Allowance/spending money for college children

minigreenhouseMarch 9, 2006

Just wondering how much money do you support your college children, tuition/fees/room and board, insurance (car and health), cell phone and spendin money? How do you educate/control their budget?

It seems to me that my dauguter who is on dean's list which we are very proud of is spending a bit more on socials. For example, she spends on average of $700 on socials - eat out a bit often than us. She lives in a dorm with meals provided.

I once saw on news that the average spending money for a teenager is $500 a month. If this is true, then my daughter's $700/month is not that outrages.

Any input is greatly appreciated.

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My son lives at home (we live only 6 blocks from the university my son is attending).

We pay for his tuition, fees, books, car/health insurance (car is paid for), gas for car (he has a credit card) and cell phone ourselves. Then we give him $200 for spending money per month.

He has a checking & savings account with a debit card for the checking account. He was overdrawn the first month the accounts were opened and I hit the roof! Since then, we talk regularly about finances and I've even shown him our household finances and how I budget. He is also required to deposit 10% of his $200 allowance into savings. When he gets a job (sooner the better!) We'll slowly let him start taking over some more financial responsibilities except for tuition.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2006 at 3:47PM
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What do you mean by "socials"? She's spending almost $25 a day on miscellaneous stuff and she has meals provided at the dorm? I'd like you to adopt me!

I've had 3 daughters go to college. Here is what we paid:
health care, books, and cell phone, plus $12,000 a year for college expenses (tuition, fees, room and board). We did not cover clothing, extra meals, entertainment, haircuts, or gas or insurance for a car. The one who went to an in-state university worked summers and was able to cover all of her expenses and graduate debt-free. The one who went to school in Canada works parttime and summers, and will probably graduate debt-free. The one who went to NYU ($35K+ per year for tuition, room, and board) got a scholarship, loans, and a part-time job, and graduated with $20K in debt. Everyone of them was an honor student, and everyone of them has told me at some point that it was tough at times, but they're really glad we didn't give them a free ride because they know how to handle their money and aren't dependent on their parents now, unlike so many of their friends who are in their mid- to late-twenties and still using their parents to support the lifestyle they aspire to.

You are right to be proud of your daughter, but I'm not sure you're helping her in the long run by providing all this largesse. If I can read between the lines, you seem to realize that she's spending a lot, but you want to rationalize it because you love her. Sometimes love means putting limits on a young adult's spending patterns. I'm don't know enough about her situation to tell you what that number should be, but it's a lot less than what she seems to be getting. Maybe you need to give her one of those prepaid credit cards. Each month you put in a certain amount and when she exhausts that, that's it. Right now it's not clear to me that she has any serious limits or that you've had a discussion about restraint with her. Maybe I'm wrong. If so, feel free to enlighten me.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2006 at 6:59PM
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Mine is living at home while attending school. I provide a roof over his head, he can eat here if he chooses to eat what I cook and he uses the washer/dryer of course. I keep him covered on my medical insurance and will pick up expenses there.

That's it. He's a big boy now and he's had a job since he was 16. He has loans for school expenses. He pays for his own vehicle and insurance. His standard gifts these days are clothing and a AAA membership. No cell phone and he gets along fine. If he calls his girlfriend, he reimburses us for the long distance expense.

I don't expect to pay for any socialization and certainly wouldn't give him an allowance. I managed to work all through college and so did the DH. Our kids will do the same.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2006 at 2:27AM
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Quiltglo, I'm with you on this one. Allowance ?!?!?

Minigreenhouse, tell your daughter to get off her butt and get a job! I worked the entire time I was in college. During my senior year, I worked full-time while going to school full-time. And, I didn't live at home, 'tho my mother did help me pay for my rented room off-campus. I paid for everything else out of pocket, plus loans and scholarships.

If you got lots of money, then hand her fistfuls of it. My question is, "Are you going to do this for the rest of your life?" If not, don't you think you're doing her a disservice? When she gets out of school and has to pick up the tab herself, she'll completely freak out from sticker shock.

Unless she's got a trust fund waiting for her when she graduates, give her one of the best gifts of all: a sense of independance. It will stand her in good stead for the rest of her life.

End of rant.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2006 at 8:34AM
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As a 28 year old, who still get occasional help from Mom and Dad, I think I can offer a bit of insight.
I agree, you are probably being too kind.
However, please don't decide to abruptly and dramaticly change things on her. Let her know what you're giving her each month...she probably does not realise how much you are paying out. Then set up a plan with her to slowly wean her from your finances to her own....count down backward from graduation...the $0 blast off point (perhaps with a couple/few thousand bonus final gift start-up$) Maybe if you want to be really realistic, any expenses that she forgot to account and budget for can be subtracted from that final bonus...painfull, but true to life.
Explain why you are doing it ---not to be help her get a financially secure start in life. Let her help decide how much to cut each week/month/quarter/semester, and soon you'll both be in a beter place money wise. She'll have a budget skill set to take into her new life, and you'll still have your retirement fund....and better--you'll know you were a good parent.

Here's hoping she dosen't throw a fit.....good luck.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2006 at 9:56AM
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I sure as heck didn't get any allowance from my parents when I was in college...LOL I lived and home and drove mom's (old and paid for) car. My dad had died the summer before I attended college, so all my mom could do was fill out the paperwork for grant/loan money. I got what they gave us and had loans for the rest. I worked part time to cover my gas and the few social things that I did. This was before cell phones, so I find it kinda funny that they have become "necessary." I still don't see it. Yes, I have one, but I run my own business and it's a tax write off--otherwise, I wouldn't.

I'm having a debate on another board about some of these same subjects with some other people, some of whom happen to be schoolteachers. Mom and stepdad want to buy the 15 year old stepdaughter a car and have asked us to pay the car insurance. I (mean old stepmom) think that if they want to buy her a car, that's their prerogative, but there is NO WAY I am paying for her car insurance. I think that she should get herself a part time job and be paying at least a portion of it, as well as gas. Yes, I'd contribute, but I certainly am not paying it all. No way, no how. We can't afford to do that anyway.

