How should one deal with adult children's finances?

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Sam I Am
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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by Sam I Am » Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:43 pm

Just a quick note, in response to the debate about paying for college if the student wanted to become a musician.

I believe if a young man or woman isn't able to win a scholarship via music, I seriously doubt they could become a paid orchestra member. Certainly doubtful with a name orchestra.

Colleges and universities music departments need bodies, just like athletic teams. And, just like athletic teams, only the best of the best will be going pro. The big difference is pro athletes can earn tens of millions, musicians not so much.

My oldest daughter was fortunate she chose to play the viola, instead of the violin. Violins attract many of the best, but you still need violas. Another thing you need, also not so popular, is the oboe. Certain instruments are money instruments if you are good.

So parents, if you have a budding musician, don't despair. If they are that good they can get scholarships. Though, like my daughter they might find another field that interests them more, once in college. She found she liked business, continued her scholarship, earning an MBA, as the incoming viola players weren't very good. After interning as a music teacher, she thought it best she go back to school.

And, you don't have to major in music to win a music scholarship. You do have to be good.

Sam I Am

stoptothink
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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by stoptothink » Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:51 pm

rrosenkoetter wrote:
dalerobk wrote: What if you have two children. Kid 1 does everything you tell him, including picking the "correct" major according to you. Kid 2 wants to live their own life and not be told what to do by you. You pay for college for the "good" kid (Kid 1), and then you tell Kid 2 to fend for themselves. How do you think Kid 2 is going to feel? Do you think Kid 2 is going to think, well I made my choice! Or do you think Kid 2 is going to say, "Wow. Dad doesn't love me. Dad doesn't give a damn about me. He just wants a robot like Kid 1." This is an incredibly inhumane thing to do and incredibly cruel emotionally to do to your child.
You should spend some time in the real world if you think not paying for college is an incredibly inhumane thing to do.
At my high school of 3,000+, you could probably count on one hand the number of students whose parents were able to foot the bill for college. I have a close-knit circle who've been friends since elementary school. Between us 9: 7 broken homes, all have a bachelors degree, 5 with graduate degrees, and I will soon by the 2nd with a doctorate. I can say with pretty strong certainty that not a single one of us received a penny from our parents for school, although a few lived at home and completed their undergrad at local universities. Only on Bogleheads.org are the majority of parents capable of paying for their child's education, on what planet is it inhumane to not cover the college education of your children?

I do recall that Dalerobk is an academic who has detailed the struggles of finding work and low-pay in academia, I wonder how this affects his view?

dalerobk
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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by dalerobk » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:07 pm

Sam I Am wrote:Just a quick note, in response to the debate about paying for college if the student wanted to become a musician.

I believe if a young man or woman isn't able to win a scholarship via music, I seriously doubt they could become a paid orchestra member. Certainly doubtful with a name orchestra.

Colleges and universities music departments need bodies, just like athletic teams. And, just like athletic teams, only the best of the best will be going pro. The big difference is pro athletes can earn tens of millions, musicians not so much.

My oldest daughter was fortunate she chose to play the viola, instead of the violin. Violins attract many of the best, but you still need violas. Another thing you need, also not so popular, is the oboe. Certain instruments are money instruments if you are good.

So parents, if you have a budding musician, don't despair. If they are that good they can get scholarships. Though, like my daughter they might find another field that interests them more, once in college. She found she liked business, continued her scholarship, earning an MBA, as the incoming viola players weren't very good. After interning as a music teacher, she thought it best she go back to school.

And, you don't have to major in music to win a music scholarship. You do have to be good.

Sam I Am
It's not about music.

dalerobk
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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by dalerobk » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:08 pm

rrosenkoetter wrote:
dalerobk wrote:
SamGamgee wrote:
sscritic wrote:
SamGamgee wrote: Horrible? I disagree. You're not telling them what to do. They can take out the loans to support themselves if violin is so meaningful to them. If they're going in for a life of happy poverty, they might as well start now.
My love for my child is not dependent on the major she chooses or the money she makes. My daughter stopped working so she could stay home and take care of her three kids, my grandchildren. For that, I should turn my back on her? I mean, she isn't making any money; I am not getting a return on my investment. I know, I should immediately demand that she pay me back the cost of raising a daughter who is living such a worthless life. Sheesh!
This is a good illustration of the emotional "thinking" that unfortunately surrounds the issue, in my opinion.

Parents who withhold financial support to "children" who are finished high school are not withholding love. They are not turning their backs on their "children". Their "children" are adults who are responsible for themselves, or at least ought to be.

I think any self-respecting adult human being who wants to spent $100k or more on something totally optional and gratuitous, just to make their life more fulfilling, should be ashamed to let their parents pay for it, unless their parents are ridiculously wealthy.

I have a great respect for the arts as a human endeavor, and indeed I am the son of an artist. But if you want to set yourself up for a life of poverty to pursue your passion, you have to take responsibility for that choice. You have to embrace the sacrifices you are going to make, not rely on mommy and daddy to keep you in a middle class lifestyle that you aren't willing to work a normal job for.

And as for your second comment, I am really disgusted by the gall of your college friend. To lie to your parents and swindle them out of that much money? Unbelievable.
What if you have two children. Kid 1 does everything you tell him, including picking the "correct" major according to you. Kid 2 wants to live their own life and not be told what to do by you. You pay for college for the "good" kid (Kid 1), and then you tell Kid 2 to fend for themselves. How do you think Kid 2 is going to feel? Do you think Kid 2 is going to think, well I made my choice! Or do you think Kid 2 is going to say, "Wow. Dad doesn't love me. Dad doesn't give a damn about me. He just wants a robot like Kid 1." This is an incredibly inhumane thing to do and incredibly cruel emotionally to do to your child.
You should spend some time in the real world if you think not paying for college is an incredibly inhumane thing to do.
It's not about the money. It's about treating your children differently based upon whether or not they do what you want. It's about your judgement of your children and their (quite reasonable) choices. That's the thing. It's not about the money for me. It is about the money for you people suggesting this. Do you honestly not see how shallow and materialistic this is?
Last edited by dalerobk on Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by dalerobk » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:15 pm

stoptothink wrote:
rrosenkoetter wrote:
dalerobk wrote: What if you have two children. Kid 1 does everything you tell him, including picking the "correct" major according to you. Kid 2 wants to live their own life and not be told what to do by you. You pay for college for the "good" kid (Kid 1), and then you tell Kid 2 to fend for themselves. How do you think Kid 2 is going to feel? Do you think Kid 2 is going to think, well I made my choice! Or do you think Kid 2 is going to say, "Wow. Dad doesn't love me. Dad doesn't give a damn about me. He just wants a robot like Kid 1." This is an incredibly inhumane thing to do and incredibly cruel emotionally to do to your child.
You should spend some time in the real world if you think not paying for college is an incredibly inhumane thing to do.
At my high school of 3,000+, you could probably count on one hand the number of students whose parents were able to foot the bill for college. I have a close-knit circle who've been friends since elementary school. Between us 9: 7 broken homes, all have a bachelors degree, 5 with graduate degrees, and I will soon by the 2nd with a doctorate. I can say with pretty strong certainty that not a single one of us received a penny from our parents for school, although a few lived at home and completed their undergrad at local universities. Only on Bogleheads.org are the majority of parents capable of paying for their child's education, on what planet is it inhumane to not cover the college education of your children?

