in , , ,

Parent Of Three Refuses To Pay Off Adult Children’s Student Loans With Inheritance From Grandma

A man going over his finances on a table with a calculator.
Pekic/Getty Images

Some parents are always willing and able to help their children out, no matter how old they get.

Paying for their education, and continuing to lend them money on an almost regular basis.

Other parents firmly believe that their children need to learn to make their own way in the world, and never lend them money, even when they’re still living in the family house.

Believing that they need to earn their way through life.

Redditor One-Sprinkles3801 was very much in the latter category, resulting in all of their children paying their own way through school.

Acquiring a hefty amount of student debt along the way.

When the original poster (OP), unexpectedly came into a sizable amount of money, their children only expected that the OP would help them out financially, even a tiny bit.

The OP, however, had other plans with what they were going to do with the money.

Wondering if they were being selfish or unreasonable, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where they asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for telling all my kids it’s my inheritance and not using it to get them out of debt?”

The OP explained why their adult children were so angry with how they planned to their recently received inheritance:

“I have three kids, they all decided to go to expensive colleges.”

“I paid for their books, and gave them money for food plan but tuition was on them.”

“They knew from the beginning that college would be on them.”

“My youngest took some community college classes that to save money.”

“The rest of the kids didn’t do much to lower their expenses.”

“They are all out of college and [acquired] a whole bunch of debt.”

“My mother passed away and she gave me the house.”

“I am selling it for around 500k.”

“I plan to use some of it for a big vacation and then the rest to go into my retirement fund.”

“I decided to let the kids have a look at the home first before it went on the market.”

“It’s a really nice area and the house is great.”

“They were suprised by the amount and all of them couldn’t afford it.”

“I told them I plan to sell it soon.”

“This started argument about how I came into so much money put don’t plan to give them any of it.”

“I told them it is my inheritance from my mother.”

“She wanted me to have this.”

“Argument escalated even more and they want me to pay of their school debt.”

“If I did that I it would take 3/4 of my inheritance.”

“So I told them no.”

“I reminded them that when I die they will have their own inheritance from me but I am not dead yet.”

“They are pissed at me.”

“Why don’t I give them their inheritance now?”

“The answer is I am not dead.”

“I can’t sell our home and give them that money since I need to live in it.”

“I can’t drain my retirement fund since I need it to retire.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:

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

While not everyone wholly sympathized with the OP, the Reddit community was all but unanimous in agreeing that they were not the a**hole for refusing to pay off their children’s student debt with their inheritance.

While some felt that the OP could have handled the matter with more delicacy and wondered why they were so adamant in refusing to help their children, everyone thought that as it was their money, the OP could do whatever they wanted with it.

Several agreed with the OP that their children needed to learn that had to earn their way through life without help and handouts:

“If your mother wanted them to have money, she would have put it in her will.”

“You told them that they would have to pay for their own tuition.”

“They are adults.”

“You provided for then when they are children, but they chose to attend their schools and accepted that it would put them in debt.”

“NTA.”- mdthomas

“Getting Old is EXPENSIVE (I’m currently watching my In-Laws come to the realization that their net worth will only cover 3.5 years in a decent assisted living facility, never mind a good Memory Care home & their current living situation is fast becoming unsustainable).”

“You are going to NEED that money!”

“Tell your children exactly that!”

“It would not be fair to expect them to take care of you in your old age, and you don’t want to end up in a facility that accepts Medicare alone.”

“This inheritance is part of your Retirement Plan.”

“If there’s anything left when you pass on, they should consider themselves lucky.”

“NTA.”- Diasies_inMyHair

“My view may be skewed by the fact that my family lived paycheck to paycheck, so I knew that paying for my own college tuition (entirely through student loans) was the only option for me.”

“But NTA.”

“It wouldn’t even occur to me to ask my parents to spend their inheritance on me.”

“In fact, when my grandmother died several years ago, when I had over $100K in student-loan debt, it never did occur to me.”- JJ12622

“So question: what was the point of ‘I let them see the house’ when A) they got nothing out of that other than looking at a nice house that would never be theirs because you’re selling it, and B) what was the point, especially in letting them know the sell amount, when you knew off top you wouldn’t share or want to have this conversation.”

“You’re coming to Reddit and asking, but it’s like, I could see if these were your estranged siblings.”

“They’re your children, and you’re condemning them in your choice of words for wanting better for their lives (about good higher education universities).”

“Glad for your youngest in community college.”

“If they only went to the community, that means they only get an AA, and that severely limits their job pool.”

“Compared to your other children who are obviously striving for bachelor’s degrees and higher, there is a reason why people strive for higher education, and it’s not because they want to be students for most of their life.”

“Alot of kids dream of their parents paying for their schooling.”

“You didn’t have the means to before.”

“This gave them hope.”

“I don’t think it’s much deeper than that.”

“They’ll get over it, they know it’s not their money, that’s why they’re upset because they hoped you’d share anyway.”

“Your kids will be in debt now and hopefully get high-paying jobs that will bring back investment by 10x, and that will be ‘their’ money.”

“This post just reads weird.”

“You are NTA for the title because, again, it is your money.”

“You are TA when it comes to life lessons because in situations like this, you will always be recommended to just cash out and keep quiet because people are obviously going to ask, justified or not.”

“Sharing and then being confused that the expectation is that you’re willing is what will get you in this situation.”

“So in the future, you probably should keep to yourself.”- helpmebiscuits


“I’m a live-in caregiver.”

“My lady is 84.”

“She has macular degeneration and is legally blind.”

“She’s also been diagnosed with vascular dementia.”

“Elder care is SUPER EXPENSIVE!”

“You need to plan for your own old age care.”

“This has surely opened my eyes to my own future.”

“Your kids are greedy AHs, and I sure hope you plan wisely with your windfall.”- Readsumthing


“Quite a few of my friends took a similar approach with their kids.”

“If they went to community colleges (for 2 years) or state schools (all which were highly rated) that they would cover that part of their payments.”

“If the kids chose to go to a school at 4x the cost, the difference was on them.”

“I have other friends who are working into their late 60s because they used their savings to pay off their kid’s college and other debts.”

“Why would the kids think they are entitled to their Mom’s money?”

“They made their choices.”- hikergirl26

Some, however, felt it was cruel of the OP to show her children their mother’s house only to tell them they were going to sell it and not give them any of the money, even if they still agreed the OP’s children should not have expected them to pay off their debts.

“I understand your side well, so I hope to help you understand where your kids are coming from.”

“As a millennial with boomer parents, I would never call them a**holes for not sharing their wealth.”

“They had a whole plan for what retirement would be for them and financially supporting their kids in adulthood was not part of that plan.”


“I am divorced and struggling and while that’s my problem, I wonder how much people can love me and still watch me suffer when they could potentially help.”

“Knowing what the economy has become and that more people are struggling (Will your kids have a retirement savings at all?), it is easy to see how they might have had hopes for this windfall.”

“You don’t seem very aware of their situations outside college loans.”

“And I do think you sucked for not helping them more.”

“Starting adult life with debt can be insurmountable given high inflation and stagnant wages.”

“Were you instilling in them independence or absolving yourself of all financial responsibility after age 18?”

“Does it seem cruel to you?”

“And does it have to be all or nothing as far as the inheritance?”

“Anyway. ESH.”

“I mean, do you care about these people?”

No one enjoys living with debt, making it more than understandable why the OP’s children hoped the OP might help them out.

However, the OP did make it abundantly clear that their education was on them, inheritance or not.

This raises the question: Will the OP’s children force their own children to pay their own way through life?

Or will this experience inspire them to do exactly the opposite?

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.