Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 02-12-2019, 05:18 PM
PunditLisa is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: 'burbs of Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 14,063

Financial dilemma: What would you do?


Here's the real life scenario someone I know is facing:

Background: A young woman I know, Joan, is in her late 20s. She married several years ago and just had their first child. They both work FT and have supported themselves since they got married, including paying for post-grad education. Her husband earned his Master's degree a year ago, and Joan will finish up her degree in the fall. They're working tirelessly to save up enough for their first home and both drive cars that are 10+ years old.

A decade ago, as part of their very acrimonious divorce, Joan's parents agreed to split the cost of her undergrad degree 50% each. Both parents are professionals working for the same company known for its great benefits (and retirement plan), but she makes twice what he makes.

While the mother paid off her half of the tuition as it accrued courtesy of her well-to-do parents, the father had to take out loans and is still paying on them to this day. There's about $30k left, and we know this because he brings it up to them, and me, often. He also made some bad financial decisions, including the option to buy her out of the marital home, right before the housing crisis. He also lost about $30k on that deal, too.

Note that Joan could have gotten a full ride to her local college, but chose another college in large part due to the parent's very bitter divorce, which included cheating on the mother's part. So, to put it mildly, the father is bitter about a lot of things.

In any event, last year Joan's mother's great Aunt died childless, and left a sizeable inheritance to Joan's mother, half of which she is gifting to Joan in annual installments of $30k. Joan is due to receive her first installment in a few months.

While he is well aware that Joan will inherit 1/8 of a fortune following the death of her 80ish grandparents, Joan's father knows nothing of this unexpected windfall.

So, here's the dilemma: Is Joan under any moral obligation to pay off her father's portion of the education loan that he is still paying, on her behalf? Like I said, they both need new cars, need to save for a DP on a home, and just gave birth to their first child. So some big expenditures are on their horizon.
__________________
"Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest." - Paul Simon
  #2  
Old 02-12-2019, 05:24 PM
Dag Otto is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Las Cruces
Posts: 5,266
So if I am following this correctly, Joan will be gifted $30k per year? For how many years is this expected to go on?
  #3  
Old 02-12-2019, 05:25 PM
Littleman is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 1,078
Obligation, no.
But it would be incredibly selfish not to offer.
  #4  
Old 02-12-2019, 05:32 PM
Tzigone is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,260
Quote:
So, here's the dilemma: Is Joan under any moral obligation to pay off her father's portion of the education loan that he is still paying, on her behalf? Like I said, they both need new cars, need to save for a DP on a home, and just gave birth to their first child. So some big expenditures are on their horizon.
No, she is not. He agreed to pay, and he's the one that (according to the post) made bad financial decisions. And her mother cheating is completely irrelevant in all ways - has nothing to do with the father and daughter and their relationship and bills.

I do not agree that she is necessarily incredibly selfish not to offer to pay off debt he agreed to incur, even if he did so for her sake (and was it of his own generosity or part of a divorce agreement). A lot depends on her relationship with her father and how he's treated her since the divorce. With all the bitterness mentioned - if he's treated her poorly and only paid what obligated to by settlement, I don't think she's obligated to cover for that. If he's treated her well or covered out the kindness of his heart (rather than defined agreement per divorce, which admittedly seems odd to me for that to go past child's 18th birthday, but I don't know much about divorces), then she should offer to at pay.
  #5  
Old 02-12-2019, 05:43 PM
Mr Shine's Avatar
Mr Shine is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 1,939
If she doesn't immediately call her dad up and say, "y'know that tuition you owe, never mind I've got it myself, thanks for your contributions thus far. Love you, Dad" she is a terrible human being.
  #6  
Old 02-12-2019, 05:45 PM
jasg is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Upper left hand corner
Posts: 5,819
She could offer to pay half of the balance or half of dad's monthly payments.
__________________
It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.
~ Jonathan Swift (1667 - 1745)
  #7  
Old 02-12-2019, 05:52 PM
TroutMan's Avatar
TroutMan is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 4,542
Joan's father is under no legal obligation to pay for her college. He agreed to out of the goodness of his heart, and has continued to do it, even when it meant he had to take out loans himself. And the "bad financial decision" of buying out his ex was certainly bad in hindsight, but it was a reasonable choice during an acrimonious divorce. It's not like he gambled it away.