I do recall that Dalerobk is an academic who has detailed the struggles of finding work and low-pay in academia, I wonder how this affects his view?
I actually now have a tenure-track job. Being an academic does make me appreciate education, I'll grant you that. But it's more about the conditional and controlling relationship between parent and child that people seem to be suggesting here. I have to admit I am a bit shocked. It's just the stiffling nature of the relationship. I just can't imagine sitting down with my kids and telling them, "Look, we paid for your older brother's education, but he majored in something sensible. You want to study art. You're cut off. You have to pay for college on your own." My family is working poor and I've never taken a penny from anyone since I graduated from high school, but if my parents tried to control me like that when I was college age I would have pretty much cut them out of my life. Not because of the money, but b/c I would have been disgusted by them as people. I mean, do you only help pay for a kid's wedding if they marry the person you want? Do you only give them part of the inheritance if they live in the city that you want?

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SamGamgee
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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by SamGamgee » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:26 pm

dalerobk wrote:... But it's more about the conditional and controlling relationship between parent and child that people seem to be suggesting here. I have to admit I am a bit shocked. It's just the stiffling nature of the relationship. I just can't imagine sitting down with my kids and telling them, "Look, we paid for your older brother's education, but he majored in something sensible. You want to study art. You're cut off. You have to pay for college on your own." ...
I agree that would be shocking. But only because it sounds like you've led them to believe you would pay for their education, and then pulled the rug out from under them. On the other hand you could lay out the policy many years in advance, and emphasize that you love them no matter what, and you will root for them to achieve great things even if they strike out on their own. You seem to be imagining that I'd be upset if my kids became completely independent. On the contrary, I want them to become independent. I want them to make their own choices. How is that controlling?

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by jaxxmjd » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:39 pm

milestogo wrote:At this point my main question for the board is should I just tell her a date when she is on on her own for everything or take a more gradual approach. My most important concern is she does not seem to be taking the job she has seriously enough and I think if she needs the money even worse than she does now she will take the job to heart.
OP, you should set a hard date and stick to it. Like ripping a band aid off, it'll hurt more up front, but the pain will pass more quickly than if you delay the inevitable. If you were to take a more gradual approach, your daughter would likely continue to delay taking responsibility for as long as she can.

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by dalerobk » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:45 pm

jenny345 wrote:Dalerobck here is what you said in a previous thread -
Here’s the thing, I come from a very poor family. I’m the only one who went to college and I send money each August to my niece and nephews for back-to-school clothes. I put myself through college by working and borrowing about $25k in loans. Over the course of grad school, those loans nearly doubled because of the interest. I also had some other debt as a result of a divorce and moving expenses. I am very disciplined financially and was making really good progress toward paying off debt and saving money. I live very, very frugally. My current job, which I had to take in this economy, pays only $40k. I can pay my bills and get by, but just barely. I don’t have anything left over at the end of the month to save."
I do not understand why you think we are inhumane and horrible for paying for our kids college 100% and a new car, when all we ask is that they have a marketable major. Why is it horrible to want our kids to have a job where they can do more than barely get by? Why should we pay 100K we could otherwise use for retirement or maybe our future LTC expenses on a music major for them? Why would they as adults be entitled to get $100K of our hard earned money to use on self fulfillment? We don't spend 100K on self fulfillment for ourselves. We watch buy Costco movie tickets and go to museums on free days for fun. We cook from scratch. Why should I give our adult kids 100K each for self-fulfilment?
Look, if you can't afford to pay for college that's one thing. But that hasn't been what we've been talking about. We've been talking about whether or not people are going to pay for their kid's college based upon whether or not the parents approve of the program of study. The problem is that you are making your help in paying for college conditional upon them accepting your values. I find that problematic. Look, if my kid were to come to be and tell me he was going to major in business or education, I would be incredibly peeved. I consider these two degrees to be the most worthless degrees a student can get. But I would still support them and their life decisions. And I wouldn't treat them differently then a child who chose a better major like philosophy or English.

This to me is the equivalent of some religious nut not paying for the kid's college unless they go to church every Sunday. Except this is far worse than that, but you are trying to control their lives for years after college by pushing them, presumably, into a certain career path.

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by jaxxmjd » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:52 pm

I'm 29, so that puts me on the trail end of the range of ages being discussed here. When I was a junior in high school, I approached my father to ask him what kind of college assistance I could expect from them so that I could begin planning. I'll admit I was a bit shocked when he sort of laughed at me and told me that I could expect the same as he had received: none. I respected his answer and went to one of our military academies instead. Or at least I would have respected his answer if he hadn't then turned around and paid for my sister's ridiculous college expenses, but that is another story.

I don't understand why so many people feel entitled to help from their parents, regardless of their parents' financial situation. I also don't understand why people like dalerobk can't understand why a parent should encourage their child to pursue a marketable degree. My sister is a good illustration of why dalerobk is wrong. She attended school for a degree that was not marketable, paid for by my parents, and is now spinning her wheels while searching for a long term plan. She's living off of the death benefits from her mother-in-law who she alienated while she goes to grad school for a degree that is equally without market. I fear she will never really grow up and understand how the real world works.

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by dalerobk » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:57 pm

jaxxmjd wrote:I'm 29, so that puts me on the trail end of the range of ages being discussed here. When I was a junior in high school, I approached my father to ask him what kind of college assistance I could expect from them so that I could begin planning. I'll admit I was a bit shocked when he sort of laughed at me and told me that I could expect the same as he had received: none. I respected his answer and went to one of our military academies instead. Or at least I would have respected his answer if he hadn't then turned around and paid for my sister's ridiculous college expenses, but that is another story.

