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Author: trirun Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 308881  
Subject: Help family? Date: 1/23/2006 11:31 AM
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Hello,

I am trying to get some advice/opinions on helping a brother with some debt he and his wife have accumulated. Here is the history:

They declared bankruptcy about 4 years ago and have run into some trouble again. Presently they have about $12k in credit card debt and some student loans. They accumulated the credit card for a few reasons, animal health issues, starting a new business, and not keeping good track of their financial picture. They used to argue about money and eventually my brother said forget it, if you want to pay the bills and keep track of the finances, you do it. So he disengaged from any bill paying because of the arguemnts it would cause. So then they started arguing about late fees and the high interest rates that resulted. They both realize this was a bonehead move.

For the last 3 months I have been counseling them on budgeting and money mangement, I am a CFP. The change in them has been fantastic. They are now discussing their issues and have set up payment plans with the 3 credit cards companies. They have started to use Quicken to keep track of cashflows. Each of them has spoken of the burden they feel lifted off their shoulders from being able to talk about the issue and having a plan to get through it. Based on what they are paying they could be clear of the cc's by the end of 2007.

My question is this: I get those 0% balance transfers all the time and toss them. I am considering trying to use one to help them get away from the rates of 15.99%, 15$, and 12%. I don't plan on using any of my money and would even try to see if we could get a joint account perhaps. I am cautious because they don't have a great history and don't want to get stuck with a late payment in my name. However, I would like to help my brother and it would save them a good amount of money. Maybe I should put some conditions on it about all the cards must be cancelled but one and only used for emergencies.

At no point have they asked for money, they have just sought advice and followed it very well. They even made it through Christmas within their planned spending.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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