You are fortunate to have the financial ability to pay for these things for your daughter. You asked for opinions on the allowance, and I think that $700 a month is more than generous. MUCH more than generous. Take that for what you will....

    Bookmark   March 10, 2006 at 10:03AM
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"As a 28 year old, who still get occasional help from Mom and Dad"

Wow,...I was married and my husband and I had built a house by the time I was 28.....

    Bookmark   March 10, 2006 at 10:05AM
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My grandpa paid for my tuition, housing and he put money on my meal card for the whole year. Everything else was up to me. If I had extra money given to me I would have spent it on eating out, clothes, etc but since I had to get a job (actually 2 part time jobs) I was much more careful with my money. The food in the cafeteria was actually pretty good and you could get it to go if you wanted to. I had a car but couldn't drive it because I couldn't afford car insurance. I lived in a college town though so nothing was very far. I would still of course pay for tuition, books, and a meal card at the cafeteria and maybe $200 a month so she doesn't go into shock but $700 a month isn't doing her any favors.

BTW...Most of the extra money I made went to going out to clubs and bars. I don't know your daughter but it is quite possible to spend a big chunk of change on the nightlife. But that's all part of the experience :)


    Bookmark   March 10, 2006 at 10:45AM
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I love you! your son will prosper BECAUSE of your stance.

I've paid my own way since I was 18. I was too naive to "question" the full-time, 4 year, YOU MUST GRADUATE mantra that was so common when I went to college. I quit and began working in my present trade. It's treated me well. I've done OK over the years.

I can't even FEATURE the kind of molly-coddling kids get now. CELL PHONE? not necessary. Meals out and socializing? GET A JOB. Car? I bought a used one with my own money and maintained it with my own money. When money was tight (because I was stupid with it) I took the BUS or I rode my bike, or I WALKED. I learned fast!

I'm 47. No, I don't have kids. But when I was in college I didn't expect Mum and Dad to provide for me, and neither did many of my friends.

My opinion.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2006 at 3:33PM
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Your daughter is ill equipped to deal with her future.

When she gets her first house, will she demand that you take her to Pottery Barn and Wiliams Sonoma so she can have "nice" things?

I worked part-time in college. This helped in my job interviews.

I didn't have hand-outs, so I ws able to deal with my life on my own. It was a difficult time. When my husband and I purchased our first house, our only furniture was the 25-yr-old bed and mattress that came with it. Yuck! We ate on the floor, and eventually bought 2 $10 folding chairs. He built a dining room table, a futon (we splurged on the mattress), and his brother gave us a TV. After 3 years, we had a fully furnished house. His mom gave us her old piano, and we bought a used $25 crib for my first daughter. My husband and I were both engineers.

Could your daughter start her own life, as I did? So far, the answer is a definite "No". She'd be crying to you about the unfairness and difficulty, demanding that you take her to Ethan Allen and Pottery Barn so she could have good furniture, and persuading you it would last her for a long time and her children deserve it, too.

I learned to live in my means because I had to.

I believe parents should pay for the tuition, so their kids don't have that burden of paying for it after graduation, a time in which they must save for a house, obtain furniture.

Your daughter will need your handouts forever. How can she handle sitting on a $10 chair?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2006 at 9:50AM
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I'm 28 and can't imagine my parents paying my way for anything. I'm married, with kids, have a big old mortgage and bills. Haven't recieved a 'hand out' from anyone since I was 20 when we got married and bought our first home (condo).

As far as spending money. My parents paid for school expenses and a $250 allowance as long as grades were acceptable and we weren't allowed to hold a 'real' job (I can't remember how many hours....but PT student job work was OK). The $250 allowance had to cover everything from phone bills (housing w/inclusive utilities paid for by parents), groceries, clothes, misc expenses. It wasn't alot, but it was enough. It meant I had to coupon shop if I wanted spending money, that I walked a few places instead of 'waisting' my money on a 1 mile bus trip, that I went to the movies at the $1 movie. It worked out well.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2006 at 10:08AM
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It is my own PERSONAL OPINION that there are too many items included in budgets that are NOT necessary. I believe many of those items need to be tagged as "luxuries" and as such need to be assigned a lesser priority in the budgeting process.

I DON'T think minigreenhouse needs to be indicted for choices made! hey, it was mini. who ASKED US WHAT WE THOUGHT. OK, we've expressed our opinions, but ultimately it's up to mini. to distill it all and tweak the commentary to meet the family's needs/budgets.

I am of the opinion that giving young adults too much creates a largesse that can prove detrimental later in life. OTOH, I can name two young people I know and love dearly who have been given a "free ride" and have used the advantage fully. They are kind, thoughtful, SOLVENT, and APPRECIATIVE of the "10 fingers" they've received. So I don't think it's fair to be too tough on mini. when (s)he had the courage to ask a question so potentially full of controvery and negative replies.

I believe my parents were too extreme. But I learned to play the hand I was dealt. I shared an apartment with a friend whose parents paid for everything. Interestingly, when her care blew a radiator she borrowed the money for the repair for ME, rather than ask her parents. She repaid me promptly when the next stipend check arrived. I was unable to indulge in the "fun" things she was... but we also spent many fun hours together as I drove my bus route on Friday and Saturday night, laughing and studying for chemistry and genetics exams.

You'll find the "happy medium", mini.. Don't be afraid to drop the hammer and give a reality check, though!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2006 at 11:29AM
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It seems to me that chelone has said it well.

As usual.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   March 11, 2006 at 3:34PM
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I remember when my daughter went to a college in the Bay area, there was a period of time because of the class and lab schedules, she missed lots of meals and had to eat out often.

What I am saying is that it is difficult to use the "average amount" to judge if she is over spending. The cost of living of where the school locates and what is going on in her life would make a difference.

Unless the school and her major are easy, being able to get on the dean's list I doubt that she is having a too active social life.

Why don't you ask her how and why she spent the money and then go from there?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2006 at 4:51PM
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I was on my own at the age of 16. I was a single mom of a 2yr old at 20. I finished high school & college. I have not received a penny from either parent or any other family member since 16. I now have a thriving business that I built all by myself.

