Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

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Radjob4me
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Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by Radjob4me » Thu May 31, 2018 12:52 pm

So after a relatively miserable high school experience - 2 concussions, 1 of which was very serious requiring months of recuperation - followed by dropping grades, alcohol/drug issues, etc... our oldest son is finally done with high school. Even though he drives us crazy at times (especially my wife) he is, underneath it all, a good, smart, personable kid who had some crappy luck and then got himself into some bad situations. At this point he knows he isn't ready for college, but he wants to start his life, and we are completely on board with that. And he needs to get out of our small town, even if just for a while...

He has a what will hopefully be a great opportunity in that his uncle, who lives halfway across the country in a pretty big city, wants to take him under his wing and hire him to work in his sales force (he is a sales VP with a national company), starting as a paid intern. If all goes well, he could transform this into a full-time job in a year, hopefully taking community college business courses on the side. He will be living with his uncle, aunt and three little boys (knowing that if he falls back into bad habits, he will be asked to leave) in a spare bedroom.

With that background, he has $2.96 in his bank account since he blows through money and doesn't save, despite our best efforts (his younger siblings, by contrast, save almost everything). He eats out at every chance and probably has $1000s worth of sneakers, for example, from either gift money or when he did have jobs. This year his school struggles were so bad, and commitment level so low, that after a while we didn't even bother trying to make him get a job. The goal was high school survival to finish on time.

As a physician family with resources, including a pretty big college fund for him, we aren't quite sure how to help him financially going forward. With his habits, we are having trouble figuring out how to balance the fact that he will need some cash to start with (already has a car and we pay insurance) vs giving him so much that he buys (more) dumb things like expensive clothes and sneakers, etc. And obviously he will earn on his own, so eventually he will have his own cash.

So were considering a monthly "stipend" of say $250 for him and giving $250-500 to his aunt/uncle for "rent" and food. He should also be earning at least minimum wage. Assuming he stays on a good track, we anticipate paying car insurance for another 6-12 months and then perhaps helping with an apartment if he is going to stay long term. We will keep the 529 plan as is and hopefully he will use it for school at some point or we can transfer to his younger siblings, both of whom are following a far more traditional path. We are toying with the idea of matching any savings he puts in a Roth or savings account for longer than 6 months or something similar...

Has anyone else dealt with something like this and have some advice to share?

bloom2708
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by bloom2708 » Thu May 31, 2018 1:08 pm

I like the plan. Worth a try.

Will the $250 cover gas for the car? Insurance is one thing. It costs $40+ to fill up many cars now.

How about clothing for his new job? It might require a shopping trip with you footing the bill on some mix/match items appropriate for the job.

Set expectations and if he is on board (even 75%) it seems like it would be good experience.
"We are not here to please, but to provoke thoughtfulness." --Unknown Boglehead

rob65
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by rob65 » Thu May 31, 2018 1:16 pm

A few thoughts.

I would continue paying the car insurance at least for awhile. Different situation, but I’m still paying my 24 year olds car insurance so that he can focus on paying off his student loans quickly. Again, maybe a different situation. Edit: You might tie this to something. You’ll keep paying insurance as long as he completes one community college course per semester or something along those lines.

I would be a backstop on major car repairs.

If he legitimately needs new clothes for his job, I would fund that, but might have the uncle make the actual purchases to make sure he really is buying appropriate business attire.

Consider gift cards instead of cash. Perhaps a gift card from a gas station or grocery store. Not a perfect solution, but maybe worth considering. My parents helped support my aunt for several years and did this to try to make sure she used the money as intended. Again, not a perfect solution.

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Fletch
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by Fletch » Thu May 31, 2018 1:51 pm

U S Marines
“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.

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djpeteski
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by djpeteski » Thu May 31, 2018 1:52 pm

I was dealing with some of those things with my son who is now in law school and really makes his father proud.

In my opinion you have to take a crawl/walk/run approach to him managing his life and finances. I also believe that everything has to be spelled out in a document that is agreed upon by you and your wife, his aunt and uncle, and of course him.

For example, I would require his paycheck to be direct deposited into an account for which he does not have access. He would also be given a stipend and small amount of expenses that he is responsible for. This would be transferred into an account for which he does have access and has the ability to over draw. Given good behavior, of three months or so, perhaps his responsibilities and stipend increases. Eventually he should have to pay room and board to his aunt and uncle. Does he buy sneakers or pay his rent? Its a good bench mark. If it is sneakers he loves, then there should be a way for him to save and buy a new pair.

