24 October 2011

My Kids Won't Have a College Fund

This is sort of a continuation from Friday's obnoxiously long post.  Enjoy!


The other day Josh & I started talking about college funds for our kids.  It's an interesting thing, and truthfully, I hadn't given it much thought before.  I mean, you want your kids to go to college, and you want them to be successful, so the responsible thing to do as a parent is to plan for that and make that happen, right?

I'm not so sure.

Let me start with this disclaimer: I'm not saying one way is right or wrong.  We haven't fully decided what we will do.  And I am not talking about any certain type of account or savings plan.

When I was in kindergarten I knew that I had to make good grades so I could go to college on a scholarship.  And I had to go to college.  As much as I've tried to figure out how I knew that, I just don't know.  But I think my oldest brother was graduating high school around that time, so maybe that led to it?

At any rate, my parents were definitely not the type to push us into going to a particular school or choosing a certain career path.  Unless you consider my dad's construction business which all three of my brothers worked at.  But me?  Let's just say it was clear from an early age that I would not be a good fit for the family business.

So, I worked at school.  I made excellent grades.  I missed exactly 10 days of school from kindergarten to senior year... and 5 of those were in kindergarten because I went to my grandpa's funeral in Florida & then I got chicken pox.   I got to 11th grade & learned that colleges don't look back any further than 11th grade grades.  What a bummer!  But I knew I was fine... with my weighted grade point average, I'd be well above a 4.0.  And sure enough, I graduated in the top 5% of my class.

Admittedly, I was a scaredy cat when I came to moving away, so I went to the closest university, which happened to be a state school.  Compared to the other schools, it was pretty inexpensive.  I got several merit based scholarships which covered everything but my room & board.

Who picked up the rest of the tab?  My parents.  I can't explain how mega-cool that was!  I didn't really fully understand or appreciate it at that point in time, but that saved me from having loans to pay back after I graduated.  Loans I would have blindly walked into without a second thought.

My parents didn't have an official "well pay for this much of college" stance.  It was an unspoken thing that I was expected to do my very best.  I didn't know that once I did my best, they'd cover the rest, but it was wonderful that they were careful enough with their finances to do so.

So do I plan to have a dedicated college fund for our little kiddo?  I don't actually.  I'm not against saving to help them out in life.  But it could be for college, or for their first house, or for when they call me to bail them out of jail.

I really hope it's not the last one, though.

The point is, I want our kid(s) to work hard.  To expect great things of themselves.  Whether that's going to Harvard, a state school, community college, or not going to college at all.  Admittedly, it would be hard to watch the last one in this day & age, but I know a few people who are wildly driven & are successful in life without a college degree.

I don't want to pay for their college... I want them to work hard & earn it themselves.  And because I'm not sure if it's even possible to get the entire amount of college paid (books, at least, usually aren't covered), we hope to be there to pick up the tab & congratulate them on their hard work.

I'm still working on the plan of what to do if we have a kid who plans to party in college.  :/  I'll let you know when I figure the whole world out perfectly!  lol  *sarcasm, people, calm down*

Your thoughts?

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