February 3, 2018 at 12:00 am #737657
I am 61-years old and divorced. I have a grown daughter, 33, who is married and has two young children, she lives in a town 180 miles from me. I also have a 31-year son who is not married.
My son has always had a rougher time in life compared to my daughter. When my daughter graduated from college she had a professional job all lined up.
My son played sports and was offered scholarships and went to several different colleges, finally graduating in 2011.
I have had problems of my own. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for many years and I am trying to recover. I sold my house in a town I lived in for 25-years (also for financial reasons, because I lost my job) and moved in with my mother in her house, in the the same state, about 230 miles away.
Meanwhile, my son, also moved in with my mother, and finished college at a university in her town. My mom has since moved into a retirement community and my son and I are now living in her house and overseeing it.
Here’s my problem . . . my son floundered in different jobs for about three years. He felt very frustrated that he wasn’t going anywhere. A little over a year ago he decided to get his teaching credential. I was thrilled with his decision.
About five years ago my dad passed away and I inherited a large sum of money, over a half-million dollars. I decided to offer to pay for my son to get his teaching credential – which was $24,000. I also helped him buy a new car and paid $10,000.
My daughter does not know about any of this. I love my daughter and we are very close, we talk every day. She is a wonderful person and friend. She has always worked very hard for everything she has, she got her first job at age 14. Her husband makes a good salary and she is a stay-at-home mom right now and they are comfortable.
But she has always been obsessed with money. I just keep thinking that she would be so upset with me if she knew I’ve paid for all of this.
Once she asked me who was paying for my son’s teaching credential and I lied and said he got out a student loan.
Also, my daughter seems to care about me more than my son. It’s always been that way. She asks about me and cares about my life. Whereas my son is not always as considerate. He can be abrasive at times but a lot of the time he is very nice. But he is just selfish and ungrateful and sometimes I regret being so nice to him. As you may have guessed – I am a co-dependent. I grew up with an alcoholic father, which has troubled me all of my life.
The other part of it is that I have not worked for five years. Primarily because I have been in a depression about my life. So, I have been living off my inheritance and have spent quite a bit. I’ve thought about giving my daughter the same amount but I’m worried I may need the money for my future.
Although, I have gotten professional help and do feel better about myself and am looking for a job.
But I am so worried that my daughter will find out about this and I feel like if she did she would never forgive me. My son knows how she is and he said he will lie and stick to the student loans story.
I just don’t know what to do and feel so bad about the whole situation! Please help!!!February 3, 2018 at 12:39 am #737660
Please stop enabling your son. He can find his way in life. You don’t have to hold his hand anymore. I suggest start looking towards a postiive future and make some life changes that will bring happiness to you. You seem to be feeling guilty about giving your son money and trying to equalize the playing field between your children. You don’t owe anyone an explanation. Its your money, do with it as you wish. Your daughter sounds similar to me compared with my siblings. You could always leave her a nice inheritance, or you could make lasting memories. ( I have always preferred the lasting memories) BTW save your money, its hard for seniors to get adequate care when they get to a certain age where they dont have a lot of good service options. Im also certain your daughter is going to make sure you are cared for and hopefully your son will too.February 3, 2018 at 6:36 am #737678
Your son is a fuck up. Sure, he’ll get his teaching credential but he is highly likely to bounce around at jobs in that field too. He might be less of a fuck up if he didn’t have his mommy swooping in to bail him out. Stop giving this grown man money. Start saving for your retirement. Stay in counseling if your finances allow it. If not, go to Alanon-I think you have a lot to learn from them about codependency. You need to do these things so that you aren’t a burden to your daughter’s finances in later years because you know damn well sonny boy isn’t going to contribute a dime or an ounce of effort to your care. It’s your money and you can do what you want but you lied to your daughter and have rewarded your selfish, grasping son for his poor behavior. I hope you find a better way to live going forward because that man is going to suck you dry if you don’t and it’s your daughter who will take the hit.February 3, 2018 at 6:39 am #737679
By the way, your son will lie to his sister *as long as you keep the gravy train rolling*. The minute you cut him off I suspect that your daughter is going to be the first one he calls and this little nugget of information will just happen to slip out. You may as well tell her.February 3, 2018 at 8:15 am #737684
I guess it’s your money and you can do what you want with it, but I can think of much smarter ways to use it (your retirement) than paying outright for a degree for a kid who hasn’t shown the inclination or ability to have a career, plus a new car for him. He should have gotten loans for both. Your retirement is way more of a priority than an adult kid’s education. Yes, your daughter will be pissed. I wouldn’t tell her proactively, but if she asked, I think you should have admitted that you gave him some help. Lying wasn’t a good idea. She’s going to find out at some point. She’s also probably going to be the one with the burden of caring for you, and it’s not real smart to be pissing that person off. If I were you, I’d be focusing 90% of my attention on finding some kind of work and planning for funding the rest of my life.February 3, 2018 at 9:12 am #737687
Are you giving money to your son because you pity him or are you bribing him to be sort of nice to you, since the two of you (have to?) live together? I’d consider the money for the education credentials to be a dead loss. Regardless of what your son may think, teaching is a very difficult, stressful job. It requires hard work and empathy for students who may not be on best behavior. I seriously doubt your lazy son can handle that.