So I think offering to pay off his loans is definitely the right thing to do. Doing it over the course of 2 or 3 years will still leave Joan with a lot of extra cash that she wasn't planning on having before her great aunt died.

And if Joan truly chose a more expensive college in part to punish her parents for their divorce, then while somewhat understandable, it still means she has some karma points to make up.
  #8  
Old 02-12-2019, 05:55 PM
elfkin477 is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NH
Posts: 22,537
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dag Otto View Post
So if I am following this correctly, Joan will be gifted $30k per year? For how many years is this expected to go on?
Yeah, is this the correct interpretation? If it is...a baby is a big expense, but it's not a 30k a year expense. She should definitely offer to pay off the student loans. In her position I can barely imagine the level of guilt that I'd feel if I didn't.
  #9  
Old 02-12-2019, 05:59 PM
filmore is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 4,272
Joan should take over the loan from her dad. That would allow Joan to have $30k/year and just make the regular payments on the loan. What is that going to be anyway--around $3-400/mo? Joan gets to have a lot in savings and she can decide how quickly she wants to pay the loan off.

Joan should *not* pay off the loan in one big chunk. Joan likely has little savings and lots of expenses coming up. She should use this windfall to help cover those expenses. As those expenses taper off, she can think about paying off the loan in bigger chunks.
  #10  
Old 02-12-2019, 06:00 PM
Mtgman is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Searching for Tanelorn
Posts: 6,230
I think your signature is appropriate for your question. Joan knows the answer to her question. It stares at her from the mirror every morning.

Enjoy,
Steven
  #11  
Old 02-12-2019, 06:02 PM
Telemark's Avatar
Telemark is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Yet again, Titletown
Posts: 22,137
Quote:
Originally Posted by TroutMan View Post
Joan's father is under no legal obligation to pay for her college. He agreed to out of the goodness of his heart, and has continued to do it, even when it meant he had to take out loans himself.
If I read the OP correctly, the parents were required by the divorce decree to each pay half of the daughter's college loans. So he didn't do this out of the goodness of his heart and he was legally required to pay for them.

But I agree that if Joan is coming into a fairly substantial windfall it would be good for her to pay off all or part of her father's debt at this point. It doesn't have to be a blanket payment, but perhaps she can pay a portion of his loan payments. Unless she feels that he should suffer for some reason, but absent that she would be doing a good deed and easing his burden.
  #12  
Old 02-12-2019, 06:06 PM
HurricaneDitka is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 12,646
If I were in Joan's situation, I'd find room in my budget to pay off the student loan debt her father incurred helping her out.
  #13  
Old 02-12-2019, 06:10 PM
Noelq is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 908
The father and mother agreed to pay for Joan's education.

Joan's mother met that agreement.

Joan's father met that agreement.

The HOW is not Joan's responsibility. She's their child, and its an agreement between the parents. If the father could not meet the responsibility, he shouldn't have made the agreement.

If, however, Joan wants to shut her father the hell up about it, then I think paying the money will be a great thing.
  #14  
Old 02-12-2019, 06:15 PM
TroutMan's Avatar
TroutMan is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 4,542
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
If I read the OP correctly, the parents were required by the divorce decree to each pay half of the daughter's college loans. So he didn't do this out of the goodness of his heart and he was legally required to pay for them.
Yeah, you might be right. If it was only an agreement between the parents, then there's no legal obligation for him to pay once she became an adult. But if it was actually part of the divorce decree, then there would be a legal obligation.

I still think choosing to go to an expensive college because she was pissed at her parents was kind of a shitty thing to do, so it doesn't change my opinion that the right thing for her to do now is pay off the remainder.
  #15  
Old 02-12-2019, 06:16 PM
Chronos's Avatar
Chronos is offline
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 81,800
It would certainly be generous and praiseworthy for her to take up the burden. It is not, however, in any way required, legally, morally, or ethically.
  #16  
Old 02-12-2019, 06:36 PM
kaylasdad99 is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Anaheim, CA
Posts: 31,005
I had the sense that Joan’s choice of college was based more in a desire to put a few hundred miles of distance between herself and the divorce drama than anything else.

