My Daughter Refuses to Listen About Money.

Updated on December 17, 2014
D.L. asks from Panama City, FL
30 answers

When my daughter go her first job over the summer we told her we weren't going to tell her how to spend the money or make her save it. We wanted her to learn these lessons on our own knowing she would move out soon. We made her pay for the little things (Fancy bath products, trips with friends, movies ect.) but we still gave her a gas allowance because she as the oldest of 6 helps out with her siblings a lot. She had friends who from the day they got their first pay check had to pay 50% of it too their parents for rent. We didn't feel that was right, she is under 18 and out child. It is our job to house, feed, and clothe her. We noticed during the summer she was pretty frivolous with the money but we thought that more would be saved during the school year when she would have less time to spend on spending money. We were wrong.She works less hours and makes less money, she saves 5% and spends 100% of what is left before the next paycheck.

She is a senior and applying to college right now, we have been very honest with her about exactly what is in her college fund and that that fund is the only help we can give her. We have 5 kids after her to put through college. She doesn't care. She only applied to 2 in state schools. all overs are out of state $30,000+ a year schools. She has about $10,000 in her college fund and I keep trying to tell her she NEEDS to save her paychecks but she laughs and says she can get scholarships and loans and make it work.

She has always been my hippie\lover kid and she wants to be a counselor one day and I have no doubt in my mind she can do it but I think she will always be the one I worry about most because she is always thinking the best will happen and never planning for life's worsts. How do I teach her to save more? Did I mess up by letting her keep the paychecks in the first place?

What can I do next?

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answers from Dallas on

I would have her cash flow community college and set aside $xx per month for the university. It sounds like she wasn't given specific expectations. Save the $10K for the university.

I worked my way through college and came out in the end with a relatively low amount of debt. I'd strongly advise against debt as the college plan. So many of these kids are getting out with way more debt then they will make in a year post graduation.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Well, Jan 1 is almost here. Then she can fill out her FAFSA and she'll know exactly how much $ she needs to come up with. Maybe once she sees a solid number, she'll be able to think more concretely about how she is going to do that. I think that for many people, it's hard to think about "just save as much as you can" and much easier to have a concrete goal, such as "I need to save $1000 by July 1, which is $157 per month." (or whatever the goal is, based on the FAFSA)

ETA: As I think more about this, another concrete thing you could do is point out this fact: she can take out loans and get scholarships for her tuition, room, and board. That is true. But she'll still need to have enough $$ in the bank to pay for books - scholarships and loans don't typically cover that. So, it might be helpful to look into the cost of books per semester and set that as her goal. It's likely to be several hundred $ per semester.

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answers from Baton Rouge on

I had no college fund from my parents. If I wanted to go to college, I had to do it on my own. And I did - with scholarships, grants, loans, and a job.
My daughter did it the same way.

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answers from San Francisco on

All you can do is lead the horse to water. No, I don't think you messed up by letting her keep her paychecks. They are her paychecks, after all.

You have told her what you have to give her for college, and she will make her decisions. If she insists on going to a really expensive college (assuming she gets in) and has to pay off loans for 20 years, then so be it.

My daughter loves to buy things and do things, (travel, skydive, you name it -- she's been living a much more interesting life than I have) and she spent all of the money she earned -- over 20K in three years -- from her various jobs while she was a teen. I was not prepared to go into a savings battle with her, and I couldn't compel her to save her money or apply for the many scholarships that were available, even though I bugged her endlessly to apply for scholarships for over a year.

Those are some of the reasons I didn't feel obligated to pay for her college expenses. But my daughter is a very dynamic and capable person. She did her first two years at a community college, because at that point she realized that it would not be worth an additional $40K in loans, (she would, however, have been perfectly happy for her parents to burden themselves with those same loans) and then she transferred and is on her way to a very lucrative profession.

There are ways to get through college relatively cheaply. You are not obligated to send yourself to the poorhouse for your kids. Statistically, most of our generation of parents will not have enough money for retirement, and will go into retirement with debt. That means they cannot afford the loans they are taking out for their kids' college, etc.

It's sad that college is now so ridiculously unaffordable, but that's the way it is. I come from the generation and a mindset that when you can't afford something -- a house, college expenses -- you either don't buy them, or you find ways to do it very cheaply.

