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Dad refuses to pay for son's college after he spends original 'college fund' traveling.

Dad refuses to pay for son's college after he spends original 'college fund' traveling.


For parents with adult-aged kids, it can be hard to find the line between telling them what to do and letting them explore and make their own mistakes. This applies exponentially if you're helping them financially.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a dad asked if he's wrong for not wanting to fund his son's college after he already spent a sum on traveling.

He wrote:

AITA for not paying for our son's college tuition after he blew his money when he was 18, despite being able to afford it?

So at 18 we gave our son his college fund, told him he can do as he pleases with it. He chose to spend it traveling and finding himself over the last two years. He is 20 now and wishes to go to school, and asked us to pay for his tuition. When I asked what happened to the money he told us the above. I said no, and told him if he wants to go to school better get a job.

My wife wants to pay it for his future, I said no we did right and he chose otherwise. AITA?

Edit: We did inform him that the money was his to use. Be it for college or w/e. It was his money after all, we set it aside for him. We did explain the intent but he is an adult and he was free to use it as he pleases, just understand the consequences.

Edit: 18 is an adult in my eyes, and old enough to understand actions have consequences. We informed him what the intent was for, and that we would not police him over it. End of the day, it was his money and he was free to use it he pleases sorry if I did not explain this properly beforehand.

Edit: My son knows what I do for a living. That said what I did was exactly what my dad. I also did not use it to go to school I used it as a down-payment on two houses and rented them out, and asked him for help. My son was free to do the same. He may not have the knowledge or impulse control but he knows it is okay to ask for help if he is unsure how to use said money or had no idea what to do with his life.

I am not a monster and he knows this. He could have just asked, 'hey, I want to travel how can I best go about tha?' Had he asked I would have let's do x y and z with your money then I would have given some money to travel. We did the same with his car, he wanted a car we told him to save. When he saved up an amount needed to buy a car, I told him to keep at and we bought him a car.

He knows I don't think solely to be a cruel monster. He had a bunch of options he choose the worst one, but I was not going to forcibly interject my views on him if he did not want to come ask me for help. The fact he did not come to me, meant he did not want my guidance.

The comment thread filled up with people's opinions and hot takes.

Majestic_Distance991 wrote:

NTA. But seriously, did you actually expect an 18-year-old to make good choices with that kind of money?

helloy_boa wrote:

One of the best things a parent can do is pass down financial literacy to their child. These are taught in lessons not by handing over a lump sum of money. Remember the majority of lottery winners spend the money within 10 years.

Fianna9 wrote:

ESH- you gave what sounds like a massive amount of money to a very young man with no worldly experience and let him go. Of course, he blew the money. You say at 18 he was an adult- what did you do to prepare him for the Real World and what would happen when that money was gone?

Did you talk about options or “just let him make his own choices.” Sounds like you shoved him out of the nest and are shocked he crashed.

Philip_J_Fry3000 wrote:

In what world is giving an 18-year-old his college fund and telling him to do as he pleases with it the right thing? The right thing would have been telling him he could only use it for his intended purpose and only dispense it as needed. YTA.

Fluffy-Writer-4008 wrote:

ESH. You don’t owe him more money, and he chose to spend what you gave him. But you’re being a dick now just to prove a point. Why not tell him to take out loans and you will repay half or all of the classes he passes if he gets a degree. Throw him a bone. He’s your friggin son and one could argue that giving an 18 year old a large sum of money and saying “do what you want” is not the best parenting.

Miserable_Dentist_70 wrote:

YTA. Sure, he was irresponsible. But handing an 18-year-old a chunk of money and saying 'do as you please' is also irresponsible.

While people can't fully agree on a verdict, it's clearly hovering around ESH.

Sources: Reddit
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