Had the windfall from her mother not taken place, I wonder what kind of time frame Joan (and Mr. Joan) were looking at before they felt they had sufficient for a down payment. And what’s their target sum. And at what rate the dad is paying off the $30K. And if mom finding out about Joan helping dad would likely cause her to abandon the annual gifts.
  #17  
Old 02-12-2019, 06:46 PM
PunditLisa is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: 'burbs of Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 14,063
FYI, She’ll be receiving $30k per year for about 12 years assuming that they accept it. They declined the money when it was first brought up, because they are very proud, but the mother has insisted that she’s going to send it to them anyway. I think it may be her way of trying to make up for all the chaos she’s caused with the divorce. She loves her daughter but isn’t very touchy feely.

Joan’s father and she are much closer. He is much more involved in her life, sometimes too involved. The only issues that they’ve had were when he attacks her mother, and over money. Besides constantly bringing up the loan and house debts, 5 years ago Joan’s father helped himself to $500 of their money without asking or even telling them. They found out when they got the bank statement. (Joan's father opened up a joint checking account when Joan was a minor and Joan had never taken him off the account,).

His rationale was that he’d flown home in the middle of a year working abroad to attend their wedding and felt that since they got several thousand dollars in gifts, and because he was broke from paying off her college loans, that they would have no objection to helping fly him home.

He eventually paid the money back but it definitely strained their relationship. And Joan's husband is not his biggest fan any more, both because of the loan and because he paid nothing toward the wedding.

FTR I think that they should accept the gift and then OFFER to assume the loan, since it was for Joan’s benefit. My husband believes that they should accept the money and sock it away for their future and not tell her dad anything.
__________________
"Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest." - Paul Simon
  #18  
Old 02-12-2019, 07:10 PM
PunditLisa is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: 'burbs of Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 14,063
Joan left the city to put distance between them, not to punish anyone. The father was very, very unhappy about the cheating and divorce and would pepper Joan with questions about her mother and boyfriend every time Joan visited her. He's also made her feel badly by telling everone who will listen that the only reason he remained in their lousy marriage was to protect Joan from her mom. And that he opted to keep the house because Joan grew up there, and he wanted to provide her with stability, even though he couldn’t afford it.

And recently he’s even alleged that her mom was physically abusive to her when she was little, something that Joan vehemently denies it. So a lot of angst here.

PS. They were both legally obligated to pay for 50% of college expenses via divorce decree. It’s not an uncommon thing to stipulate in divorces these days. Mother was obligated to pay her half of college plus pay for Joan’s medical insurance until she turned 26.
__________________
"Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest." - Paul Simon
  #19  
Old 02-12-2019, 07:15 PM
Manda JO is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 11,014
I think they should save the money for their own kid's education. That obligation goes forward, not back. What's next? The car he bought her in high school? The food she ate?

If she wants to give her dad some money, go for it, but don't make it about "paying back the loan" . He's clearly a mess with money and gets it all tangled with all kinds of other things.
  #20  
Old 02-12-2019, 07:21 PM
Manda JO is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 11,014
Dumb question . . . Is money all really goong to Joan, or is it split between Joan, husband, maybe kid, for tax purposes? If it is, then really, Joan shouldn't be giving money given to her husband/kid. Hubby doesn't sound like he'd be for it, and if it's coming to him, he gets a say. Also, imho, if $10k is in the kid's name, that should go to the kid (savings, obviously, not legos)
  #21  
Old 02-12-2019, 07:23 PM
ZipperJJ's Avatar
ZipperJJ is offline
Just Lovely and Delicious
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 25,065
Joan is a grown-ass woman. It's real nice if your parents can and do pay for your college but sometimes it doesn't shake out that way. Someone she loves is suffering financially on her behalf. Removing that suffering would be a tremendous relief for the person she loves and, presumably, give her a good feeling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PunditLisa View Post
FYI, She’ll be receiving $30k per year for about 12 years assuming that they accept it. They declined the money when it was first brought up, because they are very proud, but the mother has insisted that she’s going to send it to them anyway.
And...goddamn, woman. Apparently ending this suffering for someone she loves WOULD NOT EVEN BE A BURDEN TO HER since she plans on refusing the money.

Too proud to accept $30k/year bequeathed to her but not too proud to help her father who had the best of intentions? Shouldn't even be a question.

Fucking hell...having money sure does fuck up a family. Wow.

