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Slow Down, Start-Up!

Q.4. OUR SON TELLS US HIS college professors “don’t know anything” and he wants to take next year’s tuition money from us to invest in a small IT company of his own. He says he’d come home and set up an office in the basement and give us three times the money at the end of the year. How should we answer him? We don’t want three times the money, we want him in college.

A. IT’S AMAZING HOW CONFIDENT young people can be when they haven’t yet accomplished anything. Perhaps that comes from helicopter parents telling them all their lives that they are superior and giving the kids trophies for every step they’ve ever taken since kindergarten. Regardless, it’s time to speak the truth: You will not lend him the money now—and you expect him to finish college before he asks for any more handouts. If you feel benevolent you may hold out a carrot on a stick, offering to help him start a company in your basement as a graduation present –but only if he does very well at his studies while in school.

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