Dear Quentin, My boyfriend has a 20-year-old daughter in college. He pays for all of her college and sorority expenses, which total $3,000 a month. He pays for the car loan and insurance for his ex-wife, who he claims is a poor teacher. His daughter often calls him and lets him know she is out of money.
I worry about what will happen if we get more serious and discuss living together or getting married. His daughter is extremely dependent upon him and his generosity. I fear she is spoiled and will expect him to continue paying for everything, even after she graduates from college. What happens if we marry? Are my worries justified? Worried in New Mexico
“Every couple should have a conversation about expectations and financial goals before getting married, but they should also make sure they’re getting married for the right reasons.”
Dear Worried, There are two very different issues here. His daughter will be his No. 1 priority during her college years and beyond. It’s not a competition; it’s life. His income is his own, and he will continue to spend it as his head and heart dictate. That’s his prerogative. Relationships don’t always end with divorce, especially when there are children involved. There is an emotional bond that can last a lifetime, and a financial relationship that continues above and beyond the divorce ruling. So my message to you is buckle up: The college expenses are not over yet. Parents’ income and savings fund the largest portion of college costs (40%), followed by scholarships and grants (29%), according to the 2023 report by student-lending giant Sallie Mae on how America pays for college. The remaining college costs are covered by student borrowing (11%), student income and savings (10%), parents borrowing money (8%) and relatives and friends (2%). You’ve been together a mere five months, so take the time to look at your feelings and response to his financial relationship to his ex-wife and daughter. It’s very early days for you to second-guess the monetary ties between this man and his family. And fair warning — his daughter may need her father’s support and financial help after …