I encourage all of my children to do three things with there money: spend, give, and save/invest. Giving in my opinion is an essential and often overlooked part of wealth building. It should be part of his adult attainment plan.

Perhaps when he is away from the drama of high school, and way from those influences that lead him down a bad path that will help. You mentioned concussions. Where they a part of a sport or activity that he did, enjoyed, and can no longer participate? If so do not rule out depression. Athletes, even poor ones, have a great sense of loss once they can no longer do their sport.

Good luck to him and you.

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djpeteski
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by djpeteski » Thu May 31, 2018 2:07 pm

Fletch wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 1:51 pm
U S Marines
As a former Marine, I would suggest that only if other attempts fail. Plus dad/mom/aunt/uncle cannot force him to join. Even if he does there are easy enough ways to get kicked out. All you have to do is refuse to do push ups or some such thing.

He should be given a chance to succeed without taking to drastic of a measure. Did he buy sneakers to prove to his "friends" in high school that he was the rich son of a doctor? Where those same friends influencing him in other ways? Will this be enough to help him wake up?

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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by new2bogle » Thu May 31, 2018 2:16 pm

I have to say, I do NOT like the plan. I cannot believe that his uncle, with three little boys (i.e., impressionable by their older cousin who they probably think is "cool") will allow such an irresponsible teen to live with him. I would never let my kids live under the same roof as irresponsible adults.

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FlyAF
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by FlyAF » Thu May 31, 2018 2:19 pm

new2bogle wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 2:16 pm
I have to say, I do NOT like the plan. I cannot believe that his uncle, with three little boys (i.e., impressionable by their older cousin who they probably think is "cool") will allow such an irresponsible teen to live with him. I would never let my kids live under the same roof as irresponsible adults.
I tend to agree. I was a lot like your son at that age and just about everything I touched turned into a dumpster fire until the age of 20 when I realized that the only hope for me was the military and going off to war.

fishmonger
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by fishmonger » Thu May 31, 2018 2:22 pm

The opportunity with his uncle sounds great, but do you think that he's ready for that? I understand that you feel he needs to get out of Dodge and into a new environment to not fall into old habits. But personally, it sounds like he is being set up to fail.

Would the same offer be available in say 6 months or a year? If he, in your words, just barely survived high school is he ready to be put into a white collar, self-motivating field like sales? Even if it's light lifting as an intern and will get an extra long leash due to the family connection, this could be massive culture shock for him - possibly more than say going to college part-time.

You know your kid better than any of us do and it's great that he can get a fresh start. But I would think long and hard about whether he's mature enough to jump right into this

mouses
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by mouses » Thu May 31, 2018 2:29 pm

Fletch wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 1:51 pm
U S Marines
He is not physically fit. Do you really want someone who's had two concussions damaging his brain further?

In fact, I am concerned that some of his behavior comes from brain damage. The OP is a doctor, if this hasn't already been looked into, it should be.

Radjob4me
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by Radjob4me » Thu May 31, 2018 2:36 pm

Thanks to all for the first round of suggestions. We will certainly be the backstop for any major expenses (i.e. car repairs, etc...) for a while and will provide have health insurance until he gets his own. Yes, I think we might have the aunt and uncle perhaps control some of the money for clothes and the like after we get him a few initial outfits that are appropriate.

And no, no Marines/military for him. That is not his personality. Not off the table if he so chooses, but I doubt it

And we all go into this knowing he might only last a few weeks. And that's fine. We still love him, obviously, and will welcome him home if it doesn't work out. And college is still on the table. We have given him many outs to change is mind but I think he wants to move on from our small town.

Yes, he was treated for his concussions at a clinic for athletes (soccer injury) and subsequently cleared, but I'm sure some of this is going to be an ongoing issue for sure.
new2bogle wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 2:16 pm
I have to say, I do NOT like the plan. I cannot believe that his uncle, with three little boys (i.e., impressionable by their older cousin who they probably think is "cool") will allow such an irresponsible teen to live with him. I would never let my kids live under the same roof as irresponsible adults.
Whoa. If he was dangerous or otherwise a threat, then we would not do this. His uncle and aunt know him and love him (they used to live closer and see him quite a bit) are are happy to try and help him turn his life back into something better in a new place. He was a 3.4 GPA student before this black hole of a senior year. I know many teens that drank and smoked before 21 and turned out fine. And in many cultures, teens go to live with other family members to help get perspective on life - lots of kids torment their own parents, only to be good with others. So we all go into this knowing it might backfire, but it is potentially a good thing for everyone.

fishmonger
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by fishmonger » Thu May 31, 2018 2:57 pm

Seems like the aunt and uncle are great people, but aren't they doing enough? Letting him live with them, offering him a job (and not any job but one with a mentor that can turn into a viable career), presumably cooking for him, etc?