BTW - My daughter will get out of school with less than $15K of debt, due to working and going to community college. But believe me, had I offered her the full ride on a silver plate, she would have happily taken that ride and left us with $60+K of debt, and would have been a much less well-rounded individual than she currently is, now that she's done college the "hard way." She also has an amazing resume for someone her age. She will get hired the moment she exits college.

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answers from Washington DC on


Your daughter has to learn the hard way. When she runs out of money and is at risk of being booted from her apartment because she bought "things" instead of saving for her rent?? You will HAVE to "do" tough love and let her sink.

You can change the rules. You can have her pay rent. She's got to learn to do can put the money in a savings account and give it to her when she moves out. SHOW HER THE POWER of saving money.

You can lead by example in spending and saving. Which is something I would hope you've been doing from the get-go...but really? You need to remind her and tell her that the world can be a real hard, cruel and she needs a back-up plan and you need to tell her - YOU ARE NOT that back up plan...

I don't think you messed up by letting her keep her paychecks. She earned it...but she needs to think of the future - HER FUTURE - and borrowing money for college to be tens of thousands in debt will be a bad way to start off as an adult in life....

Good luck!

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answers from San Antonio on

I know that sometimes you have to be a bit stupid about spending before you can get the smarts to do it right. So now is a good time for her to be dumb about it, but you are right she is going to have to wise up.

What others have said is true about the schools telling them you can go to any college and be whatever you want to be and it will all work out. Well, when you graduate and those student loan payments start rolling in reality can be a huge cold PUNCH in the face.

Student loans are no laughing matter...if you miss payments they can bring the whole amount due all at once and then garnish your wages to cover the default penalties, fees and interest. Then you have NO credit and you can no longer file bankruptcy for student loans.

When my husband and I got out of college we were bringing home about $2800 a month combined working in our fields. $620 of that went to just the INTEREST on our student loans we couldn't even afford a payment that went towards the principle and we had credit card debt because the student loans didn't cover all our expenses (sometimes groceries went on the credit card). Our rent was $800. Yeah, $1380 for all other was tight and it got even tighter because we did the Dave Ramsey course and got out of credit card debt in one year. We got second jobs, nights and weekends. Thank God we didn't have any kids!!! (Took us 8 years to be ready financially to start a family and even then we questioned being able to afford kids).

You need to find out how much an entry level job is in the field she want to go into pays a year. Then calculate how much debt she will have when she gets out of college. How much will those payments be and how much will be left over to live on? Can she afford to live on her own after college?

She wants to be a counselor, so right there you have to calculate graduate school she will HAVE to have a Master's. Graduate school tuition makes undergrad look like nothing!! (I know both DH and I have Master's).

I say forget the money she is making now and start getting her to be realistic about college.

Our kids will not be repeating our mistakes...we are already talking to them about community college and living at home for two years then looking at transferring to a four year. Looking into degrees that combine what they love doing with what will pay a salary decent enough to live on. Telling them that even if it takes them eight years to finish college with a Master's and no debt it is worth it. They will only be 23 debt free and well educated.

You start crunching numbers and then sit down with her and have her start crunching numbers...yes, there will be some grants and scholarships...but they are never enough...we had some grants and scholarships and a whole lot of debt!!

Sorry to go off on the college thing, but I have some friends with kids starting college and they are borrowing so much money it literally gives me stomach cramps thinking about it.

Good luck to you!!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

You didn't mess up. She's only going to learn to save more with more life experience. She doesn't have any incentive right now. Honestly, the cost of college is a big unknown, and her part time job paychecks would be such a small drop in the bucket towards that, she isn't seeing the point yet. She's still too comfortable. She applied where she wanted to, now you let the chips fall where they fall. Once she sees in no uncertain terms what her choices are and what the cost will be, remind her again of her responsibility should she choose a more expensive college. She will be taking out loans, etc. beyond what you can give her, not you. Its so great she already knows what she wants to do for her career. Be sure to help her research starting salaries, and weigh that with loan repayments while she's considering college choices.

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answers from Norfolk on

Some kids have to learn the hard way.
There's no telling them anything - they believe they are invincible and nothing bad can ever happen to them.
She seems fine with the concept of wracking up education debt.