Last edited by ZipperJJ; 02-12-2019 at 07:24 PM.
  #22  
Old 02-12-2019, 07:37 PM
monstro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 20,048
Since the thread title asked what I would do, I would let my dad off the hook and pay off the rest off my loan.

I would do this even if my dad was an absolute jerk. Maybe paying off the loan would get him to shut up about money and help him to move on with his life.

It would just feel weird not to do something like this.
  #23  
Old 02-12-2019, 07:44 PM
PunditLisa is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: 'burbs of Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 14,063
They should have enough saved in 6 months to put a 10% DP on a $150,000 home. However the baby was just born, and their cars are 2001 and 2009, so that projection may or may not be accurate. To be clear, they’re not rolling in the dough, though they ironically don't seem stressed about it at.

They ARE stressed over the dad, who seems to be getting more bitter as time goes by. I was hoping that this windfall might assuage this one sore spot should they just assume the loan. But to be honest, he has plenty of other complaints so who knows. He recently told the kids that they shouldn’t invite him to anything that his ex spouse is invited to as he’s suffering from PTSD. It’s been 10 years since the divorce. Sigh.

However, I have to admit that her Mom may not like if her gift goes back to a man who’s been accusing her of child abuse, and she may stop gifting the money if they do pay off dad. I hadn’t thought of that.
__________________
"Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest." - Paul Simon
  #24  
Old 02-12-2019, 07:53 PM
PunditLisa is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: 'burbs of Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 14,063
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manda JO View Post
Dumb question . . . Is money all really goong to Joan, or is it split between Joan, husband, maybe kid, for tax purposes?
$15k to Joan and $15k to Joan’s husband. Max the mother can gift without tax implications.

FTR, Joan’s in laws recentky offered to gift them $30k towards a DP, which they also declined to accept. They reluctantly did acccept their used 2009 car, however.
__________________
"Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest." - Paul Simon
  #25  
Old 02-12-2019, 08:06 PM
TroutMan's Avatar
TroutMan is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 4,542
Based on your updates, I'll amend my opinion to Joan is not under a moral obligation to pay it off, but it still is the right thing to do. It's a nice thing to do for someone she loves and is struggling, and it would remove one significant barrier in their relationship, even if it doesn't fix everything.

And she should DEFINITELY not tell her mom if she does this.
  #26  
Old 02-12-2019, 08:09 PM
Pork Rind's Avatar
Pork Rind is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Santa Barbara
Posts: 2,462
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZipperJJ View Post
It's real nice if your parents can and do pay for your college but sometimes it doesn't shake out that way. Someone she loves is suffering financially on her behalf. Removing that suffering would be a tremendous relief for the person she loves and, presumably, give her a good feeling.
As a guy who started college with the understanding that parents were paying and eventually had to shoulder the load myself, this is where I stand too.
  #27  
Old 02-12-2019, 09:48 PM
Heracles's Avatar
Heracles is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Southern Québec, Canada
Posts: 1,505
As a thought experiment, let's reverse the roles of mother and father. Joan's father earns more money than her mother, her father cheats, the divorce happens, etc.

I say the less affluent parent should get a break... and the more affluent parent shouldn't be told about it.
  #28  
Old 02-12-2019, 10:41 PM
UCBearcats is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 657
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heracles View Post
As a thought experiment, let's reverse the roles of mother and father. Joan's father earns more money than her mother, her father cheats, the divorce happens, etc.

I say the less affluent parent should get a break... and the more affluent parent shouldn't be told about it.
Joan sounds like a whiny, greedy brat. She should take her dad off the hook. It is complete bullshit what she did to her parents in the first place.
  #29  
Old 02-12-2019, 10:58 PM
Manda JO is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 11,014
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pork Rind View Post
As a guy who started college with the understanding that parents were paying and eventually had to shoulder the load myself, this is where I stand too.
He took $5k out of her account to buy a plane ticket, then tried to claim it was okay, that she was the "greedy one", because she had gotten so much cash from wedding gifts. Does he have $30k in debt under "student loans" for her because he took out $60k ten years ago and has been steadily paying it off, or does he have a ton of debt because he continues to make terrible financial decisions, rob Peter to pay Paul, etc.? How many times has he restructured, consolidated, and so on? He's calling his debt "her fault", but is it really? Or does he now just consider all his debt to be her student loan debt?

