I have two daughters and one son. They are all quite young (the oldest is four). At this moment when I look ahead to the future I am have the exact same financial plan for each of them. Currently, we financially treat them all the same. We save the same amount for college, buy the same amount of food and clothes. However, the reality is that it is quite likely my daughters will have different futures that will impact their finances (as compared to my son).
Photo by Mrs. Gooding via Flickr
Weddings, Babies, and College: The Dividing Wall?
At least as long as the tradition does not change (which it may be already) I will be expected to pay for a wedding for each of my daughters, but there is no similar expectation to provide a large financial gift to my son.
Possible Work Force Absence
My son is more likely to spend a greater part of his working career outside of the home. When it comes time for grandchildren (what a strange thought) my daughters will not be working for a longer period than my son. If God blesses them with children I assume they will have to take at least a day off for labor and delivery (unless there are some HUGE medical advances).
These two issues got me thinking and I wanted to hear your opinion.
Unless tradition changes (which it already is starting to) I will be responsible to pay for two weddings. My son on the other hand, is not in line to get such a gift. What if one of my daughters does not marry? What if one wants the wedding of the century and the other a simple wedding?
For what it’s worth, here is my quick thoughts on the parents paying for a wedding. There is no way (I think) that I am going to pay for a no-questions-asked wedding. I will, however, offer a reasonable predetermined amount of money to my daughters to pay for their weddings. My daughters will need to budget accordingly or subsidize the difference.
Question #1: If I pay for my daughter’s wedding should I then also do something special for my son?
I’m thinking about a “Your Life, Your Future Fund” for each of my children. I want to be sure I am doing a good job with financial parenting.
Would it be fair to have a predetermined amout of money that I tell my kids is available to them when they reach a crucial point in their lives? Let’s say for point of illustration that I will have $5,000 for each of my kids.
Daughter #1 wants a $10,000 wedding. She knows that mom and dad are only going to pay $5,000 and she comes up with the rest.
Daughter #2 wants a simple wedding at $2,000 and $3,000 to use towards starting a small business.
Son #3 wants to go to graduate school and wants to use the $5,000 towards tuition.
Is that fair? Should my son get money for school just because he did not have to pay for a wedding? Is getting a paid-for wedding just a privilege of being a daughter?
College and Possible Work Force Absence
Question #2: Should college school advice ever differ for a son or a daughter?
Let’s say my daughter decides she wants to go to a four year college, then go off to get a Masters degree and then stay home and be a mom. Is it wise to say – sure go for it? Or would I be better off cautioning her about the process? School often comes with payments. Payments are made with money. Where will the money come from if she plans to stay at home?
Personally I think the answer comes down to one issue — debt. The discussion is not about education or degrees. If my little girl wants to pay for a college degree and pay for a Masters degree, I say go for it. However, if she plans to stay home after graduating and plans to incur debt I think I would encourage her to consider things a little more carefully.
What are your thoughts on either the issue of marriage and college decisions for sons and daughters?
Craig Ford is a fulltime missionary in Papua New Guinea who writes Money Help For Christians and Help Me Travel Cheap, a frugal family travel blog. He is the author of Money Wisdom From Proverbs, has a Masters of Divinity degree, and (most importantly) eats homemade pizza with his family every Friday night.