1. Lindy Mint says

    We haven’t made saving for our kids’ college a priority for two of the three reasons you listed above (debt and behind on retirement). I heard once that if you put a college fund above your own retirement, you are potentially burdening your children if they have to take care of you financially in the future.

    I do agree it’s a good idea to open a 529 account for other family members to contribute to, or for saving gift money. You bring up a lot of good points about creating an opportunity to teach kids about saving, investing in their own future, etc. Great article, thank you.

  2. Jane says

    Another option for paying for college is joining the Air National Guard. It isn’t for everyone, however…nearly all Guard units pay 100% of tuition, as long as the person attends a state school. When you combine free tuition, along with GI Bill payments and a paycheck from the Guard for monthly drills, it adds up quickly.

  3. Ireneits says

    We have a savings account for our daughter. We transfer $1,000 a year from our tax refund into it, plus the earnings from her piggy bank every month. It’s not much, but it’s something. And since we aren’t taking from our actual income, its like free money (in a way). We don’t have any credit card debt. I do have extensive college loans myself and ways on me a bit. And we also have a 401K plan that my hubby max’s out on. I need to have my own 401K for my job, but haven’t done that yet.

    I think it’s important to balance all of these items, including a college fund. I don’t want my daughter to have to take out loans for school because that will start her adult life in debt and we don’t want that.

  4. says

    We have some money saved for each of the kids, but not enough to cover 4 years. We will fund most of our kids’ college tuition if it is at a public institution. However, we cannot afford the 40-50k private school costs. We will provide ‘x’ amount of dollars each year and they will have to make up the rest.

    We always max out our retirement funds and try to save for other investments too. College was last on our list for the very reasons you mentioned.

  5. Sarah Says says

    That makes a lot of sense. When the credit card debt is racking up 19% every month and the savings account is bringing in a measly 2.9%, it’s clear to see where the priorities lie. That said, having saving set aside for school can save your kids unnecessary college stress.

  6. says

    One of the most overlooked opportunities for college is not money or scholarship, it is the effort made in school. That is the investment in themselves that can pay off really well. It is not just grades, but participation in sports, clubs/organizations and student government. Outside of school, they can volunteer and work etc.

  7. says

    Since mortgage is a debt, I am not sure I would classify all debt the same. If all you have is a mortgage, it’s possible to save for your kids school if you have extra disposable income. It really depends on how you want to approach the mortgage. Sometimes, paying an extra 50$ on the mortgage doesn’t have the same impact as saving it for your kids education … I am not thinking about the math behind it either but the reward from it.

    With that said, I live in Canada and tuition isn’t that expensive unless you have to pay for an apartment. I save for my kids education but since we bought a place and upgrading it, I have slowed it down. I have a decent investment though and earn 100$ in dividend per month and growing by itself. Sometimes you just need a little seed money to kick start it.

  8. Samantha Dermot says

    I agree with you. Why would a parent save for their kids if they can actually find ways to support their education during college. The good thing about some places is, most student have all the resources so they can continue studying college. Very unlikely in other places, which savings for college fund is a must.

  9. Miss T @ Prairie EcoThrifter says

    Very interesting perspective. I don’t know too many parents that would be comfortable leaving their child’s education fund empty. Something to consider though with these ideas.

  10. Khaleef Crumbley says

    @Lindy Mint – Considering the burden that you may be on your children is very important. And as you stated, you can still have an account for them and allow other people to make deposits. Upromise is also a great option!

    @Jane – Most of the people that I know who joined the armed forces, did so because of the tuition payments!

    @Ireneits – I think that you are really sensitive to your daughters future because of what you are going through. I have massive student loans as well. It seems like you are working toward a balance, but you most likely would still be better off paying off your student loans and looking for other ways to fund your daughter’s education.

    @Kris – From your post the other day, it’s clear that you are putting a lot into your kids’ education now! I think it’s great that you took care of your other financial priorities and now are in a place to save for college.

    @Sarah Says – Yeah, I can’t imagine trying to save that amount of money with debt hanging over my head. And I think that there are a lot of options for kids graduating from high school as well.

    @The Passive Income Earner – I’m not sure if I can divorce myself from the math in order to look at the satisfaction derived from the allocation of funds. I would want to attack the mortgage as well, before paying for college.

    Think about being able to apply the entire principal and interest from your mortgage payment, as wel as all other debt payments toward college. The small amount of time left wouldn’t matter at that point.

    I do understand when people need a motivational boost, but it’s just hard for me to forget about the math.

    @Miss T – That’s why I wrote this post before having kids! 😉 Seriously, I hope that the parents would consider the big picture and even gain an unbiased opinion when faced with this decision.

  11. Joseph says

    Great article. It seems like the big difference is public vs private. Saving for public with a 529 plan is feasible without being a millionaire, not so for private.