Author Topic: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids  (Read 7874 times)

bsmith

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Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« on: September 01, 2015, 05:58:58 PM »
So I have two step kids that I love. 22 and 20. The older one went to a short term trade school and is doing pretty well. The younger one is in college and has paid for two years at community college herself with grants, and this year a loan (ugh, but only 3750). We'd have covered the costs entirely, but both have poor planning skills and historically ask for money the DAY they need it. While we're thinking about it, they run off and get loans and such. Anyway, these kids are great otherwise and I love them. I'm thinking of going back to work FT to pay for the last two years of college for the younger one, and then also probably get some cash for both to get married/buy a house when they're ready. The younger one might not go to a four year school if she has to pay for it herself, and you really can't do crap with an AA in her field. I value education and want her to get a BA.

Spouse and I have separate finances. Spouse doesn't have much extra income. I live well on my part-time job and like it, and I can easily keep that if I get a FT job too. I'm thinking work for two years, three tops to give them both a little headstart in adulthood. Thoughts?

SwordGuy

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2015, 06:07:54 PM »
I think that's very sweet of you.  Go for it!

okits

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2015, 07:03:47 PM »
Do you have any thoughts on helping them improve their poor planning skills?  In the long run, that will help them in their adult lives even more than your (very admirable) generosity.

bsmith

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2015, 07:07:28 PM »
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Do you have any thoughts on helping them improve their poor planning skills?  In the long run, that will help them in their adult lives even more than your (very admirable) generosity.

I don't know how to do that. They don't budget, and money runs through their hands like water. The older one has a bf who works hard and is responsible, so I'm hopeful there, but who knows. They're both adults, so it's not like teaching my own kid. He picked up all my frugality from living with me. I'm not sure how to do it with them now.


lizzzi

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2015, 07:10:21 PM »
Yes, but...make sure you put a cap on what you are willing to pay for the college kid. (Like offer to pay for the cost of your in-state state university if it's any good...or the equivalent. You don't want to be paying for Harvard or something like that.) In terms of your other ideas, I think that is great...to pick up reasonable wedding costs someday, or to maybe pitch in for their house down payment. Or maybe the four-year college graduate's gift would be a new car.   But I wouldn't announce these things. They don't need to know that that kind of generosity is in  the pipeline. I would be very vague when they ask why you are going back to a FT job. Something like, "Oh, I just thought it would afford your mom and I a little more flexibility in the future." That way, too, if it is too much for you--and frankly, it does sound like a lot--the PT and FT both--if you need to rein back, you have not set anybody up for disappointment. Or for expecting and counting on something and then possibly not getting it. Worst case scenario, you need the money yourself for some dire reason. At least you would have it, and nobody would get mad at you and feel short-sheeted.

Argyle

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2015, 07:12:07 PM »
You obviously have a generous heart.  But I'm hesitant about this plan.  It doesn't sound as if the kids have developed much maturity about money.  Having someone (and not even their own biological parent) go back to work full-time just so they can have it easy well, it's kind of handed to them on a silver plate, isn't it?  And you're already planning for them to have the kind of blow-out weddings they can't pay for themselves?  And get going in the housing market without saving the down payment themselves?  It's not very mustachian, is it?

Do you really like work?  Why aren't you full-time already? 

I'm also wondering why the kids' biological parents didn't do any saving and investing in advance for college expenses?  And why you should be on the spot for their failure to plan ahead?

I wouldn't do it, myself.  If the kids were mature, careful, and responsible about money, maybe I'd find a way to chip a little in.  But under the circumstances ... 

lizzzi

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2015, 07:27:29 PM »
It sounds like the kids are both doing pretty well so far. And OP loves them. I stick by my advice above: There's no reason for OP not to go back to work for a while if he wants to do that--but he should not foster any dependency or sense of entitlement by telling the kids that he's doing it for their benefit. Of course for the one kid to finish the bachelor's degree there will have to be a discussion about ways and means...but I don't even think think it's wise to tell that kid that OP has to go back to work to pay for it. The kid just doesn't need to know that...that would be between OP and his wife. And I still think it's possible that OP may need some of his earnings for himself...life happens. Stuff happens. So should he go back to FT? Hey, why not, it's a free country. That's the whole point of MMM-ism. To be free and do what we want. But I don't think he should give the kids financial information or make promises at this point that could paint him into a corner later. People change, circumstances change...OP should keep his plans to himself, and keep his money solidly in his own pocket, for his own use if need be, at least for now.

okits

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2015, 07:37:35 PM »
Quote
Do you have any thoughts on helping them improve their poor planning skills?  In the long run, that will help them in their adult lives even more than your (very admirable) generosity.

