DR. WALLACE: I’ve been saving money to go to college and live on my own for a while now, and it finally paid off! I started a community college course this summer and have a good job at a restaurant in our town, and I now live alone with a roommate.
I’m 19 and I’m a woman and I take great pride in doing things on my own. It’s really important for me to be independent and make my own way in this world. It feels good to have a job, pay my own bills, pay my rent, and just have enough money to go to college right now.
One day I hope to be able to transfer to a four-year university somewhere in my area and get a four-year college degree.
Recently I received an offer that both surprised and surprised me. My father’s parents (my grandparents), who lived in the East, unfortunately both fell ill recently. My grandmother recovered, but my grandfather passed away. Now this grandma just moved here to Colorado to live with my parents. I saw her the other day and she asked me about my life, and when I told her, she said she was very proud of me! I liked it very much and I told him so.
Then, a week later, I visited my parents’ house for dinner on Saturday night. When it was over, I sat next to Grandma in our living room, and she surprised me by telling me that she would like to pay for my university education! I told him that it was not necessary but that it was a very good idea. However, she insisted and made me promise to come back next week to talk to her more about it.
I really have in mind that I would like to chart my own path in this world. Should I graciously decline Grandma’s offer, or is there some logical reason why I should accept it? — Freelance at My Core, via email
INDEPENDENT IN MY HEART: There is no reason for you to consider yourself less independent just because a beloved family member wants to help you. Begin by realizing that you did not ask for this help, for it was given to you as a gift out of the goodness of his heart.
You can honor his generosity in different ways. You can start by applying these funds just for your education and nothing else. You can spend the money wisely, carefully buying the best possible schools, textbooks, courses and related ancillary materials. Your grandmother will be very proud to see you succeed in your quest to receive a four-year college degree!
And if you want to stay true to your core belief in staying as independent as possible, you can make a silent promise to yourself. Promise that when you’re older, graduate from college, and have enough resources to help another youngster or two in the same way you’re potentially being helped right now, you’ll commit to doing just that for someone. another!
This way, you can think of the funds as a loan that you will repay at a later date through another person you will similarly help when you are several decades older than you are now. You will have paid for your college education yourself, as your “books” will be perfectly balanced at this point.
DR. WALLACE: Please help me settle a family dispute! I’m 18 and the youngest of four siblings. My 22 year old sister, my 20 year old brother and I all live at home with our parents. Our 25 year old brother lives alone out of state as he has a great career that he really enjoys.
Now that I’m out of high school and all four of us are adults, my mom recently mentioned to my dad that she’d like to get a part-time job to take care of. We live in a comfortable neighborhood in a comfortable house, and my dad has had a good steady job for the past 30 years. He doesn’t think it’s necessary for my mom to go out and work part-time somewhere because we’ve been able to live as a family on her salary for quite a long time. My parents are also both extremely thrifty and good savers, so luckily we have always been well off, regardless of how the national economy has changed.
So the question is basically this: should my mom take a part-time job if she wants to, or would it be better for her to stay a housewife even though her four children are now adults? Don’t forget that there are three of us living in the house, so there is still a lot going on in terms of laundry, meals and housekeeping! — The youngest of the four, by e-mail
YOUNGEST OF THE FOUR: I’m 100% on your mom’s side on this one! As you said, you three siblings are all adults so can easily help with laundry, housekeeping, and meals. Your mother shouldn’t have to wait for you all three feet and fists so far in your life.
I’m sure she will still be very active at home even if she takes a part-time job at the same time. She deserves this opportunity to try something new that can be satisfying on different levels for her. She’ll be able to socialize with her colleagues, be productive in different ways, and take a break from the routine she’s obviously been so good at for so long.
Tell your dad it’s probably not about the money she’ll make, but about the pleasure and self-satisfaction she’ll get from this new venture. I encourage him and your family to seek to make his desire to work outside the home a reality.