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Hi js

I've been approached several times for what you describe.
Here is how I handled it.

My primary consideration is:
Would I be willing to just GIVE this amount away?
A "loan" is a contract, and for me, sets up expectations. No matter the amount, if it's not repaid, I feel betrayed.
Therefore, before I "loan" any amount, I set MY OWN expectations, that it's a "gift", so that I dont have the emotional (betrayal) attachment. This is personal, and I dont share it with the other party.

My process:
First, I pondered if the solution was doable?
If "no", then I bowed out.
If "yes", then, is it doable for me/ralph (there are many factors in this answer: emotional, financial, my personal goals, family 'responsibility', see my primary goal-above, etc).
I asked myself is this something that I (me, ralph) need to do (i.e. is it mine to do)?
If "no", then I refused and watched from afar.
If "yes", then
I asked overall, what can I do (overall, in a perfect world)?
After I had that answer, I asked
What am I WILLING to do?
THIS is the most useful answer for me. What I'm WILLING to do.

In one case, I was asked to cosign a small note for a 19/20 year old.
I did so, and was pleased with the result.
Later, the same person wanted me to cosign a 3x larger, for education, skill development, loan. Based on the first experience, I did, but with poor results. As the cosigner, I wound up repaying the loan. I violated my primary goal, too! The amount was inconsequential, but the emotional aspects were longlasting. Later, another request was denied. There are still emotional and interpersonal consequences being worked through.

In another instance, a senior in high school, final 3 months, was going to DROP OUT, due to some, IMO, minor finance issues. No help was requested, but, I insisted on "helping". It was a BIG win! BIG!!

So. Can you see yourself making this amount (in your own head) a "gift", so that no matter the outcome, you are emotionally ok with the outcome?
Do you feel like you NEED to do something? Is it yours to do?
Can you financially afford it?
Are you WILLING to afford it?
If you are not willing to afford the whole amount,... How much ARE you willing to afford? You don't have to be the only source of support. You can put "strings" on it, too (maintain x hours per semester, x GPA, matching support, etc).
You are potentially being asked to support two students. Perhaps factor that into what you "can do" and are "willing to do"?

As you are aware, there are consequences to both "no" and "yes". My denial of the third cosign/loan mentioned above has led to some sadness on my part, and apparently anger (they feel betrayed?) on others' part. We are estranged. But, in my own head, I am "ok", since I followed my process. I'm not carrying any emotional baggage around, over this.

Consequences? One time, I "loaned" a small amount (low hundreds), and was not paid back. My "I'm willing to give this amount" choice keeps me from being bitter. An added benefit, is that person doesn't ask another time. 🙂

That's my process, and so far, it's mostly worked for my own personal emotional and financial well being.

🙂 good luck in your decisions.
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