Par­ent wants in-laws to fi­nance kids’ higher ed­u­ca­tion

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Your Daily Break - Amy Dick­in­son Con­tact Amy Dick­in­son via email at askamy@ tribpub.com.

DEAR AMY » My hus­band and I are par­ents to three col­legeage chil­dren. All three are good stu­dents that at­tend flag­ship state uni­ver­si­ties. Of course, as par­ents, we think they are great and well-rounded young adults. They have never given us a lick of trou­ble and have no trou­ble speak­ing and hold­ing con­ver­sa­tions with other adults, teach­ers, bosses, etc.

We own our own home and drive old cars, but still strug­gle to pay our kids’ tu­ition. We have saved money since our chil­dren were small to help de­fray their univer­sity costs, but even with the kids each tak­ing $5,000 per year in loans it is still a strug­gle.

My in-laws have al­ways rec­og­nized birth­days and Christ­mas with mod­est gifts, and they al­ways com­pli­ment us on how we raised them. That’s the prob­lem!

We re­cently be­came aware that the in-laws have al­ready given tens of thou­sands of dol­lars to a lo­cal ju­nior col­lege foun­da­tion!

We are hurt ter­ri­bly by this, as it seems to us that they would rather give to kids they don’t even know, than sup­port their own grand­kids’ ed­u­ca­tions. (They also give to mul­ti­ple an­i­mal char­i­ties).

With­out com­ing across as greedy, how could we ap­proach this? — Won­der­ing DEAR WON­DER­ING » In­quir­ing about this isn’t greedy. Judg­ing your in-laws’ fi­nan­cial de­ci­sions does make you sound greedy, how­ever.

You and your spouse could ap­proach the in-laws with a propo­si­tion: Per­haps they would be will­ing to in­vest in your kids’ ed­u­ca­tions by of­fer­ing th­ese stu­dents no-in­ter­est loans, so that they could com­plete their ed­u­ca­tions with­out ow­ing money (and in­ter­est) to an out­side en­tity.

Upon com­plet­ing their ed­u­ca­tions, the grand­chil­dren could re­pay the loans di­rectly to their grand­par­ents, or (if the grand­par­ents chose) di­rectly into a char­ity the grand­par­ents chose.

Ap­proach this with the very clear un­der­stand­ing that they have the right to make any fi­nan­cial de­ci­sion they choose to make — even if you don’t like it. In­vest­ing in the ed­u­ca­tional fu­ture of de­serv­ing lo­cal stu­dents seems like a wise and gen­er­ous choice for them to make. If you could put your chil­dren in this cat­e­gory, they might be will­ing to ex­pand their in­vest­ment.

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