I don't know how to do that. They don't budget, and money runs through their hands like water. The older one has a bf who works hard and is responsible, so I'm hopeful there, but who knows. They're both adults, so it's not like teaching my own kid. He picked up all my frugality from living with me. I'm not sure how to do it with them now.

If you do gift all those things, accept that it may be like giving a dog a jellybean.  Doggie is happy to receive it, enjoys it immensely for the 10 seconds he's eating it, then it's gone.  It's done him some harm in that now he knows that jellybeans are possible and you're a source of them, and the one he just got was bad for his health (i.e. bad for your step kids' motivation to make it on their own in that it removed the need.) There may be some lasting good with regards to the last two years of college, but not with paying for weddings or houses. 

I understand they're not your bio kids, so active teaching may not be suitable. But passive teaching (forcing them to fend for themselves) is still teaching.  I get that you love them and want to see the big smile. But you are also showing a lot of love by helping them become self-sufficient adults (or, at least, not encouraging dependency on gifts and handouts.) You could offer loans, instead, so they don't discount the value of the money.  (You can always leave it to them in your will, if they're responsible by then!)

use2betrix

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2015, 07:41:52 PM »
My parents not footing all my bills was one of the best life lessons I've ever had. Unless I make it hugely rich some day, I hope to raise my kids in a similar manner.

Kaikou

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2015, 07:46:54 PM »
There's plenty of resources to get people  to embrace financial well being.

Dave Ramsey is one.

But there are local community resources. Your city government have laid out resources in the form of the library, workforce center, or career center in your local community.

The community college would have similar resources and/or connection.

I would want them to gain lifelong skills rather than hand them a piece of fish.

bsmith

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2015, 08:07:56 PM »
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Yes, but...make sure you put a cap on what you are willing to pay for the college kid. (Like offer to pay for the cost of your in-state state university if it's any good...or the equivalent. You don't want to be paying for Harvard or something like that.) In terms of your other ideas, I think that is great...to pick up reasonable wedding costs someday, or to maybe pitch in for their house down payment. Or maybe the four-year college graduate's gift would be a new car.   But I wouldn't announce these things. They don't need to know that that kind of generosity is in  the pipeline. I would be very vague when they ask why you are going back to a FT job. Something like, "Oh, I just thought it would afford your mom and I a little more flexibility in the future." That way, too, if it is too much for you--and frankly, it does sound like a lot--the PT and FT both--if you need to rein back, you have not set anybody up for disappointment. Or for expecting and counting on something and then possibly not getting it. Worst case scenario, you need the money yourself for some dire reason. At least you would have it, and nobody would get mad at you and feel short-sheeted.

This is good stuff, along the lines of what I need. I may decide "fuck this job", who knows. It's good not to set expectations too high. Maybe I'll just say I'm going back to FT to pay for a kayak, which I've always wanted.

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Do you really like work?  Why aren't you full-time already? 
"already" is the wrong word. I've been FT and am now semi retired. I have to work, but PT does the job, so to speak. I probably wouldn't like the job a lot, but I can do anything for a couple of years.

Quote
I'm also wondering why the kids' biological parents didn't do any saving and investing in advance for college expenses?  And why you should be on the spot for their failure to plan ahead?
Bio parents did the best they could with the skills they have. In one case, those are pretty crappy skills, indeed. I don't feel the need to punish the kids for the parents' lack of planning. I'm not "on the spot", I just am in a position to maybe do something for the kids. No one's asked, and no one has any clue I'm considering this.

Quote
I wouldn't do it, myself.  If the kids were mature, careful, and responsible about money, maybe I'd find a way to chip a little in.  But under the circumstances ... 


This is tough. It's not really their fault they haven't been taught anything. I want the best for them, though. It's a pickle.

Quote
There may be some lasting good with regards to the last two years of college, but not with paying for weddings or houses. 

Well, I'd only give them 10k or so for the wedding, and 10k for a house. Just enough to make life a little less stressful, but not enough to sit on their asses.

Quote
There's plenty of resources to get people  to embrace financial well being.

Dave Ramsey is one.