My 18yo son, on the other hand, is not nearly as independent or mature as I was and I know he would be cold and hungry if I didn't provide. This doesn't make him any lesser of a person than me or anyone else that had to endure hardships. He's a wonderful boy (not a man yet!) and his time will come to be independent and I will be thankful when it happens!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2006 at 7:50PM
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Slightly off topic:

It is important also to start kids' experience with money young, so that they aren't expecting $700 a month in allowance.

Our daughter turns 10 on April 15, and will start receiving a $50 monthly allowance that will have to cover clothes, shoes, birthday party gifts for friends, and toys.

She's had a weekly allowance of $7 for two years, of which she saves a portion for college and a portion of charity.

Both she and her 6 year old sister are VERY discriminating shoppers when it comes to "their" money. Plus my almost-10 year old does an excellent job of balancing her check book.

I'm a big fan of letting kids make poor money choices young, to hopefully avoid them when it's "real" money.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2006 at 8:51PM
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I disagree with most of the advice given here. Both DH and I had our tuition, living expenses and misc. expenses paid for by our parents when we were in college and graduate school. We are both grateful that our parents did this for us. However, I will admit that this was not a financial burden for them. I would feel differently if the OP could not afford the assistance she is providing her daughter.

In both of our families education was stressed above all else. We attended top notch schools and universities. We were NOT allowed to have jobs during the school year since those would interfere with our studies. In the summers we did not usually have "real" jobs, often we took unpaid internships in large companies. The result? Our internships provided us with the connections and experience to help us to land lucrative jobs after graduation. We saved and invested wisely and we were able to start our own businesses. Now that we are in our mid 30s we have a paid off house and no debts, not even a car loan. We already have enough saved for our 1 year old's college education. I have no doubt we could not have done these things without our parents' support in our younger years. We intend to do the same for our children.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2006 at 9:06AM
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I think it depends greatly on the individual child and what the parents can afford. Some kids are serious about their education and work hard toward their studies. These kids usually get scholarship money and colleges want them and offer financial assistance. On the other hand, some are immature and do a lot of partying or goofing off the first year of college. My sons are graduating high school this year and spent this last year of high school essentially doing just that, "goofing off", spending late nights on the computer, not studying (they are both in advanced AP classes, yet never study and so test grades are average or poor which in turn lost many opportunities for scholarship money) and they did not get high SAT scores. We finally took the high-speed cable away, ending the late night gaming, but we should have done this a long time ago (our fault). They are good boys, no drugs or alcohol, but I believe they are not mature enough to be focused enough and attend a university. They will both live here with us, have part-time jobs for spending money and attend the local community college. They both feel this is "below them" but we've told them if they can prove themselves, and we see some seriousness about education and life, then we will step up to the plate with money but not before.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2006 at 12:15PM
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I appreciate your point of view, but I tend to think that your experience is more the exception than the common experience. For example, my 25 year old daughter who went to New York University, and who got about a third of her expenses paid by me, met quite a few classmates whose parents were wealthy beyond my dreams and provided everything to their children (e.g., buying them apartments in Manhattan so they wouldn't have to live in the dorms). My daughter is fully independent and has been since she graduated, while a number of those friends still get stipends of several thousand dollars a month and/or haven't finished school. My daughter also had to work all year to keep down the amount of her student loans. And if you look at recent studies on working while in school, students who have part-time jobs (10-20 hours a week) during the schoolyear, on average, get better grades than those who don't work at all, or those who try to work too many hours.
I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with what your parents did. I'm just saying that it might not be the best thing for everyone. The other thing I can observe, that you may not have experience with yet, is the large number of my friends' children who are in their mid- to late-twenties and have moved back home because they just can't quite break loose from the cheap room, board, and laundry service.
At the time my daughters were in college, I sometimes wished that I had provided more to them. But I don't feel that way now. They dealt with some challenges at an early age, and I'm convinced that's why they are stronger and more resourceful as adults because of it.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2006 at 2:45PM
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My hubby and I sent 3 kids to college. Our two oldest were in for two years at the same time. We had made the decision years ago that I would be a stay at home mom. We simply planned for the college years. My hubby was blessed with a good job but still it was hard at times. Our kids worked when they all turned 16. They always loved having their own money. All handled money pretty well. We furnished the kids with a car and paid the insurance. Mine you, it was not a new car by any means but a decent looking and running car. They paid the gas. We paid for housing and tuition,. They bought their own books and supplied their own spending money. After the first year they all lived in apartments with other students. We gave them the amount we would have paid for them to live in a dorm and any extra was up to them. They paid for phone, cable, laundry and etc. They knew this was the rules going in and they did their part. They all knew we did not have money to waste. They also knew if the grades were not good the car came home. And if a kid flunked out, they were on their own if they wanted to go back.

I can say that today they all make a good living and handle money very well. They all have said how much they appreciate what we did for them.

I would "never" hand over $700.00 a month to a college kid. They would be out working a partime job to earn some of that money. If this makes a hardship of any kind on the parent(s) it should be cut drastically. You need to discuss this with your daughter now. If she is in college she certaintly is old enough to figure it out. We all have to make adjustments sometimes. Her day will come when she will have a job and realize just what it is to spend money properly. Believe me, she will feel so much better knowing she worked and payed for it herself.

Years ago we sat down with our kids and discussed money and the future. My husband told all of them he would put them through college with their help and once this was done they were on their own. We would "NOT" be paying their way in life. He told them that if they wanted to live higher then their means they didn't need our help. We would not bail them out of a financial mess. We paid out over $400.00 for them for college, we were done.

We have some friends that have kids that they help out of one mess after another. They struggle to even put food on their own table. We would help them but they would just give it to the kids. It all has to stop. It is effecting their health terribly. I feel so bad for them but they have to be the ones to stop. Teaching responsibilty is a must these days.