I don't understand why so many people feel entitled to help from their parents, regardless of their parents' financial situation. I also don't understand why people like dalerobk can't understand why a parent should encourage their child to pursue a marketable degree. My sister is a good illustration of why dalerobk is wrong. She attended school for a degree that was not marketable, paid for by my parents, and is now spinning her wheels while searching for a long term plan. She's living off of the death benefits from her mother-in-law who she alienated while she goes to grad school for a degree that is equally without market. I fear she will never really grow up and understand how the real world works.
Your sisters problems are not because of her degree.

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by jaxxmjd » Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:04 pm

dalerobk wrote:Your sisters problems are not because of her degree.
Undoubtedly they're not all due to the degree, but having a decent degree would provide her with many of the opportunities she's not finding right now.

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by 3CT_Paddler » Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:04 pm

jaxxmjd wrote:I respected his answer and went to one of our military academies instead. Or at least I would have respected his answer if he hadn't then turned around and paid for my sister's ridiculous college expenses, but that is another story.
...
I fear she will never really grow up and understand how the real world works.
It sounds like you were the more fortunate one...

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by HomerJ » Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:09 pm

dalerobk wrote:
jenny345 wrote:Dalerobck here is what you said in a previous thread -
Here’s the thing, I come from a very poor family. I’m the only one who went to college and I send money each August to my niece and nephews for back-to-school clothes. I put myself through college by working and borrowing about $25k in loans. Over the course of grad school, those loans nearly doubled because of the interest. I also had some other debt as a result of a divorce and moving expenses. I am very disciplined financially and was making really good progress toward paying off debt and saving money. I live very, very frugally. My current job, which I had to take in this economy, pays only $40k. I can pay my bills and get by, but just barely. I don’t have anything left over at the end of the month to save."
I do not understand why you think we are inhumane and horrible for paying for our kids college 100% and a new car, when all we ask is that they have a marketable major. Why is it horrible to want our kids to have a job where they can do more than barely get by? Why should we pay 100K we could otherwise use for retirement or maybe our future LTC expenses on a music major for them? Why would they as adults be entitled to get $100K of our hard earned money to use on self fulfillment? We don't spend 100K on self fulfillment for ourselves. We watch buy Costco movie tickets and go to museums on free days for fun. We cook from scratch. Why should I give our adult kids 100K each for self-fulfilment?
Look, if you can't afford to pay for college that's one thing. But that hasn't been what we've been talking about. We've been talking about whether or not people are going to pay for their kid's college based upon whether or not the parents approve of the program of study. The problem is that you are making your help in paying for college conditional upon them accepting your values. I find that problematic. Look, if my kid were to come to be and tell me he was going to major in business or education, I would be incredibly peeved. I consider these two degrees to be the most worthless degrees a student can get. But I would still support them and their life decisions. And I wouldn't treat them differently then a child who chose a better major like philosophy or English.

This to me is the equivalent of some religious nut not paying for the kid's college unless they go to church every Sunday. Except this is far worse than that, but you are trying to control their lives for years after college by pushing them, presumably, into a certain career path.
I think this is just a failure of communication.

I'm not going to force my son to do whatever I deem best; I'm not going to control his life, but if he says he wants to go to art school (and he's not good at art), we're going to talk. It's highly unlikely I'm just going to hand him $60k to go to whatever college he wants just because I already paid for his sisters' college educations.
Last edited by HomerJ on Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by jaxxmjd » Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:10 pm

3CT_Paddler wrote:
jaxxmjd wrote:I respected his answer and went to one of our military academies instead. Or at least I would have respected his answer if he hadn't then turned around and paid for my sister's ridiculous college expenses, but that is another story.
...
I fear she will never really grow up and understand how the real world works.
It sounds like you were the more fortunate one...
Don't get me wrong, I love my dad. I have a solid relationship with him. I just disagree with his choice to treat his children differently, that's all. I think if he'd have applied the same rules to my sister, she'd be in a much better place in terms of maturity.

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by stoptothink » Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:11 pm

jaxxmjd wrote:I don't understand why so many people feel entitled to help from their parents, regardless of their parents' financial situation.
+1. Maybe I'll change my tune when I am in that situation or maybe I am just selfish.

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by beachplum » Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:34 pm

[.[/quote]

Going to college is one way of postponing entry into the "real" world. A kid who doesn't go to college needs to get into the "real" world asap. It is very likely that that experience alone may convince them of the value of higher education.

As far as majors go, if the parent is footing the bill, they have the right to have a say in the major. I'm not saying that I would dictate a major, but the person who is getting all the benefit without paying the bill (the kid) really has nothing to complain about if the parent chooses what they will and won't pay for. And the previous example of the kid who lied about his major is despicable.[/quote]

grateful that my parents didn't dictate/pass judgement on what I majored in during college (psychology). Ironically my mom discouraged me from taking accounting because she was sure I wasn't smart enough, though I ended up taking it for a grad program and did just fine. in the end it doesn't matter whether or not the parent approves/disapproves with the major because a large majority of college graduates don't end up working in the field they even majored in. Many people are liberal art majors and go into medicine, law, teaching (I imagine that major is not lucrative enough for some to pay for/approve of), business, IT etc, etc. I have 2 sister-in-laws one who majored in psych then went on to med school, one who majored in French and got her MBA and became an executive in a large bank. This whole notion being put forth here that only marketable majors are worth funding is ludicrous and shortsighted. I know people who were engineer majors from top engineering schools. One of them decided to become a MUSICIAN another manages apartments. Mu husband was a chemical engineer major then switched to chemistry/teaching (his father discouraged him from working in business because he hated it). He taught for 10 years got his phD and works in business. There are scores of older people with degrees in business, engineering etc. who have either been unemployed for long periods or employed outside their majors working in other fields for much less.
wendy

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by beachplum » Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:42 pm

jenny345 wrote:
jaxxmjd wrote:I don't understand why so many people feel entitled to help from their parents, regardless of their parents' financial situation. I also don't understand why people like dalerobk can't understand why a parent should encourage their child to pursue a marketable degree. My sister is a good illustration of why dalerobk is wrong. She attended school for a degree that was not marketable, paid for by my parents, and is now spinning her wheels while searching for a long term plan. She's living off of the death benefits from her mother-in-law who she alienated while she goes to grad school for a degree that is equally without market. I fear she will never really grow up and understand how the real world works.
We have friends who spent over 100K on their kids fine arts major and last I heard he was unemployed and living at home. Then the family had some business reversals. I think they really could have used the money they spent on tuition on basic living expenses now for the family. At least if he had a job it would be one less mouth to feed or maybe he could even be helping out the parents now. We don't want to make the same mistakes they did.
It's sad to see that people don't realize that there are scores of people who majored in fine arts/liberal arts that have been very successful financially in life and that in the end it's not what one majored in that predicts whether a child ends up unemployed and back at home. Bringing up individual sad stores does not tell the whole picture for the majority of individuals who don't major in "marketable degrees".
wendy

