Pay Dirt is Slate’s new money advice column. Have a question? Send it to Athena and Elizabeth here. (It’s anonymous!)
Dear Pay Dirt,
My great-grandparents left their four great-grandchildren $10,000 for college in investment accounts. Five years after their passing, the accounts were worth $30,000 each, thanks to some smart investing by my uncle. At this point, my parents closed my and my brother’s accounts and invested the $60,000 in their business. This business went bust a year later, sending my parents into bankruptcy, foreclosure, and a nasty divorce. I was 12 when the accounts were closed and didn’t know anything about the money until much later. My cousins (the other two recipients) used their money to graduate college debt-free and were both homeowners by their early 20s. I’m told the accounts were worth almost $80,000 apiece by the time my cousins cashed out their inheritance.