I am sorry that this was so long, but it is one of the most important issues all parents should have with a child.
If a child can't handle in college, they will most likly be in serious trouble when trying to live on his or her own. They all have to be taught from an early age. I will always remember the first time our son took us out for a nice meal and paid for it himself. Such pride.. And what a wonderful feeling it was for Mom and Dad.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2006 at 11:01PM
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We don't have kids so I can't speak from personal experience but I find this interesting in light of what I have observed with my college age nieces. Their parents pay for alot of things including their college education though they do/did work a fair amount in college.

My BIL wonders why his one now graduated from college daughter cannot manage her money effectively. I do too since I was on my own for college and certainly supporting myself by age 24. However I keep thinking I'm like the old folks of the past who talked about walking five miles to school in a snowstorm.

The dear niece has a decent job and a car provided by dear BIL. She was supposed to pay her parents back for the car but has yet to make a payment. The other dear niece (still in college) mentioned her cell phone bill is $80 per month. She's working but the only goal she hopes to accomplish by that is to fund her spring break in the Bahamas.

Unfortunately these girls so far are not on their way to getting a high powered degree from a prestigious college that will land them high paying jobs like carolineb and her DH. They also don't appear to be anywhere near finding a DH who can support them in the manner they've become accustomed to being supported by their father.

They're decent kids but I do wonder how they are going to adjust to the real world. The older one has been working for a year - long hours, demanding job, modest salary - she wants to quit and find something else more pleasant.

If I had to choose, I'd prefer my history which was not so easy and not so much doled out by my parents (no allowance or spending money in college). It prepared me to make my own way in life which I'm not so sure is happening with alot of younger people these days. I have a friend who feels bad that they cannot afford to give their daughter everything her friends are getting in college. I try to reassure her that this may not be so bad - her daughter may end up better off in the long run.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2006 at 9:41AM
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I am 29 and I am sort of financially independent. By sort of I mean, I work for my father, so I sometimes feel like I really on him for my income.
I was fortunate enought to have my parents pay for my tuition and room and board. I was responsible for everything else. I only had to pay one semester, and for that I got a loan. They did provide my health insurance and paid for my basic nessacities.
I started working when 13, babysitting. I would work summers and holidays, so I did not have to work when I was at school. Sometimes, I would have 2 or 3 jobs.
I am happy to say those jobs made want to get my degree, and further myself.
I guess I wonder if you doing your daugher a diservice, giving her that kind of money every month. She may always rely on you to help her.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2006 at 11:15AM
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Gotta agree with Carolineb. There is nothing inherently wrong with providing whatever lifestyle you can for your college age children.

I got through college on scholarships and my parents paid the small amount of tuition not covered by scholarship. They paid for a place to live and I got $50/month spending, gas and food money. I had a job throughout college as a TA but that did not pay much at all. They did what they felt they could and I appreciated it. That being said, I never did anything extravagant and there were months that worrying about money made it harder to focus on school work. I took out loans for med school and like most of my colleagues, graduated narly 100k in debt while still having periods of being completely broke.

My wife had her college and med school paid for by her parents. She never had a budget. She never particularly worried about money (except worrying about me). She is now very fiscally responsible and it is my debt that drags us down.

I believe that if you are able to, you should provide whatever you can for your kids in college. Graduating debt-free is a sure way to allow them to start building wealth from the time they begin their employment, instead of repaying school loans. You should never feel guilty about providing what you can for your kids provided it is tempered with a healthy dose of education and responsibility. So what if they take longer to become financially independent. Do you think any family that has built wealth through generations did not provide all they could for their children (and grandchildren)? It has to start somewhere. I hope I can provide a trust fund for my daughter someday so that she can do the same for her children.

Take a look at many of the Eastern culture's take on education. Education is the job of the children and young adults - they don't need other jobs. Many of their parents work 2 jobs to put their kids through school so their kids don't have to work and can focus on studies. I've never seen one of their children (many were in med school) not appreciate that or betray the trust of their parents' labors.

If we take jealousy out of the equation, I don't see anything wrong with people providing a certain lifestyle for their kids as long as it is explained to the kids what they will have to do in the long run to maintain that lifestyle (education, savings and investment). I think that people can be taught how to manage and appreciate money without unecessarily making things hard on them - just for the sake of "teaching them a lesson".

    Bookmark   March 14, 2006 at 11:45AM
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I'm not sure any of these posts are advocating making it unnecessarily hard on kids. I think the main argument is that too much in the way of a free ride can delay or preclude learning some important lessons in life. I also don't agree that wealthy people always do or should make their vast resources available to their children. I happen to know a Microsoft employee who retired a few years ago and cashed in over $600 million of stock. His kids have gone to local public schools, driven used cars, and they're starting on their own careers without funding from Dad. Most important of all, they seem normal and well-adjusted,. I also read a Wall Street Journal story several years ago about the wealthiest man in Finland (another technology billionaire), whose children took out loans to go to college because he thought it would be better for them in the long run to be challenged. Obviously, this is a philosophical choice, but my own experiences with the many young adults I've known as my children grew up and finished college is that often those who've been indulged by their parents are not as happy, mature, or motivated as their less-indulged peers. And those who've had to struggle a little seem to understand more easily that happiness is dependent on much more than wealth-building. I'm not saying that your view is wrong, or that your children won't be all they can be if you decide to fully support them financially. I'm just sharing my own thoughts and observations.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2006 at 2:23PM
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"I am 29 and I am sort of financially independent. By sort of I mean, I work for my father, so I sometimes feel like I really on him for my income."



After how much post-secondary ed?

lone star state,

Not having our offspring have much concern about money, needing it to meet one's needs and needing to help raise some of what's required to maintain ourselves may work well for some, as it appears to have for your SO.

But to say that such experience will likely lead to such a person's being concerned from the outset to build wealth seems to me to be a bit of a leap.

Some who were in such a position, or, as I heard it expressed when I was a child over 60 years ago, just after the Great Depression, being " ... born with a silver spoon in their mouth ... ", didn't always turn out that way.

"Easy come - easy go", is another expression that I've heard frequently, and it seems to me that it fairly describes the experience of a number of people in this life.

And we now have not only record goverment debt, but are breaking records on the debt level of individuals, as well.

