done it. Nobody should have done it. She should have bought her bedroom suite at a garage sale. Everybody would be better off except the bank that’s getting your credit card interest.

If I’m you, I’m going to be done with this, and the best way to be done with it is to pay it off. If not, every time she doesn’t pay it on time, you’ve got to jump in and pay it on time because your credit’s getting dinged and then you get a little bit more frustrated to the point of being angry again. There’s no sense in having that splinter continually twisting in your relationship with your sister—not when you make enough money to just knock it out. I’d just take it out.