I don't believe anything from someone who'd steal from their own kid.

Was the original debt 30k or a lot more than 30? Because if hes had a decade to pay off 30k and he's never even started chipping away at the principal, that's on him, not her.
  #30  
Old 02-12-2019, 11:07 PM
Flyer is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Colorado
Posts: 3,234
Quote:
Originally Posted by TroutMan View Post
Based on your updates, I'll amend my opinion to Joan is not under a moral obligation to pay it off, but it still is the right thing to do. It's a nice thing to do for someone she loves and is struggling, and it would remove one significant barrier in their relationship, even if it doesn't fix everything.
How in the name of common sense can it be the "right" thing to do if there is no moral obligation? "Rightness" inherently stems from morality. Without morality--however that is defined--there is no conceivable basis whatsoever for deciding what is right and what is wrong.
  #31  
Old 02-13-2019, 12:00 AM
TroutMan's Avatar
TroutMan is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 4,542
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyer View Post
How in the name of common sense can it be the "right" thing to do if there is no moral obligation? "Rightness" inherently stems from morality. Without morality--however that is defined--there is no conceivable basis whatsoever for deciding what is right and what is wrong.
Of course it can be the right thing to do without a moral imperative. Take a simple benefit - it will remove a point of friction in their relationship. You don't need morals to say that a situation is better because of action you took.

Maybe it's just a semantic difference, but I think many things can be the right thing to do without a moral obligation. An obligation to me suggests something much stronger than the "right thing to do."
  #32  
Old 02-13-2019, 01:45 AM
Richard Pearse is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: On the outside looking in
Posts: 10,325
If I was Joan I would relieve Dad of his debt. I could not live with myself if I didn’t. That said, I wouldn’t judge Jane for not doing that, you gotta make your own decisions.
  #33  
Old 02-13-2019, 06:28 AM
elbows is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: London, Ontario
Posts: 14,094
Dad sounds kinda bad with money. If I was Joan I’d pay the debt down (directly, not through Dad!) $15k the first year and again the second. Don’t mention it to Mom. If asked, the answer should only be, ‘we used it to pay down some loans.’

Young couple still gets a $15k windfall each year, Dad’s debt gets covered, Mom feels good about helping young couple. Everybody wins.
With an added $30k coming in every year, the young couple’s position, (even with new baby, and just getting out of school etc), is now secured it would seem.

I would lose a great deal of respect for anyone who would leave their Dad struggling in debt, and choose to use their windfall to give themselves a better launch into life. By all accounts their future looks bright, both are educated and secure enough in their futures to be contemplating a baby and a new house, just as they are graduating university. I don’t think I could prioritize a larger down payment on a house, over assisting my Dad with debt he’s struggling under, that was taken on to pay for my education.
  #34  
Old 02-13-2019, 06:37 AM
PunditLisa is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: 'burbs of Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 14,063
Quote:
Originally Posted by UCBearcats View Post
Joan sounds like a whiny, greedy brat. She should take her dad off the hook. It is complete bullshit what she did to her parents in the first place.
I'm sorry but what exactly did she do to her parents?
__________________
"Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest." - Paul Simon
  #35  
Old 02-13-2019, 07:00 AM
Lord Feldon's Avatar
Lord Feldon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Central Ohio
Posts: 6,218
I'm not comfortable with the idea that there's any kind of moral obligation on the part of a child to pay off their parent's divorce bills just because the fact of their birth made those bills larger. The fact that some parents choose to structure their divorce settlement with reference to their child's education does not, IMO, loop the child into moral responsibility for the costs of the divorce. Joan's father could presumably have made some other financial concession to his ex-wife in exchange for not being on the hook for Joan's education as an adult, but he made a bet that it was in his interest to not do that. His regret is not Joan's obligation.

If she chooses to give her father a very generous gift because she has the ability and he has a need, that would be very kind of her, but I hope that she would be doing so purely for herself, and that she's not trying to buy a better relationship with her father. She can afford to give her father a very nice gift but she can't afford to make him into a different person.
  #36  
Old 02-13-2019, 07:21 AM
purplehorseshoe is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Texas, USA
Posts: 9,710
Quote:
Originally Posted by UCBearcats View Post
Joan sounds like a whiny, greedy brat. She should take her dad off the hook. It is complete bullshit what she did to her parents in the first place.
What the absolute fuck does this mean? If you're talking about the parents paying for her college, then that was part of the divorce and offspring have exactly zero fuck-all to do with how the lawyers drew that part up.