Seems to me that the "easy go ..." seems to be preceding the "easy come ....", recently.

But with wage scales being what they are in many overseas countries, and not only basic jobs, but, increasingly, state of the art technology, being shifted over there, the "easy come ..." that we've enjoyed for a long time will possibly (probably?) not continue much longer.

Especially here in North America, where we've got used to the easy life.

As you know, the educational systems in a number of developing countries leave much to be desired.

But the scores on achievement tests achieved by many young people from those countries leaves those produced by those in our part of the world wanting.

Don't forget - competition now is worldwide.

Hope you're having a great week.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   March 14, 2006 at 6:02PM
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I don't mean to stir the pot, but lonestar - here's a question for you. How fiscally responsible has your wife ever really HAD to be if all of her college and medical school were paid for by her parents and she is now in a position to make a very good living as I assume you are in spite of having student loans.

If you do come from a family that is able to provide a trust fund or other financial safety net you may not need to learn the same type of financial management skills the average person needs to get by as a young adult.

I'm sure you are correct that some people do teach these things to their children in spite of giving their children everything they can afford do provide. However based on some of the situations I've observed it isn't always the case.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2006 at 9:14PM
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Well, I had a really eloquent reply typed out but it was lost in cyber space when I submitted it so now you get the monkey boy version.

The most financially savvy kids I've met are from wealthy families who stress money management from elementary (they've got more to lose). There are exceptions to every rule but for every Silver Spoon kid who blows daddy's fortune there are 10 who don't. For every ghetto kid who had to pinch to the last penny who makes it rich there are a 100 who don't.

Being wealthy doesn't make a kid stupid, parents usually do that.

As far as my wife. No she was never broke but you don't have to get hit by a bus to understand that you need to get out of its way. She is intelligent and makes her money work for her.

The 600 million microsoft man is a jerk. He has kept his children from having opportunities that almost no other children on earth would be able to have. What a waste. In the end, all money does is afford opportunity (whether to eat today or attend the best school in the world) - that is all it is good for.

If I had wealthy parents, I hope that they would have had me spend time with the financial advisor and accountant instead of working at Walmart (which I did and which did not help me in any profound way at all). That kind of information is much more impotant to maintaining a fortune than minimum wage labor.

I'll take a rich American kid who was able to go to the best schools and network with "important" people and be taught by brilliant minds how to manage money over any foreign competition any day - no matter their amazing work ethic (even though I've seen many wealthy children with amazing work ethics). The rich American kid will come out ahead 9 times out of 10.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 10:13AM
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Lonestar, I agree with you. I know many people whose parents did not help them with their education when they could have and today they are still struggling to pay off their school loans in their mid 30's. Let's face it, the cost of an undergraduate and graduate degree paid for by loans is like having a hefty mortgage for 30 years. I understand that some people feel their parents did not pay for their education so why should they for their kids. But consider that the world has changed. College is a neccessity these days and often a bachelor's degree is not even sufficient. Also college costs have skyrocketed. It is no longer possible to pay your full tuition and living expenses from part time jobs at most universities.

In our family, the importance of education and financial management were stressed from a very young age. Today we are all successful productive adults. Not one of us has blown through our money, indeed, we live more frugally than our means allow. Which brings me to another point, education was always stressed in our family, material things were not. My parents were not very wealthy. We attended the best schools because they had saved for it from the time we were born. We did not have designer clothes and other luxuries that children of similar means had. Personally, I am grateful for the education. I didn't have the latest designer jeans in high school but that didn't (and doesn't) matter!


    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 10:57AM
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I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. Or maybe we're just on different wavelengths. You seem to consider wealthbuilding and wealth management as paramount. Sure they're important...but it's more important to first be well-adjusted, self-reliant, self-motivated, and happy, regardless of financial circumstances. I can only tell you that the best-adjusted children I've known have generally been the ones who haven't had everything handed to them, and that having lots of money does not always lead to the best outcomes. Let's check in with one another and compare notes when your kids are out of college...

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 3:43PM
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I agree that money won't make anyone happy. But I also don't believe it makes anyone unhappy. Or stupid. It is only a tool and like any tool can be dangerous if its proper use is not understood.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 4:15PM
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Everything in moderation. What's been voiced here is opinions and not one size fits all. It doesn't mean it will be the case with all kids, lonestar, but in my 43 years I've witnessed first hand that the kids with the most drive for success had parents that offered support, but also knew life's lessons, especially concerning money, come from the school of hard knocks. Jealousy??? Dunno where you got that from. I can't imagine a parent NOT wanting to give their child the world on a platter.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 5:32PM
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I was in college 1972-1976 for my bachelor's. I went in-state, my parents paid tuition, room, board, and books, plus an allowance of $40 a month. Obviously, no cells phones in those days and I didn't have a car. I paid my sorority expenses and any extras beyond my allowance.

I did not work while college was in session--my parents considered education my "full time job." Of course, I worked all school vacations to earn money for those extras, or went without.

$700 a month is staggering to me, even taking into account inflation. I agree that gradually assuming responsibility for her own expenditures is the way to go, with an "end date" of graduation.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2006 at 8:54AM
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I didn't give my kids stuff on a silver platter.

Couldn't have afforded it, then.

Wouldn't have, anyway - I don't think that it would have been the best way to help them build skills to operate their lives efficiently.

Actually, our two, who both grad Univ. (and neither of whom work in the field for which they were trained) each paid about a third of their costs, their Mom paid about a third and I paid about a third.

They attended out-of-town institutuions, in Canada over 15 years ago, which meant that their tuition rates were much below that paid by people attending U.S. institutions.

I don't think that they grad. carrying an appreciable debt - not that I heard of, in any case.

Son has had to learn how to live frugally, as he has had a low income for a number of years. His choice.

I have appreciated hearing the various viewpoints expressed here.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   March 16, 2006 at 1:10PM
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Somewhat OT but maybe slightly related. Today there was an article in the Wall Street Journal about parents who are inserting themselves into their young adult children's job hunting experience. I thought my dear BIL (who I mentioned earlier) was crazy to accompany his daughter to an out of town interview. (Not like she had never traveled on her own - study abroad, spring breaks in Europe, and she'd even been to the city of the interview on social outings.)

