My Parents Nicked My Money


Dear Scott,

My grandmother passed away in 2013 and left me, along with her other four grandchildren, $50,000. Unfortunately, my parents put the money into their mortgage offset account without discussion, as they thought I was too young to be in charge of the money (I was 22, but I have always been very responsible and a great saver — unlike them). Five years on and I want my money! The question is, should they be paying me the interest they made off my inheritance?


Scott's Answer

Hi Anna,

What a pickle.

If I were you, I’d do three things:

First, arm yourself with the facts by reading your grandmother’s will. Were your parents required by the will to hold the money in trust for you until a certain age? Whatever the answer, I highly doubt you’ll want to bring legal action against your parents — that would make Christmas lunch awkward, right?

Second, as financial guru Noel Gallagher advises, “don’t look back in anger”. Look on the bright side: at least your parentals haven’t blown your inheritance on Bitcoin. The money is still there. And using an offset account is actually a tax-effective strategy for parking short-term money … well, so long as it’s your offset account and you’re not being treated like a 28-year-old kidult.

Finally, by all means you should cut the apron strings and get control of your money — but first have a plan for it. I’d like you to set up your three ‘Barefoot Buckets’ and, assuming you’ve paid off your debts, start saving for a house deposit. Then take this plan to your parents. Explain that you have a responsible financial plan that honours your grandmother’s legacy — and then hit them up for $58,000 (which includes $8,000 in interest you’ve forgone over the past five years).

That’s more than enough stuffing for the turkey for this year’s Christmas lunch.

Good luck!