Money Manners

Tuition fundraisers aren’t the new normal

King Features Syndicate

DEAR JEANNE AND LEONARD: Friends have invited my sister to a “fundraiser spaghetti feed” to raise money for their daughter. The “door charge” is $20 per person, and there also will be a raffle and a silent auction.

It seems that “Taylor,” who is 20, needs $8,200 for tuition and expenses to enroll in a program where she will earn a certificate as a dog obedience instructor.

To me, this event is terrible on every level. For one thing, Taylor’s parents own a small business and appear to be doing well. If they haven’t saved enough to pay for Taylor’s education, isn’t that their problem?

Shouldn’t they either borrow the money or postpone the training program until they can afford to pay for it, rather than hit up their friends, family and business associates? Or is this the new normal, and should I be holding fundraisers to help put my own children through college?

— J.B.

A DEAR J.B.: Well, if you do, don’t bother inviting us.

Seriously, it’s far from unheard of for an aunt, uncle or grandparent to assist with a nephew’s, niece’s or grandchild’s education. But accepting the generosity of a close relation is a far cry from declaring your daughter a charity and asking everyone you know for help.

It’s not as if a tragedy has befallen Taylor’s parents. While there are unfortunate circumstances under which a family might reasonably turn to their community for financial help, a daughter’s desire to attend a training course doesn’t come close to qualifying.

Regrettably, the behavior of these parents, while not the new normal, is not so uncommon either. Too bad. Once upon a time, middle-class folks would have been ashamed to panhandle.

Working sons can chip in

DEAR JEANNE AND LEONARD: At what point should we stop picking up tabs for our adult children? Every summer we spend a week at the beach with our sons “Andrew” and “Jason,” along with Jason’s wife and two children.

My wife and I pay the entire rental fee — and it’s a big one — for the house we rent. Neither of our sons has ever offered to chip in. Not that they can’t afford to. Andrew is a single guy with a high-paying job, and both Jason and his wife also make good money.

— George

A DEAR GEORGE: To answer your question, many moons ago.

If your children are old enough to have well-paying jobs, they are old enough to have already started paying for at least some of that beach house.

Old habits die hard, though, so you’re going to need to give your sons a push in the right direction. This summer, well before the vacation begins, inform them of what the house rents for, and tell them you’re hoping they’ll pay their share.

Keep in mind, however, that once Andrew and Jason start paying their way, they’ll also have some decision-making rights. So if next year they prefer the mountains to the beach, there’s not much you can say.

Tip for takeout?

DEAR JEANNE AND LEONARD: Do I have to tip when I pick up takeout food at a Chinese restaurant?

— D.A.

A DEAR D.A.: Not in a rational world. But clearly there are employees of takeout joints who believe the posted price of the food covers only preparing the dish and not handing it to the customer. If the place you regularly go to for takeout expects its customers to leave a gratuity, it may be unwise not to, since retaliation is not unheard of.

Hate the idea of being strong-armed for a tip, but can’t live without the kung pao chicken? Then think about eating it at the restaurant instead of at home. At least you’ll receive the service you’re tipping for.

Email your questions about money and relationships to questions@moneymanners.net.

| King Features Syndicate

  Comments