Well it seems that was nothing compared to some parents - they come right into the interview with the adult child, call the company to negotiate the job offer for the adult child, check on benefits for the adult child, etc. Oh my thing ya know, they'll be coming to work with them too!!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2006 at 9:48PM
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I've done interviews and hiring for over 30 years. As far as I'm concerned, no one gets in the interview room except the interviewee. And if I had a candidate who allowed a parent to meddle in any way, I'd view that as evidence of poor judgment, lack of independence, and immaturity. That would be the end of their job prospects with me.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 1:50AM
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Good grief. Parent's tagging along for interviews?

What caused this shift in parenting? It's as if the parents of today view their adult children more as financial investments? And so they want to ensure their adult children make the best decisions, so their "investments" continue to grow (financially)?

From a financial point of view, it's not a bad shift in parenting. As long as it's not the only focus.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 12:55PM
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kudzu - ya, that's what I thought too. I would immediately rule out any candidate with parental involvement. But as I read farther into the article the employers were going along with this!! Something to the effect that if you can't beat em, join em. YIKES!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 1:38PM
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I guess I'll try to find the article. I don't think this one is going to catch on with most hiring officials, but in this country you never know! I guess it starts early. There was the New York Times article a couple of weeks ago about the intensely competitive process for those who wanted to try to get their 3-year-olds admitted to elite, private pre-schools in NYC. It was the toddler equivalent of college entrance, with a required essay from the parents about the child's motivation, characteristics, and personality, as well as interviews.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 1:48PM
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kudzu - I emailed it to you at the email address on your page.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 4:40PM
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I think that being able to pay for your child's education and for some bills is great. Also wonderful that she's doing so well.

But she's blowing through $700 a MONTH!? That's crazy money IMHO. Can you get her to give you all of her receipts for a month and show you what she is spending all the money on? Or is it all "socials?" Once you see what she is spending, you can rework a more reasonable budget with the frivolous expenses taken off. Also, she should be encouraged to save some money for first months deposit/rent, utilities, work wardrobe, auto maintanence and insurance, furniture etc. for when she is out of school. Unless of course you intend to pay for these things as well.

I personally worked through undergrad; in fact one of the requirements for vet school is 400 hours of animal related experience, so EVERYONE here worked at least through summers. Most of us still work, at least weekends or every other weekend and during the summer. It's not impossible for anyone to work and go to school. Face it, she's finding time to SPEND $700/month- she can certainly find a couple hours a week to earn some of that herself.

For the record, I think just giving a teenager $500/month is pretty ridiculous too.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 4:54PM
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I don't think that the discussion here is whether or not one should finance their children's college education, but how much additional "fun" money is appropriate for a college student whose primary job is to go to school.

Our daughter is a freshman in college at an out of state school that does not offer scholarships to out of state students. Therefore we pay quite a bit extra out of state tuition, at least until she gains residency there. We pay for her tuition, books, and dorm, which includes 14 meals a week. We also give her $250/month for spending money, which she uses for her cell phone (about $60/month and necessary so she can talk to us!), gas, meals other than the ones she gets in the cafeteria, entertainment and incidentals. We have given her a clothing allowance of about $75/month since 8th grade, and continue that. She has NEVER asked for more money, in fact, she says that she usually doesn't spend it all. She doesn't have time to spend alot of money because she is busy with her schoolwork.

I also have a coworker with a son my daughter's age. He gives his son $600/month, and often calls for an advance before the month is over. He also doesn't get the kind of grades my daughter gets, though he is very intelligent.

So count me in as one who thinks that $700/month "fun" money is excessive.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2006 at 9:45PM
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"Posted by: vivian31 (My Page) on Fri, Mar 10, 06 at 10:05

"As a 28 year old, who still get occasional help from Mom and Dad" -------------------------------------
Wow,...I was married and my husband and I had built a house by the time I was 28....."----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Thanks for your insight husband of 10 years and I also own our own home and we have 4 children. He works and goes to school, both full time, and I stay home with our children. It is a values decision for us to have me stay home, and subsequently rely from time to time on my parents for assistance. I could have a full time job, doubling our family's income and be completely financially independent of my parents, but then someone else would have been raising our children for the last 8 1/2 years, and my husband and I would have been "visiting" them on evenings and weekends. As a family, we decided that it was better for all of us for me to stay home and treasure our kids, and let them really enjoy the leisure of a childhood at home. My parents consider what little assistance they give us to be a solid investment in their grandchildren's happiness. But thanks for the pompous and demeaning made my day.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2006 at 9:38AM
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Thank you for responding to vivian's post which was completely out of line. In this day and age things are so completely different. Sometimes people do not reach finacial stability until they are in their forties...for different reasons.

I am 36 years old and am not married (nor will I ever be) and I've never built a house.

Guess in vivians eyes that make me less of a person.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2006 at 10:36AM
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I've been glancing at this board from time to time, but finally had to register. What's everyone getting on Viv for....she's just talking about a little personal responsibility? Give "kids" in their 20's and 30s an allowance is just wrong. People need to make their own way in life, and accept the real world. What do these people do, breast feed their kids into their teens too?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2006 at 4:07PM
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My name Alexandre Davidov. i become America citizenship eight years ago. i like your online community here. i think i join too. i just login but have been enjoying this world wide web site for many months now. i thought now be a good time to speak for myself as i am having trouble understanding some lines of thinking in this conversing. when i was boy in Russia no child received assistance from parents. i go to school in morning and then work 10 hours at nuclear plant after lessons from time i 7 years old. my father wake me in mornings by throwing a potato at me at 4:30 AM. i would then locate the potato and take it with me as that would be my meal for the day. i do not hate my father. he made me strong and independant. i can not understand how America children are dependant of their parents until the age of 30. i had my own home and family when i was 15. how can America expect to continue to be the world super power when it handicaps its future generations by letting them stay children well into their adult years?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2006 at 4:58PM
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Well Alexandre, this among many other things will probably eventually lead to America not continuing to be the world superpower. Many great civilizations fall one day - I suspect ours will too - though not in our lifetime. Another less advanced country with a lot of highly driven people such as yourself will probably rise up some day just as America once did in the past.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2006 at 7:15PM
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Alexandre, First off, we agree about these people tossing money at their grown kids. But don't go off knocking our country around here. You guys there over in Russia have had democracy how long now? It's about as long as it takes to drink a cup of coffee. Putin is pushing Russia back toward more government controls and the future of your homeland is still questionable.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2006 at 9:41PM
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"Many great civilizations fall one day - I suspect ours will too - though not in our lifetime."

