This mom doesn’t think it’s right for her husband to ask her for a cut of her daughter’s college fund, which she worked hard to save for. What should this Redditor do?
A Totally Different Life
OP (Original Poster) and her current husband are in their 40s, and they’d been married for a decade when this story was posted. They both have 17-year-old children.
She shared, “He has a son with his ex-wife and me a daughter from my husband who passed.”
When OP and her husband got married, they decided to keep a portion of their finances separate for many personal reasons, but mainly because they both already had children.
They also had real estate investments, and her husband had to pay for alimony, child support, and more.
Even so, the couple still had to combine their income for some significant payments for the household.
This included their mortgage, household payments, retirement, and other major purchases.
Their Kids’ College Funds
OP and her husband set up college funds for their kids, which have always been part of their separate finances. Because of this, they never had an in-depth discussion about what the amount looked like for each kid.
They only talked about tax returns and gifts from relatives that go into the funds.
Since OP and her husband never talked about the amount, she never expected the children’s funds to be “penny for a penny equal.” However, she did expect them to be closer than what she had discovered!
A New Chapter
As 17-year-olds, both kids had already applied to and had been accepted to university. OP wrote, “Now that a majority of scholarships are in, tuition and housing, etc., are more concrete for each of their school options, we’ve started the specifics of the budget conversations.”
What They Have
As OP’s late husband passed away early, her daughter “doesn’t have much to speak of in the way of an inheritance or life insurance.” However, OP was able to save around $150,000 for her daughter.
On the other hand, OP’s stepson only had around $15,000.
An Uneven Start
With OP’s daughter’s scholarships, she would have more than enough for undergraduate and graduate school, should she maintain her “traditionally good grades.” OP wrote, “In fact, she’ll likely have a good bit leftover. Fine, I say, she can use it for a down payment on a home, whatever.”
However, even after scholarships and the $15,000 college fund from his dad, her stepson would still have a lot of debt after undergraduate school. So, her husband “felt like” they should just combine their kids’ funds.
I’m Not Going to Bend
OP is frustrated. When she got married to her husband, they specifically decided to keep some finances separate, and their kids’ college funds were one of those things.
She said, “I can’t help but feel unwilling to just scrap that and mix things together now.”
It Doesn’t Feel Right
No matter how she looked at things, OP didn’t think what her husband asked was fair or right. However, her husband believed it was an “a**hole move” not to give their kids the same things.
She said, “It’s never been a problem when my stepson has had extras due to having another parent and household also contributing to his clothing, his car, his spending money, etc., but now suddenly, we have to be even.”
Her husband wants to split the college funds “evenly,” but if you think about it, it’s not really even.
OP wrote, “Just to be clear, being ‘even’ actually means giving my stepson even more of the money due to the fact that my daughter’s scholarships are more comprehensive.”
Not the Right Time
OP doesn’t want to bend to her husband’s idea. However, she did mention that something like this should have been brought up way earlier.
She said, “The kids are close, and I’m sure my stepson will realize there’s a difference in university money, but if my husband wanted to change things, I feel like this should have been brought up sooner than this.”
Where’s His Mom?
In one of the comments, OP noted that she wasn’t sure if her stepson’s mom would be contributing, or if she was, how much help it would be.
OP shared, “I don’t know what his mother will be contributing, but I can imagine it won’t be much. She might surprise us all, but she’s more of a spend-now person rather than a save-for-later.”
The Community’s Thoughts
For Redditors, there’s nothing wrong with what OP decided to do.
“I just want to say, please do not do anything to split the money now. Your daughter earned her scholarships. The fact that there will be excess money is due to her hard work. It sounds like she did without a lot—-from not having a living second parent to not getting as much spending money and luxuries as a young teen. Don’t penalize her for that now by taking what your sacrifices accumulated to. Do not teach her that she has to sacrifice herself and her security to maintain a relationship with a man—her brother and father figure—or that her security and comfort shouldn’t be her number one priority. And college is a tough transition for a lot of kids. She could lose those scholarships if she falters in her first semester or if she figures out this isn’t the right school for her. Taking from her funds now puts additional pressure on her to never have a misstep or change in heart, major, or school because her financial security is at stake. This is a hill to die on. I don’t usually recommend stopping communicating in a marriage, but this subject matter is closed,” said one Redditor.
It’s Not Your Fault!
Other users noted that it was on OP’s stepson’s biological parents to plan for his future.
One said, “It’s not a surprise that there was only $15,000 in the son’s account to anyone but the OP. It’s not a surprise that no matter the son’s choices for the future, $15,000 probably wasn’t going to be enough. So, OP’s husband acting like this is a sudden event is wrong. It’s not a surprise and not your fault OP that your stepson’s parents didn’t plan well. It shouldn’t be a surprise that you say no.”
Another noted, “The fact that you were able to create a $150,000 fund for your daughter while widowed young is extraordinary. No, your stepson doesn’t get his ‘cut.’ Your husband can take out parent loans to make up the difference, if he likes, and can pay out of ‘his’ money for the payments. If you want to explain it to the kids, I would just sit down with your husband and explain it practically as a financial exercise.”
What do you suggest OP do? What do you think of her husband?
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This post first appeared as She Refused to Combine Her Daughter’s College Fund With Her Stepson’s Then Split It Evenly. She Saved $150K While Her Husband Only Has $15K for His Son. How’s That Fair? on Quote Ambition.