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by dalerobk » Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:00 pm

I meant to make that point earlier, but forgot. The major often has little correlation with profession. I'm a historian. Our history majors do all kinds of different things. Probably about half of them become teachers (not sure if that's a "marketable" goal or not), some go into business, one former student is a journalist, another just started working on Capitol Hill as a staffer, another is in Latin America as a diplomat, I just did a background interview with the FBI for a graduating student who is in the final stages of CIA hiring (I assume), and many go on to law, medical, other grad school, etc. The idea that one's major somehow determines one's entire life is way off.

The bottom line is that getting a great education, being competent, and being highly motivated are the greatest indicators of success. You can have a "useful" degree but if you have emotional problems, are lazy, and stupid, you're probably not going to do well in life. Meanwhile, if you have a "useless" degree like philosophy and graduate from Harvard with a 4.0, I'm pretty sure you're going to do pretty well in life.

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by steadyeddy » Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:04 pm

My theory is that the majority of entering freshmen don't know how much money it takes to live XYZ lifestyle, whether a $35,000 salary is a lot or little, and whether $25,000 is a lot of education debt or a little. If parents believe money shouldn't influence college major choice, this view often leads to a purposeful avoidance of financial education wherein they tell the student not to think about money--just follow their heart.

Meanwhile, this financial ignorance is only a small slice of the the naiveté pie for the average college freshmen. Students who have a deep hunger to research psychological phenomena are far outnumbered by students who choose to major in psychology because they really don't have any idea what they want to do and General Psychology was rather fun--and easy to boot! Only several years later do they realize that they can't afford payments on $80,000 of educational debt while earning $30,000 as a mental health social worker. Compounding the issue, they find they don't even like psychology when all the interesting case studies are replaced by the nitty gritty of case management. Why didn't anybody tell me there were better options? Why didn't anybody bother to expand my career horizons? Why didn't anyone explain to me that, in the real world, money does matter?

Note: This is not at all autobiographical, but I probably would have selected a slightly different educational route if I had been blessed with more financial literacy at the age of 17.

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by dalerobk » Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:35 pm

The funny thing is that most people on this forum dislike their work enough that they count down the days until they can retire from work, yet they want their childredn to follow in their footsteps.

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by jaxxmjd » Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:00 pm

dalerobk wrote:The funny thing is that most people on this forum dislike their work enough that they count down the days until they can retire from work, yet they want their childredn to follow in their footsteps.
Or maybe people like the idea of golfing instead of working?

I'd be willing to bet that there's a much greater rate of people down on their luck who went with a non-marketable degree (often because it was easier) than those who went with a marketable one. Naming a couple examples of people who managed to achieve with a non-marketable degree will not disprove the larger trend. Of course there will be some people who received marketable degrees and ultimately decide to pursue something else. If they're able to make it work, and they're passionate about it, good for them! I can tell you from experience than many doors remain closed without the right degree. You can argue that you disagree with that until your blue in the face, but it will not change the facts.

If the child chooses to pursue a degree that is non-marketable, then a parent has no obligation to fund the pursuit. Of course, a parent would have no obligation to fund the pursuit of a marketable degree, either, but I would think more parents would be willing to encourage behavior that will likely lead to a better chance of success for their child.

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by sscritic » Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:44 pm

I have been out today (park with grandkids, daughter, and DIL; then lunch with son added), but had time to think while driving. I think the key is to think about the long term consequences, both for the parents and for the children, but that also means thinking about more than money.

I previously gave the example of threatening to disinherit my children if the couldn't recognize Chuck Berry and Ricky Nelson; while I was only joking about the disinheritance, the idea that actions have long term consequences was not a joke. My son was an OK student in high school (in my family, that means some Bs but never a C). He got into a top state school, and I noticed during the first year that his grades were better in college than in high school. I asked him why, since often grades go the other way. He told me it was because what he did in high school really didn't matter, but what he did in college did. His reasoning was not based on a dollar value, but on what he imagined his life could be. He later got into a top 10 graduate program in his field. He didn't have as many publications at graduation as his cousin did, but he is doing alright. His decisions about marriage, about his job, about buying a house, and about having children seem to be similarly based on his view of what is good for him and his family long term, not just on the monetary gains and costs of each nor on just some short term benefits.

My daughter was probably a better student and got into a top 3 school for her professional degree. However, she didn't get into the specialty program she wanted. I tried to blame it on my SIL, but he told me that he was studying while she didn't. That's what short sighted thinking that watching Melrose Place was a good idea got her. Its not that (to use a fake but comparable example) being a general practitioner is bad, but if you have always dreamed about being a pediatric surgeon, it's not what you wanted for yourself. Even from a top 3 school, she needed to be top 10 in her class (or maybe top 5) to get into the program she wanted, but she was closer to top 15. Watching Melrose Place has long term consequences, and you have to realize that.

So I don't know how you do it, but you need to think long term for yourself, both in terms of relationships and money, and somehow get your children to think long term for themselves. I think that covers both those people who don't want parents to hurt their long term relationships with their children by showing favoritism in terms of support and those who think children should only be supported to the extent that they think long term (although that has mostly been framed around money in this thread). Just as one example, I don't think the marketability of a degree at age 22 determines your life. English majors do become CEOs.
Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, a medieval history and philosophy major (Stanford '76), says her curiosity about the transformation from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance folds neatly into the digital awakening she now must address.

Walt Disney CEO Michael Eisner never took a single business course, getting a double major in English and theater (Denison '64), and he has nudged his three sons into liberal arts. He was reminded of a favorite English professor, Dominic Consolo, when reading the script for Dead Poets Society, a movie about a passionate poetry teacher starring Robin Williams. Eisner considers it to be one of the best movies Disney has made.
OK, so eventually their careers faltered, but can you really say it was because they had non-marketable majors in college? If it's millions you want for your children, they both took millions away from their failures.

