My father-in-law wants to help us with our mortgage. We currently owe $50,000, and he wants to pay it off and let us pay him back over time. We've borrowed money from him in the past and paid it back with no problem.
I wouldn't do that in a million years. Don't get me wrong, that's a very nice thing to do for someone. I'm sure it seems like a winning proposition for you both. But a spiritual issue has been left out of the equation. The borrower is always slave to the lender, and nowhere is that more true than in a family. You'd bring instant discomfort into your relationship. The money issue will hover over you like a shroud. Trust me, Thanksgiving dinner will taste kind of funny when you're sitting there with your lender instead of good old dad.
I understand that you have a solid track record with this kind of thing, but you're playing with fire. I simply would not do this! The downside is just too risky. I assume your father-in-law is doing pretty well, since he can afford to make this offer. If I were in his shoes, I might offer to pay off the mortgage as a gift to my daughter and son-in-law. There are no strings attached to a gift that comes from the heart.
If you come from a nice, stable family - and it sounds to me like your in-laws are very nice folks - this debt will always be there in the back of your mind. If you come from a dysfunctional, screwed-up, control-freak kind of family, it's going to be right there in front of you constantly! Either way, it's not worth the risk.
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