I Owe My Mom $150K. How Should I Pay Her Back?

Tonya owes her mom $150,000. She makes $50,000 a year as a nurse and receives some child support. She'd like to pay her mom back. Dave helps Tonya formulate a plan.

QUESTION: Tonya in Cincinnati owes her mom $150,000. She lives in her mother’s house, pays the expenses for it, and takes care of the house. She makes $50,000 a year as a nurse and receives some child support. She’d like to pay her mom back. Dave helps Tonya formulate a plan.

ANSWER: If you work overtime, then your $18,000 a year that you currently pay becomes $20,000 a year. In five years, that’s $100,000. If you take your brothers’ offer into account, you only need $80,000, and that will only take four years.

To the extent that you can crank up that overtime, you can turn that four years into three years. Personally, I can be really tired but still push through if I can see the end of it. But if it’s for 10 years, it’s a little tough to think about.

She gave you that money because you needed help and she’s your mother. We’re not going to obsess about the guilt; let’s put a plan in place. If something happens and she passes away three weeks from now, then it is what it is. She was your mom, and she was helping her daughter. You would help your kid.

We’re not going to sit around and think that you are a bad person. These were the decisions you made together; you didn’t con her. It would feel very crisp and clean to have this behind you. I agree with that. Let’s get with it.

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