My Son Agrees With the Girl Who Sued Her Parents

csfMy son called to tell me that he did great on his midterm for Differential Geometry. It’s a hard class he said. So hard that he spends 20 to 30 hours studying each week.

I am proud of him. And we had a great conversation on how he’s finally figuring out this whole college thing — until I brought up the girl who sued her parents for her private Catholic School tuition, expenses, and future college education. (her photo is below)

I was sure my son would say, “What a jerk.”

We had a rough time his senior year and today he calls himself a jerk — looking back on how we interacted. (More on this in “My Son Wrote About His Crazy Mom for His Senior Project.”)

You can only imagine how I was shocked to hear him say that it’s “publicly accepted in our country for parents to pay for their kids college and that it’s her right.”

Where did we — or more importantly — I go wrong?

I read about how the judge called the high school senior “a spoiled brat.” I threw the argument at my son that the judge brought up — is it now going to be okay for a 12-year-old to sue their parents because he wants an Xbox?

My son said, “No, Mom. There’s a big difference between a college education and an Xbox.”


I see these kids as part of the “occupy generation”  — spoiled, feeling entitled, like society owes them something. These are kids that all got trophies in t-ball for participation (I’ll write about that another time!)

Saving for 18 years for our kids to go to college was our choice. (Read my post “College Costs — A lot!”)

Going to college is a privilege, not a right. The “paid for college privilege” is earned through hard work in academics, sports, and being a valuable member of the family and greater community. I’m proud that my kids work hard. I’m just surprised that my son has a different world view.

Is my son an exception? Or do lots of kids believe that their parents owe them college? Ask your kids if they believe college should be paid for by parents. Comment below and tell me what they said.

What is Differential Geometry you ask? According to Wikipedia…

Differential geometry is a mathematical discipline that uses the techniques of differential calculus and integral calculus, as well as linear algebra and multilinear algebra, to study problems in geometry. The theory of plane and spacecurves and of surfaces in the three-dimensional Euclidean space formed the basis for development of differential geometry during the 18th century and the 19th century. Since the late 19th century, differential geometry has grown into a field concerned more generally with the geometric structures on differentiable manifolds. Differential geometry is closely related to differential topology, and to the geometric aspects of the theory of differential equations. The differential geometry of surfaces captures many of the key ideas and techniques characteristic of this field.

From the Los Angeles Times: An open letter to my kids about suing mom and dad.



10 Terms to Test Your Investment IQ


I know you’ve heard them talked about and mentioned a million times. But, do you know what they mean? How many of these ten financial terms can you can define:





Mutual Fund,



Asset Allocation,

Blue Chip,

and DOW.

imagesIf we women are going to own the world, then we better know what we’re talking about. How many times have you listened to a financial advisor and your eyes glaze over? Is it because financial professionals take for granted that you have knowledge that you don’t have? Is it their jargon? Or, are they are just plain boring!


Take a moment to quiz yourself. FYI, the answers are right here:

Ten Investment Terms

Equity  — stock, ownership in a company.

Bond — Unlike a stock, where you are an owner in a company, with a bond, you lend money to a corporation, municipality or government agency.  In return, you will be paid back your money plus interest.

Yield — This term is often found to be confusing.  There are several types of yield, but the basic definition is the income return you’ll receive on an investment.

Risk — The more risk you take, the higher your chance of reward and vice versa. There are many different types of risk including company, market, inflationary, reinvestment risk, etc.

Mutual Fund –  A pool of money that is collected from many investors and invested in stocks, bonds, options, commodities or money market securities.

ETF  — Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) is an investment traded much like stock on the exchanges.  An ETF closely mimics an index, such as a stock or bond index.  (SPDR is an example that follows the S&P 500.)

Dividend — Corporate profits paid to shareholders of common and preferred stock.

Asset Allocation — Diversifying your investments across different assets (cash, stocks, and bonds) to protect against volatility.

Blue Chip — Large, well known companies that have performed well over a long period of time.

DOW — The Dow Jones Industrial Average known as the “DOW” is a compilation of 30 blue chip companies, that gives a snapshot of how the overall market is doing at a particular time.

How did you score?

0 to 3  financial flounder

4 to 7 fiscally efficient

8 – 10 financial wizard

imgresHere’s a link to a great article on planning and saving for college education.


College Costs — a Lot!


My son (yes, the one who tried to give away the cat on Facebook) is in his third year of college. We began his college savings soon after he was born — and our daughter’s too. I asked the grandparents if instead of buying toys and clothing for Christmas and birthdays, could they send a check for their college accounts? One grandparent thought that was a horrific idea and how tacky of me to ask! The others said, “Great! What a good idea!”

When you have small children, you may notice how overboard the gifts get in proportion to the little guys, and how quickly the toys are overlooked, broken, and the clothing outgrown. A contribution to the college account is a present forever. Your child can help select investments as they grow older, track their account’s growth, and participate in the education of preparing for college.

You know your own relatives best and if this idea is an option for you. Of course, we were the major contributors to the college savings, but it’s nice to have help while saving for hundreds of thousands of dollars for an education!


Do you know how much college costs these days? My son is in a public university in California and it’s about $30,000 per year. If he went to a private university, it would be closer to $60,000. What will it be years from now, when your kids are in school?

Do you know the difference between college savings plans? 529s, UGMA/UMTAs and Coverdells? Which is best for you? As the wife of a financial advisor for 25 years — if you have questions — I advise you to ask a financial advisor for help. They help families prepare for milestones like college planning and retirement.

Here are links to helpful resources.

Comparing College Savings Plans

How Much is a College Education Worth? 

Inflation and College Costs 

College costs through the years