A man and a woman had a son who turned 18, and they decided to give him his college fund with no strings attached. They told him it was his to do with as he pleased.
The Money Was His
The man and his wife made it clear to their son that the money was his. “We did inform him that the money was his to use”, the man explained. “We did explain the intent but he is an adult and he was free to use it as he pleases, just understand the consequences.”
The Offer Of Help
When the son received his money, the parents were quick to remind him that they could help with money management. “He is always told it is okay to ask for help if he is unsure how to use said money or has no idea what to do with his life.”
A Choice Of Adventure
Their son, now 20, opted for a path very different from education. He chose to spend the money on traveling and self-discovery over the last two years.
A New Aspiration
However, the son had recently expressed his desire to pursue higher education and approached his parents to fund his tuition.
The Curious Inquiry
His parents, curious about what had happened to the college fund, asked him about it. “I asked what happened to the money and he told us about the traveling”, explained the father. “I said no to the tuition fees, and told him that if he wanted to go to school then he had better get a job.”
The father was furious both with his son and himself. He believed it had been made clear that the son should be sensible with the money. However, he had been the one to say it was his to do whatever he wanted.
Why Didn’t He Communicate
The man wondered how different things could have been with just a little communication from his son. “He could have just asked, ‘Hey I want to travel – how can I best go about that?’ Had he asked I would have said let’s do x y and z with your money, then I would have given him some money to travel with.”
Despite the man’s complex perspective on the matter, his wife believed that they should just pay out for their son’s mistakes. She believed that securing their son’s future was more important than being stubborn in reaction to his poor choices.
An Ethical Dilemma
The man was left with a conundrum. He knew that if he followed his wife’s wishes, they could pay for their son to study and everything would be sorted. However, he also felt it was right that his son should learn from his mistakes.
The man logged on to social media, posting his story and opening it up for questions and comments. One comment represented the perspective of many comments to come: “Seriously, did you actually expect an 18-year-old to make good choices with that kind of money?”
A Dumb Decision
Readers of the man’s story blamed him just as much as his son. “Pretty dumb for giving him the money and letting him do whatever with it with no guidance”, one person wrote. “However, It’ll do him good to realize how he messed up and rectify his own mistakes with hard work and perseverance.”
More Valuable Than Money
One person shared their advice for any parents reading. “One of the best things a parent can do is pass down financial literacy to their child”, they wrote. “These are taught in lessons not by handing over a lump sum of money. Remember that the majority of lottery winners spend the money within 10 years.”
Not All Bad
Despite readers blaming the man, they still empathized with him, recognizing his positive intentions. Some gave him advice, reminding him that there were other options: “This does not need to be all-or-nothing”, someone wrote. “Maybe consider a no-interest loan? That is, you pay the bills upfront, and he works to pay you back without crippling interest over the next X years?
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