Financing grandchildren

BY DOUG MAYBERRY Modified: May 21, 2012 at 11:15 am •  Published: May 21, 2012
Q: My wife and I were born in the early 1930s, and we look back and remember how happy our childhood was. We did not have much, but we thought mom's fried chicken and lemon pie were super treats.

We knew all of our neighbors and looked out for each other. Fortunately, as kids, we did not cause much trouble because we knew our parents would know the details before we got home.

Our parents did not teach us to have a good work ethic. It was our only choice to earn pocket change. We delivered newspapers and played hide-and-go-seek for entertainment.

Our oldest grandchild will begin college in September, and his parents have asked us for a loan to help out. We could do so now but other grandchildren are coming along. How should we respond?

A: Think about your options. Your decision should be determined based on how comfortable you are about having enough money to take care of yourselves in your lifetime.

Investments, health costs, inflation, accidents, and other unanticipated expenses are major considerations. Your grandsons' loan is unlikely to be repaid. Consider it a gift.

Usually, "the loan" becomes an annual expectation and probably will need to be increased because of tuition and housing costs.

How many other grandchildren are in the pipeline? Is your grandson a serious student and has he defined a specific career goal?

If not, would a year working part time or enrolling in a junior college add to his college fund and also serve as a road to maturity? The loan will probably be more expensive every year because of higher tuitions, books and housing costs

Because of the larger number of young people entering the job market, many families are having a rough time. In most young families, both partners must work to make a livable wage.

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