I'm not sure how to get them to read anything. They aren't predisposed to this stuff, the older one and bf particularly. Again, my own kid picked up all this stuff from me in his youth, but these kids are adults. I kind of had an idea about buying them YNAB and incentivizing it quarterly, but I don't want to be that involved in their finances. I don't want to buy it if they won't use it, though.









iris lily

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2015, 08:18:01 PM »
You are a wonderful parent
to consider this. Giving kids the gift of graduating from college with no debt is a special gift.

And someday the will be gobsmacked to think that you went back to work just to provide this step up for them.

Of course Pps are saying, keep your contribution modest to fund a realistic approach to college.

Don't be  pushover, $5000 for a wedding is enough.

Josiecat

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2015, 08:25:12 PM »
No.  Just no. I wouldn't do this.

If you just HAVE to give them something, you can make it required that they go through Financial Peace University.  You money, your rules.

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2015, 08:58:20 PM »
I'm 31, and just at the tail end of witnessing and receiving parental gifts. The biggest one I've seen backfire, is the free down payment on a house. Two that seem to encourage good habits are matching a child's down payment after the house is picked and saved for, or a matched % to paying off loans.

Most important take away from this thread is that you're a great step parent

Dee18

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2015, 08:59:19 PM »
I would absolutely provide money for education.  I might even give some money for a house down payment, such as matching what the young adult has saved for that, though probably not until I was convinced the person had developed some financial awareness.  Sounds like the younger one has worked hard to get the first two years of college, demonstrating real commitment. 


okits

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2015, 11:00:52 PM »
I think you've got a good idea how to handle things.  Try FT.  Say it's for a kayak.  If all works out, school + modest house/wedding amounts.

You could make the gifts contingent on some financial education. Nothing wrong with that. "It's helpful to be more knowledgeable, now that you're taking on the responsibility of a marriage/family/house."

You're a sweetheart of a step parent. All kids should be so lucky!

Argyle

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2015, 07:45:53 AM »
"Just" $10,000 towards a wedding?

I'm wondering if you're a mustachian, or if you're a normal heavy-spender who just wandered in here.

What kind of mustachian pays $10,000 for a wedding, overall?  What kind of mustachian spends $10,000 for a wedding?  If someone gave me $10,000 for a wedding, I'd stick it in an investment account and go ahead and have my normally planned inexpensive wedding.

But you're contemplating giving out $20,000 to be spent on weddings!

College is one thing it's hard to save up for college if you're a normal college-age student, and it's crazy expensive and hard to do the same thing cheaply.  But weddings?!  Someone has to be the face-puncher here.  If your aim is to help teach these kids the financial responsibility they haven't been taught, handing out tens of thousands of dollars for weddings is not going to do it.  Rather the opposite.

If you have to do this, I like the matching option - "I'll match whatever you've saved."

And I'd disagree with the idea that you conceal the fact that you're going back to work to support them.  They should know that money doesn't grow on trees and that you're not just handing out excess cash from the massive supply you happen to have lying around.  Money requires people to work hard for it.  It requires working extra hours and giving up leisure and vacations and doing what you'd like every day.  And if you decide to do it for them, the terms, conditions, and limitations should be very clear.  But I think it's important for them to know that you're not rich, and especially not rich enough to hand money to them without giving up something yourself.

bsmith

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2015, 07:53:08 AM »
Here's what I've got. I can probably easily net 45k/year FT. Maybe more, hard to say after being out of the industry so long. So conservatively, that against costs is going to be about two years:

College tuition and books: 40000
Weddings x3: 15000
Houses x3: 30000
Kayak and accoutrements: 1000
Work expenses like gas, wear on the car, and maybe a couple extra shirts: 4000
Total: 90,000

I figure if we pay for tuition and books, she can pay for housing and meals and whatever else she needs.

After we've got the cash, state to any kid getting married that they can have the 5k for a wedding, or take the cash. However, they'll have to go with their fiance to Financial Peace U. to get it. Also after a house is picked out, state that we'll match down payment up to 10k, again contingent upon having attended FPU.

