DEAR ABBY: I am the godparent of three children from different families. In the past, I have given each child money designated for his or her college fund, along with appropriate event gifts.
Within the last year, the parents of all three godchildren have disclosed to me that they (the parents) used the children's college funds for "family" use –- such as a down payment on a home, a family vacation or home renovation.
I am hurt and bewildered that my friends could do such a thing and destroy their child's college savings. All three of the children are young, and the parents each said something about "replacing" those funds "someday." Now I no longer feel comfortable giving them money, since I do not wish to fund the next family vacation or new car.
How do I address this tactfully with my friends, especially since my no longer contributing to the college funds will be noticed? Please help. -- ELIZABETH IN MOBILE, ALA.
DEAR ELIZABETH: You say you are hurt and bewildered? I'd be furious that the money I had given for a college fund had been pilfered by parents too immature to understand the blessing of compound interest.
Please don't penalize your godchildren for the bad behavior of their parents. Talk to your banker or financial adviser about establishing your own college funds for them -- funds that can't be touched until they are needed for the purpose for which they are intended. There may even be a tax break for you. And if the parents have the bad taste to bring up the subject, tell them the money will be there, but for now, it's safely out of the way of "temptation."