Parental Guidance or Financial Hostage? The College Fund Dilemma

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In a world where the cost of higher education has spiraled out of control, a father’s unconventional approach to managing his son’s college fund is igniting discussions on parenting and financial responsibility. The original poster (OP), a 48-year-old father, found himself at a crossroads when his son, fresh out of high school, made a surprising decision about his future.

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A Father’s Dilemma

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OP begins his story by sharing that he and his wife had been diligent savers, starting their son’s college fund as soon as they learned about the impending addition to their family. Thanks to their joint income in the mid-six figures, this college fund had grown to an impressive $400,000 over the years.

They had always taken a hands-off approach to their son’s life choices, allowing him to explore and make his own decisions with gentle guidance along the way. Unlike many parents, OP and his wife didn’t place immense pressure on their son to excel academically or push him into sports or artistic endeavors. They trusted him to find his path in his own time.

The Unexpected Decision

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When he graduated from high school, OP’s son made a surprising declaration: he didn’t want to attend college. In a world where higher education is often seen as the only path to success, this decision sent shockwaves through their family.

OP and his wife, however, decided to embrace their son’s choice, believing that a college education wasn’t the only route to a successful future. They left the door open for alternatives, like trade schools, but their son declined those options too. Not only did he choose not to attend college, but he also declined the prospect of joining his parents in their business. Instead, OP’s son revealed his plans to utilize the substantial college fund to kickstart his own business venture.

Family Conflict

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But there was a catch. His father, OP, insisted that if he were to pursue this entrepreneurial path, he must first enroll in Business Management, accounting, and law classes at a nearby community college, with the tuition paid for by OP, not the college fund.

Additionally, the son would have to present a well-thought-out business plan before any funds were released. OP’s wife supported this plan wholeheartedly. However, OP’s son didn’t take kindly to this proposition. He accused his parents of holding his college fund hostage, coercing him into making choices with which he was not comfortable. He deemed them to be controlling and unfair.

Perplexed, OP turned to the online community seeking advice on whether he had done something wrong in the given scenario.

Online Opinions

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Impressive_Cat_530 chimed in, applauding the parents for their generosity and reasonable guidelines. Furthermore, the commenter also criticized OP’s son.

“I think your son is acting incredibly entitled, and doesn’t realize how lucky he is to even have a college fund set aside for him. So many adults are drowning in student debt…. He needs some big-picture perspective.”

TwoCentsPsychologist put the notion of ownership into perspective, stating,

“It is not ‘his’ college fund. It is parents’ money saved for his future.”

The idea that it’s a parental investment rather than an entitlement was underscored. The user also believed that the classes OP suggested were a bare minimum to ensure some level of financial safety before giving such a significant sum to a teenager.

Katana1369 offered a more direct perspective, stating,

“It’s a college fund, not a messing around and having fun fund.”

More Concern Comes In

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ClaymoreClair pointed out the importance of mindset, indicating that if one rejects a good offer solely because they don’t want to do something, it may not bode well for building a business.

This user, it seemed, believed in the necessity of discipline and commitment in business endeavors.

Lastly, ManofLegacy unequivocally supported the parents. The user made a stark comparison, stating that giving the son the money immediately would yield a bad outcome. The user encouraged real-world experience and commended the parents for their approach, despite the son’s objections.

The Verdict

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OP’s dilemma of withholding his son’s $400k college fund while insisting on conditions for its use has sparked diverse opinions. Many commenters commend the parents for their generosity and argue that the conditions are reasonable, considering the substantial investment.

Others emphasize the fund as the parents’ money, stressing the importance of precautions before granting such a substantial sum. Additionally, there’s a consensus that it’s crucial for the son to gain real-world experience and education before launching a business venture.

Overall, the verdict leans towards the parents’ approach being well-intentioned, focusing on striking a balance between financial support and personal responsibility.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments. Do you think the OP from this social media post was wrong?

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Annika Stepanov

Annika is passionate about personal finance and travel, pouring her extensive experience into her writing on these topics. She has a diploma in Creative English Writing and has been working in the industry since 2016.