Adult children - how much to contribute to family expenses?

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by wendow, Oct 11, 2018 at 11:43 PM.

  1. wendow

    wendow We create happiness.

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    I have no idea how to navigate this new phase of life. My dh and I both graduated high school (I was still 17), went away to college and began paying our own way immediately. He and I both worked on campus as student workers. That money paid for food and housing. He and I both took gobs of student loans to pay for college. We came out with tons of debt (we went to Baylor).

    So, now we have our dd18, who graduated this past May, and is full time at a local community college. She's been sick for 3.5 years with a chronic illness and life has been HARD for her for her high school years. She is just now able to get a job, though she's been babysitting pretty regularly for a few years. Anyways, she is living at home. Working 15 hours a week plus babysitting most weekends. She makes about $800 mo.

    She pays her car insurance ($115 mo), phone ($24 mo) and 1/3 of her tuition and all books ($1k'ish) each semester. She also pays for anything she wants...fast food, shirt at Target, frap at Starbucks, musical downtown, movies with friends, etc...Should we be expecting her to pay anything else? I'm not sure what others do here. We are planning a WDW trip for next summer and I suggested to my dh that she buy her own ticket but he said he felt weird asking her to buy hers but not requiring that of her 16yo sister, who also has a job and babysits.

    I'd love to hear what others require of their 18yo's (or just young, college age kids)!
     
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  2. StacyStrong

    StacyStrong DIS Veteran

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    I wouldn't ask unless you can't afford to help her.

    I'd rather her to put that money in savings to build a foundation for her future instead.

    With that said, if you notice she's frivolous or you're struggling to make ends meet, you could ask her to contribute more. Absent that, she's still young and putting that money aside for her future is much more beneficial.
     
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  4. Happy814

    Happy814 Earning My Ears

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    This is going to vary so much from family to family.

    If she is overall conscientious, a good student, etc. I would not make her pay for things just for the sake of paying for them. It sounds like you have a good balance right now.

    I was one that took it upon myself to pay for everything since I was 16 and got my first job. I was really stressed trying to work to pay for school and everything else I was doing. Looking back, I would have appreciated more time to focus on school.

    I agree with your DH about the ticket. If she is still living under your roof and is overall making an effort to be a productive adult I would continue to pay for her vacations as a family with all of you.
     
  5. Southernmiss

    Southernmiss I am hazed everyday

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    In my opinion, your daughter is paying enough already.

    We went to Disney in 2016 with our then 22, 18, 17, 14 year olds and paid for the entire trip. Likely our last family vacation all together.

    While our kids are still in college, we cover most everything. They pay their own gas and groceries and utilities and entertainment. But we cover rent, and all school fees not covered by scholarshipsfor the 1st 4 years, car insurance, cell phones and car repairs.

    Oldest is now married and graduated with his Master's debt free. And has thanked us several times for instilling in him how to do that with scholarships.

    Next son is in his 4th year of a 7 year program and so far has no student loans, but scholarships run out this year and he'll have 3 years of student loans. That's enough debt to saddle him with starting out. Son #3 is in the same program. His scholarships will run out and he'll also have 3 years of student loan debt.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018 at 12:35 AM
  6. barkley

    barkley DIS Veteran<br><font color=orange>If I ever have a

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    we offered our kids the same thing our parents offered us-free room/board if in college f/t, all other expenses (except med/dental ins. through our employer) was on them. ds is fine living at home, dd opted in year #2 of college to move out on her own-she's now graduated and concedes that while she feels she benefited from living on her own she realizes she wouldn't be in debt now if she had taken us up on our offer (her scholarships and student aid would have covered all school & minor expenses and provided a modest amount of mad money but she ended up w/student loans b/c she chose to pay rent and all that goes with it). live and learn.

    w/$800 net income per month and only $140 expenses, unless i saw my kiddo putting a significant chunk in savings each month i would have them paying more than what averages out to be only about $160 per month for their school/books (i would personally love to have an extra $500 a month to spend on fast food, starbucks, clothes and entertainment but that's just not realistic or a good habit to get into).
     
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  7. SG131

    SG131 DIS Veteran

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    It sounds like she’s doing pretty well being so responsible at 18. Responses as far as what to expect from your kids financially seem to vary dramatically on this board. I understand there are people who need their children to pay for some of the trip because they aren’t able to pay for it all. And on the opposite end you gave people who pay for all three generations of the family.

    Since she’s being productive and responsible I say get her ticket if you are able. If you tell her she has to pay for her ticket you have to be prepared to accept the fact that she may then not be able to go on the trip. With her income minus expenses and the astronomical prices of Disney tickets these days it could be very difficult for her to come up with that amount of extra money. And honestly the most responsible thing for her to do in that circumstance probably would be to then say I’m sorry I have to sit this one out I just can’t spend that amount of money on a vacation right now.
     
