Dear Deborah

1 comment Posted on April 27, 2012

Expert Financial Advice

Dear Deborah,

My daughter wants to buy a car and have me co-sign for it. She has a job and shares an apartment with her friend. I want to help her out, but I’m not sure if this is the way to do it.

It has been said that a co-signer is best defined as a saint, an idiot, or a parent. A co-signer for an application is needed when an applicant is unable to get a credit card, apartment lease, or auto loan based solely on the borrowerÕs credit.

One who co-signs the document is not ‘just’ a co-signer. Everyone who signs is 100% responsible for the loan, regardless of who signs first. The payment history shows up on the credit record of both signers.

Co-signers are obligated to make the payments, whether they are the borrowers or not. In fact, they are liable for every dollar of the debt they sign for.

Concerning signing for others loans, Proverbs 17:18 says, “It is poor judgment to countersign another’s note, to become responsible for his debts” (Living Bible).

In many states, lenders do not need to notify the co-signers when a borrower falls behind on loan payments or exceeds the credit limit. Consequently, co-signers can be liable for late payments as well as penalties, without being aware there ever was a problem. They may even be expected to pay immediately, in cash.

So, if you don’t want to be responsible for a payment, don’t co-sign.

Copyright 2012 Deborah Nayrocker. All rights reserved. Permission to reprint required.

Deborah Nayrocker writes on personal money management topics, showing others how to take control of their financial future. An award-winning writer, she is a guest contributor with and a finance columnist with

Deborah is the author of The Art of Debt-Free Living and the Bible study Living a Balanced Financial Life. Her Web site is

If you have a financially-related question that you would like to ask Deborah, click here.


  • 12/23/2012
    Brynna said:

    Assuming you don’t have the cash for a car, then you should try for a loan. Just make sure your getnitg the best interest rate you can and get a free copy of your credit report and clean up your credit! I personally would not go to Capitol One.Why not start making repairs to your credit as well? I had to do this after ID theft and bankruptcy and I still got my score up from 486 to 730 in a little over a year and I’m not carrying much debt!Go to my website and read it all and you will find info you can use, I’m sure! If I did it then you can too!


Submit Comment