Should a child get access to their college tuition money…if they’re not going to college? That was the question a father posed in HELP forum after he was accused of holding money “hostage.”
The dad and his wife started saving for their son’s college tuition the minute she found out that she was pregnant. They’ve amassed nearly $400,000 in that fund over the years. “Now that he graduated high school, he said that he did not want to go to college,” the Reddit user wrote. “We said as long as he was sure, he could do whatever he wanted. He refused trade schools too. He also did not want to work with us in our business.”
Here’s the catch. The son wants access to his college fund to start his own business. His dad, in turn, tried to strike a deal with him. “I said that I will allow it only if he takes some Business Management, accounting and law classes in the nearby community college. I said that I would pay them out of pocket and not from the fund. And then I would expect a well made business plan before I would give him the money. My wife agrees 100%.”
The son is upset and feels like his parents are trying to force him to do things their way. His dad, however, explained that he’s doing his best to make sure that the business succeeds. “So,” he asked. “HELP?”
Reddit united together to reassure this dad that he is NTA and disputed the idea that he was holding the money “hostage” for any sort of ill-intentioned reasons. “You’re trying to help him get and stay on a good track in life. You even offered to pay for the classes out of pocket and not from the college fund,” one person wrote. “You’re trying to support him, but you’re also trying to stay realistic and make sure he knows what he’s doing, so he doesn’t make a $400k mistake.”
Others reinforced that it really wasn’t unreasonable in the slightest that the dad was asking for some sort of plan. “OP doesn’t have impossible expectations,” a user wrote. “If the son wanted to get a business loan from a bank he’d be expected to provide a business plan as well. OP wants his son to succeed.” Another added: “Taking classes or working with a community business association is definitely the right decision. The kid isn’t even being told what business to go into, just to get educated about what it entails. “
Some jumped in to offer possible other solutions and compromises. “OP is NTA but an alternative would be to give his son the 400k through a trust that pays an allowance until a certain age then he can have full access to the remaining amounts,” a user suggested. “If he has no interest in school or actually starting a business. That way OP’s son doesn’t blow through that money but he can still use it for rent/car payments and other living expenses. If he ever changes his mind about school or business then he still has a reserve to draw from later down the road.”
What would you advise this dad to do?
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