She received an inheritance from her father, who wanted to help finance his grandkids’ college. However, though she tried to follow his wishes, the money was just enough to pay for their debts and bills!
Not Enough to Get By
OP (Original Poster) is a single mother of 3 kids: 2 girls, 15 and 18, and a boy who’s 11. OP isn’t in a good financial situation, and neither is her ex-husband, who pays a low pension and has a meager salary.
Her family doesn’t go hungry, but they also don’t have any to spare for luxury.
Father’s Final Wishes
Three years before sharing this story, OP’s father passed away, and she received her share of the inheritance, which was $120,000. Her father’s wishes consist of them being able to buy a house, paying off their debts, and helping with his grandchildren’s college.
Her father’s desires were never written in the will, but he always told them how he wanted the money to be spent.
Drowning In Debt
During this time, OP was unemployed and constantly used her credit cards for months to provide food for the table. Then, she also had to get and pay for the mortgage to prevent them from being homeless.
Money Blowing Up in Flames
Eventually, things piled up, and this is where all their debt came from.
So, OP said, “To be honest, the money was totally used to pay off the house and my debts. What was left, I made a big shopping—groceries—and paid the house bills. So, I didn’t reserve anything for my children. It was a difficult decision, but we went from being in debt to living paycheck to paycheck. Not ideal, but much better.”
A Gentle Reminder
Since her kids were young, OP already told them that if they wanted to go to college, she wouldn’t be able to help them if they went to college outside the city and that they’d have to work for it. But if they stayed in the town, they wouldn’t need that much money since they could live at home.
OP said, “My oldest daughter got into a great college and is looking for jobs in the city, as well as cheap housing and government subsidies for living expenses. She will start in August.”
Siblings Leading Different Lives
Contrary to their financial situation, OP explained that her older brother is doing well financially. Still, they don’t get along very well for multiple reasons.
Despite that, their kids are friends, and her brother has a son the same age as her eldest.
According to OP, she thinks that in one of her daughter’s conversations with her cousin, she discovered that he had a college fund built with her grandfather’s estate. This started to build tension and confusion in the family.
A Mom’s Secret
After all, OP didn’t have a cent left of the inheritance for her kids. So, she never mentioned that their grandfather wished to help them with their education.
To OP, her father meant that it was “up to them” whether they followed his wishes or not.
Giving Her Mom an Earful
When her daughter learned about it, she said that OP could’ve saved money for her kids, and if she did so, then they wouldn’t have difficulties in college. They did have some government assistance, but it was apparent they still struggled.
Her daughter also said that she should have “planned better financially.”
A Cruel Comparison and Accusation
Then, OP’s daughter also told her that it was “selfish” of her to have ignored her kids’ grandfather’s wishes so she could pay for her “own things.”
Her daughter even compared her to her brother, who “prioritized his son!”
Forced to Choose What Was Necessary
OP’s daughter’s remarks significantly hurt her, but her decision was necessary. She told her daughter that she did it to keep food on the table.
She added, “She needs to get better at our situation instead of coming to complain to me about decisions that are solely mine and not hers about this money. We are not on good terms. She still thinks I made a selfish decision.”
What the Community Has to Say
Redditors believe that OP’s not wrong for doing what she did, and she didn’t even spend the money on her personal desires, but she spent it on her family.
The top commenter said, “If it was of utmost importance that the money go to your kids’ education, he could have set it up that way in his will. He didn’t and left everything to you instead. Not the a**hole. It’s not like you’re using the money for vacations instead of funding their education. Also, you have minor children in the home currently. Housing and food take precedence over post-secondary education.”
Some people said that although college is essential, it is still a luxury, and that’s the kind that OP’s family could not afford. OP’s daughter should have understood it in the first place.
“Not the a**hole. Your father left money to help you. You used it for your family. College is, unfortunately, a luxury; you were forced to triage the situation, and housing and food are simply a higher priority than higher education. Your daughter is old enough to understand this,” a commenter wrote.
Then, other Redditors stated that if the money were specifically intended or given to OP’s children, that would be an entirely different story. However, it was given to OP, and she used it how her father wanted her to.
A Redditor said, “Not the a**hole. Your oldest had three years to decide if a local college would be sufficient, understanding the entire time that a different college wouldn’t be covered. If you can’t feed your kids, there’s no point in trying to send them to college.”
The same person added, “It would be different if this were their money instead of yours or if your father had stated the money should only be used for college, but you haven’t even done anything against his wishes here. College isn’t a necessity. Food and housing are, though.”
What do you think? Should OP have prioritized her kids’ college education?
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This post first appeared as She Refused to Use Her $120,000 Inheritance on Her Kids’ College Education. Instead, She Spent It on Debts and Bills, Ignoring Her Late Dad’s Wishes. Was She a “Selfish Jerk?” on Quote Ambition.