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Parent Upsets Adult Children With Plan To Use Their Leftover College Fund Money To Retire Early

Retired man
Hinterhaus Productions / Getty Images

Future planning is something many parents agonize about when they have children.

Many hope to sock away money for college and weddings down the road, especially given how expensive those two things are today.

It can be a great relief if one’s parents give you a head start.

But what happens when your kids don’t end up using all that a parent saved up?

What if they’d like to use it themselves?

That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Turbulent_Claim_2973 when they came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.

They asked:

“AITA for using my kids college accounts for my retirement”

How we got here.

“I’m confused if I am being a d*ck, so my friend pointed me here.”

“I have a college account for each kid, they all have like around 50k at the moment.”

“Now my oldest went to a trade school, and we used his account to pay for that. It was relatively cheap.”

“My daughter went to a small cheap community college before she dropped out. She’s now married and a stay-at-home mom.”

Oh boy, leftovers!

“So both of the accounts still have a ton of money in them, and the two kids are well established at this point.”

“The oldest makes six figures at this point, and my daughter married well off, and if they did divorce, she would get a lot. So I empty the accounts to use for my retirement.”

“I mentioned it at dinner, and they were pissed, saying they still deserve the money even though it was for college only and they never put a cent in.”

“They both called me a d*ck.”

“They asked why I could retire early, I told them the reason.”

“I wasn’t going to hide it. They knew money was in the account; it would have come up eventually, if not for them but asking if they could use the extra for their kids.”

OP was left to wonder,


Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

    • NTA – Not The A**hole
    • YTA – You’re The A**hole
    • NAH – No A**holes Here
    • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided: NTA

Ownership matters.

“I kinda feel like it depends on context.”

“You said they knew about the money, was it always ‘their money’ or was it there’s on the condition that they went to and used it for college and any leftover you’d keep.”

“If it was intended as and thought of by your kids as a gift, then id go soft yta. If it was on the condition of it was only for college, and the leftover was never intended for them anyway, then nta” ~ DaughterofKingsize


“Your money, you are the one working hard to get it.”

“Your daughter who doesn’t work doesn’t deserve free money, and your son, in theory, had this money just to prepare himself to join the workforce.”

“That’s already done too.” ~ ManuAdFerrum

“NTAH, it is your money that you allocated for their college.”

“They didn’t need all of it. It’s still your money, do what you want with it. Let them set up accounts for their children.” ~ Teamoosech

“Tell them it was your money to do with as it please you and you planned to fund their future. Now they’re set. They DON’T NEED YOUR MONEY anymore, and now you are planning for YOUR future.”


“Tell them you gave it to charity because everyone is entitled to something that wasn’t yours and secretly move it to a protected bank account and change the will.”

“Either way, great job OP; you saved and educated your kids and are in a comfortable place now!!”

“Can I borrow some cash?” ~ Breasticale5

“NTA, it is your money that you earmarked for their college.”

“That is all it could be used for unless you agreed to do something else with it.”

“Even then, it is still your money, and you are allowed to change your mind. They, on the other hand, are greedy A Hs.”

“Enjoy your retirement!” ~ trankirsakali

Legal concerns.

“Question for clarification:”

“was the money solely in your name? Or were they joint accounts?”

“Morally, I think you’re in the clear.”

“NTA. You put the money in specifically for their educations, nothing more.”

“You paid for their educations.”

“They graduated without debt, which directly impacts their current standard of living.”

“They don’t ‘deserve’ even that, really. Millions of young adults who are just as deserving end up deep in debt from school.”

“But legally, if your kids names were on the account, you should double-check the legality, just to CYA.” ~ Yeshanu424

“NTA and your kids should appreciate you had the ability to ensure they had opportunity without even knowing it) and ended up with no college debt because you planned for their future.”

“They wouldn’t have any legal rights to it or any other money of yours until your deaths) anyway.”

