My neighbor came over this afternoon to visit for a bit, and she related to me a financial horror story. She has a daughter who is in college in California. Her daughter needed a place to live. So my neighbors did what any loving parents would do. They co-signed on a year long apartment lease for their daughter.

Unfortunately, they learned the hard way that this isn’t a smart thing to do. The daughter’s rent is $1,400 a month. Daughter has a roommate that was supposed to pay half the rent each month. You can guess the next part. That’s right. Roommate hasn’t been paying the rent.

Now my neighbor and her husband are stuck with a $1,400 a month payment until August. This is in addition to the rent for their home here in Oregon. They are evicting the roommate, and they are hoping their daughter’s more mature, hopefully more responsible friend will move in and start paying rent. But if she doesn’t, they’re going to have some mighty high payments.

Never, ever, ever co-sign for a loan, a lease, or anything else unless you are fully prepared to take on the entire payment. I don’t care if the person who wants you to co-sign is your child, parent, grandmother, or the most honest person from your church. Life happens, and if that person is unable to pay, you’ll be stuck with the bill. Don’t learn the hard way.