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Recent college graduate, found out parents have 500k in debt?!

Turning to reddit because I have no idea what to think and I am just completely stumped. I’m using a throwaway because I am so embarrassed and I don’t want to identify myself too much with my past comments history.

Note*: All currency figures will be in USD for consistency.

I come from a South East Asian household and my parents always worked hard to put my older brother and I through education. Unfortunately, this also meant they put themselves in a very difficult position. My father makes the equivalent of around ~$200k USD now and putting two kids through college (and taking care of his ailing parents) at the same time put him up to $500K in debt some way or another. He said he thought of it as an investment because he assumed we would make enough to help him pay back the loan after graduating.

I knew my dad couldn’t afford to pay for both me and my brother’s education so I always asked him how he was affording it, but he would always brush it off saying now is not the time to worry on finances, work on your studies and live your college life. I assumed there was some sort of inheritance or something from my grandparents but turns out my dad was just financing it from personal loans and credit card debt (yes unfortunately ~$100K out of that 500K is from credit card debt right now…)

I know a few people might say at this point my dad did this and is not my responsibility to fix if my dad didn’t tell me about it before, but I will 100% be working together with him to figure this out so let’s assume that is not a possibility. He has suffered a lot and went through very difficult phases in his life he did not have to go through just to help me and my brother achieve a world class education so helping him or not is not up for debate for me.

The info I have right now is the following:

* No debt under my name
* $400k in bank loans (~4-5% interest rate average, will get more specific figures ASAP), $100k in credit card debt (I would assume 12-15%, once again will get more accurate figures by tomorrow) under my dad’s name
* Maybe ~20k in my brother’s name which he took to help finance the last year or two of my college degree

Thankfully, my brother and I were both able to get decently paying jobs out of college and as of now our salaries are:

* Dad: ~200k (in Asia)
* Brother: ~200-250k (in Asia)
* Me: ~130-150k (in high cost of living city in the US)

I found out about the total debt figures for the first time yesterday. I assumed the number would be in the 100’s and honestly thought it would top out at around ~200k, but half a million dollars is just beyond my imagination and I could hardly breathe when I found out. Moving forward, I know we have to get rid of that credit card debt as soon as possible and then work towards the bank debt, and I wanted to talk through my options.

A few extra facts: I am a Canadian citizen, graduated from an American private college this May (2019), and am currently working in the US with an OPT visa, applying for the H1B. My brother also attended an American private college a few years ago, but is working in Asia.

Question is: how much debt can/should I take out at what % and from where to help refinance the high interest rate credit card my dad has in Asia? Is it at all possible to take out Student loans after I graduated this past May? Does being Canadian exclude me from these programs?

I may have missed a detail or two because I am freaking out but I would appreciate any sort of advice. Thanks in advance if you were able to read through all this.

TL;DR: Canadian citizen recently graduated from American college (this past May), dad in Asia has 500k in debt and I want to help refinance to a lower cost of debt with more favorable terms. Is it possible to take out student loans under my name (~100k worth)? Is this 500k in debt going to haunt my family for decades to come?

Recent college graduate, found out parents have 500k in debt?! – RobinHood – Reddit Feed


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