“My grandparents-in-law were able to use their leftover college funds for four kids) into early retirement and travel. They got to enjoy a fulfilling retirement traveling all over the world.” ~ red3biggs

“Regardless if YTA or not, I’d suggest checking if there could be other legal ramifications depending on the account type and registration, for example, a coverdell or a custodial account.” ~ Xtremegulp

Total honesty may not have been a great idea.

“NTA because you used the money for its intended purpose.”

“But why on earth would you tell them there was money left over and you were going to take it???” ~ Sensitive_Exit_3154


“You paid for their education with your money.”

“Whatever is left over is yours to do what you want.”

‘”I mentioned it at dinner”‘

“Mother of God, why?”

“Stop telling people stuff. Put people on information diets.”

“Oversharing put you in this position.” ~ KronkLaSworda


“This was never their money.”

“They didn’t contribute to it, so it’s not theirs. It was money you set aside for their education, which neither of them need anymore.”

“That said, telling them was a terrible idea.”

“This conflict was completely avoidable by just telling them that you were in a position to retire now without telling them why.” ~ NorthernLitUp

“Yeah, there was no need to tell them anything, lol.”

“We save a reasonable amount for our kids’ education, and my wife and I will approve any and all uses of this money before they get access to any of it.”

“After education is paid, if they’re responsible people, we will gift them the balances towards a home purchase, and if they don’t have their sh*t together, we will retire earlier.” ~ Imaginary-Job9424

Not everyone was on OP’s side.

“I’m gonna go against the grain here, soft YTA”

“In a lot of families ‘left over’ college money is used to help the kids buy a house or as a wedding gift or whatever. It’s supposed to been seen as an investment in their future and all.”

“It may feel to them that you’re somehow ‘punishing’ them for choosing cheaper options.”

“Also tbh I was kinda on your side until I read”

“>my daughter married well off, and if they did divorce, she would get a lot.”

“Like, okay let’s put aside ‘well my oldest is making enough now, so I assume they’ll always be making that and never have problems’ that’s just such a wild thing to say. “

“You weren’t dumb enough to tell HER that, at least, right?” ~ Zorkamork

“I think this is a cultural thing. Maybe for an American this is ok, but I find this such a weird way to use money; I would say YTA.”

“I think it would make sense to say ‘I can contribute X to you getting a good start in life, here they are, prioritize using them for your education”‘.

“So you are giving x money and if there is leftovers, it’s still theirs.”

“I think it is weird to say, “I can contribute up to x to your education. If you choose a less expensive degree, you will get less money”‘.

“It feels like you are punishing them for having found a career that didn’t put them in debt.”

“So weird. If you planned to give them x money, why take it back?” ~ Own_Wave_1677

“I am going to say YTA here, I think converting that money into college savings accounts for your grandkids would have been the right move.”

“You saved this money for them to use on college. If they didn’t need all of it, you should pass that down for the grandkids to use for college.”

“You take a tax penalty taking this money out for your own use, while you could pass the full value on to new beneficiaries if used for education expenses.”

“This is why I think you are being selfish with your use of the funds.” ~ TNWBAM2004

Personal stories from our Community.

“There’s also quite a lot of elderly people who lived through harder times when they struggled with finances. My grand aunt and -uncle were like that.”

“They didn’t even have any children to leave anything to. T” ~ Mountaingoat101

“To add to this, possibly; my grandparents lived during the great depression. My grandfather worked at a farm starting at age 13, I think? In exchange for room and board at the farm….”

“Eventually he started his own business and was quite successful, but to this day it is nearly impossible to get my grandparents to spend money on what they NEED (much less what they might enjoy) because ‘it costs so much.'”

“They just can’t comprehend possibly spending so much money on things, and I guarantee their lives will be shorter because of it. :-/” ~ J1024

As with most things, the context matters here.

The kids are doing extremely well, and the future looks bright.

We hope they can resolve this squabble peacefully.

Written by Frank Geier

Frank Geier (pronouns he/him) is a nerd and father of three who recently moved to Alabama. He is an avid roleplayer and storyteller occasionally masquerading as a rational human.