Son in Military Can’t Afford Truck Payments

“Dear Steve,

This is about the situation my son is in.

He is in the military and being young and naive, thinking that he had plenty of money coming in, bought a used truck for quite a bit of money. He also got married and they recently had a baby. His wife also had a car payment. Now with the baby and two car payments, they are struggling big time. They were never really able to pay for both cars on his salary.

My daughter in law went to school but could not get a job on top of school being that she was expecting. Long story short, they have tried and tried to sell the vehicles.

They owe too much and cannot sell them for what they owe, nor can they trade them in and get a loan with their credit being compromised. I am willing to help them financially but I also do not want to put myself in a bind as I don’t have that much in savings.


Dear Judy,

I’d love to tell you this is an unusual situation, but it’s simply not. Young military members feel confident and are targets for easier financing. Getting into trouble is not that uncommon.

Unfortunately, while you want to help, the best thing you can probably do is not help. Let’s let him learn this lesson now, while he is still young so he can experience the full teachable moment and learn from the situation.

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Without knowing more about the vehicles, other than they were financed, I would imagine he owes more on the loans that the vehicles are worth at this time.

So unless you plan to make the payments on one vehicle for him he is faced with two choices.

He can:

  1. Sell one of the vehicles for the amount he owes on the loan and pay the loan off so he can transfer the title. Which you already said is probably not possible.
  2. He can hand both of the vehicles back to the bank. The bank will show them as repossessed, sell them at auction, and hit him with two giant bills for the vehicles he will not be able to pay. So he’ll probably have to follow up that with a bankruptcy to discharge that debt obligation he will not be able to pay.
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He’s not going to escape this situation with some credit report pain. But that’s certainly not the end of the world. Credit can be rebuilt, he’ll learn from the experience, and in the meantime he can buy a cheap vehicle at one of the local lots for basic transportation.

So in summary, I would suggest you save your money and let him learn from this financial mistake. It will pay off dividends as he moves forward with his life.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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