Like many a child star, Jonathan Lipnicki has a complicated financial relationship with his parents. The dimpled, brainiac of "Jerry Maguire" recently bought his parents a home on loan. "Lipnicki forked over $216,222.35 for the pad -- but under the terms of the deal ... they must repay the full amount ... PLUS 5% interest," according to TMZ, who obtained court documents on the deed.
If you've ever seen a biopic, you know there's a certain "you've made it" quality to a child buying his parents a house. Becoming provider for the people who always provided for you is the ultimate measure of success. It's also a wonderful way of saying thanks. For some child stars it's lifeline for your family. At 15, Macauley Culkin reportedly dipped into his trust-fund to keep his family home afloat. And in April, Taylor Swift dropped over a million on a mansion for her parents in Tennessee. But what if the gift is more than a gift, it's your child's income?
Imagine if your twenty-something son had the power to foreclose on your home? Could the simple knowledge of their power jeopardize your parental influence?
The reasoning behind the Lipnicki agreement is between the family. Maybe it was his parent's idea- a was of accepting their son's too generous gift without guilt.
All grow'ds up Jonathan in the clip above seems to rave about his folks, who yanked him out of the business so he could savor his high school years. More than likely, their arrangement is to benefit their boy who's now venturing back into the uncertain world of entertainment post child stardom (for evidence of the oft difficult transition see Lipnicki's recent co-star Ed Furlong).
Still, paying your kid interest on your house changes the dynamic between child and parent. It's an investment in a financial relationship that's not always built on solid ground. But in the era of foreclosures and teen internet millionaires, it's one that isn't just for child stars and their stage parents. If they've got the cash to spare, and you're willing to make it worth their while, is it a bad thing? Would you let your kid rule your roost?
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