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My brother in law built up a large amount of gambling debt two years ago. I guess in an attempt to save face, he hid a portion - 75,000¥ ($11,187) from his family thinking he could pay it off himself. Unfortunately, his wife asked him to deposit his checks straight into her bank account so he had no income to pay this secret debt off. He persisted unfortunately, and resorted to shuffling money across credit cards and getting loans to pay loans.

Now his debt has ballooned to 300,000¥ ($44,748) across many loans and credit cards. He makes 5,000¥ ($745) a month and apparently his lenders are asking for a combined 15,000¥ ($2,237) a month with some looming balloon payment in August.

His immediate family is being less than helpful. They are suggesting he get a second job, but apparently factory workers get only 1 day off a month, so he can't get a weekend job. They were suggesting Uber, but my understanding was that some people can actually lose money on Uber, and I'm not confident in his ability to properly track his finances for something like that. Even then a couple hours of Uber a day doesn't really begin to fix the problem.

I'd suggest he file for bankruptcy but it appears that no such thing exists in China. Actually, it appears from my cursory googling there are no laws to help debtors at all.

His main asset is a low-end car. No home.

I imagine the first step in this is to talk to the lenders, but I'm not sure what that conversation should look like - especially in China. Is it possible to consolidate his loans into a lower interest loan, perhaps with his car as collateral?

  • Are you in China or another country, like USA or somewhere in the EU? – gnasher729 Apr 20 at 18:05
  • I am in the United States. The 5000 yuan is about 750 dollars. – someone_somewhere Apr 20 at 18:18
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    If his car isn't worth at least the principle of the loan it is unlikely that any lender would take the vehicle as collateral. It may be possible to consolidate his debt, but without collateral equaling or exceeding the debt it is unlikely that he'll find a lender willing to take that chance. China has a very creditor/business focused bankruptcy system that, as you found out, leaves individual debtors without a way to pay for debts they cannot afford. – Ron Beyer Apr 20 at 19:53
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    Cruel as it may seem I would not get involved with this. You brother in law has already shown that he can run up debts even when he has no income. His family may have a better handle on this than you. Under no circumstances give him money unless his wife agrees to it. – DJClayworth Apr 20 at 21:20
  • I never knew the yuan also used the yen symbol. – RonJohn Jul 26 at 1:30
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His debt is sixty monthly incomes, five years worth. That's substantially more than my first house was. And I had 25 years time to pay it back, his lenders ask for monthly payments where 20 months payments equal the debt. That amount of debt is lethal for him.

You can of course help him. Many people in the USA or the EU can find $45,000 or equivalent, enough to extinguish his debt, and without getting themselves into trouble.

But I doubt that is a good idea. It's $45,000 out of your pocket, and since that debt was created by sheer idiocy, it's easy to predict that he will continue gambling and rack up the same debt again. And in case the "brother in law" is your sister's husband and not related to your wife, it's also easy to predict that you will be in absolute trouble with your wife.

I'm sorry, but I don't think there is anything you should do to help him. And nobody could reasonably expect you to help. I hope he enjoyed the gambling.

(Brother in law could be my sister's husband, my wife's brother, or my wife's sister's husband. I have helped out relatives financially, but that amount of money, for gambling and being stupid, no way I would pay).

  • He's my wife's brother. I just talked her out of sending $1,000 a month which doesn't even begin to cover the monthly payments. I don't want to financially support him, just collect advice since his head isn't full of many good ideas. – someone_somewhere Apr 20 at 23:41

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