Or were you referring to her father helping himself to several grand from his joint account with his daughter without saying anything?
__________________
I can haz sig line?
  #37  
Old 02-13-2019, 07:28 AM
PunditLisa is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: 'burbs of Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 14,063
Not to defend the dad for taking money, but to be clear, he only took $500, not $5000. Still, enough for them to be alarmed when they saw the withdrawal. They thought that they'd been a victim of identity theft, and were really embarrassed when the bank produced the check with the father's name on it made out to "cash."
__________________
"Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest." - Paul Simon
  #38  
Old 02-13-2019, 08:34 AM
Ravenman is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 25,432
The more I hear about Joan the more I dislike her. Refusing the money because of pride? It's a fucking inheritance. (Yes, being passed through, but whatever.)

I agree that she isn't under the obligation to pay off the loan, but it would be the right thing to do. And the arrangement should be solely between Joan and her father, and he should STFU about it.

Plus, my feeling is that even if Joan does the right thing, she should not expect her father to suddenly become a better person. People don't just change that way. But it is decent of her to relieve him of the debt that he has struggled to keep up his end of the bargain on... but she shouldn't expect a lot of gratitude.
  #39  
Old 02-13-2019, 08:44 AM
commasense's Avatar
commasense is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Atlanta area
Posts: 6,198
Others have offered enough opinions about what she should do. I'll just mention that no matter what she does with the money, it's foolish to imagine that dad won't find out that she got it, or that mom won't find out if she gives some to dad. Secrets like that do not stay secret for long.
  #40  
Old 02-13-2019, 09:00 AM
ZipperJJ's Avatar
ZipperJJ is offline
Just Lovely and Delicious
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 25,065
Quote:
Originally Posted by elbows View Post
Dad sounds kinda bad with money. If I was Joan I’d pay the debt down (directly, not through Dad!) $15k the first year and again the second. Don’t mention it to Mom. If asked, the answer should only be, ‘we used it to pay down some loans.’
Quote:
Originally Posted by commasense View Post
Others have offered enough opinions about what she should do. I'll just mention that no matter what she does with the money, it's foolish to imagine that dad won't find out that she got it, or that mom won't find out if she gives some to dad. Secrets like that do not stay secret for long.
Yeah it seems like these people are all very much up in each others' money business. I don't think "pay off some loans" is going to make it very far with mom. More like "I paid off MY student loan debts with MY money because I'm almost 30 and I was sick of the whole thing."
  #41  
Old 02-13-2019, 09:00 AM
senoy is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 1,722
Oh my, if these responses are indicative of post-religious America, we're in trouble.

The problem is that many of these responses are viewing morality as transactional in nature. 'X happened to me, so Y should be my response.' 'This extenuating circumstance causes me to feel Z.' 'My obligation due to Action AA should be BB.' Transactional morality is a dead end filled with bookkeeping, mis-valuations and destroyed relationships.

The equation is much simpler. The father needs money, she has money. That's pretty much all that needs to be said. The only real sticking point is that the money she has isn't really hers, it's a gift. As a gift, the wishes of the giver enter into the equation, so the 'right' thing to do is ask the mother if she can use some of the money to pay off the dad's debt. If she says "No." The moral misdeed is on the mother and the daughter has done what she can. The money was given to her and one should presume that gifts come with stipulations. If the mother says "Yes" then a reasonable amount should be offered on the debt. It doesn't mean that all of the money should go towards it. We don't have to donate ourselves into penury, but being generous with money regardless of the extenuating circumstances or relationship drama is a morally good thing.
  #42  
Old 02-13-2019, 09:09 AM
Telemark's Avatar
Telemark is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Yet again, Titletown
Posts: 22,137
Quote:
Originally Posted by senoy View Post
As a gift, the wishes of the giver enter into the equation, so the 'right' thing to do is ask the mother if she can use some of the money to pay off the dad's debt.
That's not really a gift, then, is it?
  #43  
Old 02-13-2019, 09:16 AM
Ravenman is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 25,432
Quote:
Originally Posted by senoy View Post
Oh my, if these responses are indicative of post-religious America, we're in trouble.

