Save. Spend. Splurge.

I’d rather give money to my children without any strings attached

I am not paying for college educations, and I am certainly not giving money for a wedding.

This sounds pretty cheap to most people but let me explain my rationality:

I don’t want to give money based on the choices that my children decide to make or not make.


If they decide not to go to college, would it be fair for me to give their brother or sister money to pay for their college educations? No.

What if they decided just to start working out of school? Or start a business? Or go to trade school instead?

If they decided not to get married, would it be fair for me to not give them anything, even though I gave their brother or sister money for their weddings? No.

Why should they only get money if they decide to make a certain life choice?


I for instance, do not want to get married or have a wedding so I can understand this perfectly.

My parents didn’t give anything to my siblings when they got married, and at least that’s fair to me because it would be truly annoying to see them give them $30,000 for a choice that they made, and $0 to me just because I made a different choice in life.

Any choice you make in life costs money, and I find it unfair that a parent would give money only if a child decided to go to college or get married.


If/When I give money to my children, they’re all getting the same amount regardless of what life choice they have decided to make for themselves.

If one kid gets $25,000, the rest of them get it.

If I can’t afford to give each child $25,000 fairly, I won’t give the money (or I will give less).

I’d rather give money to my children without any strings attached.


I won’t be giving them any money before the age of 25 at a minimum.

Until you get out in the real world and realize what life costs, and demonstrate to me as a parent that you are financially responsible, I won’t be wasting my hard earned dollars on my kids.

(Yes, MY hard earned dollars.)

I’ve seen far too many cases of neighbours, friends and colleagues who are in their 30s, 40s even 50s, asking for their parents to give them a handout or a financial helping hand each time they get themselves into money trouble.

Or whining when their parents are all tapped out.

Usually, their money troubles are their own — they bought a house and/or car, then decided to upgrade to a newer one, or they just don’t know how to manage their money.

If all my kids turn out to be bums, at least I’ll be set for my retirement and I’ll equally portion out my inheritance to each of them .. that is, if I leave anything at the end of my anticipated long life.



  • bree

    We will be investing in our son. When our now-young son can demonstrate that he can make a thoughtful, well-designed decision, we want him to know that we are ready to invest in his future (education, down payment on a home, starting a business, insert other options exclusive of a wedding) . One part practicality and one part idealism drive this choice.

    I was the first in my family to go to college and my parents sacrificed unthinkably to pay for a part of the tuition. We both took out what amounted to $50k +/- in loans (every dollar of which I have assumed after graduation) and I always worked 30+ hours to pay for room/board while going to school; two jobs during summers.

    Fortunately, my husband and I have excellent jobs and are good savers/investors. We are passing those values onto our son by developing a respect and understanding for our resources consistently from a young age. That in and of itself is an investment. We have always seen money earned by either my husband or I as the family’s money. With that, we will invest in the future of our family and our son’s ability to care for himself but only when he can make thoughtful choices. I don’t know what age that will happen. 18? 25? 40? He will know that this is the expectation; that the family’s money isn’t available until he has a real understanding of what kind of investment he wants to make, how it will pay off and the risk that he will assume if he doesn’t maintain and course-correct regularly.

    I worked really, really hard to finish school and assumed great financial responsibility to do so. I want my son to value the investment we all make in him as well but I don’t want him to suffer through it just for the sake of making a point. It is my opinion that young people won’t realistically be able to afford a college education, home or similar investment in 13 years without taking on potentially debilitating debt in the US. Nothing would make me more proud than to have enough confidence to put my money on him.

    I like hearing all of the strong opinions out there. It’s really what makes the world go ’round!

    • save. spend. splurge.

      Thank you for the comment! You’ve made me rethink about my decision, but I think ultimately I still would only like to give him a cash gift AFTER he graduates and has proven he can be responsible.

      I cannot just assume that Baby Bun will not grow up to be a lazy bum.. I’d like to try and influence him to be independent and work towards that for his own satisfaction, not mine.

  • Sarah

    I have 2 sisters. My parents paid for part of our college and had a set amount given to each of us “for our wedding.” (I think theoretically it was meant as a wedding present that we could use for whatever, though the pressure was then on to have a more traditional wedding.) I don’t find this unfair – you are choosing not to get married, that is also a choice to forego a wedding gift. If Baby Bun decides not to go to college, he decides to forego a free education.

    My husband’s parents paid for much more of his sister’s wedding (and they only paid for part of ours when they wanted a band but we could only afford a DJ). His sisters get a lot more financial help than we do in general. It used to bother me, but now I feel much better looking at my life and knowing I earned it (acknowledging that a huge part just involved being born white in the USA).

  • MoneyAhoy

    I am of the same exact thinking as you. I don’t want to pay a dime for our children’s education as it pre-supposes they should be doing a certain thing with their life. I don’t want to force them into something that they don’t want to do! Also, I want them to know that if they are choosing the college path, they need to put 100% into it so that they can land a nice scholarship. So many kids I knew that had college “pre-paid” were nearly dropouts in highschool or college because there was no drive to do their very best!