Again the American arrogance shows through. just keep telling yourself, "it's not going to happen to me. our grandchildren can worry about that." we soviets said same thing.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 3:13AM
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Alexandre - I don't mean to say we should not concern ourselves about the condition of our society now. Actually I'm becoming more and more concerned about it and found your post very interesting in light of that. I just meant to say though I personally think America is declining in many ways, I don't think we will decline to the point that we fall from "super power" status in my lifetime. That is not to say we should not be doing something about it now. All just my opinion of course - others may think all is well and we are in good shape.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 9:03AM
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Mr. Soprano,
It's not that I was getting "on" viv, she took a condesending tone with someone who was 28 years old and accepting occasional "help" (not allowance) from her parents. I agree with you, "allowance" for a 20 year old is a bit much.

I started working at 15. From that time on I gave MY mother money to help out with the bills. I NEVER got an allowance.

The problem I had with vivian, was her snooty attitude. Just because one may not "be married and built a house" by the time they were 28 is not an indication of maturity.

I was merely pointing out that everyones situation is different. I have been supporting myself, through a long hard struggle since I was 15...I'm 36 now, should I feel bad because I'm not as far in life as others (vivian)?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 10:15AM
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I have read a book by a famous city planner called Jane Jacobs, who is over 80 years old now - but still very wise, called "Dark Age Ahead".

She says that there have been many civilizations during several thousand years of history.

Each has operated for a time, then declined.

And the achievements which they made were soon forgotten.

I can understand that, for there were not many automobiles around here when I was born, just before 1930. They were quite simple vehicles, also.

When I talk to young people, telling them that automobiles many years ago had no heaters (that warm the interior of the car), they find it hard to believe it. I tell them that when they go to a gathering where people have bought old cars and fixed them up, ask the owner of a Ford Model "A", that was made until 1931, where the heater is in his car - and watch him laugh. There was no heater in them, and our Ford V-8, built in 1934, had a rudimentary (primitive) heater.

I live in Canada - it gets cold here, in winter. My brother, who is a (retired) farmer on our Prairies, knows what 40 degrees below zero feels like (that temperature is the same in both Celsius and Fahrenheit). It gets about 22 degrees below zero Celsius (-8 Fahrenheit) here around the Great Lakes, sometimes.

Children today have no concept of having no running water, or bathroom with flush toilet, or hot water on tap, in their homes. Those things happened for many of us only about 60 years ago.

How quickly we forget!

Jane Jacobs says that she feels that there are many reasons to believe that the current civilization is on its last legs - but now the civilization is a world-wide one.

If it goes down - what may well happen, then?

Another Dark Ages? Worldwide?

When we Western people refer to the "Dark Ages", we refer to the benighted times in Europe about a thousand years ago. But during those times there were worthwhile advances in the Arab world - including their system of arithmetic: Arabic numbering, that is in use worldwide, today. We'd have a tough time manipulating numbers today if we were stuck with using Roman numerals!

Also, when I was in University, about 1950, there was a book titled "Ideas have Legs" that said that one can't defeat an idea with a gun. The idea will persist in spite of the gun.

Even false ideas, as many of us believe the ones are that are being promoted by the fundamentalist muslim groups. But many of us Christians believe that some of the ideas promoted by fundamentalist Christian groups are not only short-sighted, but wrong.

They carry quite a lot of power, though, in some areas.

It seems to me that the future will belong to the people with the best ideas - they will prevail in the end.

But there may well be quite a lot of suffering to deal with in the meantime.

One of the problems that many U.S. people have to deal with is that they aren't very good at self-examination, self-criticism.

Good wishes for a bright future for you and your loved ones.

ole joyful

P.S. I spent a few years in South Korea helping some of the hundreds of thousands of refugees there begin to get their lives back in order after that war.

War, especially modern war, produces very little but destruction, it seems to me.

It used to be that war killed and maimed people and things only in this current generation - but now the nuclear and chemical residues produce succeeding generations of children which suffer from both physical and mental malformations.

I heard recently that just in the past few months, the number of U.S. veterans of the VietNam war who have committed suicide since the end of that war has just grown larger than the number of U.S. military people killed during that war.

Sorry to be so pessimistic in all of this.

I do believe that there is hope - but many of us through many parts of the world must do some serious revisions of our ways of thinking and living.

o j

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 1:11PM
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You might call the admissions or financial aid office of the college to see what they estimate personal expenses will be. I am looking into colleges with my sons and one of them just got a statement from a school in Colorado where the personal expenses were estimated alongside the tuition, room & board, fees, and books. They estimated a need for $1300 for the entire school year. You can see that is far less than $700/month.

Recently we have also attended open houses for prospective students and families. At one, we had lunch with other parents. It was informative just talking with other parents. Of course, the money issue was the big topic, even if it makes us feel awkward. The parents from the area of the school were most informative and it helped me to realize that we really will be able to handle two kids in college at the same time.

For my kids and for many others it would be simply impossible to provide $700 or even $500 per month beyond necessities. So I feel sure that your daughter will not feel herself impoverished compared to other students if she must get by on less spending money than that, unless, perhaps, she is at a school with a large percentage of students from wealthy homes.

Also, I got my degree here in the USA later in life. I remember thinking that the estimates from the financial aid office, the estimates for money needed to get by, seemed overly generous to me. I was already living myself, wife, and two toddlers on less than they estimated was my need. Thus I did not need to take out more than $4000 in loans for my degree at a private university. The loans I qualified for were about six times that figure, if I remember correctly (which I'm not really sure I do.)

