My daughter is 17 and is currently in her senior year of high school. My husband and I have been saving up for her college since she was a newborn and we have almost $200,000 in the account.
She recently told us that she doesn’t want to do the “traditional” route of going to a 4 year college straight out of high school, she wants to take some time off from education and get a job, and figure out if, or when at all, she wants to go to school.
This was fine to me, I support her no matter what path she decides to take. However, she asked if we could give her the money because she wants to buy a new car amongst other things.
I told her no, because if she does choose to eventually go to school, I still want there to be money left in the account, so I’m going to hold on to it for a bit longer.
She says that she is entitled to the money because it was meant for her, and she should still be able to have it even if she doesn’t want to go to college. AITAH?
There were a mix of opinions in the comments, but it all added up to one conclusion. Sorry, OP's daughter — you're not getting that money (at least not all of it).
NTA. My niece took a gap year because she didn’t want to go the traditional route. But in her senior year, she applied to colleges, was accepted, and had start date in the following year.
Parents gave her no help for the gap year and let her experience life as a high school graduate. When the date for orientation came the following year, she was very happy to go to college.
It was so easy because everything had been set up in her senior year and she just had to show up.
Called college funds for a reason. NTA
If it's for college, it's for college. If she chooses not to go, then you can decide what to do with it as it's your money. It's not her money. NTA
NTA: however may I offer a compromise? Give her a small amount to start a account of her own and perhaps fund a small vacation? It’s reasonable to me to want to take a short break after school and explore.
It’s not terribly uncommon to take a gap year in Europe. In that time also tell her she needs to find a part time job someplace before you give her any of that money. I’m only suggesting this because I can understand her logic of wanting to take time to figure out what she wants to do.
I’ve seen plenty of people rush themselves into college and end up switching majors because they don’t have a direction they want to go. Your daughter is aware enough to understand this.
Also INFO: does she have good grades? Have you had any problems with her before? If not then I don’t see any reason to not let her take a little time and offer a SMALL amount of that savings to take a vacation.
Hard agree that you shouldn't hand over this bag just because.
However, I think it's reasonable to give her a small amount to invest towards this time - maybe 10 grand - it can be easier to find and keep a job when you have a car, and it's good practice for managing money later on.
(Also learning how much things cost and how fast money goes even and especially when it seems like a lot, important lesson.)
It's great that you have, and also want to keep, this money for education/her future. I think it will help your relationship and also your daughter's sense of independence if you are at least open to hearing another option.
if the only way she can invest this money in her future is through 4 year college, that could feel like she is trapped on that path, and that could turn into resentment towards you.
What if you set a time to re-evaluate? In a year maybe? Ask your daughter to think about how she would invest the money, if not in 4 year college.
If she comes up with a better idea, and is able to present a solid budget and plan, why not at least hear it? College is not the investment it used to be, and the world is changing fast.
Good luck! I hope you find a way forward that you are all happy with.
A 17 year old with 200 grand is definitely 100 per cent going to fritter that money away until there's not one pence left then come crying to mummy and daddy dearest that she has no money for collage that she so desperately all of a sudden wants to go to.
She said it herself she wanted to get a job if she's so desperate for a car she could pay for it herself. Don't let her manipulate you into handing her one pound of that money she doesn't want to do school she doesn't get the cash simple as that.
Im thinking NTA. Now its the car but next it could be clothes, makeup, traveling.. 5 years later she is broke and without a plan
NTA. I actually really respect not forcing college on kids, it really effed me up. But the money you saved is solely for college, not for cars or nails or partying, and that's that.