In school they are still telling them they can be what ever they want to be and "here's how to borrow to make it happen".
And a lot of the time the degree is not worth the money spent on it and they'll be paying off the student loans for DECADES.
What does any 16 yr old know about decades - they haven't been alive for 2.

Scholarships and grants are all good and well but they rarely cover the full ride.
Just tell her the amount you donate to her education fund is a fixed amount.
When it's gone - there is no more - and with 5 other kids to help, you will not be able to help her pay back any student loans she takes out.
Never tell her anything different.

Eventually that will be a cold splash in her face but she's not going to 'get it'/feel it till she's 6 months out of school and has to start paying those loans back.
Letting her keep her paychecks? - I'm not sure you could take them away.

When my Mom was growing up, her cousins had a different attitude about money.
Stay at home Mom ran the house and finances, Dad and 5 kids worked (in the 30's and 40's - kids worked - one of them worked at a butchers).
On payday - everyone came home and put all their pay into Mama's apron.
What ever there was - Mama had to make it stretch to take care of everyone.

An allowance does not necessarily teach kids how to save.
All it really does is to train them up to be good little consumers(buyers) before they have any idea how hard money is to earn.
Just giving money to anyone doesn't always work out as an all around money teaching tool.
And worse - some start to see the regular handout as a right.

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answers from Boston on

She's a kid, she's supposed to be spending her money unless she has bills to pay, and she doesn't. Heck saving 5% is better than a lot of adults manage to do (e.g. I work in the retirement industry and most young employees - we're talking in their 20's, not teenagers - only contribute to their retirement plans if they are enrolled by default).

She'll spend her money more wisely when she has specific needs to meet. My oldest son is 16 and spent the past two summers working close to full-time for $10 an hour. He has nothing to show from his first summer, when he made over $2,500 in a few weeks, except the guitar and iPad he bought. The rest went to clothes, movies, and rest went to the corner store, Dunkin Donuts, and the local pizza shop.

This past summer, he spent more wisely because he knew that he had to save for driver's ed and insurance, and got a job during the school year so that he could have some walking around money and not dip into what he earned over the summer.

She's actually right about college. Student assets are factored into the FAFSA calculation at 50%, so even if she did have some money saved, it was just penalize her in the financial aid process. $2000 in the bank for the student means $1000 less in financial aid because they'll assume that she can use $1000 for tuition. There's very little that she can save at this point that would significantly impact her ability to pay for school. Once you have the financial aid forms in and she gets her acceptances and sees what the financial picture looks like, then she'll have concrete goals in mind and will know that she needs X amount to cover books for her first semester, or Y amount for a new computer that she needs, etc. and will be able to save to cover some of those expenses and have some cash for when she actually starts school.

What you'll find in this process is that the private, $30K+ per year schools have deep pockets. For most students, the amount that the family is expected to pay for school is pretty similar across the schools regardless of what the actual price tag is. There might be a difference between in-state public schools and private, but often, not really.

Anyway...she's totally normal and you're doing just fine. Relax. Let the application and financial aid process work itself out and I bet she'll manage her money just fine when she needs to.

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answers from Toledo on

We hear so much in the news about the high cost of education and the student loan crisis. The thing is, very few 18 year olds have any clue about how much life costs (rent, food, utilities, etc), so they really don't comprehend how much student loans really cost. They don't understand how much of their income will be going towards paying back the loans, how many years it will take to pay them back, how small their income will probably be when they first graduate.

There might not be a whole lot you can do just by talking to her. It might be worth it to talk to the financial aide office at a university or community college. They can probably give you some ideas of how to talk on her about it.

You could also look at Dave Ramsey's website. He is very much against taking out student loans and strongly encourages people to go to community college and state schools.

But I do agree with Annette. Don't worry about the income from her part-time, minimum wage job. It really is a drop in the bucket. It's much more important that she seek out scholarships and take a good look at some state schools. She does need to be more realistic about paying for college.

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answers from Boston on

You can't teach her. She has to learn. There is no greater teacher than experience.

She is doing what many kids do the first time they have "real" money - she spends it.

Yes, she can get student loans and perhaps some scholarships, although th scholarship funds are lower than she thinks. She may be a great student, but she will quickly find that everyone at her desired college(s) is a similarly gifted student - they are a dime a dozen. It's a rude awakening for many college kids.