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by dalerobk » Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:50 pm

jaxxmjd wrote:
dalerobk wrote:The funny thing is that most people on this forum dislike their work enough that they count down the days until they can retire from work, yet they want their childredn to follow in their footsteps.
Or maybe people like the idea of golfing instead of working?

I'd be willing to bet that there's a much greater rate of people down on their luck who went with a non-marketable degree (often because it was easier) than those who went with a marketable one. Naming a couple examples of people who managed to achieve with a non-marketable degree will not disprove the larger trend. Of course there will be some people who received marketable degrees and ultimately decide to pursue something else. If they're able to make it work, and they're passionate about it, good for them! I can tell you from experience than many doors remain closed without the right degree. You can argue that you disagree with that until your blue in the face, but it will not change the facts.

If the child chooses to pursue a degree that is non-marketable, then a parent has no obligation to fund the pursuit. Of course, a parent would have no obligation to fund the pursuit of a marketable degree, either, but I would think more parents would be willing to encourage behavior that will likely lead to a better chance of success for their child.
You pretty much missed every single point. My comment about retirement was to say that I don't understand why people spend a great chunk of their life in a job that they don't enjoy. Perhaps a better idea would be to find a job you can actually look forward to. Perhaps you should encourage your children to find their motivating passion in life even if, God forbid, it's not financially optimal. Perhaps it would be better if your child loved their work so much that they couldn't imagine retiring even if that means earning a bit less.

As to your second point, you continue to maintain this false dichotomy between "marketable" and "non-marketable" degrees. Also, you would probably be less certain of some type of objective "facts" if you had studied something that was less "marketable."

As for your last paragraph, no one is saying a parent has an obligation to fund college. You completely missed the entire point of this discussion. The fundamental question at stake here is your last point, which you simply take as a given. In other words, the question is whether or not it is right for parents to define for their children what success is. I seriously feel bad for some of your children if you are defining what makes them successful and what makes them a failure. Are you going to spend the rest of your lives looking down on your son as a disappointment and failure because he was "only" an elementary school teacher? I'm sure that will make your kids feel loved.

Anyway, this thread is really depressing me, so I'm going to leave it alone.

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by jaxxmjd » Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:20 pm

sscritic wrote:
Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, a medieval history and philosophy major (Stanford '76), says her curiosity about the transformation from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance folds neatly into the digital awakening she now must address.

Walt Disney CEO Michael Eisner never took a single business course, getting a double major in English and theater (Denison '64), and he has nudged his three sons into liberal arts. He was reminded of a favorite English professor, Dominic Consolo, when reading the script for Dead Poets Society, a movie about a passionate poetry teacher starring Robin Williams. Eisner considers it to be one of the best movies Disney has made.
Again, naming examples that go against the usual rule does not prove the example to be true. Yadda, yadda, Steve Jobs dropped out of college, so obviously everyone should drop out of college to make billions. They're counterexamples, but that doesn't mean that you've proven a trend. Rather, you're cherry picking examples to support your incorrect argument.
dalerobk wrote:You pretty much missed every single point. My comment about retirement was to say that I don't understand why people spend a great chunk of their life in a job that they don't enjoy. Perhaps a better idea would be to find a job you can actually look forward to. Perhaps you should encourage your children to find their motivating passion in life even if, God forbid, it's not financially optimal. Perhaps it would be better if your child loved their work so much that they couldn't imagine retiring even if that means earning a bit less.

As to your second point, you continue to maintain this false dichotomy between "marketable" and "non-marketable" degrees. Also, you would probably be less certain of some type of objective "facts" if you had studied something that was less "marketable."

As for your last paragraph, no one is saying a parent has an obligation to fund college. You completely missed the entire point of this discussion. The fundamental question at stake here is your last point, which you simply take as a given. In other words, the question is whether or not it is right for parents to define for their children what success is. I seriously feel bad for some of your children if you are defining what makes them successful and what makes them a failure. Are you going to spend the rest of your lives looking down on your son as a disappointment and failure because he was "only" an elementary school teacher? I'm sure that will make your kids feel loved.

Anyway, this thread is really depressing me, so I'm going to leave it alone.
No, I'm saying that marketable degrees and enjoying one's job are not mutually exclusive. And just because someone desires retirement does not mean that they did not enjoy their career. If you cannot understand that, then YOU'RE missing the point. Your argument is based on the assumption that a parent encouraging success has a laser focus on a singular degree/career predetermined for them. It's a faulty assumption. My child is perfectly happy and will continue to be as well as financially stable for the remainder her life, I assure you.

I'd personally rather ensure that my child is able to continue to support her family/put food on her table/etc. I'm not sure why you think that requires one to hate their job, but as an electrical engineer, I enjoy my job and I get to be comfortable financially. Encouraging my child to be in a similar position seems quite rational. You seem to think otherwise.

Dalerobk, you're going to be sorely missed.

/wave

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by zinnia » Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:52 pm

Quite a lot of chest beating in this thread, here's mine...my parents religiously sent me $65 ever month for four years, I was on my own for tuition, board and books...There's no right or wrong answer to any of this, I financed four years of college for each of my three kids because I could. Although well intentioned, this practice of issuing edicts to your kids at 18 about what your going to do and not do for them sure can get confusing.

My oldest son, who's 36 years old today probably accumulated about 70 credits in that four years of college I promised. I knew he wasn't ready for college but like many parents what do you do with them after high school. My wife and I are helping him today, she flew up to Boston to watch our grandchild for a week while he starts a new job.....He doesn't ask for any money, he and his wife are self sufficient. He's happy and a good citizen, and I'm proud of him.

His younger brother is 32, married to a sweet girl, they bought a home a few years ago, she teaches school, he does something with computers and underground tanks. He's a college graduate. When he was home from college after his freshman year (19) we were on the golf course and he mentioned a pain in his groin. Two months later after the surgery to remove a testicule the doctor at the Lombardi Cancer Center told us he was lucky, they caught it early and wouldn't require chemo. I went to his college graduation after 4 years of his promised college support a proud father. He had the cap and gown, his name was called, he walked across the stage, I finally had a kid who graduated from college, except he didn't. He had flunked three course in his final semester. I paid for another semester. My wife and I are helping him today. After I dropped my wife at BWI airport, I picked up their dog and brought him home with me to watch. He and his wife had left earlier in the day for 5 days in the Napa Valley. He's happy and a good citizen and I'm proud of him.