Continuing in counseling is a good idea, as is getting a job. Nothing like just lying around the house with a lazy son to promote and deepen depression.
I think that you should not be living with your son. I think he is just a continuation of your life being controlled by abusive men and now you are in the third generation of abusers. It is your normal, so you’re comfortable with it, but you need to start on a new path. Have you talked to your therapist about the wisdom of living with your son? Does your son contribute anything to the support of your household, or is he a total leech? What has he done with the money he has earned bouncing around between jobs?February 3, 2018 at 9:51 am #737689
I feel like you’re framing your daughter as being greedy as a way to sort of dismiss her potential anger over this situation. Even if she’s in fact greedy (and I’m skeptical over whether that’s a fair assessment or not), I think it would be a pretty normal thing for a responsible adult child to be angry at a parent who throws money at an irresponsible adult child — especially when they are not in a position to be doing so. (As it seems you’ve realized, it’s not as big an inheritance as it might seem once you give away tens of thousands of dollars and then live off it for several years.) So, put away the thought that your daughter is going to be mad because she wants money. That is irrelevant. But personally I believe that adult children DO have a right to be upset when their parent is potentially jeopardizing their financial future because they are the ones who have to bail them out. And it’s going to be your daughter, not your son who does that.
I get that you want to see your son succeed, and you think that this money will help him finally do so. But the average adult who actually wants to succeed and puts in the work doesn’t need $30000+ from their parent to do so. The fact that you give him presumably free housing is way more than he needs. It’s also not going to buy his affection or make him nicer to you.
Also, while I don’t agree with adult children who get upset that their parents aren’t giving them money, you do have to consider how it looks on her side. Your son is essentially being rewarded for not being able to support himself. It’s like giving out participation trophies only to the kids on the baseball team who never showed up to practice. She’s not entitled to your money, but a lot of adult children in the position see it as favoritism — it’s not unlikely that she assumes you like her brother more. It’s probably not just her being greedy in this situation. Just go through the archives of this site and find the letters written by people whose parents have done similar things.
Anyway, she’s probably going to find out eventually. But what’s going to make it easier to deal with is you being able to show that you learned your lesson and have made changes in order to not toss away all your retirement money to your son to enable him anymore.February 3, 2018 at 5:17 pm #737714
If you aren’t working and need money to look after yourself then you have no money to give. What are the terms of the loan? Is he repaying when he starts work? Hold him to it. If he isn’t going to repay it then you’ve learnt an expensive lesson. As for your daughter, you don’t owe her an explanation. It’s your money. That said, if you are ever expecting her to bail you out then you are going to be accountable to her. If you want things to be even between your kids then have your will specify yours son’s share is reduced by the 30k he got while you were alive. If it comes up you can tell your daughter that. That he’s borrowed against his inheritance bit you are still hoping for repayment when he gets a job. But for the record. It doesn’t have to be fair. One can need help more than the other. That’s fine too. You know what else is fine? Adult children taking care of themselves and their own finances.
Frankly, the bigger problem seems to be you inherited over half a million 5 years ago and you’ve already gone through a fair bit of it. While living in your mother’s house. You need to speak to a financial planner about your future.February 3, 2018 at 6:46 pm #737724
These weren’t loans, they were gifts. Actually they sound more like bribes to get son to be less abrasive and nice more frequently. I suspect he badgers his mother until he gets the $ he wants. Being bullied by men is what she is used.
And yes, she is going to run out of money not that far past normal retirement age. Then she’ll be really screwed and sonny boy will have alternative to getting a job.February 3, 2018 at 7:11 pm #737726
I can understand why your daughter would think it’s a bad use of your money, because I agree with everyone else that dropping tens of thousands of dollars to enable your son was a bad idea. However, I don’t think it’s any of her business how you choose to spend your money. You don’t owe her any explanations, and you aren’t obligated to give them the same amount of money. Moving forward, stop giving your son handouts so that he can learn to be an adult, be smarter about your money (are you saving for retirement?), and keep looking for a job.February 3, 2018 at 7:15 pm #737727
Like, I can’t even imagine asking my parents how they spend their money. I know my sister sometimes asks for money and feel like my dad should say no, and it irritates me a little, but I’d never get outwardly angry over it because it’s none of my business! And if I wanted to know how my sister paid for something, I’d ask her, not my parents.February 3, 2018 at 8:26 pm #737732
It’s none of the daughter’s business if Mom is going to fund her own retirement. Do you see that happening if she continues as she’s been? I don’t and I think it’s going to be the daughter cleaning up the mess.