Now you want them to manage his money for basic things like clothes and the like? They must be much better people than I am

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lthenderson
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by lthenderson » Thu May 31, 2018 2:59 pm

If it were me in your shoes, I wouldn't pay the stipend. Paying the money to the gracious uncle is fine and I even think helping with car insurance is fine but I would make him spend the money he earns for clothing and other necessities, at least for the time being until he has learned to manage money a bit better.

I spent my early years in life living paycheck to paycheck to buy things I needed to start a new life away from my parents home. While it wasn't something I look back with fond memories, I'm glad I experienced what it was like to live paycheck to paycheck and being able to only afford ramen noodles or such for a few meals until the next paycheck came in. It certainly helped influence me to create a financial cushion and save for the future which put me in the great position I am in now.

DidItMyWay
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by DidItMyWay » Thu May 31, 2018 3:08 pm

I agree with lthenderson. If he is living with family and has a job, letting him learn to budget and manage the money he actually earns will be a good learning experience for him and would serve him better in the long run.
If you are making it too comfortable for him now by providing stipends, etc., how will he grow as an adult, and where will the motivation come for him to go to college? If he has to live paycheck to paycheck for a while and can't afford a thousand dollars’ worth of sneakers and other cool stuff that he would like to have, the idea of furthering his education and pursuing a career might suddenly become more attractive to him.

You know your son best, but that's my 2 cents for what it's worth. :)
Last edited by DidItMyWay on Thu May 31, 2018 9:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

livesoft
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by livesoft » Thu May 31, 2018 3:18 pm

Have you discussed your plans in full with aunt/uncle? How about your son? As in, to your son: "What do you want from us this summer? How about this fall? What then?"

When going to college, our son got about $300 a month to pay for food and other things when living off campus. He often had less than $2 in his bank account. Not a problem. At the same age, I got nothing from my parents during the summers I didn't live at home.

And one of my siblings was not unlike your son at that age. It worked itself out by age 55 or so.
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2comma
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by 2comma » Thu May 31, 2018 3:31 pm

Radjob4me wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 2:36 pm
Thanks to all for the first round of suggestions. We will certainly be the backstop for any major expenses (i.e. car repairs, etc...) for a while and will provide have health insurance until he gets his own. Yes, I think we might have the aunt and uncle perhaps control some of the money for clothes and the like after we get him a few initial outfits that are appropriate.

And no, no Marines/military for him. That is not his personality. Not off the table if he so chooses, but I doubt it

And we all go into this knowing he might only last a few weeks. And that's fine. We still love him, obviously, and will welcome him home if it doesn't work out. And college is still on the table. We have given him many outs to change is mind but I think he wants to move on from our small town.

Yes, he was treated for his concussions at a clinic for athletes (soccer injury) and subsequently cleared, but I'm sure some of this is going to be an ongoing issue for sure.
new2bogle wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 2:16 pm
I have to say, I do NOT like the plan. I cannot believe that his uncle, with three little boys (i.e., impressionable by their older cousin who they probably think is "cool") will allow such an irresponsible teen to live with him. I would never let my kids live under the same roof as irresponsible adults.
Whoa. If he was dangerous or otherwise a threat, then we would not do this. His uncle and aunt know him and love him (they used to live closer and see him quite a bit) are are happy to try and help him turn his life back into something better in a new place. He was a 3.4 GPA student before this black hole of a senior year. I know many teens that drank and smoked before 21 and turned out fine. And in many cultures, teens go to live with other family members to help get perspective on life - lots of kids torment their own parents, only to be good with others. So we all go into this knowing it might backfire, but it is potentially a good thing for everyone.
I like your attitude towards the situation and think it's a good plan, here's hoping for the best!

