Dear Annie: My daughter, “Gina,” was the first one in our family to go to college. Of course, we all were proud. She chose a school that was rather pricey, but she had some scholarships and loans. She graduated last year.

In college, Gina needed me to be a cosigner on her loan. Now I am discovering the cost of doing so. Gina did not get a job right after graduation, and her bills have come due in a big way. The loan companies are demanding their money and are going to start tapping Gina’s wages. She makes just enough to get by as it is.

I understand the loan companies are due their money, but they are not willing to work with Gina so she can pay an affordable amount each month. I assume they will get around to going after my wages, as well, and I can’t afford that, either, since I am a sole homeowner with my own bills.

Now I know why college is so unaffordable for most people. I worry for my daughter and am not sure what to do. — Stressed in Pennsylvania

Dear Stressed: We spoke with Gail Cunningham, vice president of Membership and Public Relations at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. She said to first be sure that the threat of garnishment is real, since many states do not allow it. Here are her further recommendations:

Since both you and your daughter are responsible for the debt, but neither can make the full payment, consider splitting it. Although money is tight, a shared burden lessens it.

When a collector calls, ask to speak to a supervisor. Explain why you are behind in payments and your plan to resolve the situation. It is important to have a workable plan to present and not to make any promises you can’t keep. The collector’s goal is to get as much money as he or she can, so it may appear that they’re not going to budge. However, it is critical that you stick to your plan, as doing otherwise will only lead to more problems.

You may want to consult with a counselor at an NFCC Member agency by calling 1-800-388-2227 or going online to

Dear Annie: I am married to a wonderful woman who was widowed 10 years ago. She has two adult children. The daughter is planning to be married soon.

My wife thinks I should be in the wedding photos with the bride and groom as if we were the parents. I disagree. Perhaps photos of my wife and me as attendees, but certainly not in the wedding pictures as if I’m the bride’s father. I am 50 years old. Her daughter is 32. We have been married for five years. Please help. — Photo Shop

Dear Photo: This is up to the bride. If she wants you to be in a family wedding photo, please agree to do so. If she prefers that family photographs include only her mother, that is also OK, and we are glad to see that you are gracious enough to step aside. Make sure your wife understands that it is inappropriate for her to insist that you be in these pictures.

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