Your relationship will suffer
"Nothing comes between friends or family like borrowed money," says Hull. "Nobody wins."
The borrower feels guilty about it. You feel uncomfortable asking the borrower about the loan payments. And that's when things are going well. If the person for whom you co-signed fails to make good on the debt, your relationship can go south very quickly, Hull says.
"Relationships can be compromised and sometimes severed," adds Tayne.
Bad feelings can get complicated if it is not brazen irresponsibility -- but rather unforeseen circumstances such as a job loss -- that keeps a borrower from paying back a loan. And remember that you also could be left with the burden of the debt if the borrower becomes sick -- or dies.
Co-signing, concludes Hull, is a financial agreement with no upside. "You are on the hook for all of the potentially negative outcomes," he says, "but you get none of the benefits."