I had a BIL that was far worse. He got a lucky break selling electronics from a friends dad. He parlayed that into selling cable & wire over the phone and excelled at that. He only got his GED but made far more than my wife and I combined who have college degrees and went into fairly lucrative computer careers. Go figure?
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10YearPlan
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by 10YearPlan » Thu May 31, 2018 3:50 pm

I think it is great that you want to help, but at 18, even with his history, I think you need to be careful not to be overly invasive. I would offer to pay the uncle for 6 months while son gets on his feet, and maybe take him shopping for some work-appropriate clothes and get him set up initially; but then I would let him do the rest. He probably won't be perfect right out of the gate, but other than some Bogleheads, who is? If he overdraws his account, he will have to learn how to fix it. If he spends more than he makes one week on sneakers, he will quickly realize that is not optimal.

Some of the biggest hot messes I know grew up to be very successful. Some took longer than others to mature, but they did it on their own with very little support from their parents (financially speaking).

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by Doom&Gloom » Thu May 31, 2018 4:05 pm

With no more information than we have on such a complex situation, it is hard for us to critique what you think is the best route. But I will venture that something probably does need to change. Perhaps this will be sufficient. Good luck to all!

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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by pennywise » Thu May 31, 2018 4:08 pm

FlyAF wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 2:19 pm
new2bogle wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 2:16 pm
I have to say, I do NOT like the plan. I cannot believe that his uncle, with three little boys (i.e., impressionable by their older cousin who they probably think is "cool") will allow such an irresponsible teen to live with him. I would never let my kids live under the same roof as irresponsible adults.
I tend to agree. I was a lot like your son at that age and just about everything I touched turned into a dumpster fire until the age of 20 when I realized that the only hope for me was the military and going off to war.
+1 or perhaps +2

So the plan is to turn loose an 18 year old who is described by his own parent as a lazy unmotivated kid with possible organic brain damage (concussion) and known drug abuse over to non parental mentors where he will suddenly shape up, become a model young man and start becoming self sufficient while being employed in the business that is mentor's livelihood. And of course he will return each night to said mentor's home in which 3 wide eyed little kids are watching his behavior and attitude. What could possibly go wrong?!

OP describes an irresponsible teenager with substance abuse and motivation problems being sent off to live with a relative in what sounds like a very desperate hope for some type of substantive change simply by dint of no longer being in OP's home. Doesn't seem like there is much motivation for him to buckle down either if he will be on an allowance with his other expenses such as car insurance and room/board covered. OP, who will be paying for his cell phone and internet access? I'm guessing not your son. Simply from a carrot and stick perspective what exactly are the motivators for him to change his behavior and attitude because I'm not seeing any.

Perhaps as or more important, this puts a huge burden on a family member. Not only is his uncle supposed to now monitor and manage a problem adolescent, but uncle is being asked to put troublemaker into his own business environment. Really?

BVRFC
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by BVRFC » Thu May 31, 2018 4:23 pm

Fletch wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 1:51 pm
U S Marines
As a former teenage delinquent, former Marine, and currently successful adult, I recommend this strategy.

Why would your son work and start acting responsibly when he can not work and lounge around all day on your dime? Sell his car. Make him ride the bus to work. Tell him that the free rent at home ends in 12 months. Print off a piece of paper with directions to the local USMC recruiter's officer and tape it to his door.

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StevieG72
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by StevieG72 » Thu May 31, 2018 6:39 pm

Is this uncle going to be harder or easier on the kid than you?

Do you anticipate your son following the expectations set for this arraignment?

Be careful to not make things so easy that you create a failure to launch situation.

Good luck! I hope it works out better than you anticipate.
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by NextMil » Thu May 31, 2018 6:44 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 2:59 pm
If it were me in your shoes, I wouldn't pay the stipend. Paying the money to the gracious uncle is fine and I even think helping with car insurance is fine but I would make him spend the money he earns for clothing and other necessities, at least for the time being until he has learned to manage money a bit better.

I spent my early years in life living paycheck to paycheck to buy things I needed to start a new life away from my parents home. While it wasn't something I look back with fond memories, I'm glad I experienced what it was like to live paycheck to paycheck and being able to only afford ramen noodles or such for a few meals until the next paycheck came in. It certainly helped influence me to create a financial cushion and save for the future which put me in the great position I am in now.
+1

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aspirit
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by aspirit » Thu May 31, 2018 6:47 pm

Fletch wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 1:51 pm
U S Marines
:D AirForce, Navy, Army, Marines, Coastguard, etc. :thumbsup
Last edited by aspirit on Thu May 31, 2018 10:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by AlwaysWannaLearn » Thu May 31, 2018 6:51 pm

.....
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by golfCaddy » Thu May 31, 2018 7:10 pm

BVRFC wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 4:23 pm
Fletch wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 1:51 pm
U S Marines
As a former teenage delinquent, former Marine, and currently successful adult, I recommend this strategy.

