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Mum wants money back for education

(186 Posts)
ssalvato Fri 14-Mar-14 12:06:18

So my mum and dad gave me money that they specifically stated needed to be paid off for a house and a car. I have spent the last 5.5 years paying this off and am so happy that I have now paid it off to the tune of £10,000. With that done, I call my mum and say I've paid off my debts, I don't really want to be paying money into your account until the end of time. Plus the fact that I am finishing up a phd and am short on cash now. I'm not earning money and my husband has just lost his job.

She turns round and says, well your father (who died in July) gave you £14k for your Oxford education. YOu need to pay your debts. I reply, I didn't think that was a debt. She said, as your parents, we didn't insist you pay it, it was just assumed that you would pay it back! It was money for my education, isn't it what parents do.

That said, yes they gave me a thousand here and a thousand there through uni but isn't that what parents do? I took out loans to fund myself and worked through most of it. So now I am thinking I am done paying, she brings up this 'debt' that has never been mentioned before.

I did say to her, "i'll see you right", meaning when I am earning I will make sure I look after you. Thinks are more complicated by the fact that my husband does not get on with my mother and my mother hates him and blames him for everything. He doesn't want our money to be perpeptually going into her account for a debt that was money for education. The problems I have:

1. She has got me questioning what the terms of that money were. Was it a loan? I'm pretty sure they said we will pay for it, I know you'll see us right. Rather than, you can pay us back when you are rich! Either way there was no formality over the payment.

2. Should I pay her perpeptually? If I do, I am acknowleding that this is something that specifically needs to be paid and will take me years and years.

3. When I told her I didn't have the money to pay, she automatically jumped to the fact that my husband was to blame. She didn't once ask whether things were ok financially.

4. I want to help her out. I acknowledge her and my father's contribution, but should I feel endebted to her? Should I feel like I owe it to her?

5. Am I being harsh? Should I just keep paying her?

I don't know what to do. Part of me thinks I should pay her, but I can't afford to right now. Additionally, isn't it a parent's job/desire to help out their children? Should they expect it back? Is it wrong of her to feel entitled to regular financial payments?


CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 14-Mar-14 12:07:55

Is your mother short of money?

eurochick Fri 14-Mar-14 12:09:03

Unless it was clearly a loan at the time, I would let her whistle for it.

My parents were clear - they supported me through yooni. When I chose to do a postgrad qualification, they lent me the money (and I repaid it).

LtEveDallas Fri 14-Mar-14 12:10:38

I'm not earning money and my husband has just lost his job

If you cannot afford to pay her, then you can't pay her. It's simple. If the money isn't there then you cannot conjour it up from thin air.

However, be prepared for this to wreck any relationship you have with her. You can't help it, but she probably won't see it that way.

Yama Fri 14-Mar-14 12:13:44

I'm not sure. My parents have always stated that they never lend, they only give away money. They think lending is the fastest way to fall outs.

I never took off them but a couple of my siblings did.

I now don't lend. I will give away what I can afford.

Not sure how to answer your questions as your mother's views are diametrically opposed to my own mother's. However, your parents have given you thousands whereas I got nothing. I paid my own way through uni.

Perhaps you wouldn't have taken the money if you knew you had to pay it back. Is there a compromise to be made?

ghostofawasp Fri 14-Mar-14 12:14:29

Hmmmm...Do you generally have a good relationship with her? It does seem very odd, I don't think she can suddenly turn around and ask for money back that you didn't realise was meant as a loan, rather than a gift. Is she being funny with you?

tribpot Fri 14-Mar-14 12:15:42

I would not assume that money given whilst at uni was a loan unless this was specifically stated at the time. That said, that's what I would assume if I were an undergrad aged 18. Did they fund your PhD, or was this money from your first degree? I certainly wouldn't expect money given during postgraduate study was a gift.

You can't afford to pay her, so I think that the conversation is moot right now. I'm lost as to why you said to her I don't really want to be paying money into your account until the end of time - it implies you thought you would still be expected to fund her in some way, once the house/car loan was paid off? Or did you just mean 'what a relief to have our debt paid off now'?

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 14-Mar-14 12:22:32

The one time my DM and I fell out about money was when she was trying to control my behaviour. She didn't approve of my then bf and withdrew her parental contrib to my final year at uni if I didn't get shot. I opted to keep the bf (big mistake but that's another story smile ) and paid for myself.