You have been honest with her. I would stop talking about it, and give her something written with the available funds listed. Then put on the same page the cost of her tuition, room, board, books, laundry, "extras" and entertainment. Have her do a budget - if it's at her leisure, that's her business. If she winds up at community college because she can't find $30K a year, so be it. Every college can give an estimate of what all the fees are, but have her include "luxury" things like going to the snack bar for a coffee, paying for laundromat fees, buying college tee shirts and other spirit wear, and tickets to the comedy show or the football game. Then she can figure out how much she needs to save from her part time job.

You can also have her pay her application fees - that's a start. She'll have to choose the best matches for her because she won't have enough money to apply to 25 schools.

You can also require her to fill out the FAFSA form herself - that's pretty awakening and enlightening. That will require you to give her income info though, but you can have her do a portion of it and list how much she plans to pay for her own education.

If she winds up blowing all her money and having to take a year off before going to college, is that the worst thing in the world? No. Kids rally all the time, and many take a "gap year" on purpose. She may take one by default.

I'd stop talking at this point, and I'd write it all down of what you are contributing and what she needs to make up on her own. Have her sign that she has read it, and then you each keep a copy. It's a kind of a contract. Then she can't come back to you in 3 or 6 or 9 months and say she didn't know.

It would be nice if she could talk to a few recent graduates who have $40K or $200K in debt, to tell her how they are really struggling and still living with Mom and Dad because they can't afford an apartment and their loans on $60K salary a year - then she can figure out what it's like for all the grads who don't have a job or one that pays close to $60K a year. But a lot of what has to happen here is just reality and maturity. You can't rush that, I'm afraid.

This is also a good time to sit down with the other kids to lay the groundwork for them as well.

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answers from Austin on

With 6 kids in the family, and if she is a good student, I bet she is going to qualify for a lot of grants and scholarships. Depending on what colleges she is applying to, most have great financial aid for students.

Make sure you do your taxes as soon a s possible in January so that she l can apply through FAFSA. Her high school may have a "college Coach" that can help explain all of this to you and your daughter. If not, she needs to meet with her Counselor on campus.

Kids work and then yes they spend. Once she knows what school she will be attending, she will have a goal. She will need to start thinking about all of the things she will need to pay for. It will become more real to her.

Hang in there. They all of a sudden realize why saving is important when they have can actually see what their goal is.

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answers from Seattle on

I am in college now, getting my AA and then my Bachelor's in Social and Human Services and then Community health.
I pay about $1,600 a quarter, so $4,800 for the year (I don't go in the summer since I have 3 kids out of school).
But I am not at a university. I am at a community college that is accredited. Therefore WAY less then a state college and still getting the same education!
Maybe your daughter CAN make it, at least to her AA with the $10,000 in her account.
She is right, she can apply for grants and scholorships as well.
I understand your concern and worry. But she may just be fine!

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answers from Boca Raton on

I loved Rosebud's and Kimberly's answers . . . yes, college bound kids need some "skin in the game."

I was that kid who happily let my parents pay out-of-state tuition (they could afford it but that's beside the point). Yes, I had a great college experience, but I left undergrad as a pretty immature 22 year old. I didn't appreciate what my parents did for me until I went to graduate school and had to pay for it myself (with loans that took 10 years to pay off). Of course when I was paying I went in-state. :P

You've told her what you're able to give her - now let her figure out how to maximize that gift.

I wouldn't worry about how you handled her working money - that's water under the bridge. Now you know for the next ones! :) And really I don't think you did anything wrong. The main thing I did differently with my older son is that I made him buy his own car, in his own name and he has to pay for his own insurance. We did match some of what he saved for the car. He is proud to have a positive net worth and he's careful with his car (knock on wood).

As an aside, my junior in high school (homeschooled kid) will have over 30 hours of college credit by the time he graduates thanks to his dual enrollment at community college. If he gets a STEM scholarship I'd like to give him some of that money to start his adult life.

Stop worrying - it will all work out! There's more than one way to do college.

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answers from Chicago on

The rules in my house were 10% went to mom and dad off the top, that was my rent. When I baby sat daily for the kids down the street, All of that went driectly to my parents. My parents taught me that you always save 10% or more of your check.. all the time..

As I grew so did my rent. But, what my parents did was give me back the money as a down payment on my condo. Well part of it, the rest if for retirement.