Why would your son work and start acting responsibly when he can not work and lounge around all day on your dime? Sell his car. Make him ride the bus to work. Tell him that the free rent at home ends in 12 months. Print off a piece of paper with directions to the local USMC recruiter's officer and tape it to his door.
Not to beat the dead horse, but this isn't the Vietnam era anymore. If the OP's son tests positive on a drug test, he will get kicked out. The OP mentioned drug use. If he's honest on his enlistment forms, he might not even be allowed to enlist to begin with, depending on the nature of the use. The military needs people who want to be there and are willing to meet standards.

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Watty
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by Watty » Thu May 31, 2018 7:23 pm

Radjob4me wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 12:52 pm
alcohol/drug issues, etc...
......
He has a what will hopefully be a great opportunity in that his uncle, who lives halfway across the country in a pretty big city, wants to take him under his wing and hire him to work in his sales force (he is a sales VP with a national company), starting as a paid intern.
A couple of things;

Many companies require a drug test for employment and he might not pass that. It might be good to consider having him tested before he goes halfway across the country.

If he will be staying under your health insurance then check to see how that will work in the city he is moving to. There might not be any in-network doctors in that city.

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Pajamas
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by Pajamas » Thu May 31, 2018 7:34 pm

First, congratulations to your son on graduating and to you and his mother as well. Sounds like it took some real effort all around in the face of some severe problems for him to graduate from regular high school instead of not finishing or going to some kind of alternative school or taking the GED or whatever.

Providing a financial bridge such as you are proposing sounds like the right thing to do. Sales is hard work, especially for someone young, so it may take a while for him to earn his own way and he may need some tapering assistance for a while. At that age, it is really important and helpful to know that your parents are there for you if you need them financially even if you don't actually need them.

You mentioned it but didn't discuss it in depth: it would help him in the long run if you could really encourage him to work towards some kind of degree at a community college or similar and for you to pay for his further education just as you had planned before he hit some speed bumps in life.

Will he need additional non-financial support beyond what his uncle and his uncle's family provide?
golfCaddy wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 7:10 pm
If he's honest on his enlistment forms, he might not even be allowed to enlist to begin with, depending on the nature of the use.
That sounds right based on the information provided, that military service is not an option for him even if it would be a good thing for him, which is itself debatable.

Radjob4me
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by Radjob4me » Fri Jun 01, 2018 7:23 am

Appreciate all the replies - both positive and negative on our plans. Always great to have multiple perspectives and opinions.

To clarify a bit, the "stipend" is really meant to be a graduation gift of money, but spread out so he didn't get too much at once. But after considering and reading many replies, might just be better to give him his gift and see where it takes him. As the paycheck to paycheck folks note, better to really figure this out sooner rather than later. Perhaps at the end of the year, depending on what he saves, we might then contribute to a Roth IRA as matching or something similar.

Also, he won;t be jumping right into sales. He will be more of a support person learning the ropes of the sales industry and helping with technical support for the sales reps at shows, etc... Helping with phone and tablets and just seeing how it all works. He won't be selling anything right off the bat.

And yes, as Pajamas notes (and thanks for the congrats - it was a family effort) we eventually want him to earn a degree. He is intelligent, but needs to get out of the classroom for a while.

hookemhorns
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by hookemhorns » Fri Jun 01, 2018 7:39 am

Stop babying him. Your plan calls for him to receive more and more subsidies over time - how is that going to help him become independent? I see a good chance he ends up living back at home with you, rent free, in 3-6 months.

RickBoglehead
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by RickBoglehead » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:08 am

I wouldn't give him a lump sum based on his history, the monthly stipend sounds much better. Good luck. We had a difficult period with one of our sons, totally different circumstances, but as a parent it's hard to decide what to do, when to do it, and how much to do. Very easy to criticize when you're not in the seat.

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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by onourway » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:24 am

If you expect him to go to college eventually, I'm not sure taking time off is the best option. From what I've seen personally, it's generally kids who are highly motivated and have a specific plan who succeed when taking gap years between high school and college. Those without a plan and with little motivation are not likely to make the difficult transition back to school life. There are a wide variety of colleges out there - many of them with non-traditional classroom styles that may suit his personality better. Millions of kids go off to college every year, plenty of them who aren't fully ready for the transition when they arrive.