If your DM doesn't like your DH - and I note she leaps to blame him - there will be something similar going on. She's using this alleged 'loan' as a way to control you. You can either ignore it and she'll bear a grudge for a long time or you can pay off the obligation and wash your hands of her. Either way I think your relationship is badly damaged.

holidaysarenice Fri 14-Mar-14 12:24:48

You could try my brother's trick..

'That debt died with my father'

I have yet to get my head around that one!!

Quinteszilla Fri 14-Mar-14 12:27:47

My guess is that she will always find a "loan" you need to pay off, if she wants to. So even if you pay it now, I am sure she will come up with something.

How did she arrive at this figure?

But dont worry, if she is charging you for her parenting, you dont have to worry about her in old age....

Qix Fri 14-Mar-14 12:36:48

Her wanting this money back would be akin to her saying 'oh, and you owe me 18 years rent from when you were growing up'. Totally ridiculous.

FelineLou Fri 14-Mar-14 12:42:31

Just tell her she paid that to have intelligent children educated. She cannot require you to pay back a gift. Assure her when you are well off you will help. I think she feels vulnerable as she is getting older.
You cannot pay her money you do not have.
Our three children went to boarding school and uni and are well off now. I am happy with that as a loving mother should be.

AdoraBell Fri 14-Mar-14 12:52:42

I also think there may be something there in terms of not liking your DH and trying To control you. Definitely the control aspect.

My take is that unless it was specificaly given as a loan, with an agreement of when you were expected To reply it, then it wasn't a loan. And yes, once this is paíd there will be another Bill, maybe all the food you ate whole growing up, and that roof you had over your head.

AdoraBell Fri 14-Mar-14 12:54:11

while growing up.

NurseyWursey Fri 14-Mar-14 12:55:24

I wouldn't be paying her at all.

lizzypuffs Fri 14-Mar-14 12:59:01

I would assume it was a gift at the time if nothing was mentioned about giving it back.

My parents didn't have money to give me when I was a student but when they did it was simply because I was their child, they loved me and wanted to support as and when they could afford.

Orangeanddemons Fri 14-Mar-14 12:59:13

I give my ds money for uni. It has never once occurred to me to ask him to pay it back. Never. He's my ds and I love him, so I want to help him all I can. Young adults will have enough debt as it is, withour parents demanding repayment.

Coffeethrowtrampbitch Fri 14-Mar-14 12:59:31

Unless she specified that it was a loan at the time, she cannot ask you to pay it back.

It does sound like she is trying to control you, sorry.

Could she be in financial difficulties herself so she wants you to keep paying her?

Erroroccurred Fri 14-Mar-14 13:02:35

She sounds horridsad and once you pay that there are the childhood clothes, food and everything else. What a sad view of life she has, what she has lost is not money.

rookiemater Fri 14-Mar-14 13:03:34

Most normal parents who can afford it offer to pay for their children's university education.

If the money was intended as a loan rather than a contribution then this should have been stated at the time, that way you could have taken out a student loan, or if you are as old as me, got a grant on the basis that your parents weren't paying for it.

I'm sorry your mother is behaving like this. Is she short of cash?

ChasedByBees Fri 14-Mar-14 13:04:11

I would expect money to be paid to support a child through university to be a gift unless otherwise stated.

The government conducts means testing on your parents so there is an assumption that your parents will continue to fund your education - not as a loan but as part of their parental responsibilities. I wouldn't pay.

BitOutOfPractice Fri 14-Mar-14 13:04:48

OP no you should not be paying her back. The money was freely given at the time and with no discussion it was a load? Then it is ridiculous for her to expect her to repay it. Very puzzling?

Is she going to ask you for the money she spent on your school shoes? Or a holiday she took you on in 1983?

Hope you're OK. I would be very upset if my mom said that to me

LaurieFairyCake Fri 14-Mar-14 13:05:32

It's not a loan unless she told you it was before you chose to go to uni.

I'd dump her if it was me.

TheKnightsThatSayNee Fri 14-Mar-14 13:08:10

It wasn't a loan.
Do you think she is relying on your payments financially?

sarahandmallard Fri 14-Mar-14 13:11:37

You could have qualified for much more financial support (and possibly even grants), if your parents made it clear that they were not financially supporting your education and any money they gave you was a loan. Tell your mother she clearly knows how to articulate when a loan is a loan, as you've just been repaying her 10K. Ask her what the real problem is, and if she realizes her behaviour (alone) is alienating you. Is she hoping you and husband divorce? Is she planning on disliking your future children's father so publicly? Does she think she will have any sort of a relationship with future grandchildren if she continues to be so openly hostile to you as a family unit?

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