While building a college fund might be the smartest way to give your teen a head start in life, that doesn't mean they're going to be more excited about tuition funds than the idea of scooping out money for their own fun.
In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a man asked if he was wrong for telling his daughter she can say goodbye to her college fund after she spent 10k on a trip with her GF. He wrote:
My daughter is seventeen and applying for colleges. We have a college fund saved up for her that we've been adding to since she was an infant. It's a good sizable chunk of money and a lot of donations from family have gone into it as well as her own savings occasionally. We have always made it clear that the money in there is for college only.
She never had to put her savings in there (has a separate savings account) but did so anyway. Anyway, her girlfriend lives in Australia and they are both insanely big Supernatural fans. They have both wanted to go to a convention for years - at least five that I can remember. Two of the main guys are going to be at a convention in Australia.
She begged me to let her go, I said no, but the con is set for after her 18th. I can't stop her if she pays for it. (I assumed she would use her savings). I checked the college account to add some in and noticed a chunk of money missing. I went to speak to my daughter about it and she admitted to using the money to pay for the convention.
She bought herself plane tickets, her girlfriend plane tickets (other end of the country), both of their con tickets as well as booking a hotel. The con is three or four days but she's planning on staying for a couple weeks and making a vacation out of it. All in all, she's taken about 10k. I lost it, honestly. Demanded she cancel which fell on deaf ears.
I tried to cancel for her but she won't be refunded everything so I'm hesitant to do so. She's insisting that it's her money and she can do what she likes with it. Claims she still has enough for college and this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I believe this has shown her extreme immaturity and inability to manage her future and money. I am so incredibly angry that she would go and do this.
I told her she could say goodbye to the rest of her college fund and have locked the account - I'm now the only person with access. She's said she'll pay it back but it seems unlikely. My wife thinks I'm being harsh and that she's right - she put at least 5k into the account herself, so she really only took 5k (which my mother-in-law has since said she'll pay back).
I think this just teaches her she can pay her way out of messes. I was certain in my decision but everyone is acting like I'm the AH. She's a teenage girl and her entire life shouldn't revolve around college. I'm still uncertain. So here I am. AITA?
You put the money into the fund to send your daughter to college, not to some fan convention in Australia. Now you are making sure that that money doesn't help send your daughter to college. If this is your way of getting your daughter to college, it stinks. I can't help but note that you (the responsible adult) didn't set up the account with the withdrawal protections that you could have.
You should have been wise enough to know that a 17-year-old with free access to that big of a pile of cash shouldn't have access to it without any limits. (That in no way excuses your daughter, but it does mean that you should have had more foresight into the folly that teens can do.)
MIL is putting herself in where she isn't needed. She needs to understand that it isn't about dollars, its about being responsible.
NTA for telling your daughter that she isn't getting the money. But you would be a real idiot if you followed through with that to the extend of emptying the account, depriving yourself of the option to change your mind when you cool down and are looking at a high school graduate who needs a job.
I say NTA if you are going to make her pay back $5k. I don't think she should have had access to withdraw from the fund in the first place but I guess it was set up in her name and could be withdrawn from at 18?
The money was set aside school not just for whatever she wanted. I think the rest should stay for school only she's lost the privilege of unrestricted access to the account.
ESH her college fund should not have been accessible to her, and her savings should have been kept separate and accessible. She’s immature because she’s young. Don’t be immature and take away her college fund to add insult to injury. But DO make the rest of it inaccessible to withdrawals except for college. Lesson learned. For everyone.
YTA. I get that you’re angry but you can’t jeopardize your daughter’s future like that because she made a poor choice. You’ve admitted that 5K was her money that she put in. She took it back out. Maybe tell her to work to pay off the other 5K instead of having her grandmother pay?
Also since other people contributed to that fund in the expectation that it would be used to fund her college. Are you going to refund them? Also, it doesn’t look like your wife is onboard with your decision so you’re unilaterally taking revenge on your daughter to teach her some kind of lesson? The lesson is going to be that you’re a vindictive parent and she should stay away from you.
YTA. I just don’t see how anyone benefits from this. So now she can’t go to college without taking out student loans? Is that the end result here? That’s going to hurt her entire life over a stupid thing she did as a kid. “I think this just teaches her she can pay her way out of messes” and I mean… is this wrong?
So many people avoid problem-solving because they don’t want to spend money. I think it’s fine to lock the account so she can’t spend it frivolously, and it’s fine to want her to pay it back. I just don’t see any longterm benefit to not using it for her college at all.
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