512: Who Pays

Does paying for something mean you get the most say in it?


Full episode script

If you want to set off a spirited debate on any wedding message board, ask the question of how much say parents should get in the wedding if they pay for it. Even Martha Stewart has a guide for what parents should and shouldn’t get a say in when they pay for parts of a wedding. Specifically, that guide says parents who help pay for a wedding get to have a say in the venue, guest list, and the wording of the invitations, but not the ceremony or bridal party attire. The idea is that if parents are helping to finance an event, then they do get some kind of say in what the event is like.

There’s a similar parental debate over financing higher education — on Get Rich Slowly, where a mother writes in to ask:

My husband and I have worked hard to save for our daughter’s education so that she should not have to take out much in student loans if she completes her degree in four years. But, we hadn’t anticipated that our hard-earned dollars might go to pay for a course of study that has questionable financial prospects. We are torn about whether to pay for her to study anything that she wants, or to withhold or limit our financial support if she insists on majoring in something we feel is frivolous. If we “hold our nose” and write the checks, we risk wasting a lot of money on a degree that may not help our daughter launch a solid career.

There’s also 257 comments on this article that present a number of different sides to the argument.

There’s even a question of how much say you get in exchange for resources and money when it comes to investing. There’s different types of stocks — called voting and non-voting — that differentiate how much say a stockholder may get in exchange for owning a part of the company. But – should resources actually equal say? Or is there more complex calculation at play?

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.