My daughter is 28, she went to a major university and graduated in 4 years! She's had a number of jobs since graduating but she remains totally self sufficient. She did decide to buy a dog a few years ago, a Yorkie pup. She soon discovered she was in no position to own a dog, busy with work and a social life. She brought him over for us to watch. that was four years ago. I love that little dog, no way I'd give him back now. She's happy and a good citizen and I'm proud of her.

I guess my point is consider yourself very lucky if you can issue those edicts and they come to fruition. Mine didn't go exactly as planned but my kids today are healthy, happy, and enjoy the time we spend together as a family.

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by HomerJ » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:37 pm

zinnia wrote:Quite a lot of chest beating in this thread, here's mine...my parents religiously sent me $65 ever month for four years, I was on my own for tuition, board and books...There's no right or wrong answer to any of this, I financed four years of college for each of my three kids because I could. Although well intentioned, this practice of issuing edicts to your kids at 18 about what your going to do and not do for them sure can get confusing.

My oldest son, who's 36 years old today probably accumulated about 70 credits in that four years of college I promised. I knew he wasn't ready for college but like many parents what do you do with them after high school. My wife and I are helping him today, she flew up to Boston to watch our grandchild for a week while he starts a new job.....He doesn't ask for any money, he and his wife are self sufficient. He's happy and a good citizen, and I'm proud of him.

His younger brother is 32, married to a sweet girl, they bought a home a few years ago, she teaches school, he does something with computers and underground tanks. He's a college graduate. When he was home from college after his freshman year (19) we were on the golf course and he mentioned a pain in his groin. Two months later after the surgery to remove a testicule the doctor at the Lombardi Cancer Center told us he was lucky, they caught it early and wouldn't require chemo. I went to his college graduation after 4 years of his promised college support a proud father. He had the cap and gown, his name was called, he walked across the stage, I finally had a kid who graduated from college, except he didn't. He had flunked three course in his final semester. I paid for another semester. My wife and I are helping him today. After I dropped my wife at BWI airport, I picked up their dog and brought him home with me to watch. He and his wife had left earlier in the day for 5 days in the Napa Valley. He's happy and a good citizen and I'm proud of him.

My daughter is 28, she went to a major university and graduated in 4 years! She's had a number of jobs since graduating but she remains totally self sufficient. She did decide to buy a dog a few years ago, a Yorkie pup. She soon discovered she was in no position to own a dog, busy with work and a social life. She brought him over for us to watch. that was four years ago. I love that little dog, no way I'd give him back now. She's happy and a good citizen and I'm proud of her.

I guess my point is consider yourself very lucky if you can issue those edicts and they come to fruition. Mine didn't go exactly as planned but my kids today are healthy, happy, and enjoy the time we spend together as a family.
Great post!

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by sscritic » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:48 pm

jaxxmjd wrote: Again, naming examples that go against the usual rule does not prove the example to be true. Yadda, yadda, Steve Jobs dropped out of college, so obviously everyone should drop out of college to make billions. They're counterexamples, but that doesn't mean that you've proven a trend. Rather, you're cherry picking examples to support your incorrect argument.
What part of my argument was incorrect? I said my daughter was a better student than my son. Do you know that to be incorrect? I also said that people should look at long term consequences, not only short term consequences. If you think that is incorrect, give me an argument. Saying "you're wrong, I'm right", is not an argument.

P.S. If you tell me that Steve Jobs dropped out of college, I believe you. You named this example; this example is true; naming the example does prove the example to be true. You claim that naming the example does not prove the example to be true. Are you now claiming that Steve Jobs didn't drop out of college? If he did, he did, and it's true.

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by cubby08 » Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:16 am

dalerobk, I agree completely. I will be treating my own children the same way, I'll be supporting each of them equally whatever career path they choose
dalerobk wrote:
jaxxmjd wrote:
dalerobk wrote:The funny thing is that most people on this forum dislike their work enough that they count down the days until they can retire from work, yet they want their childredn to follow in their footsteps.
Or maybe people like the idea of golfing instead of working?

I'd be willing to bet that there's a much greater rate of people down on their luck who went with a non-marketable degree (often because it was easier) than those who went with a marketable one. Naming a couple examples of people who managed to achieve with a non-marketable degree will not disprove the larger trend. Of course there will be some people who received marketable degrees and ultimately decide to pursue something else. If they're able to make it work, and they're passionate about it, good for them! I can tell you from experience than many doors remain closed without the right degree. You can argue that you disagree with that until your blue in the face, but it will not change the facts.

If the child chooses to pursue a degree that is non-marketable, then a parent has no obligation to fund the pursuit. Of course, a parent would have no obligation to fund the pursuit of a marketable degree, either, but I would think more parents would be willing to encourage behavior that will likely lead to a better chance of success for their child.
You pretty much missed every single point. My comment about retirement was to say that I don't understand why people spend a great chunk of their life in a job that they don't enjoy. Perhaps a better idea would be to find a job you can actually look forward to. Perhaps you should encourage your children to find their motivating passion in life even if, God forbid, it's not financially optimal. Perhaps it would be better if your child loved their work so much that they couldn't imagine retiring even if that means earning a bit less.

As to your second point, you continue to maintain this false dichotomy between "marketable" and "non-marketable" degrees. Also, you would probably be less certain of some type of objective "facts" if you had studied something that was less "marketable."

As for your last paragraph, no one is saying a parent has an obligation to fund college. You completely missed the entire point of this discussion. The fundamental question at stake here is your last point, which you simply take as a given. In other words, the question is whether or not it is right for parents to define for their children what success is. I seriously feel bad for some of your children if you are defining what makes them successful and what makes them a failure. Are you going to spend the rest of your lives looking down on your son as a disappointment and failure because he was "only" an elementary school teacher? I'm sure that will make your kids feel loved.

Anyway, this thread is really depressing me, so I'm going to leave it alone.

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by epilnk » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:19 am

One of my kids has recently been threatening to devote his life to helping the homeless - that's unlikely to be highly profitable. And he has asked what he would study in college for this future career. Should warn him now that I'm not going to support that kind of shenanigans, or wait until he's in college and then cut him off?

