In Debt to Mom

by | Aug. 01, 2010


Dear Dave,

We want to go into the mission field, and we're following your plan trying to get out of debt before we do this. We've got about $16,000 in credit card debt. My mother doesn't want this to stand in our way, and she's offered to pay off our debt and let us pay her back over time at half of the interest rate we're paying now. My husband likes the idea, but what would you say?


Dear Teresa,

I'd say no, thank you. There's no way I'd be in debt to my mother.

She's obviously a kind, sweet person, but it's a bad plan. I'm sure your husband is a great guy, too. But he's overlooking the spiritual and relationship implications of all this. Proverbs 22:7 says the borrower is slave to the lender. If you do this, you're going to change the way Thanksgiving dinner tastes, because you'll be eating with your master instead of your mom.

Money has a way of changing the family dynamic, and it's almost never for the good. All of a sudden you're getting raised eyebrows if you buy something for yourself, because even the nicest, gentlest person has opinions. You'd be giving her a say in your lives in a different way and at a completely different level than ever before. You just don't need that in your life!

Now, if she wants to make paying off your debt a gift - one that will facilitate you guys hitting the mission field earlier - I'm okay with that. I'd be honored, and I'd accept the gift. But I would never tell you to go into debt - especially to a parent. I'm sure she's coming from the perspective that she'd make a better "creditor" than the credit card company. If it were me, I'd tell her that I love her, but I just don't want to take a chance on doing anything that might come between us later.


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