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  8. wendow

    wendow We create happiness.

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    She is a great student...working as hard as someone with a chronic illness can possibly work...Getting all A's, as she did in high school. She is great with her money and saves most of it. Totally the opposite of frivolous! I do want to give her a good start and a good savings. We do not need her to pay anything but I wasn't sure if we should be asking her to do more.

    I also was one who had to get a job early. I was 15yo and went to work for Albertson's. At 16yo, I was working 32 hours a week, juggling school, theater and running track/cross country. I had to pay my $200 mo car note, $40 mo insurance, all gas (we still buy dd's gas) and everything else I wanted/needed. I do not want that stress or burden on my kids but I also don't want them growing up thinking they don't have to pay their own way.
     
  9. MomToOne

    MomToOne DIS Veteran

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    DD18 has a minor learning disability, so I don't expect her to work while she is going to college, in fact I actively discouraged it her first semester. But she's been doing fine, so if she wants to get a job at this point I'd be ok with it. I'm also ok if she doesn't. If she does, I'd prefer she have a student job on campus that she can do between classes, but those are harder to find these days than when I was in school. Most of the jobs go to kids with work-study student aid, which we don't qualify for. So DD would have to work off-campus, which makes things harder - outside employers tend to be less understanding of the need for time off to study for finals, etc. And school comes first - period.

    If/when she does get a job, my plan is to stop giving her an allowance and paying for her gas. I will also expect her to put a set portion of every paycheck into savings so she can cover any repairs on her car (or replace it if she ever totals it in a wreck - knock on wood!), and/or have a nest egg to call on when she finally does move out. Other than that, I expect to pay for everything I am paying for now - food, utilities, cell phone, some clothing, etc. She lives at home, but again that is with my encouragement - by attending the local university and living at home, I can afford to pay 100% of her tuition/books/fees so she should not have any student loans hanging over her head once she's out of school. I do not need or want her to pay me rent or anything - I don't think doing so would really teach her anything she doesn't already know. She manages her money pretty well - I started teaching her all of that early, and by now it's pretty well ingrained. This period of life is about getting her the skills to eventually be out and truly on her own successfully, and I believe school is more important in setting her up for that right now.
     
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  10. miztressuz

    miztressuz DIS Veteran

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    Probably sounds weird but while she's still a dependent, if you want her to go on vacation with you then you pay. If it's a separate trip she wants to take, she's responsible for it.

    Otherwise that's pretty much what I recall for my first couple years of college. Responsible for all of my car ( gas, repairs, insurance, etc etc ), books/lab fees/anything outside of straight tuition, entertainment, phone ( I admit it was a pager at that point, didn't get a phone until I moved away for the last college years)... keep feeling like there should have been more considering how broke I always felt in the beginning. My entertainment budget for the week was $30 so it's not like I was extravagant :laughing:

    It was a great help to not have to worry about the big stuff, I was able to save up for my junior year and only had to take a loan for my senior year. If you can do it, it'll set her up in a better position for the more expensive years (assuming she's transferring to another school at some point like I did). If at some point you can't, have a discussion on what's realistic for her to take on to help out.
     
  11. wendow

    wendow We create happiness.

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    She does save a lot but definitely not the whole $500. She knows next semester's tuition is looming and she needs to have 1k for that plus she is using our extra car, which we are not giving her. She will be sharing that with her sister so she is saving for a car as well.
     
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  12. wendow

    wendow We create happiness.

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    My dd does not have a learning disability but being ill for years has taken a toll on her. She is just now able to work and go to school. And it's hard for her...she is having to build back up strength and stamina...Anyways, my dd did qualify for work study at the college but there was a huge waitlist. So she went to work somewhere else and it's been good so far. Hopefully, they will be flexible with her during finals!

    We've also been good about teaching money skills so she is already proving far more smart than I was at her age. I have thought about having her pay for her gas. Maybe that would be a good next financial responsibility for her.
     
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  13. afan

    afan DIS Veteran

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    If she's going to be sharing the car with her sister I wouldn't have her pay for her own gas because that could be a problem later. If one of them is having to fill it more often or one drives more etc.

    I went to school out of state and my mom and stepdad helped with tuition and housing. I paid for most of the stuff I did but they did pay for 2.5 years of sorority because my mom agreed it would be something good for me. Now this wasn't much because we didn't have a house so it was only $200 a semester.