Does your daughter have kitchen access? Is a microwave or hotplate permitted? Perhaps she can have a small cache of food to prepare for when she misses a served meal. Meals eaten out can surely add up quickly.

I'm interested in hearing what you eventually figure out as we are trying to gather all the tips and info possible for our family.

About Comrade Alexandre: I'm sure he is pulling your leg. After all in my German town we did not start to work 10 hour days after school at the nuclear power plant until age 10. I'm sure no 7 year old could handle the work, especially as 7 year olds often do not know left from right and would toggle the wrong button. ;)

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 1:48PM
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and who have concussions from the whomp on the head with the potato every morning!

you had me roaring with laughter!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 10:26PM
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Stop it!! You made me spit coffee all over.:)


    Bookmark   March 24, 2006 at 9:18AM
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Hello again everyone,

I visited my daughter last weekend to pick up her dog (previously her Mom's prior to her death a couple of years ago) while daughter visits Bermuda with her SO, whose company's work is rather slack in winter. She does most of hers on internet, so could carry on work while visiting friends in AZ recently whom she knew when working there for a few years recently. Her Mom was from Iowa, so she has dual citizenship, thus no worries about work permits in U.S.

While there, I picked up a book of her SO's called "The World is Flat - a Brief History of the 21st Century" by Thomas Friedman. Daughter's SO was travelling from FL to Bermuda - when she talked to him on the phone and told him that I was reading it, he said that he thought that I'd get a kick out of it.

Though this century is about 5 years old, tremendous changes are taking place - giving youth in many parts of the world with internet connection the opportunity to participate in worldwide ideas - and business.

Causing our old hierarchies to be flattened.

Huge changes are taking place in the way the world operates - and at increasing speed.

I feel that it should be required reading for all high school and univ. youth, plus youth in the work force: middle aged folks, as well. Much of it they know already, but there are a number of ideas and points of view that I doubt they've considered - though I must confess to be out of touch with the thinking of youth.

He offers some suggestions as to creative ways to counter bin Laden and his cohorts - rather than battling them head-on, strategize to "cut them off at the pass" so to speak.

I called the area school board this morning to recommend it to their policy and curriculum people.

I imagine that many of you would find it not only interesting but informative, as well - possibly even life-changing.

I have a feeling that the U.S. folks, whose country is top dog in the world (at the moment) will ignore its message at their peril.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   March 24, 2006 at 1:28PM
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Minigreenhouse, don't be surprised if your daughter is graciously paying for others ...during these "socials". Sometimes young adults feel they need to pay for others, as a way to make new friends.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 10:13AM
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Gee... I earned every non-school dollar myself during the summer, including books and any other money I needed/wanted for the year.
Starting the year with a fixed amount that had to last was very conducive to controlling spending.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 1:38PM
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If the original poster's daughter is in a sorority (when she used the word "socials" this rang a bell with me)this could account for some of this costs. Monthly dues, palor fees, mixers, t shirts, favors etc, you could possibly (it would be pretty unheard of) spend $700 per month.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 2:39PM
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My situation: Two daughters, the first with one more year of law school, and the younger one in her second year of performing arts university (4 years). I helped out my first daughter, for undergrad school (5 years) by paying her insurance and giving her $150 a month, plus the occasional here and there expense. I am doing the same for my younger daughter, but it appears that perfoming arts has extra costs like lessons with mentor types, in order to network for her future career. My wife says I want to spend too much... insurance plus $150 should be enough... yelling and anger (not a pretty sight).

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 8:46AM
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dulciguy, I was wondering how this thread got resurrected when I finally got to your posting at the end! It might have been better if you had posted it to a new thread, but no problem.

I think what you can glean from the many postings on the original thread is that much depends on your own financial situation. Especially these days with so many Boomers facing employment challenges and losses in their retirement accounts, you do not want, nor should you, impoverish your senior years for your children.

As the saying goes, nobody will give you a loan for retirement!

Fiscal responsibility is a skill, and has to be taught. You also have the issue of money conflicts in your personal relationship that need to be resolved in a win-win situation. That means you don't win everything and neither does your spouse. Everybody gives a little, and gains something.

If you are quarreling about money now, you will continue to do so all the way up to and including in retirement. Money is the biggest single issue listed in divorces, because how we handle money is intensely personal.

In looking over these old posts, I find some of the advice misguided, especially the "no cell phone" attitude. How quickly things change! Nowadays, many schools have set up an emergency contact system that works through students' cellphones to let them know if a 911 or SWAT team situation is happening, and to stay away from a designated area if need be.

I do have a question for you, though - what is your daughter going to do when she graduates from a performing arts university? I would think the average salaries are abysmal, especially with the cutbacks in arts funding at all levels.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 12:34PM
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.... Ok, I am 18, I am in college, I don't get any support from my parent's, because I don't need it, I have two jobs. I would love that 700 a month. My two jobs hardly pay for just my car insurance and gas alone. I live off of noodles and bread. Someone, please give me 700 a month :)

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 6:25PM
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My 2 daughters are in college full-time. One lives at home. Both have taken out stiudent loans (with DH as their co-signer) and have part-time jobs. I give both my credit card when they need to buy books. I also give the older one (still home) $90 cash a week for her transportation. I've told both they can help support us in their old age.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 9:02AM
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Teens will spend money like crazy if it is mom and day's money.

Our son is a freshman in college and he pays for part of his tuition and spending money. He has a great part time job and has about 5K in the bank, after paying his part of the tuition.

Guess what? He spends very very little. He never eats anywhere he has to pay and has figured out how to get extra food for snacks in his room from the meal plan if he is away on the weekend and has extra swipes. He is responsible for his books and he gets them on and sells them back.

He makes about $15 an hour and he told me he looks at purchases and asks himself if that $30 item is worth two hours of work or not. I know he wouldn't do that if it was mom and dad's money he was spending.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 11:34PM
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