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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by tennisplyr » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:35 am

I was a horrendous student in high school barely getting by. I started off by going to a community college where I grew up and did very well. Went on to finish my BBA at a top NY college and also earned an MBA. For me as I matured I became more self-motivated. Give him a chance....cover his basics, let him know you're there, try not to baby him. He sounds like maybe a push out of the nest might give him the need to fly on his own.
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.

retired recently
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by retired recently » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:47 am

Good luck!!!

Impossible to say what might work but ultimately he has to want it. It seems like you have coddled him his whole life and to a large extent are still going to do so. Nothing wrong with that with the right kid but oftentimes (as in my daughter's case), it does not work.

I wonder how many of us that have been reasonably successful had the type of childhood where you knew no matter how often you screwed up, the parents would save you? Probably the right approach for many, I guess, but it seems like it might not work for others.

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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by Beach » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:33 am

I left the house as soon as I graduated HS but attended college immediately after. My parents helped with all the bills and I had a side job for extra blow money....and boy did I blow it. I took everything for granted, slacked off big time, got into some poor life choices after leaving and it took the threat of all of those funds disappearing to get my act straight. I knew I couldn't swing life making just barely over minimum wage and definitely knew I couldn't go to school anymore. Luckily I had a "good" set of friends apart from the "bad" ones and was just starting to figure out what type of degree I wanted. The help of the good friends plus the motivation to go to fun classes apart from the boring per-requisite classes helped me get my head straight.

I feel like what you have described could have been me, except I waited until after I moved out of the house to do all of my damage. Having the safety blanket helped and hindered me all at the same time. Maybe he got all of the stupid stuff out of the way early? I say keep him on a short leash and threaten to take away all funding and have your uncle threaten to kick him out if things slip. Being without home or cash in a distant place can be a powerful motivator.

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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by ddurrett896 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:39 am

Radjob4me wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 12:52 pm
So were considering a monthly "stipend" of say $250 for him and giving $250-500 to his aunt/uncle for "rent" and food. He should also be earning at least minimum wage. Assuming he stays on a good track, we anticipate paying car insurance for another 6-12 months and then perhaps helping with an apartment if he is going to stay long term.

Has anyone else dealt with something like this and have some advice to share?
Sounds like me 15 years ago.

My advice: don't pay for anything. Even thought you plan on paying for necessities (rent/food/transportation), the reality is you are funding his $1,000 shoe collection and habit of eating out by taking care of the necessities.

If you feel the need to help, my recommendation would be to tell him you will match everything he saves in an account that is used to purchase a house in the future.
Radjob4me wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 12:52 pm
work in his sales force (he is a sales VP with a national company), starting as a paid intern. If all goes well, he could transform this into a full-time job in a year, hopefully taking community college business courses on the side.
He has a perfect opportunity to go well and move up in a company. I'm 100% confident that moving up with require a bachelors degree. I would stress the importance of school and go the community college route like you stated.
Last edited by ddurrett896 on Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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gasdoc
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by gasdoc » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:43 am

Why does he need a stipend if he has a guaranteed job? (My wife accuses me of "over-supporting" our daughter, but she is not able to work much during college)

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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by staythecourse » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:52 am

I like the idea. But then again the issue is NOT going to be the initial plan, but what your response will be when he starts calling for more money. That may be as benign as, "Hey I am used to getting new sneakers and I can't do it with this paycheck" or as sinister as him needing money for drugs. Your wife, you, your uncle, and whatever family he lives with need to have a plan to deal with the inevitable groveling for money that is going to happen and ALL BE ON THE SAME PAGE as he will undoubtedly will manipulate to get what he wants (no different then anybody else mind you).

My wife has a brother who is a loser so to speak and the parents NEVER just kicked him out of the nest to sink or swim. The coddling basically has incapacitated now as he internally does not feel confident to live an independent life. He is a true example of the self handicapping prophecy.

Good luck.
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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by il0kin » Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:29 am

Grab a copy of The Millionaire Next Door and read the section on Economic Outpatient Care before you make any more decisions. Anecdotally, I was very similar to him without much direction or drive, but my parents had very little money so I was 100% on my own if I wanted to leave the house. I fumbled my way through my first year of college at a community college, eventaully found my sea legs and got a handle on my life and transferred to a state college, got a degree and scholarships and am now 6 years out of school saving, investing and now have a family of my own. You are pampering him too much. Let him utilize his own resourcefulness to learn to fish.

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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by Alf 101 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:42 am

I hope this thread doesn't get closed, as this has made me curious how this turns out. Often we can speculate and share recommendations, but how things play out vs. expectations is a valuable data point.