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by 555 » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:27 am

sscritic wrote:
jaxxmjd wrote: Again, naming examples that go against the usual rule does not prove the example to be true. Yadda, yadda, Steve Jobs dropped out of college, so obviously everyone should drop out of college to make billions. They're counterexamples, but that doesn't mean that you've proven a trend. Rather, you're cherry picking examples to support your incorrect argument.
What part of my argument was incorrect? I said my daughter was a better student than my son. Do you know that to be incorrect? I also said that people should look at long term consequences, not only short term consequences. If you think that is incorrect, give me an argument. Saying "you're wrong, I'm right", is not an argument.
P.S. If you tell me that Steve Jobs dropped out of college, I believe you. You named this example; this example is true; naming the example does prove the example to be true. You claim that naming the example does not prove the example to be true. Are you now claiming that Steve Jobs didn't drop out of college? If he did, he did, and it's true.
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Extremistan and Mediocristan professions

Post by VictoriaF » Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:52 am

Education choices are leading to scalable vs. unscalable occupations. I have first encountered this distinction in Taleb's The Black Swan, but there must be other related concepts and references.

In a scalable profession a practitioner applies the same level of effort, and the rewards for this effort can be magnified without a limit. A singer goes to the recording studio once, but the number of records sold can be in millions and billions. A market player spends as much time on typing four zeros as on typing eight zeros, with quite different consequences. A CEO (e.g., Fiorina) applies the effort commensurate with her skills and ambitions; her compensation scales with the price of the options she holds in the company.

In an unscalable profession the compensation is proportional to the effort. A plumber and a cardiologist are paid for some multiple of the number of pipes they have cleared.

Using Taleb's terminology, those with scalable professions live in Extremistan, and those with unscalable professions inhabit Mediocristan. In Extremistan a few succeed -- very few indeed -- and most fail. In Mediocristan the level of achievement is fairly predictable.

People who aim for Extremistan professions are usually ignorant of their probability of success ("See how great Steve Jobs is without a degree! I will be like him.") or are addicted risk takers (most market timers) or have a stable base from which to take risks (e.g., a Stanford professor starting a venture on the side). Parents may encourage their children to pursue scalable professions out of misunderstanding of probabilities or when the parents have already created a financial base for their children. The very wealthy parents send their children to study humanities. The upward mobile middle class parents who understand the odds are less willing to support this risk.

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by dalerobk » Tue Apr 03, 2012 5:58 am

epilnk wrote:One of my kids has recently been threatening to devote his life to helping the homeless - that's unlikely to be highly profitable. And he has asked what he would study in college for this future career. Should warn him now that I'm not going to support that kind of shenanigans, or wait until he's in college and then cut him off?
Just pray he doesn't become a priest and have to take a vow of poverty!

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by jaxxmjd » Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:45 am

sscritic wrote:
jaxxmjd wrote: Again, naming examples that go against the usual rule does not prove the example to be true. Yadda, yadda, Steve Jobs dropped out of college, so obviously everyone should drop out of college to make billions. They're counterexamples, but that doesn't mean that you've proven a trend. Rather, you're cherry picking examples to support your incorrect argument.
What part of my argument was incorrect? I said my daughter was a better student than my son. Do you know that to be incorrect? I also said that people should look at long term consequences, not only short term consequences. If you think that is incorrect, give me an argument. Saying "you're wrong, I'm right", is not an argument.

P.S. If you tell me that Steve Jobs dropped out of college, I believe you. You named this example; this example is true; naming the example does prove the example to be true. You claim that naming the example does not prove the example to be true. Are you now claiming that Steve Jobs didn't drop out of college? If he did, he did, and it's true.
You got me. I typed a response too quickly and forgot to review it prior to clicking submit. You should've still been able to understand my argument, but since you didn't (or just take everything posted verbatim), I meant that a single counterexample does not disprove a trend.

For the record, I intend to provide my daughter with opportunity. I will encourage her to pursue a career that is in demand and will provide her a greater chance of success, but if she chooses something else, I will continue to support her decision and assist her in becoming a self-reliant adult. I'm playing the role of the devil's advocate.

I have nothing against parents who choose to support their children regardless of their career decisions. I do think it's a bit odd for those same parents to complain later when their children have difficulty building a sustainable lifestyle. However, they should not condemn those parents who would choose to reward their children for making responsible decisions.

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by jaxxmjd » Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:50 am

epilnk wrote:One of my kids has recently been threatening to devote his life to helping the homeless - that's unlikely to be highly profitable. And he has asked what he would study in college for this future career. Should warn him now that I'm not going to support that kind of shenanigans, or wait until he's in college and then cut him off?
I would hope he was intelligent and mature enough to understand the quality of life he was choosing for himself and not expect continuous parental subsidies to increase his quality of life to a level that can't be sustained by his choice of profession. If that is indeed the case, then his goals are admirable. You have to remember, we're discussing this issue within the context of a thread discussing adult children who refuse to achieve financial independence from their parents.

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by HomerJ » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:08 am

epilnk wrote:One of my kids has recently been threatening to devote his life to helping the homeless - that's unlikely to be highly profitable. And he has asked what he would study in college for this future career. Should warn him now that I'm not going to support that kind of shenanigans, or wait until he's in college and then cut him off?
Well, I would suggest NOT going to an expensive private school, and instead he should get his social worker degree at an in-state school.

But if you paid for a sibling to get an engineering degree at a private school, then I'm afraid you have to give your social worker kid a $200,000 education as well, otherwise you might be labeled inhumane.

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by sscritic » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:18 am

jaxxmjd wrote: For the record, I intend to provide my daughter with opportunity. I will encourage her to pursue a career that is in demand and will provide her a greater chance of success, but if she chooses something else, I will continue to support her decision and assist her in becoming a self-reliant adult. I'm playing the role of the devil's advocate.

I have nothing against parents who choose to support their children regardless of their career decisions. I do think it's a bit odd for those same parents to complain later when their children have difficulty building a sustainable lifestyle. However, they should not condemn those parents who would choose to reward their children for making responsible decisions.
My post was about thinking about long term consequences rather than short term. If a child can't keep a job, there is either a problem that requires therapy of some kind or the child is not thinking past what will feel good for the next 24 hours. I wouldn't support a child who wanted to change majors for the next 24 hours, but I would support one who had carefully thought through the consequences of that choice, knew what the future would hold (as best as could be determined), and had decided that was the life they truly wanted to live. To me, that is just the sort of responsible decision that should be rewarded. Their thought process, not their predicted future income, would be the determining factor for me in whether I felt their decision was a responsible one.

It also works for the parent. What are the long term consequences of your decision relative to your child? I thought of this example yesterday (more car thinking) that is a little frivolous, but makes the point. I have a decision to make. One choice will cost me $1000 and upset my son-in-law; the other choice will cost me $100 and upset my daughter-in-law. If you make this decision based on the dollar difference, I think you are being very short sighted. I would much rather have my SIL angry at me than my DIL angry at me. I can survive the one, but I am not sure I can survive the other. And even if your children-in-law aren't like mine or what I fear my children-in-law to be, your relationship with them is going to be a lot more important than $900.

