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Parents Refuse To Give Son The Money In His College Fund So He Can Start His Own Business

Parents talking to son
JackF/Getty Images

Not all children are lucky enough to get financial assistance from their parents.

As a result, going to college might be out of the realm of possibilities, unless they work all four years and save up enough money.

Some are lucky, however, who have parents who either have the means to pay for their child’s college education or put money aside for that exact purpose.

Such was the case for the son of Redditor Night_Owl63, whose parents had saved a healthy amount so he could attend college without worry.

As a result, the original poster (OP) wasn’t thrilled when his son announced he wasn’t going to college.

Nor was the OP’s son remotely pleased when he was denied being given his college fund.

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

“AITA for holding my son’s college fund hostage?”

The OP explained that while they were willing to accept their son’s decision not to go to college, he was unconvinced by his plans for his college fund.

“I( 48 M[ale]) have a son that graduated this year from high school.”

“We (my wife and I) started his college fund the minute we found out she was pregnant.”

“Since we make good money (in the mid 6 figures), his college fund currently has almost $400k in it.”

“We have never told our son what to do with his life.”

“We may have guided his decisions as any good parent should, but since he was still young we let him make his own decisions.”

“We also never expected academic excellence or forced him into sports or artistic activities.”

“Now that he graduated high school, he said that he did not want to go to college.”

“We said as long as he was sure, he could whatever he wanted.”

“He refused trade schools too.”

“He also did not want to work with us in our business.”

“He said that he planned to use his college fund to start a business of his own.”

“I said that I will allow it only if he takes some Business Management, accounting and law classes in the nearby community college.”

“I said that I would pay them out of pocket and not from the fund.”

“And then I would expect a well made business plan before I would give him the money.”

“My wife agrees 100%.”

“But he called us AHs for holding his college fund hostage to make him do what we want.”

“We think we are just doing our best to make sure that his business succeeds.”

“So AITA?”

“The money is in my and my wife’s name.”

“Earlier he said he wanted to take a couple years off to work before going to college.”

“It wasn’t until earlier last week that he said he wanted to start a business.”

“I ran away from an abusive home at 16, worked for my FIL and got paid under the table until I was able to work legally.”

“The only reason I have the money I do is that married the boss’ daughter and her father left us a paid off house and a booming business.”

“He moved to spain to enjoy retirement.”

“I didn’t even get my GED and go to college until I had my kid.”

“So I spoiled my kid like I wish I was spoiled.”

“That is also the reason why I asked, I live in fear of doing something that could make me like my parents, and I know this community is full of younger people who might give me a different perspective.”

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
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

The Reddit community agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for refusing to give his son his college fund.

Everyone agreed that the OP. had saved that money for an express purpose which the OP’s son was not going to use it for, and giving him such a sizable sum of money without any kind of education on money management or business savvy could be a risky, possibly reckless, decision.


“Who gives an 18 year old with no experience, no education, and no plan nearly half a million dollars in seed money?”

“The fact that he doesn’t see how absurd that is tells me he’s not ready for the money.”- saurellia

“Whoaaaaa NTA at all.”

“You and your wife are INCREDIBLY generous and have set super reasonable guidelines of how you’d like the money to be spent.”

“Not to mention, if he started a business, there is a good chance it would not even take off, so I think it is INCREDIBLY generous for you to support that expense as well, and it seems wise to have a couple caveats in place if he chooses to go that route.”

“I think your son is acting incredibly entitled, and doesn’t realize how lucky he is to even have a college fund set aside for him.”

“So many adults are drowning in student debt.”

“He needs some big-picture perspective.”

“It sounds to me like you’re doing everything right in this scenario, and how awesome that you and your wife had the foresight and the means to contribute to a college fund for your son!”

“Way to go, dad!”- Impressive_Cat_530


“It’s a college fund not a f*cking around and having fun fund.”

“You asked him to show proof he understands what he is doing with his so called business.”

“Let him get a job and learn some responsibility before giving him 400k.”- Katana1369


“It is not ‘his’ college fund.”

“It is parents money saved for his future.”

“Already, you are being very open minded to not mandate college.”

“The classes seems a bare minimum safety before handing a teenager almost half a million dollars.”

“I think even after the classes, I would treat the fund as an investor.”

“That only provides part of the funding, until the business meets certain benchmarks and then releases more funds.”- TwoCentsPsychologist

“I’m going with NTA.”

“If he wants you to invest in his business, he absolutely needs to have a business plan.”

“Or he can go look for other investors!”- Reasonable_Minute_42


“Business lesson #1: If you refuse a good offer because ‘you don’t want to’ do something, you don’t have a business building mindset.”- ClaymoreClair


“‘His’ college fund is in your name, right?”

“So it’s your money to do with as you wish.”

“And you’re smart to not just hand a significant sum of money to an 18 year old who hasn’t even made a business plan.”- teresajs


“You’re doing what parents are supposed to do, look out for the best interest of their child.”

“You can give him the $400,000 after high School or you can give him a giant bag of meth the outcome will be the same it’ll destroy him.”

“He needs to get some real world experience and the way you were approaching it is actually the ideal situation great job let him be mad let him out let him run away from home but don’t give him the money.”- ManofLegacy

“NTA the fact he isn’t interested in gaining skills necessary for building a company tells you how serious he is about the business.”-TeaLoverGal


“Our son started college under protest.”

“We didn’t force him, just told him that we wouldn’t pay for anything without a plan.”

“He kept threatening to quit school because he ‘could’, and I would listen and say that it was his choice.”

“He then said he wanted to start a business, and he asked us to invest.”

“We told him we’d need a business plan.”

“In the meantime, the clock kept ticking and he kept taking classes, still threatening to quit until his senior year.”

“He graduated 2 years ago and has continued to work at a local business.”

“Now the owner wants to retire, so my son and two other long-time employees wrote a business plan and negotiated a buyout plan with the owner.”

“Our son is getting a loan for his share of the downpayment from the Bank of Mom & Dad at a very favorable interest rate of dog-sitting on request.”

“Your requirements are very reasonable.”

“Your son sounds immature and/or entitled.”

“Perhaps he needs to work a job for which he is currently qualified.”

“My guess is he won’t last long before life teaches him a tough lesson.”-bigtoeleftfoot

Not all parents would even be remotely accepting of their child making the decision not to go to college.

Whether they were paying for it or not.

The fact that the OP’s son wasn’t even willing to go to a few classes, which his father would pay for, in order to obtain his college fund makes one curious how exactly he thinks he’ll be able to run a successful business.

Or where all the money would go should it be handed over to him.

Thankfully, we’ll likely never know, as it seems pretty clear that the money will never be given to him.

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'.