    I started paying for my own gas when I started working along with oil changes, but they'd help with car repairs. I wasn't making enough to be able to save much while in college and did two unpaid internships which were great but I couldn't also have a job. So I'd get money each money from them to help cover gas and stuff. My mom thought it was important that I not sit in my dorm room all the time and made sure I had money to do stuff with friends. I was also still a dependent so they were getting the tax write off and their income affected my student loans. When I got my 2nd bachelor's because I already had one, I was on my own which was great, I got 3 semesters tuition covered with grants.

    I do think that what you do with her is what should be done for all the kids to make it fair, because whether it's discussed or not, they see what's going on :) I'm an only child, but I always remember my mom telling me that my grandpa always made sure she and her brother had the same number of presents at christmas and with the grandkids with him and my grandma it had to be equal for each of us, so once my cousins were older they would get the same amount in cash that I got in presents to open. Obviously with this things do change financially so less could be available later but if more is would be when I'd take a look at it all.
     
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  14. wendow

    wendow We create happiness.

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    I agree with this! The whole having her buy her own ticket thing was just a 'should we expect that of her now??' vs. a serious consideration of actually asking her to do that. I would never in a million not want her on our family vacation so I will cover everything to make that happen. These years are short, and priceless, that we get to have our kids be this involved with us. No way would I want to lose a single second.

    I also will continue to gift her at b-day and Christmas like her siblings. I know families that kind of cut off the kids for gifts at 18yo. That just won't be happening. It will change one day when she gets married and has her own family but for now, she's still my dependent child. One of four. And all will be gifted similarly.

    You are right though on the gas thing. Her sis will share the car with her beginning in Feb though dd18 will have first rights, as a college kid.
     
  15. smartlabelprint

    smartlabelprint DIS Veteran

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    I wouldn’t make her pay anything else.
     
  16. barkley

    barkley DIS Veteran<br><font color=orange>If I ever have a

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    just as an aside-has she considered applying for services with the department of vocational rehabilitation in your state? they can provide some supportive service for her schooling and existing jobs she may find very beneficial. my son has a disability and dvr pays for all his college expenses as well as a transportation stipend. they work with him and the university staff to ensure he has all the supports he needs based on his medical condition-and as well will work with existing and potential employers to make the work experiences as successful as possible for all parties (i've known some participants to get their transportation costs to/from their job paid for too as well as special paid internships on campus that are created specifically for dvr participants).

    she may want to look in to it.
     
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  17. kymom99

    kymom99 DIS Veteran

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    I still pay for my son's vacations. He earned scholarship money equal to his tuition. I am paying for his dorm and food. I also provided him with a car. He buys his parking pass, books, and gas. (I did tell him next year he might need to take loans for part of it.) However I still see him as a dependent so I don't expect him to pay his doctor bills, emergency expenses, or living expenses. That will happen soon enough.
     
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  18. QueenIsabella

    QueenIsabella DIS Veteran

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    It sounds like she's being reasonably careful with her money--I wouldn't make her pay more. In addition to saving for her tuition, she's likely to want an apartment down the line, which will require first/last month's rent, etc. And when she gets a car, that'll be more expenses (gas, maintenance...). I would also pay for her vacation tickets, if you can afford it. She's a young adult, sure, but a very young one, and she seems to be making responsible choices.
     
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  19. jrmasm

    jrmasm Last time I checked, it was still

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    I wouldn't expect a full time college student to pay for anything other than providing their own spending money.
     
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  20. chattadisser

    chattadisser Mouseketeer

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    I think this is key and while mine are no where near able to contribute, this is the way I was raised and how I want them to be. I think it is very varied on how much one can or should help but you know your daughter and how hard she is working but I wouldn't make her buy her ticket. Have her use her money on extras while your down there - souvenirs,snacks, ect. I think of college age as being a time to ease them into adulthood.
     
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  21. smiths02

    smiths02 DIS Veteran

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    I am like you, I was responsible for everything once I went to college. Luckily, I got scholarships and did work on campus. (I just did without a car). My mom would send me $20 here or there...it was really just all she could afford. I did have to do the student loan thing for graduate school!

    DH had his parents pay for college, bought him a new truck when he was 16. He still had a part-time job in high school to pay for what he wanted. When we moved in together at 20, they continued to pay for his college but not living expenses...although they did provide him with a car and insurance. After college, he has been financially independent from his parents (they did still give us nice gifts, but they didn't pay our bills).

    Long story short, both DH and I are hard workers who do not mooch off our parents or live in our parents basements even with totally different backgrounds. Now in our 30s, we help my mom out and we took his parents on a vacation.

    I plan on paying my children's basic living expenses as long as they are full-time students (and as long as nothing tragic happens, my children all appear capable of at least community college or trade school). This would probably include car insurance and cell phone. We are putting into college savings plans in the hopes that if they choose community college, trade school, or a state school, they will be able to do it with no loans.
     
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