Q: I can’t tell you how having your impartial advice has motivated me. I am also amazed at how messed up credit reports can be. Credit reporting bureaus aren’t the easiest groups to work with.

Here’s my question. My bankruptcy was discharged in October, 2003. Before I went bankrupt, I bought at car and got a loan at 13.5 percent.

My mom just got an offer from her credit card company to pay off items up to $15,000. Her loan would have a lifetime interest rate of 2.9 percent.

My mom wants to pay off my car loan with that. Then, I would make the credit card payments. This may be a no-brainer, but is this something I should do?

Thank you for any advice you may have.

A: It is a no-brainer, but only if you have the brains to make her payments on time. If you fail to make these payments, it’s your mom who will be on the hook, and her credit will be ruined.

Before you take your mom up on her incredibly generous offer to bail you out, you need to examine the mismanagement of your money that led you to bankruptcy court. Do you understand what your financial mistakes were and how you can avoid them in the future?

Too often, I hear from readers who have gone bankrupt and then gone back to their bad habits, and wind up in a worse position down the line.

If your mother refinances your debt for you, make yourself a promise that you will always pay your bills on time, and never again charge anything you can’t pay off at the end of the month.

If you do this, your credit will start to improve dramatically in another couple of years and you will be able to clean up your credit history and raise your credit score.

Regarding this car debt, my suggestion to you is to continue to make the same payments you were making when the debt was at 13.5 percent. You will be surprised both by how quickly you will be able to make this debt go away and how good you will feel once it is off your shoulders for good.

June 22, 2004.