The problem is that many of these responses are viewing morality as transactional in nature. 'X happened to me, so Y should be my response.' 'This extenuating circumstance causes me to feel Z.' 'My obligation due to Action AA should be BB.' Transactional morality is a dead end filled with bookkeeping, mis-valuations and destroyed relationships.

The equation is much simpler. The father needs money, she has money. That's pretty much all that needs to be said. The only real sticking point is that the money she has isn't really hers, it's a gift. As a gift, the wishes of the giver enter into the equation, so the 'right' thing to do is ask the mother if she can use some of the money to pay off the dad's debt. If she says "No." The moral misdeed is on the mother and the daughter has done what she can. The money was given to her and one should presume that gifts come with stipulations. If the mother says "Yes" then a reasonable amount should be offered on the debt. It doesn't mean that all of the money should go towards it. We don't have to donate ourselves into penury, but being generous with money regardless of the extenuating circumstances or relationship drama is a morally good thing.
First, what the heck does this have to do with religion?

Second, I strenuously disagree that gifts come with stipulations. Hell no. Contracts come with stipulations. Business agreements come with stipulations. Favors come with stipulations. Gifts do not.

Third, this is not about the mother in any way, since the mother and father have separated their lives. It is not her business if the daughter and father come to an agreement on how the daughter wishes to use her money (if she does indeed take any money, which seems to be a question).
  #44  
Old 02-13-2019, 09:18 AM
senoy is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 1,722
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
That's not really a gift, then, is it?
Of course it is. Gifts are certainly allowed to come with stipulations and they often do. More accurately though, the use of a gift should make the giver happy and if its use hurts the giver, then I would posit that except in rare circumstance that use would be immoral.

If my late-religious grandmother had given me a thousand dollars because she knew I was having trouble with my bills, it would likely hurt her if I went out and spent it on hookers and blow. If my mother were to knit me a winter scarf and I used it to wipe my butt, she would be hurt. Now no one is questioning whether I have a 'right' to wipe my butt on my mom's handiwork, but it's not a 'good' thing to do. It's causing an act that they did for an ostensibly good reason and hurting them with it.
  #45  
Old 02-13-2019, 09:24 AM
commasense's Avatar
commasense is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Atlanta area
Posts: 6,198
Quote:
Originally Posted by senoy View Post
The equation is much simpler. The father needs money, she has money. That's pretty much all that needs to be said. The only real sticking point is that the money she has isn't really hers, it's a gift. As a gift, the wishes of the giver enter into the equation, so the 'right' thing to do is ask the mother if she can use some of the money to pay off the dad's debt.
[Emphasis mine.] No, that's not what the word "gift" means. Giving something with strings attached isn't a gift. I don't know if there's a word for it, but it's not a gift. And unless the mother has explicitly said that she has to approve whatever Joan does with the money, or that it can't be given to dad (facts not in evidence here in this thread), there's no reason Joan should feel that her mother has any say in the matter. If she has reason to believe that mom might withhold future installments if she gives money to dad, then that might enter into her thinking.

But I don't believe that Joan has any obligation regarding her mother's wishes, or that, in general, any recipient of a gift has to consider the wishes of the giver, absent an explicit condition to that effect.

I see I've been ninja'ed, but I'll let this stand as my support of Telemark and Ravenman.
  #46  
Old 02-13-2019, 09:31 AM
Ravenman is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 25,432
Quote:
Originally Posted by senoy View Post
If my late-religious grandmother had given me a thousand dollars because she knew I was having trouble with my bills, it would likely hurt her if I went out and spent it on hookers and blow. If my mother were to knit me a winter scarf and I used it to wipe my butt, she would be hurt. Now no one is questioning whether I have a 'right' to wipe my butt on my mom's handiwork, but it's not a 'good' thing to do. It's causing an act that they did for an ostensibly good reason and hurting them with it.
I wouldn't consider the first example of giving money to cover one's bills to be a "gift" in any sense. Lunch money given to kids isn't a gift. It's lunch money. Money for rent isn't a gift, it's money for rent. I think it's pretty clear given the circumstances given that the inheritance being passed through the mother to the daughter isn't being given with the intention of covering a particular bill or whatnot -- so that would actually be a gift.

