Q. My father is very generous with my son, who is 10. He invests for his college. I also have a daughter who is 6, but my father never gives as much for her college. It’s strange and I’ve been afraid to ask and start a fight, but I can’t believe he might be treating them differently. I have no brothers or sisters so I never noticed anything strange growing up.
— Confused

A. We don’t have a crystal ball, so we can’t tell you what your dad is thinking.

But there may be some clues to help you with your dad’s decisions.

Attitudes towards money often are formed early in life, and can mirror practices that were learned, said Jody D’Agostini, a certified financial planner with AXA Advisors/The Falcon Financial Group in Morristown.

“Perhaps your father comes from a culture that doesn’t completely accept women pursuing higher education, and therefore doesn’t foresee your daughter’s need for a college fund,” she said.

This might be an opportunity for you to share your hopes and dreams for both of your children and your desire that they both achieve a higher education with your father.

As part of this conversation, D’Agostini suggests, you might also share the potential cost of a college degree at a state university and a private university so that he can appreciate the cost.

“College inflation has increased at a much higher rate than core inflation, many years at upwards of 5 percent,” she said. “It seems possible that you may have one year where they could potentially both be in college, and having the extra help can make a difference.”

D’Agostini said the earning potential for a person with a college versus a high school degree is significant over a lifetime.

“In over 40 percent of households, women are the higher wage earner, and that is statistic is growing,” she said.

Maybe that’s something for your dad to chew on.

Email your questions to ask@njmoneyhelp.com.

Karin Price Mueller writes the Bamboozled column for The Star-Ledger and she’s the founder of NJMoneyHelp.com. Click here to sign up for the NJMoneyHelp.com weekly e-newsletter. Like NJMoneyHelp.com on Facebook and follow it on Twitter

Sign up for the NJ1015.com Newsletter

Get the best of NJ1015.com delivered to your inbox every day.