Now I have no kids, but DH and I currently have many friends and family members having children. Now some are close friends and some are acquaintances. However because we have a bit of disposable income, DH lets me give more gifts than perhaps I need. But I like gift giving and it feels good.
I usually give someone something off their registry, however, for closer friends and family, I will often include money for college. I think this is becoming more typical. This is not a lot usually $25 on top of the gift, but it's just the thought that counts right?
But I was DISTURBED, on a message board when someone asked could they take their children's college money and pay off debt? It pissed me off, because their children's 529s were around $3k and mostly funded by gifts from family members and friends. This was not money saved by the parents.
I felt like I had been hit in the stomach that someone would actually ask about taking their child's money and using it for themselves. I understand that debt is bad. I also understand that no food, losing the house is a terrible situation.
However, I asked if this woman was already working a full-time job from her husband or he was working 2 jobs to support the family if she wanted to stay at home? And they have no cable, eating, excesse luxury items in the budget? Because if the situation was not extremely dire, where they were not eating and losing their house and working as hard as possible, I was flabbergasted that someone would ask about taking gift money from their children.
And worse yet, someone suggested taking it to lower the financial need of the children when they apply to college.
I'm sorry but NO! I am one of those givers and I would personally be horrified if I knew my friend/family had taken the money and spent it when I wrote on the check college fund. And they knowingly acknowledged that I had given money for their child's future college. But they decided to spend it and "pay" it back later by supporting the child in college.
How do I know you will support your child in college? What if you can't? What if something comes up? How do I know you'll pay them back?
And worse yet, isn't it like stealing? Stealing from your child, whom some generous person (grandparent, aunt/uncle, godparent) wanted to gift your CHILD not you with $$$?
Maybe because I don't have kids, I'm way off base. And I shouldn't be disturbed that parents would take the college money to pay bills. Please readers help me out here. If you tell me this is common practice, and completely acceptable, I'm reconsidering my gift giving strategy. I'll probably just buy nicer gifts the child will use or need. I won't give money for "college".
And even if you say it's unacceptable to take a child's gift money, I still might change my gift giving strategy after hearing what parents do.