I've been youtube binge watching episodes and clips of Judge Judy shows. It's not a good thing to do with my time...so I'm trying to find some redeeming value for my many wasted hours.
Turns out there are indeed some good financial lessons on Judge Judy:
1) NEVER EVER CO-SIGN a loan for anything, ever. If the person can't get credit from professionals, or rent an apartment on their own, or get utilities turned on...whatever...then do not put your own money at risk. If you cosign, the loan or utility bill or rent or whatever is actually all yours when they can't find the other signer. So DO NOT CO-SIGN ANYTHING EVER.
2) DO NOT pay anyone's bail. They aren't going to pay you back. They are going to say it's a gift.
3) DO NOT GET A CELL PHONE FOR ANYONE. Or pay their cable, or any other media/communications type thing. Just don't. They will run up the bill and not pay it.
4) DO NOT LOAN MONEY, and when you do, get a signed note with a specific pay off date. Never ever let them say "I'll pay you when I can" or "I'll pay you when I have the money." That just makes you a sucker because they will never be able to or never have the money.
5) DO NOT SHARE HOUSING WITH ANYONE NOT ON THE LEASE because you are just screwed.
6) DO NOT TAKE ANYONE ON VACATIONS THEY WILL NOT PAY FOR IN ADVANCE. They will just say that it was a gift and you will be screwed.
7) YOU CANNOT GET MORE THAN A CAR'S BLUE BOOK VALUE IN COMPENSATION FOR AN ACCIDENT. It does not matter what sort of fancy wheels/stereo/paint job you paid for after market, she's going to award you fair condition blue book value.
These are all things I knew, but it seems that most people who end up on Judge Judy do not know these things. And are not going to learn them.