Yo, listen up! It’s your favourite concierge Slay Motivation here and I’m about to drop some truth bombs on why you should never, and I mean NEVER, rely on someone else to finance your lifestyle. I don’t care if it’s your parents, your grandparents, or even your rich uncle Bob – relying on handouts is a one-way ticket to financial disaster.

Just take a look at the latest research from Killik & Co, showing that nearly 1 in 5 parents with kids in private school are getting help from their own parents to foot the bill. And let me tell you, it’s not a pretty picture. Just ask Lucy Fisher, who thought she hit the jackpot when her parents started chipping in for her kid’s education. But now, it’s turned into a nightmare.

Listen up, people. It’s time to take control of your own finances and stop mooching off others. Because when that handout dries up, you’ll be left high and dry with no clue how to manage your own money. So do yourself a favor and start living within your own means. Trust me, it’s the only way to financial freedom. Peace out!

Lucy Fisher* talks about how relying on her parents for financial support has taken a nightmarish turn.

My husband and I have three daughters – they’re in Year 12, Year 9, and Year 7. They have all been at the same wonderful independent school in London since they were seven and are all really happy. The school has impressive resources for music, art, and sport, and it achieves really good academic results. The girls have loved the small, intimate feel of the school, and they seem to be thriving. The eldest got 8s and 9s in her GCSES.
But we don’t pay the school fees – my parents do. There’s no chance my husband and I would have even glanced at private schools otherwise, because we have a combined household income of £93k before tax, which is the same as the total cost of the girl’s school fees per year. The school costs £10k per term per child, which makes it £30k a term total, or £90k for the year. So, it would be totally impossible for us. We do the extras – the school trips, uniforms and that sort of thing – but they cover the fees. I am so incredibly grateful to my parents for what they’ve done for us.
When I had my first daughter, they told us they’d like to pay for her private education. I was thrilled. I went to a private school from the age of seven, and I enjoyed it, and made friends for life. My husband was more tentative, as he was nervous about whether that would grant his in-laws choice or say over the school we chose. Also, he went to a state school and comes from a lower-income household, so he was worried our child would become posh and entitled, asking for ponies and expecting five-star holidays because all her friends might be in Barbados for Easter holidays. I assured him it would all be OK, if we found the right school, and it has been.
In fact, my parents provided no comment at all on school choices, and none of our girls have turned out to be spoilt. They have a very privileged school existence, but they know that most children don’t get that, and are mindful of that.
When I had my second, and third, child, my parents said they had the funds to pay for their fees too, and we felt that if we could give all the girls the same, that would be amazing. I did question their offer, and talk it through with them properly, as I wanted to make sure they weren’t going to end up depriving themselves of anything. I also told them we were OK to have just one girl at private school, and the other in state school, if they couldn’t manage all three. After all, they might not have known we’d end up having three children.
They assured me it was what they wanted to do, and that they felt no obligation, only desire to help. My parents have a lot of money, and have been frugal with the sums they have. Their assets are down to a combination of a large inheritance, excellent and lucky investments in the 80s, a huge London house they bought in the 70s, which they’ve sold and made a big profit on, and my dad having had a high-paying finance job. Instead of passing it down to us after death, making it liable to inheritance tax, they decided to spend money on our children’s education, to see the benefits of it while they’re still alive (and only in their early seventies). They also have no other grandchildren and won’t have any, so they’ve focused their money on my three kids.
Here’s where it’s all become intensely stressful and difficult. Earlier this month, my dad dropped a bombshell and told me that essentially, he and my mum don’t have enough money to keep paying the fees for all three girls for the next academic year and beyond. There are complex reasons for this, but some of it relates to investments, and the fact they actually didn’t really portion enough out for care, and now my mum is in early stages of Alzheimer’s and my dad is panicking about future help he may need to pay for. It also turns out that £90k a year for several years has taken a bigger hit on their savings than they imagined, and in general my dad’s got very cold feet about carrying on. He was massively apologetic and upset, and I am starting to think he hadn’t really considered what older age could look like for him and my mum. He’d always been the, fit, energetic, skiing type as had mum. Now things are changing and they’re not feeling so invincible, perhaps.
Whatever’s going on, it’s been a massive shock to my husband and me, and I’ve barely been sleeping since he told us. We’ve kept it from the girls while we try to figure out what this means for them. I am both furious with my parents, and at the same time guilty for feeling like that, because they’ve been so generous and they mean so well.
I also feel stupid for having been so reliant on their finances, and perhaps not asked more pertinent questions about the future. I can’t see any other options but to take the girls out of school, but I am so worried about how this is going to massively disrupt the girls’ educations, exams, social lives, everything. My husband and I can’t manage these fees ourselves – maybe we could do the eldest’s as she’s only got a year left, but certainly we couldn’t manage any more than that.
We’re now frantically ringing up, and talking to local schools to see if they have spaces, and trying to work out how it could all work, whether they have the kinds of options for exams our girls are interested in doing, what sort of environment will be right for them. I am so worried about how they’ll adapt to a big, more anonymous school, where they’ll be far more left to their own devices and have less attention. I know there are lots of incredible state schools, I just feel that the transition might be really tough, especially with not much notice.
We will tell the girls what’s happening very soon, but I’m putting it off. I’ll have to talk to them after Christmas and explain the situation. I feel heart-broken about it, and also about the resentment I feel towards my parents, who I know don’t deserve it. Perhaps we should have sent them to a normal school all along, and stayed within the limits of our own finances. I’m saying all this because I know lots of people whose parents or in-laws pay the school fees, and while grandparents’ generosity is amazing, it can also go wrong.









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Never, and I mean NEVER, rely on someone else to finance your lifestyle. I don't care if it's your parents, your grandparents, or even your rich uncle Bob - relying on handouts is a one-way ticket to financial disaster.

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