Thanks for your thoughts. It'll save me some headaches down the road from giving too much, or without necessary strings.

bsmith

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #18 on: September 02, 2015, 07:54:08 AM »
Yeah I had no idea what a wedding would cost. I cut that to $5k per.

lizzzi

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #19 on: September 02, 2015, 08:33:08 AM »
Just wanted to throw in one final comment: I think bsmith is a real stand-up guy, and whether he funds the kids with $5 or $5,000, or $50,000, they are very fortunate to have him in their family. I continue to encourage him to take care of himself and Mrs. bsmith first, but having said that, I think his family values and willingness to work hard to enhance and support the family are majorly commendable. And I know "family" usually means blood relatives, but most of us have some kind of step or "courtesy" family members...maybe some kind of "urban tribe", and being willing to care for and nurture these folks says a lot about the kind of person you are. Anyway, I admire bsmith.

bsmith

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #20 on: September 02, 2015, 08:42:18 AM »
Thanks.

Argyle, I will tell the younger one I'm going to work full-time to pay for her college. You're right she should know that, especially since it's a crapton of money. Not mentioning the weddings and house down payment matching until it comes up down the road for all three, though. That way they'll save what they can for what they can afford, rather than having them buy a bigger house or have a fancier wedding than they otherwise would.

Argyle

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #21 on: September 02, 2015, 08:48:23 AM »
Have the students in question filled out FAFSA forms and gotten financial aid and loans squared away?  Hearing what you've said about them, I wouldn't be surprised if they hadn't gotten on top of all that.  And that would be part of teaching them to be more financially able.  If they are low-income, they may be eligible for Pell Grants ($7725 per year), which do not have to be repaid.  The college/university may have other financial aid available as well, and work/study jobs that contribute toward tuition.

You say they can take care of housing and meals and so on, which I'm not disputing it's worth knowing, though, that at our local university, tuition is estimated at $10,000 and the cost of housing, meals and expenses at $11,000.  I assume they have a source for that money?

Sibley

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #22 on: September 02, 2015, 09:38:07 AM »
OP, I think your desire to help your kids is admirable. For their long-term benefit, please ensure that you're teaching them to fish and not just giving them a fish. :)

pbkmaine

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Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #23 on: September 02, 2015, 10:09:41 AM »
DH and I paid for college for his three daughters. These were the rules: 4 years of a state school or the equivalent anywhere. (One went out of state but had a partial scholarship.) We paid for tuition and room and board. They paid for books and everything else. We also set aside $10,000 for weddings, but allowed them to use this sum for education. One used it for a 5th year of college and two used it for master's degrees. We had absolutely no drama or controversy. A suggestion if your kids are not good with money: one of my friends made attending a financial planning course a condition of receiving the college money.

bsmith

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #24 on: September 02, 2015, 10:16:56 AM »
Quote
Have the students in question filled out FAFSA forms and gotten financial aid and loans squared away?  Hearing what you've said about them, I wouldn't be surprised if they hadn't gotten on top of all that.  And that would be part of teaching them to be more financially able.  If they are low-income, they may be eligible for Pell Grants ($7725 per year), which do not have to be repaid.  The college/university may have other financial aid available as well, and work/study jobs that contribute toward tuition.

You say they can take care of housing and meals and so on, which I'm not disputing it's worth knowing, though, that at our local university, tuition is estimated at $10,000 and the cost of housing, meals and expenses at $11,000.  I assume they have a source for that money?

She did FAFSA but didn't qualify for Pell. She had to do it to get her scholarships, and to get that loan. She waited until the 11th hour, though. Hopefully she learned a lesson from this. She's made several other mistakes along the way, and I've talked with her about them. Stuff like picking classes she didn't need, waiting to register until the last minute, so the classes she wanted weren't available, etc. So now it'll take her an extra semester to finish at the CC, but live and learn. That's on her own dime, so the consequences are hers alone. I should show her a repayment schedule for that loan. That might make it more real for her.

As far as room and board, her options are to live with her other parents who live somewhat near the campus or pay for that herself, however she can. I'll encourage a job, but she probably won't qualify for work study. Anyway, she can't plan that far ahead, and so right now I'm just trying to get her through the CC. Next summer is about as far as she can see, and that's only with prodding, and she kind of glazes over from information overload. So the focus now is praising her for her schoolwork and efforts to manage it all.

beltim

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #25 on: September 02, 2015, 10:37:52 AM »
Also after a house is picked out, state that we'll match down payment up to 10k, again contingent upon having attended FPU.

