DEAR ABBY: My son (I'll call him Earl) was married in Palm Beach to a girl he has lived with for some time. Her family is quite wealthy. The wedding was elaborate and must have cost more than $75,000. Earl's mother, my ex-wife who is also quite wealthy, and I hosted the rehearsal dinner for 80 guests and shared the nearly $4,000 in expenses. My present wife, our daughter who is a junior in college on scholarship and full financial aid, and I flew in from our home in Los Angeles for the ceremony. We sacrificed to attend and give the newlyweds a cash wedding gift. Our total cost for the occasion was more than $5,000.
My home and business were destroyed in the earthquake in 1994 and my wife and I have been struggling ever since.
My problem: Earl is a talented rock musician. His dream is to have a career in music, and he has asked me to give him money for expensive equipment for a studio he intends to build in his home. His 30th birthday is in late November.
I don't know how to handle this. I want to help him. Don't tell me to co-sign with him for a loan because when I did that before, I ended up paying the whole amount. Part of me says, why didn't they spend our wedding gift for the studio or opt for a smaller wedding and use some of that money for their future?
As a divorced father, all I was ever asked to provide for my son was money, and this seems to be the ongoing scenario. What should I do? -- EMBARRASSED IN L.A.
DEAR EMBARRASSED: If you are considering going into debt to come through with the birthday gift your son is soliciting, I urge you to reconsider.
You are overdue for a loving but frank talk with Earl about the financial facts of life. At 30, he's old enough to arrange other financing to advance his career.