Carefreeap wrote: ↑Thu Aug 20, 2020 11:48 am
How you approach it is key. My father's "No one appreciates anything unless they pay for it" was really a mean spirited way of saying he didn't want to pay for anything, nor help the next generation move forward. Because my parents made too much money despite my good grades I wasn't eligible for many scholarships for college. I was the first to graduate from college and cash-flowed my college education first by cleaning houses and then by selling real estate. It was really a tough way to do it and my grades were not as good as they should have been given I was effectively working and going to school full time at UC San Diego. The constant haranguing of pointy headed college students who just partied their way through school was another display of sour grapes. While I know others have tougher stories it's hard to forget someone effectively punishing you for wanting something better for themselves.
The real irony is that my parents died/are dying broke. And I'm lucky I didn't/don't have to support them.
I don't have kids but one approach I thought made sense would be to offer a program of "matching grants". Offer to pay up to half to a State public school and you'll match whatever earnings, scholarships et cetera they can raise. But talk about it early, say as they enter middle school so they have enough time to earn their share. This approach could also work for help for a down payment for a house or other meaningful goal.
Good luck, I'm glad you're keeping an open mind.
@Carefreeap, this really resonated with me. I also put myself through college; moved out at 17, did the JC and transfer route, then had financial aid and loans at an in-state university. I graduated with very little debt because I worked 30 hours per week during school, and 2 jobs in the summer most years. My mom and step dad refused to fill out FAFSA, because they didn't want to reveal their tax returns.
I got a *little* help from my parents: my mom paid first-and-last on my college apartment that first year (totalling ~ $2k) and my father sent me $125 per month during the school year. (Enragingly, they *both* later claimed to have "put me through college.")
When I graduated, my Chevette with 125k miles on it died; I asked for a loan from my mom (and stepfather) for $3k to buy a good used car being sold by a faculty member I knew; my mom declined, because my stepdad's kids had not repaid loans made to them. She later relented when my boyfriend (now husband) offered to loan me the funds. She didn't want people knowing that he loaned me money when she would not.
Years later, when still-boyfriend and I bought our first house, his grandmother had set aside funds for years to be used as a house DP for her grandsons. So she gifted him $10k. My mother was willing to loan me $10k, but my step dad asked that they be added to the title as surety. Nope. I countered that I would change my life insurance coverage to name them, and then proceeded to repay that loan, at (actually, legally usorious rates, I later found out) within 4 years from my $25k per year salary.
As evenhanded as I'd like to be, I am still aggrieved at my mother's treatment. She co-signed on my sister's first truck; she gave my brother much more financial assistance in college (because he lied about his financials); and my step-brothers were loaned/gifted thousands of dollars that never came to us.
For me, the lifelong lesson is: be even-handed. Have a plan. Don't rely on "in the moment" decisions. If you are remarried to someone who also has kids, make sure that your gifting is evenly distributed. Don't reward only the squeaky wheels; make sure the proud kids have some assistance, too.
As it stands now, I am likely to inherit some funds from mom, based on her owning a home in a MCOL area of CA. My brother and I won't need it; my sister will. Am I disclaiming that inheritance to my sister's benefit? Nope. Although my brother and I did encourage mom to re-title the beneficiary on her IRA to go straight to our sister. She needs it way more than we do, so that was a mitzvah we were happy to undertake.