I want to echo everyone saying that you're a great parent for even considering this, and I think most of your plan is perfect. For the timing of telling about helping with a house down payment, though, I would strongly urge you to communicate your matching well before they pick a house or even start looking.  The best part about a parent helping out with a house down payment is that it allows a child to buy a house earlier than they otherwise would, due to the difficulty of saving a down payment on what is often an entry-level salary.  Not telling your kids about this benefit until after they've selected a house could significantly delay this, and abrogate the biggest advantage of such a generous gift.

bsmith

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #26 on: September 02, 2015, 10:51:11 AM »
Well no, I want them to pick a house they can afford and save up for it. The purpose of the 10k isn't to get them into a house sooner; it's to make their monthly payments lower so their lives will be less stressful.

Sibley

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #27 on: September 02, 2015, 11:41:34 AM »
OP, from your last post, it sounds to me like your stepdaughter may not be mature enough yet. Maybe she needs a year between CC and continuing? Use the time to work and save up money for school. That might help with a lot of her problems.

bsmith

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #28 on: September 02, 2015, 12:05:46 PM »
She most likely wouldn't get a BA if she took a year off. She's paid for the first two years herself, so I'd rather see her knock it all out now.

Kaspian

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #29 on: September 02, 2015, 12:18:44 PM »
I think it's all really very sweet and well-intentioned of you, but you're coddling grownups.  There's already way too many entitled kidults out there.

purple monkey

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #30 on: September 03, 2015, 01:22:37 PM »
I think your kids are very lucky to have you.

I think it is almost impossible to appreciate all this if there is not more responsibility on their side, maybe ask for more of their contribution, and then later give them the difference, if you still want.

Good luck with deciding.

Tough call all over...

norabird

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #31 on: September 03, 2015, 01:40:19 PM »
My family paid for my college, and my parents bought my apartment (they pay for the common charges and taxes, I handle the mortgage payment), so I have an appreciation for the value of this. I do think it's worth revisiting the Millionaire Next Door to make sure it's not done in a way where they end up hamstrung. (Can't say whether or not I've escaped that really!).

MrsCoolCat

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #32 on: September 04, 2015, 10:54:04 PM »
Having someone (and not even their own biological parent) go back to work full-time just so they can have it easy well, it's kind of handed to them on a silver plate, isn't it? If the kids were mature, careful, and responsible about money, maybe I'd find a way to chip a little in.  But under the circumstances ...

I agree. Though generous you coddling them may prevent them from maturing on their own. It depends bc my brother was coddled and has a weird outlook on life as though my parents will support him so that he doesn't have to work bc he's "not the working type". He's 26. My SIL on the other hand (she's 21)... my DH's brother paid for part of her tuition bc she probably wouldn't have stayed if she had to pay for it herself, and she's actually doing good in school now... It's not so black and white, but good luck.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #33 on: September 05, 2015, 05:46:08 AM »
Giving money to irresponsible kids will NOT help them.

See all the threads on the forums in the past about giving/loaning money to family members.

It's frustrating to see them make the mistakes, but they have to make them. Giving them a crutch will, in my experience, only delay the inevitable reckoning.

Zamboni

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Re: Opinions? Thinking of going back to work FT to help stepkids
« Reply #34 on: September 05, 2015, 06:22:47 AM »
Well no, I want them to pick a house they can afford and save up for it. The purpose of the 10k isn't to get them into a house sooner; it's to make their monthly payments lower so their lives will be less stressful.

This is right on the mark! One of the things about buying a house is that it always costs a little more up front than you think it will (until you've done it once or twice, anyway.) There are closing fees and credit check fees and inspections and moving expenses and minor repairs the house needs and things like the fact that you suddenly need a lawn mower . . . it all adds up. So definitely your plan to wait and surprise them after they have a contract signed but a couple of months out from their closing date is a good plan.

Perhaps in a pleasant, relaxed moment you could reflect on some silly story about your own education and then ask the younger one what she has learned so far about the bureaucracy of attending college? My parents told me that the value of college was actually showing that you could plan and work through their bureaucratic maze and be persistent and jump through all of the hoops. So what did she learn so far about that aspect which will give her a leg up for the next couple of years? Asking her instead of telling her might get good results on improved planning.

The younger one is definitely shooting herself in the foot by delaying on completing the FAFSA. Each school has some amount of discretionary grants & scholarships, and the early bird gets the worm on those. It might or might not have made a difference for the community college, but if she's transferring to state U she should definitely start filling it out as early as possible, not late. And then if she doesn't get as much aid as hoped, call them and ASK for more. It works sometimes if it is early in the process and they still have some unassigned grant money.

Good luck!