Just because you are housing her, she needs to learn how to budget and have responsibility..

Jan 1 New rules.. new year.. just saying.

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answers from Appleton on

Many parents who force kids to pay rent put the money in a fund to give them when they move out or have an emergency.
Don't worry too much about her spending now. A lot of kids spend all they have when they get their first job. But it wouldn't hurt to sit her down and explain budgeting to her. You can use your real numbers, your income and bills - or make up a budget based on hypothecial numbers. If you sit down with her and explain 'dad brings home $X, mom brings home $X the mortgage is XX, utilties YY, cable ZZ, cell phones AA, grocery BB etc. She will get an idea of how she will need to budget later in life.
Kids often have no idea how much money parents earn or how much it takes to keep the household running as is.

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answers from Grand Forks on

I'm not really sure how she was expected to learn the lesson when no one was teaching it. You have to start when kids are much younger with an allowance. They need to save some, give some to charity, then they can spend.

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answers from Chicago on

My sons all worked their way through college. they had some savings bonds which helped with things like books, supplies etc. But there are the two different scenarios we had
Son #1 worked his butt off all though private college prep school to help pay for that. Then when college came around opted for Carthage College in Wisconsin. Beautiful school / campus great degree. He got a lot of scholarship help at the the school. But still had to get between $15,000 and $20,000 each year in loans. Because the tuition / housing ended up being close to $40,000 a year. He was all about staying there etc. He did move off campus after sophmore year which helped. However he now has $80,000 in debt. he pays more than $800 a month in student loans. and will for a very long time.

Son #2 opted for public highschool. worked all the way through but saved little to no money. College was at Northern Illinois university. He stayed on campus freshman year. And moved back home and commuted the other 3 years. He paid some out of pocket and took out loans for the rest. He is in debt close to $40,000 for his college. And makes payments of more than $500 a month and that will be for a long time. Ask her how she plans to subsidize college. Joe son #2 almost didn't get to go back. The school will give some loans without signatures but because we signed on son #1's loand we couldn't sign for the son #2 the next year. He had to figure out what to do. luckily for him a friends parent signed his loan paper. Something he has not forgotten and appreciates fully.

Son #3 is 19 he has opted for the local community college. works full time and pays his tuition monthly. he won't have loans for those first 2 years. but its because he lives at home. sometimes that is a better option at least to start.

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answers from Beaumont on

If she were mine I would pay to send her to a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class on handling money. Several churches offer these programs year round. We started it 5 years ago and thus my kids were exposed to money management in action. While they are better than most adults with money, I will still have them attend, on their own, before starting college. It teaches money management. Mine would be open to it because they've lived it. Would she be open to attending? It wouldn't do any good unless she's willing.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

In reality neither the $10,000 in her college fund nor the amount she can save from her part time (presumably low paying fairly unskilled job) is going to make much of a dent in what college will cost. Hopefully your income and home will not disqualify her from enough financial aid and loans that she can afford college. Colleges will absolutely expect your parental contribution to be more than $2500/year. Even if she works FT in the summers and PT during the year, how much do you think she can make? Even if she spends none of it. If it was that easy, you would have enough put away for college for her and her siblings.

In retrospect, it would have been good for her to pay for some things out of her paycheck. But that would have basically been her clothing and social life. Had she saved 100% of her earnings, how much would that have actually been after taxes? Probably not even a semester.

The average cost of a tuition and fees for a year at a public university for state residents last year was $8900. The average cost for room and board was $9500. The average for books at a state school was $1200. The average for miscellaneous (clothing, local travel and travel home, personal items, etc) was $3200.

So even a state school is really expensive. HOWEVER - college more than pays for itself over a person's earning lifetime and the only thing more expensive than going to college is NOT going to college.The difference over an earning lifetime is $900,000 for a BS/BA compared to a high school diploma. NO question at all that the debt is worth it.

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answers from Washington DC on

I would stop framing this in terms of her paychecks that she's currently receiving. She can't see past each paycheck. Try framing it in the bigger picture of "You won't be going to college at all, or will end up forced to drop out, if you don't have a certain dollar amount at a certain point each school year." But YOU can't tell her that.