To the OP, have you had conversations with your son, and do you have a sense of how he views this opportunity given to him by his uncle? This is a very generous opportunity, yet has the potential to damage family relationships if things go south.

Many of us seem to have needed some time coming out of gates, to really put our lives together. I hope the best for you and your son.

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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by Tribonian » Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:14 pm

I like your basic approach of helping in a regulated manner, but would recommend ditching the car:

If he will be working with his uncle, he should be able to carpool. Having the abilty to roam in a strange city with unlimited range creates opportunities to regress. That’s the one subsidy I’d cut. If public transit isn’t great, a bike does wonders for independence, fitness and mood and you could subsidize Lyft or Uber for back up.

A car is a huge existential threat to even the most level headed teenage boys.

Good Luck!

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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by Katietsu » Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:32 pm

I think the basic framework of the original plan is a good place to start. I have been part of a similar situation in the last year and the plan has mostly worked out.

I agree with the person who talked about a crawl/walk/run progression. I view some of the suggestions in this thread to be akin to throwing a kid in the deep end of the pool who doesn’t swim and hoping for the best.

I would not give him all his “graduation gift” at once. I might even consider giving him a weekly stipend to start with. It might let him get a handle on managing expenses without having to go to things like gas gift cards. I would be very clear in advance on what you will and will not provide. I would spell this out to a greater degree than you think you need to and then stick to it.

I would not throw in things like matching savings in a Roth at this point.

I wish the best for you. I know how hard it is to watch a bright young person struggle to find their way.

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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by celia » Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:44 pm

I agree with the notion that your plan is setting him up for failure.

I would be most concerned with his health and the fact that he apparently missed so much in high school. Is there a way he can live with you for a year or two and take classes as a community college to "fill in" what he has missed. He doesn't need to go full time, but definitely more than one class at a time. Maybe 3? Meanwhile he can also have a part-time job and pay for one or two small expenses, such as his phone bill.

As he already has health issues, he should either live with you or other relatives for several years--with someone who will speak out and help him get help when it is needed. This is your responsibility, IMO even though he is almost an adult. I think of it as he has lost a year or two of his childhood and should be entitled to the emotional and financial support for a little longer, because of the injuries.

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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by MJW » Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:49 pm

What about learning a trade or other technical skills that can be gained by attending a community college? He can start off slowly, taking a class or two per semester while holding down a basic job. In many areas there is a high demand for skilled labor that is not being met because so many people are cramming into universities because they think that is what they are "supposed" to do.

A university education is great for some. It was for me. I did well and enjoyed being a student. I also saw a lot of people along the way that were miserable and eventually washed out. Or, they barely passed and "earned" a degree they will do nothing with. The worst thing for young people AND for universities is to have people attending them out of a sense of obligation when it is a poor fit. Money is spent, resources are squandered and everyone loses. I'm not saying that this would be the situation with your son necessarily, but something to bear in mind when thinking of how to set him up for success in his life.

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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by golfCaddy » Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:08 pm

Other posters are excessively harsh on the OP's son. Not many 18 year olds are truly independent. From prior threads, a lot of posters provide financial support to their kids well into their twenties: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=249815&hilit=stay+at+home.

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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by greg24 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:12 pm

Kind of weird seeing some of the harsh responses about $250 a month, considering many on this board plan on dropping $250,000 to let their kid go party at college.

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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by gcc32 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 3:58 pm

greg24 wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:12 pm
Kind of weird seeing some of the harsh responses about $250 a month, considering many on this board plan on dropping $250,000 to let their kid go party at college.
It's not fair to compare college, where the vast majority of the money is spent directly on tuition and room and board, to giving someone with OP's kid's history a stipend to live with a family member and work. I do agree that some of the responses are harsh but this comparison makes little sense to me.

OP,

I think your plan is pretty good overall. I agree with some others who have said that you should start smaller and do more hand holding from the start. I would set a weekly stipend and I would start it very small with a set plan to increase it over time with good behavior. Maybe if you eventually think $250/mo is fair, break that down to $60 a week but start it out at $25/week for a month, then $30, etc. I would emphasize that this is what it's like in the real world and if he goes down the path outside of getting a degree, it's hard, and it sucks sometimes, but that's what people do.

I think it's reasonable to pay for whatever he needs to get himself going once in this new locale. Clothes, phone, anything education related, whatever. Even a car, especially if he has to pay for gas and ideally insurance. I would run that stuff all through the uncle as some other's have said.

