Son overwhelmed in debt


So I just discovered my son and his wife have 22k in credit card debt. A year ago I bailed him out. His wife doesn’t work. They have two children. Not going to bail him out this time. He is a hard worker but his income doesn’t match his outgo. Tomorrow going to his house and help him devise a plan to pay off the debt and throw away the credit cards. I am interested in any advice especially good podcasts they can listen to or websites they can read that might be helpful. I knew this place was a good place to start


Tell him to subscribe to the daily email of Rockstar Finance and read at least one of the articles each day. One article a day. That way he won’t get overwhelmed and it isn’t a large commitment. Eventually he will see a life of spending less than he makes is more attractive than being underwater constantly.


Thks thats a good thought


Dave Ramsey, Dave Ramsey, Dave Ramsey.
Podcasts, radio, books, and/or Financial Peace University course.
Maybe you could pay for FPU course for him and his wife?
I have been there. I had to use Credit Card Counseling service for the mess I made. I wouldn’t recommend that route though. I had “charge-offs” on my credit report even though I paid in full through CCS. I trashed my credit for years.
I agree that repeatedly giving them money is not a good solution. It is hard to not do that when it is your kid and you want to help them. In the long run, that isn’t the best way to help. I’ve been there done that too!


I had actually thought about having them start listening to Dave Ramsey. I just wrote a post about Dave Ramsey, and although I think his advice on investing leaves much to be desired, the one thing I think he gets right his paying off debt, so yes I am going to direct them towards Dave Ramsey. Thks for the advice.


Did you ever have a period in your life when you were overwhelmed with debt? Did you make a similar income to your son when you were his age? It would probably be helpful if he felt that you can relate to his situation.

I completely agree that Dave Ramsey would be good for him and his wife, but only if they’re willing to listen and take action. You can introduce them to Dave Ramsey, but you’re not going to be able to make them do his plan. Showing them that you overcame your own debt struggle or that you built wealth on a similar income or telling them about someone you know who accomplished those things may lead them to check it out on their own.

Good luck!


Thks for your comment

I never really had a debt problem, in fact, I have never paid a finance charge on a credit card, however what I do have is a physical neurological disorder, so I did relate to him about the knots in my stomach I had for years like he does worried that my employer would discover my disorder, would I be laid off, how would I support my family so I knew what he was going through with him, so in that I related, so here is what I did.

Oh I also found out (he just told me) he read my blog on Dave Ramsey because it dealt with debt.

This is what I did

  1. I went through their expenses, asked if they really needed such and such, and I went through their credit card statements line by line - sometimes it was like pulling teeth.
  2. I then downloaded quicken for them so they could start budgeting. They said they would.
  3. then I wrote down a bunch of financial podcasts on a notepad and posted it in their computer desktop I wanted them to start listening to including Dave Ramsey. They said they would.
  4. Then as one person suggested. I subscribed both of them to Rockstar Finance to help change their money mindset, and I said try and read a post a day or every few days.

They seemed more at ease after we talked so here is to hoping.

Thks all for your advice


Probably not a math problem - more of an over optimization problem - easy to do with young kids at home and a feeling of both a time crunch and limited time. Mr Money Mustache is written directly for this space and in a way that resonates with young parents (in my opinion)

For us it was is a mindset problem. For me two thing clicked (got this from the Mr Money Mustache blog) that enabled everything else. First, picking a couple of important things and focusing resources on those things and ignoring/doing minimal for the not so important things. And second - and this took me a while to really grasp -is the absolute best way to save money is to… not to spend it. It’s not discount clubs, black friday sales, coupons or two get one free. It’s not to spend it. When simply not getting the thing or service you save in three ways - the purchase price, the ongoing cost and the freed up time to produce rather than consume.

Eventually we realized if we froze our standard of living in time the innovation cycle would hand us stacks of cash.


Yeah I also think it’s a mindset problem. My son gets it. His wife does not. After our discussion I thought they felt more at ease but in talking with my son today, not sure the wife gets it. Hopefully, she creates a budget using the Quicken I downloaded for them. We will no in the fullness of time. Thks for replying - so frustrating.


I wish them and you luck.
Personally I hate budgeting and never did it.
I can’t imagine being forced to budget or told by a spouse or in-law to do so.
Maybe there is some dream she has for the future? Would she like to go to Paris one day? or have her husband work part-time? A cottage on the lake? Not everyone likes spreadsheets but they can see the need if it gets them to something they really want.
Here is my post on how budgeting isn’t required.


Well, I think she believes we were treating her like a child. I don’t think that is going to work lol. She has always said she was used to living like that. Somehow she has to change her money mindset. It’s going to be challenge. Thks for the reply


Honestly, I think you should stay out of it. Dont bail them out. You gave them the information and some tools and then nothing more should be said about the subject.
They are adults and are free to make their own (bad) decisions about money.
You dont want to lose the relationship


Yeah that’s where I am now. I agree with you. Hard to do though. I just hope it doesn’t mess their relationship up