Help! Our son is using his student loans to party

Starting now, only pay for tuition and books

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From the Summer 2016 issue of the magazine.

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student loans

Q: We pay for all our son’s university expenses and just found out that he took out student loans to party. What should we do?

—Angry in Airdrie, Alta.

A: Your son’s sense of entitlement needs to be nipped in the bud, pronto! Otherwise, he’ll be in for a lot of financial hardship in the future, says Toronto-based financial planner Heather Franklin. You need to sit him down and show him how many thousands you’re already paying for his education. And one message should be very clear: Starting now, you’ll only be paying for tuition and books— and that’s all. “He needs to know he will be expected to pay back his student loans on his own,” says Franklin.

Bear in mind that behaviour like this could have been avoided with a bit of financial literacy, something that unfortunately is rarely taught in schools. “So now’s the time to bring clarity to the repercussions his decision will have on the other major financial choices he will have to make in his life,” says Franklin.

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3 comments on “Help! Our son is using his student loans to party

  1. Smokers know smoking is bad for them, reminding them never make them quit. You son knows he’ll pay for it later. There is really nothing one can say to stop him from borrowing to party.

    My cousins and her friends all used student loan to buy stuff and travel aboard back in early 90s. They never regraded it because the interest is so low. It is also considered “good debt” on paper to loan officers when you buy a house. Those who didn’t max out on student loan end up regrading because now that they have money in their 40s, they don’t have time to travel. Besides, the debt pressure people to seek higher paying job that they might like. They are less likely to “chase their dreams”. My friends who took out more debt and spend like crazy end up being millionaires sooner.

    You really can’t predict the future. He’s a grown man, let him deal with it.


    • Note: I meant “Regretting”. Stupid autocorrect…


  2. I saw this kind of behavior when I was in university. Many of the people whose parents paid all their bills basically partied hard and flunked out. My husband wants to pay for our kids’s university in full and I prefer to offer a certain amount plus more based on how they do – plus match every dollar they save – hings like that. Then at the end, if the expenses / loans are reasonable and we are financially able to, we’ll pick up the tab. But only after they’ve finished and done a reasonable job with grades and keeping their expenses in check. I think it’s dangerous to give every child a free education with expenses since some won’t value that education as much as if they have “skin in the game”.


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