If you get a scarf from your mother and pass it on to her estranged sister who is without winter clothing, and your mother takes umbrage at this act of charity, then the mother is the one with a problem.
  #47  
Old 02-13-2019, 09:33 AM
UCBearcats is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 657
Quote:
Originally Posted by purplehorseshoe View Post
What the absolute fuck does this mean? If you're talking about the parents paying for her college, then that was part of the divorce and offspring have exactly zero fuck-all to do with how the lawyers drew that part up.

Or were you referring to her father helping himself to several grand from his joint account with his daughter without saying anything?
I'm referring to going to an expensive school when she had a free ride to a local place that wouldn't cost anything. She doesnt seem to care that her dad is suffering financially as a result.

It was $500 not several thousand.
  #48  
Old 02-13-2019, 09:39 AM
senoy is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 1,722
Quote:
Originally Posted by commasense View Post
[Emphasis mine.] No, that's not what the word "gift" means. Giving something with strings attached isn't a gift. I don't know if there's a word for it, but it's not a gift. And unless the mother has explicitly said that she has to approve whatever Joan does with the money, or that it can't be given to dad (facts not in evidence here in this thread), there's no reason Joan should feel that her mother has any say in the matter. If she has reason to believe that mom might withhold future installments if she gives money to dad, then that might enter into her thinking.

But I don't believe that Joan has any obligation regarding her mother's wishes, or that, in general, any recipient of a gift has to consider the wishes of the giver, absent an explicit condition to that effect.

I see I've been ninja'ed, but I'll let this stand as my support of Telemark and Ravenman.
We're arguing semantics. A gift can certainly be given with stipulations. If you give a gift to your university to endow a scholarship, it doesn't cease to be a gift simply because you gave it for a purpose. Regardless, let's pretend that gifts truly must come with no stipulations. I still wouldn't say that it's OK to do something against the wishes of the giver. Let's say that your pro-animal rights grandmother gives you 1000 dollars because she loves you. I would posit that it wouldn't be morally right for you to use that money to go on a Big Game Hunting expedition. You're hurting the giver and causing hurt is generally immoral.

Last edited by senoy; 02-13-2019 at 09:43 AM.
  #49  
Old 02-13-2019, 09:42 AM
senoy is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 1,722
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
I wouldn't consider the first example of giving money to cover one's bills to be a "gift" in any sense. Lunch money given to kids isn't a gift. It's lunch money. Money for rent isn't a gift, it's money for rent. I think it's pretty clear given the circumstances given that the inheritance being passed through the mother to the daughter isn't being given with the intention of covering a particular bill or whatnot -- so that would actually be a gift.
Of course it's a gift. If your mom gives you money for your rent, you wouldn't call that a gift? What is that then? A right? It's a gift.

"Merry Christmas, son! Here's money for your rent!" "Geeze, Mom why didn't you get me any gifts this year?"

Quote:
If you get a scarf from your mother and pass it on to her estranged sister who is without winter clothing, and your mother takes umbrage at this act of charity, then the mother is the one with a problem.
You're completely correct. It's your mom's problem. She's a jerk and I would claim morally remiss. At the same time, you should have asked her first before giving it away. In the example, if Joan's Mom says 'No.' Joan's Mom has a problem. She's acting in an immoral way. Joan though is not and that's the question being asked.
  #50  
Old 02-13-2019, 09:48 AM
Ravenman is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 25,432
Quote:
Originally Posted by senoy View Post
Of course it's a gift. If your mom gives you money for your rent, you wouldn't call that a gift? What is that then? A right? It's a gift.

"Merry Christmas, son! Here's money for your rent!" "Geeze, Mom why didn't you get me any gifts this year?"
Yeah, that wouldn't be a gift. Giving me $1,000 or whatever to spend as I choose -- rent, video games, hookers, light on fire -- that's a gift.

Quote:
You're completely correct. It's your mom's problem. She's a jerk and I would claim morally remiss. At the same time, you should have asked her first before giving it away. In the example, if Joan's Mom says 'No.' Joan's Mom has a problem. She's acting in an immoral way. Joan though is not and that's the question being asked.
Should I ask my employer if the way I propose to spend my salary is appropriate?
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:54 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017