You say she wants to be a counselor one day. Does she have any relationship at all with the school counselor -- the one who advises kids on college applications? Most high schools have at least one counselor or other staff member who helps kids navigate applications. If I were you, I'd approach this person yourself -- don't tell your daughter -- and ask if this staffer can meet with your child for a very serious talk about college costs. If someone who is NOT mom or dad sits down and breaks out, on paper, the many expenses of college, she might listen to that (and to the numbers on paper) better than to her parents right now. Sometimes people need to hear hard realities from third parties who are professionals, not from their nearest and dearest, because the saying is true: Familiarity breeds contempt, and she is just not going to take you seriously or see past her next paycheck. She isn't connecting those paychecks to college in her head at all yet. It might take a jolt from another adult she respects to get her to see anything past this week's pay.

By the way, I am with you on the idea that it's our job to feed, clothe and house our under-18 kids. I do not think you made any error in doing so, and I can't picture families demanding rent from kids who are under 18 and still in full-time school AND trying to work as well. Maybe the misstep here was in not sitting her down at summer's end and saying that once school began, her paychecks had to go entirely or largely into a separate account for college, when instead you "thought that more would be saved" but didn't tell her she had to do so. But that's water under the bridge. It's not too late to take her to the bank and set up an account that is exclusively for college savings that she earns, and to be clear that you will have track all the deposits and withdrawals so she won't withdraw money for other stuff. But first I'd see if someone else can put the fear of God into her financially so that she will choose to save -- rather than your having to force it.

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answers from Atlanta on

I think your original plan (to let her manage her own money while requiring her to pay for her 'extras' with money from the job) was very wise, and right now, you are backsliding from it. You're slipping into the natural temptation to manage a youngster's maturing process, however my sense is that you need to stand strong by standing back. I bet she will run into a situation where she wanted to get something or go to an expensive event with her friends and doesn't have enough put away to do it--an experience like that will teach her naturally in a way which you couldn't. Or she will use all her money for that and then experience the consequence of not having any savings. Again, natural lesson. Truly, though, if she is putting ANY away, it's a sign that she has good instincts which will grow with time.

In my view, the issue of picking a college and paying for her schooling is separate from how she uses her earnings now. Sadly, even if she saved 100% of her paycheck from last summer until she goes to college, it wouldn't pay for more than books for a few semesters--I say that as a teacher at a college where almost all of our students work 5-10 hours a week on campus AND many get jobs off campus too. I do think a 4-year college education is really valuable. It's harder to finance than it used to be, however it is worth it. Helping her to get a reality check of how much college will cost is a good idea. As someone else suggested, give her something in writing which spells out exactly how much is in her college fund and that she can't count on anything else from you. Have her fill out the relevant parts of the FAFSA form, show her the full breakdown of tuition, room+board, books, fees, financial aid, etc at her top choices, and think together about how it might be paid for. It's all part of her becoming an adult. You sound like you are doing great, in my view.

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answers from New York on

Q. How do I teach her to save more?
A. Help her identify financial goals and how to save for them and show her how money multiplies. Schedule an appointment with a certified financial planner. They can help her and you understand more about money and how to make it work for you.

Q. Did I mess up by letting her keep the paychecks in the first place?
A. You can't live your life in reverse. It was her paycheck and you only get to be young without a care in the world once. LOL. Life is all about lessons. She learned how to spend up ALL her money which is what most do when given half a chance. She can learn a different way of doing things. It's your role as a parent to teach and to train and be certain that what ever life lessons you may have missed teaching her life is capable of being a much better teacher than a parent. LOL

I believe that every child going to college should have some of their money tied up in their success or failure. My husband calls this, "skin in the game". It is very important because they then have something they worked hard to get and stand to loose in this process. We have 1 son in college right now. He's 20 and a junior. He just got the lesson on loans. He took a few out his first two years of school but didn't have to. His plan is to pay those off before he graduates. He has scholarships and some modest financial aid. We cover the rest when necessary bit we are his last resource. He also pays for his own phone bill too even though he is on my plan.

My son goes to a very expensive school known for their engineering, architecture and math programs. He doesn't stay on campus but commutes from home. He gets several scholarships that he maintains by keeping up his grades. Next fall we will have 2 in college and we are trusting God to work out the particulars of how it's going to be paid and them graduate debt free. FYI - my oldest is already talking about saving money for his first house, he plans on buying two years after he graduates college. I'm impressed.