I think writing out a document that you both sign is a great idea and I think being somewhat generous with incentives is a very good idea too. Maybe if he has saved a certain amount of money quarterly or semi-annually you will do a 50% match or something like that. I think a big key is having him regularly feel incentives to nudge him towards good decision making.

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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by JBTX » Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:42 pm

djpeteski wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 1:52 pm
I was dealing with some of those things with my son who is now in law school and really makes his father proud.

In my opinion you have to take a crawl/walk/run approach to him managing his life and finances. I also believe that everything has to be spelled out in a document that is agreed upon by you and your wife, his aunt and uncle, and of course him.

For example, I would require his paycheck to be direct deposited into an account for which he does not have access. He would also be given a stipend and small amount of expenses that he is responsible for. This would be transferred into an account for which he does have access and has the ability to over draw. Given good behavior, of three months or so, perhaps his responsibilities and stipend increases. Eventually he should have to pay room and board to his aunt and uncle. Does he buy sneakers or pay his rent? Its a good bench mark. If it is sneakers he loves, then there should be a way for him to save and buy a new pair.

I encourage all of my children to do three things with there money: spend, give, and save/invest. Giving in my opinion is an essential and often overlooked part of wealth building. It should be part of his adult attainment plan.

Perhaps when he is away from the drama of high school, and way from those influences that lead him down a bad path that will help. You mentioned concussions. Where they a part of a sport or activity that he did, enjoyed, and can no longer participate? If so do not rule out depression. Athletes, even poor ones, have a great sense of loss once they can no longer do their sport.

Good luck to him and you.
This is a great post and I am totally aligned with the thought process.

As always, there is a diversity of opinions which is to be expected.

My advice to OP:

1. Ignore the substantial noise you will hear here and elsehwhere ofnthe various versions advising you to make him pull up himself up by booststraps and fend for himself. I have found that these typically come from people that don’t have any experience in dealing with such situations.

2. I have a teenage daughter that has had a history of behavioral and other issues, largely “biologically” based (bipolar/adhd). I have a college aged relative who has somewhat but not exactly the same issues. The common thread is in both instances there is a tendency towards impulsiveness and often terrible decision making process around money. My daughter is a great kid and has made enormous strides, and will likely go to college, but she still makes occasional terrible decisions, especially with money. The college age relative is very bright and very personable but is not in college and it isn’t clear what the path will be there. I would say the expectations we have had on our daughter have been historically more slack than on the relative, but ultimately in both cases you just have to adapt to the situation, work towards progress incrementally, and temper your expectations. It may just take him longer to get there, and that is fine.

As to the opportunity with the uncle, you are probably the best judge. If you think the uncle can manage the situation and understanding of your sons situation, I think it is worth a try. Of course there is a risk that he fails, but there is risk in all scenarios. Whatever the case, I would stay more involved In his situation and finances than a typical “kid” his age.

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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by Alexa9 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 5:02 pm

I would suggest trade school. The work can pay well and is fairly straightforward. I think a typical college would just be Animal House for him. No offense, but it sounds like a dead end job job working for his uncle but may be worth a shot.

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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by BolderBoy » Fri Jun 01, 2018 5:14 pm

Comes from a physician family, eh?

Your son needs to learn that he can earn his life's living by physical labor or [mostly] intellectual labor. Choice is largely his. IMO, he should start out on the physical side, work everyday until dog tired, until his bones ache. Then he can decide if he wants that life.

Like other posters I hope this thread doesn't get locked and you can come back and tell us how this turned out.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

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Re: Advice for assisting 18 year old son after high school

Post by Isabelle77 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 5:46 pm

I like the idea of the stipend but I also am confused (maybe I missed it) why he will need money if rent is free and he is earning a paycheck?

My father rather spectacularly flunked out of college in the late 60s. He had already been kicked out of his boarding high school for running a gambling ring and alcohol use and was only accepted into college (and a great one!) in the first place because he had a ton of family connections.

He was drafted for Vietnam and served 3 years in the army, married my mother, finished college (not the original one) and went to an ivy league school for his MBA. My dad retired at 50 in a C-level position at a Fortune 500 company. My mom credits the army, my dad credits my mom :D

Btw the first time I heard this story was after I was "asked not to return" to my private high school after 9th grade. Trouble, it seems, is a little genetic in our family.

The line to success isn't always straight and some of us require a few more bumps than others. Your son may just need a few years to mature.

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