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:20 am

epilnk wrote:One of my kids has recently been threatening to devote his life to helping the homeless - that's unlikely to be highly profitable. And he has asked what he would study in college for this future career. Should warn him now that I'm not going to support that kind of shenanigans, or wait until he's in college and then cut him off?
I know some people who majored in social work, then went on to obtain a Masters in Social Administration, while no means wealthy, they are able to pay their own rent at a decent location within a major metropolitan area. It would be helpful if presented in a constructive manner to your son that he likely would not be able to make it without attaining an advanced degree. In other words, ask him how much research he has done in his field of focus - homeless advocate, have him show it to you, then discuss his thoughts and your thoughts. Your son is lucky to have such guidance, I was the second in my family to go - no one knew the difference between majors then.
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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by HomerJ » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:26 am

sscritic wrote:I wouldn't support a child who wanted to change majors for the next 24 hours, but I would support one who had carefully thought through the consequences of that choice, knew what the future would hold (as best as could be determined), and had decided that was the life they truly wanted to live. To me, that is just the sort of responsible decision that should be rewarded. Their thought process, not their predicted future income, would be the determining factor for me in whether I felt their decision was a responsible one.
Again, I think we all probably agree with this, and all this arguing was just a communication error. Most of us are not going to blindly give an 18-year old $200,000 and say "Study whatever you want. I support any choice you make!". We're going to be involved in the decision, and the young adult needs to understand the choices he or she is making.

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:31 am

rrosenkoetter wrote:
sscritic wrote:I wouldn't support a child who wanted to change majors for the next 24 hours, but I would support one who had carefully thought through the consequences of that choice, knew what the future would hold (as best as could be determined), and had decided that was the life they truly wanted to live. To me, that is just the sort of responsible decision that should be rewarded. Their thought process, not their predicted future income, would be the determining factor for me in whether I felt their decision was a responsible one.
Again, I think we all probably agree with this, and all this arguing was just a communication error. Most of us are not going to blindly give an 18-year old $200,000 and say "Study whatever you want. I support any choice you make!". We're going to be involved in the decision, and the young adult needs to understand the choices he or she is making.
Did you know at age 17 or 18 what you wanted to do for the rest of your life?

I understood when I attended college, two things: 1)my parents had very little in assets and 2)you're not to go to school to warm up the chair, get good grades, get a marketable degree and get a job. I understood 1 very well. Item 2 didn't work as seemlessly, looking back though it was worth taking the longer road - graduating in back-then severe recession was a curve-ball I didn't plan on.
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sscritic
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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by sscritic » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:50 am

GRT2BOUTDOORS wrote: Did you know at age 17 or 18 what you wanted to do for the rest of your life?
No, but I knew what I was good at and what I enjoyed. It was math, but I didn't know at the time that I wanted to be a professor. I don't know that I ever wanted to be a professor, I just was one. What I did know even then was that I was lazy and didn't want to have a job. So I went to college so I wouldn't have to take a job. Then I went to graduate school so I wouldn't have to take a job. Then I got a job as a professor, but it wasn't really a job, it was just a way to stay in school and away from the real world. I kept hiding from the real world until I retired. I am still hiding.

My daughter chose her profession at age 12, and that's what she is when she is not staying home taking care of her children. My son switched majors three times in his first two years, from hard science, to soft science, to medium science; like Goldilocks, he found that medium was "just right." Any of his three choices were fine with me, but they weren't with him.

Bobby Ingersoll
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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by Bobby Ingersoll » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:51 am

I think many of the responses so far are answering a different question than what the OP posted.

In my opinion, the recent economic environment for college graduates makes it too easy for any of us outsiders to confuse a late bloomer with an entitled and lazy dependent.

It's easy to forget that not too long ago liberal arts graduates had no trouble finding gainful employment. Good quality students with solid grades had the luxury of being generalists without harming their career prospects.

Some people are saying that the game has changed, and to a large extent I agree with them. However, this doesn't suddenly make a liberal arts student a deadbeat.

On the other hand, I have direct experience watching a decorated Harvard graduate be just that.

I would imagine that deep down most parents know which category their adult dependent falls under, but even then I can't imagine it makes the decision to support them or not any easier.

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by norookie » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:51 am

{OT post deleted by admin alex]
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dalerobk
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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by dalerobk » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:02 am

sscritic wrote:
GRT2BOUTDOORS wrote: Did you know at age 17 or 18 what you wanted to do for the rest of your life?
No, but I knew what I was good at and what I enjoyed. It was math, but I didn't know at the time that I wanted to be a professor. I don't know that I ever wanted to be a professor, I just was one. What I did know even then was that I was lazy and didn't want to have a job. So I went to college so I wouldn't have to take a job. Then I went to graduate school so I wouldn't have to take a job. Then I got a job as a professor, but it wasn't really a job, it was just a way to stay in school and away from the real world. I kept hiding from the real world until I retired. I am still hiding.

My daughter chose her profession at age 12, and that's what she is when she is not staying home taking care of her children. My son switched majors three times in his first two years, from hard science, to soft science, to medium science; like Goldilocks, he found that medium was "just right." Any of his three choices were fine with me, but they weren't with him.
I didn't realize you were an academic too.

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by HelenaJustina » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:27 am

dalerobk wrote:
epilnk wrote:One of my kids has recently been threatening to devote his life to helping the homeless - that's unlikely to be highly profitable. And he has asked what he would study in college for this future career. Should warn him now that I'm not going to support that kind of shenanigans, or wait until he's in college and then cut him off?
Just pray he doesn't become a priest and have to take a vow of poverty!
It's cheaper than Harvard!

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Re: How should one deal with adult children's finances?

Post by 555 » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:29 am

rrosenkoetter wrote:
epilnk wrote:One of my kids has recently been threatening to devote his life to helping the homeless - that's unlikely to be highly profitable. And he has asked what he would study in college for this future career. Should warn him now that I'm not going to support that kind of shenanigans, or wait until he's in college and then cut him off?
Well, I would suggest NOT going to an expensive private school, and instead he should get his social worker degree at an in-state school.
But if you paid for a sibling to get an engineering degree at a private school, then I'm afraid you have to give your social worker kid a $200,000 education as well, otherwise you might be labeled inhumane.
Or instead of paying for his $200,000 education, just let him select one lucky homeless person and buy them a house.

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