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answers from San Francisco on

Some people just need to learn the hard way. I hope she has been meeting with her counselor and applying for scholarships and whatever other kind of aid she may qualify for.
Beyond that she's in for a major reality check. We have two in college right now and it's CRAZY expensive. Tuition is only the beginning, books, housing and food cost a LOT.
And of course she has no concept of what it means to graduate from college with crushing debt.
Not much you can do other than to sit back and let her figure it out on her own.

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answers from Washington DC on

i was that kid!
i had all sorts of good intentions about saving for college, but geez, it was so heady having MY MONEY! it just flew out of my purse.
i don't think you messed up. she's old enough to earn, she's old enough to spend, and for some kids it requires some hard lessons to get it. my younger holds onto a dollar like he's got glue on his fingers, but my older is his mama's son, and he called me once throwing up in the parking lot, having acquired $700 in overdraft fees (the bank had changed its policy but he didn't read the notice.)
he's getting better. he's almost 30.
i totally understand your angst, but i think you've done the right thing and that your smart girl will figure it out. a dave ramsey or suze orman class might not be a half-bad idea, though.

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answers from Dallas on

I think a lot of it is how one is raised. We have 1 daughter who will turn 20 later this month. She is in her 2nd year of college, Dean's List with 4.0 GPA consecutively.

As far as college costs, we feel it is our obligation as parents to get her out of college debt free. She does not pay her college costs. She lives off campus in a condo we own and she manages her bills.

Her "job" as it has always been has been her grades. She does babysit often and easily brings in about $100 cash for 1 night of babysitting a weekend.

We've drilled in her brain all of her life about retirement savings, her college fund we funded, delayed gratification and the importance of higher education. She has heard the phrase "debt is evil" so many times, she probably can repeat it in her sleep.

You daughter will unfortunately learn the hard way, especially about scholarships because those are not handed out so freely and if you borrow money.... you have to pay it back. Some people do learn the hard way and turn it around for the better after they've been there done that a while.

Your daughter will run out of money if she spends the way you say she does. At that time, she may realize that she can't afford a $30,000 a year school and may need to go to community college a couple of yrs before she reaches that goal.

Sometimes life lessons are learned the hard way.

Best of luck to you.

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answers from Asheville on

I didn't ever save my paychecks for college working a part time job. My mom made me get a job so I would have money to spend on everyday things- going out with friends, clothes, etc. My mom didn't have a lot of money, so I earned money for what I wanted to do. And honestly, low wages at a part time job will hardly make a dent in the tuition and live expenses at this point. She should have been saving for that long ago. It's her money- she earns it, let her spend it like she wants.

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answers from Los Angeles on

"When my daughter go her first job over the summer we told her we weren't going to tell her how to spend the money or make her save it. "

So now you are?

Why would you tell her that?

Have you ever shown a the chart that shows saving a small amount weekly adds up over time? Google this!

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answers from Columbia on

You can encourage her to save 20% in a savings account, but ultimately, whether she does or not, and what she chooses to use that savings on is up to her.

I've always been fascinated by the idea of parents starting college funds for their children. Honestly, I think it's a stupid idea. Why? Well, because it makes better fiscal sense to pay extra on your mortgage and sigificantly reduce the amount you spend year over year in interest than it does to put that money in a college savings account.

Also, studies show that students who are responsible for the cost of their tuition get better grades and have lower dropout rates.

Stop worrying about this. The sensible approach is to assist her in completing her FAFSA, applying for grants and loans, and teaching her that she is responsible for her education.

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answers from San Francisco on

Although it is your job to feed, house, and clothe her, it is also your job to get her ready for the real world. And knowing that she is going to have to contribute significantly to her own education, teaching her to spend wisely should have been a priority.

It's not too late. Charge her 1/3 of her monthly take home for rent. Put the money in an interest bearing account and give it back to her in one lump sum when she goes off to college. DO NOT tell her you are saving it for her; let/make her feel like an adult paying rent. It's a valuable life lesson!

Also, make sure she knows that there are numerous people out there paying off astronomical student loans who haven't even been able to get a job in their field yet. Student loan debt is terrible. For some careers, you literally start your profession owing as much as a small house would cost. If she wants to saddle herself with debt for the next 15 years, then she needs to get used to paying for something and being broke all the time.

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