  • raluca

    I think what Sense said makes sense, up to a point. It’s natural that somebody with a disability gets more resources alocated to them than somebody without one. But baring that, I think is only reasonable that all kids get the same amount of money, at the same age.
    I’ve seen this with a friend, where for him there was not enough money to go to his favourite college, while for the brother money was found. This was profoundly unfair to my friend but in the end served to make him a stronger man. His brother still is not on his own financially.
    Sometimes the fact that the parents help a child more ends up making him/her even more dependent. He is taught by his family’s actions that he cannot do it by himself and he grows up thinking yeah, I really cannot do it on my own. Your job as a parent is to raise a functional adult, somebody who can survive on his/her own. Unless you plan to leave them a massive inheritance, you have to push them out at some point. You need to prepare them for a time where you will not be around to support them.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      I see you have also read “The Millionaire Next Door” 🙂

      What I want is to raise him with that kind of mindset, and then he will have all the money he wants when he is set in his ways and is able to be stable on his own without me. Only then, will I give him money. Otherwise, why encourage him to be even weaker?

      • raluca

        Yep, I did read the “The Millionaire Next Door” :), but seing the byplay between my friend and his brother really hammered the point home for me.
        It makes no sense to keep a child dependent on yourself as a young adult, you’re realy hindering him more than you are helping.

        • save. spend. splurge.

          This is what I want for Baby Bun. I want him to be interdependent and independent. I don’t want him to always rely on me for a handout or to think college is a free, fun ride of boozing for 4 years.

  • SP

    My parents paid a little for college (like, $1000 or something), and also gave all of us the option to live at home rent free while in school if we wanted. They helped us all with our first car. They paid something towards my wedding, more towards my older sister’s wedding, but mostly because she got married a bit younger and times were better, and I made them fly out to Cali for mine. I don’t expect an inheritance.

    Like Sense, I think this is a great philosophy if you can pull it off. My parents routinely help my little sister financially, and have for the past decade. They probably still help her with cars. They probably provide half her support. Aside from mild frustration and a wish she could pull things together herself (really for her on sake!), I’m fine with it. She doesn’t have a specific illness, but she has some issues, and if they choose to help her, that is not my business, and I don’t expect them to hand me money just because she needs it. I would not trade places with her, given the choice. I guess I’m a little socialist in this regard – to each according to their needs. I know some families have resentment over that, but I really don’t.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      Hmm… Well right now I only have Baby Bun and he may be my only child so he is going to hit the jackpot with the both of us when we pass on, but even before then, I do plan on giving him an equal, fair amount of money (if he ever has a sibling that is) to avoid resentment and jealousy.

      You are very good in being able to rein in that jealousy, to be frank. I don’t think I would be as charitable. I know that each child is different with different needs, but… still.

      The other reason why I want to give money to Baby Bun without strings attached is that I want him to live his life. I want him to decide to get married (OR NOT like us), to go to school (OR NOT) and to assume his own decisions in life.

  • Sense

    This concept is nice and fair but not super realistic! Some people just need more help than others.

    My sis is severely bipolar and needs so much more help than me. She always has, even before her illness developed. She got special tutoring, extra attention, etc. with everything growing up. I’ve been so lucky to not need any of that, and I’ve never wanted nor needed any of the extras. For college, I worked and got scholarships and loans while my parents paid for her college classes and living expenses–she simply cannot hold down a job AND school without having a severe mental breakdown, and her GPA was not high enough for scholarships. Sometimes you cannot blanket-rule this kind of thing.

    While my sister would love to be in the position I am in, she is a bit stuck because her circumstances mean she has to accept help from my parents just to subsist. I would never expect or insist in equal help from my family. I don’t need it! I think you’re gonna find that every kid is a little bit different in their needs from you. 🙂

    • Jane

      I completely agree with this. My husband’s sister has a tougher go of it, mostly stemming from her ulcerative colitis, and has gotten over the years a substantial amount of support from their parents over the years. We certainly do not resent this – his sister is in need and we can get by very well on our own. It would be ridiculous if his parents tried to match any help that they’ve given her to us – we wouldn’t want their ability to support her be diminished at all when we have no need for it. That’s to me seems like it would be completely unfair to her! Bottom line is that we’re all family and we want everyone to be on their best foot to succeed. A tailored approach works better than a once size fits all for us.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      You’re mentioning a specific case with illness, I am not assuming that his siblings (if any) will have such illnesses, of course those would warrant a different approach but take the illness out and imagine everyone is on the same footing — healthy.

      Would it be fair to give more money to a child just because he’s a boy? Or just because he seems to have a spending problem?

      That’s where I have the issue.

      • Sense

        Of course! I am talking about an extreme example here. Even with healthy kids, though, they’ll all just have different needs by nature. That was my main point.

        I hope everyone remains happy and healthy and is financially smart! 🙂

  • Ramona

    I didn’t pay a lot for a wedding, we had a civil ceremony and invited few friends to a lunch. My daughter could have a ‘princess’ wedding, but she’d better pay for it herself 😀

    Kidding aside, we are gonna help our daughter as much as we can. When she’ll be older she’ll inherit 2 apartments and probably a house at a nearby village as well. It’s a great start in life, since she won’t have to worry about rent and mortgage.

    I hope she’ll develop great business skills and be good with money, we’ll do our best to teach her as much as we can. In this case it’s more likely she won’t need anything from us, since she’ll be able to create wealth for herself.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      I am not going to do any of that mostly because I want him to be independent on his own and to KNOW IN HIS HEART he can do it on his own without my help.

      Obviously he will not live on the street if it comes down to it, but I want him to be able to survive on his own.

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