Why I won’t be paying for my children’s college education
… increased parental financial investment actually decreases GPA, though it does increase the odds of graduation within five years.
… these findings suggest that students with parental support work hard enough to stay in school, but otherwise “dial down their academic efforts.”
Interestingly, other sources of financial support (grants, scholarships, etc.) didn’t negatively effect student GPAs..
Read: Financial Rambling’s Should you pay for your kid’s college?
I’m going to come right out and say that I am absolutely 100% not planning on paying for any of my children’s college education upfront.
NOTHING. NADA. NIL. ZIP. ZILCH.
MY RETIREMENT COMES FIRST AND WON’T BE A FINANCIAL BURDEN ON THEM
This is assuming I won’t have enough money when I retire, but I know the likelihood of that is nil.
I will more than likely have enough to retire and to help my kids to a certain extent if I chose to do so.
However, let’s say I had JUST enough to retire.
Would I consider working more, or sacrificing myself to pay for my kids’ education, perhaps digging into my retirement accounts to pay for them?
My retirement comes first.
First, I worked for it, and I (presumably) would have already provided everything for them to grow into healthy, happy, well-adjusted human beings.
Their education at a college is something that is not necessary to their health and well-being, as there are plenty of other choices other than racking up a huge amount of student debt just for the privilege of “figuring yourself out” for 4 years in some bubble environment.
Second, I am not going to put that kind of financial burden or guilt on them to say:
Hey, I PAID for your education and now you OWE ME a retirement that I had to forego because of you!!!
It’s really more of a gift, if you think about it.
They’ll NEVER have to worry about taking care of me, paying for me, or doing anything in regards to my retirement, the way that I’m worrying about my parents. I won’t be any kind of financial burden on them as they’re starting out in life.
NOT SOLD ON THE IDEA OF COLLEGE BEING THE BEST
This references the above, and I already wrote a post on this: A college degree doesn’t mean you have any skills.
There are plenty of other options out there other than college, especially if you aren’t certain you can get a job in that field easily.
Yes, I went to college. Yes, I paid for it ($60,000 worth), and yes it ended up being very worthwhile for me.
But do you want to always base your whole life on what happened to one person or a few people you know?
Do your research and see if it makes any sense or not before diving in.
If my kids saw it through the way I did, and easily ended up taking on $60,000 of debt, I’d expect them to know how to get out of it just as easily.
PAYING $30K FOR A DEGREE MAKES YOU THINK TWICE
If you have to shell out $30,000 for a degree, you’re going to be sure that you aren’t going into something that won’t deliver any kind of return on your debt.
I started in a major that I immediately saw after a year would have no real benefit for my working life, so I switched degrees halfway through, hustled during the summer courses and graduated just like everyone else.
I made a mistake….but I corrected it.
If I had seen that I could not have really done anything else at college, I probably would have left and went into something completely different after exploring all my options.
HAVING TO HUSTLE FOR SCHOLARSHIPS AND GRANTS
I was told by my parents about 6 months before I would be shipped off to college that they had nothing saved for me. Keep in mind that they had been telling me since I was a kid that they had $10,000 put aside, and it had been growing for 10 years in an account for me to use when I went to college.
Aside from their (stupid) lies about having money for me, I decided I was going to go anyway.
I started applying for all the scholarships and grants I could find, even though I was late.
My motivation and my drive increased, and I had already worked so hard to get the best grades to be able to choose the degree I wanted.
Luckily, my grades were high enough and I ended up choosing the college that gave me the most money.
If I had known sooner, perhaps I would have been more active in terms of hunting down those unusual scholarships and grants, and making sure I was more than eligible for them.
There’ll be no lying on my end when they’re growing up. None of this “I have money saved for your college fund“, crap, because I won’t have anything saved specifically for them.
WORKING PART-TIME TO KEEP BUSY AND ORGANIZED
What I would encourage them to do, is to get at least a part-time job.
I know many people say: But how can students study if they have to work on top of it all!?
Believe me, you will find the time and become uber organized to the point where you don’t really have time to waste.
I myself worked 2 jobs while I was in school — one was a company I started and I was able to work in between classes or whenever I had free time, and the second was an actual job that I did at night, and on weekends.
Everyone who went to school with me, basically knew I didn’t have a “life”.
…and by “life”, I mean I wasn’t out getting wasted every night.
That sort of partying didn’t interest me in the slightest anyway, but it did make me look rather odd to the rest of the students because I wasn’t “normal”, or interested in squandering my precious time.
It was quite a useful education in the end, because I really learned how to manage my time, and became more organized as a result, which only became even more important as I entered the working world.
MAKES YOU WATCH YOUR BUDGET IF IT’S ALL YOUR MONEY
This sort-of worked on me.
As a result, I worked a lot during college, but mis-managed my money in hindsight, because I always had more than enough money from my 2 jobs coming in, so I never gave a second thought to saving or the debt that would accumulate at the end.
NOT BEING TRICKED INTO A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY
When you know your parents are there to bail you out if you fall, you don’t tend to work very hard.
My parents were not there for me financially, so I never expected I would have a magical cheque written out to me at the end of my schooling to pay for it all.
WOULD CONSIDER GIFTING AN AMOUNT AFTERWARDS
If I had the cash to gift, I would consider giving each of them an equal amount of money towards their student debt AFTER everything has been said and done.
However, even if I had a kid who decided not to go to college, and didn’t end up racking up $30,000 in debt, I would still give them the same amount of money as their siblings as a reward for the good choices they made.
I of course, won’t be saying this to my kids (false sense of parental security and all), but I would consider seeing how they turned out after 4 years, what job they managed to land, and if they deserve anything.
If I ended up having one hardworking kid, and one bum, I’d consider giving nothing at all to either child to keep it fair.
I’ve heard too many stories about parents favouring siblings because one was “less able to fend for herself”, or one happened to talk a good game about how rich they’d be in the future so they got the bulk of the money just by essentially scamming their parents.
No favouritism from me in terms of money!
My reasoning is the hardworking ones would turn out all right regardless as they are already self-sufficient, and I can only hamper the life and choices of the bums if they were flush with cash.
I don’t want to turn them into being even worse by supplementing their lifestyle with money they hadn’t really earned.
Sounds harsh, right?
But I think it’s the only way I can be sure that my kids can fish for themselves independently and successfully, rather than waiting for someone to dole out fish to them.
Then if I give them money, it won’t make a difference in the sense that it won’t change their lives or their lifestyles to the point where they do a complete 180 and become bums.
Naturally, I’d already be drilling into them all the rules of personal finance I wish I had been told when I was younger, but it’d be more satisfying to see the result at the end without my babying.