I have decided to look at a different approach to college planning. Most financial planners and personal finance books tell you to save for your kids college. I have assembled a few reasons that might make you think twice about helping them out. Feel free to comment at the end about your thoughts on the list or why you would want to pay for their college. Maybe the pros will outweigh these cons.
1. They Are More Likely to Go to Class
Being fully invested in their own college career will make them more likely to attend class. I know that it worked for me. I knew that if I didn’t attend class on any given day, I was flushing quite a few dollars down the drain. I also knew quite a few people that did not attend class because they were there on mommy and daddy’s dime.
2. They Are Investing in Their Future Career
Teach your kid to think of it as a long term investment. If they pay for their own college, their destiny is in their hands.
3. Help Them Learn to Be Frugal
I’m talking from experience here! If your kid has a hand in paying for all of their expenses, they are more likely to learn how to save money at various places. Ramen noodles come to my mind! Yum!
4. They Are More Likely to Finish Faster
When I first started graduate school, I planned out my entire class schedule before my first semester. My main goal was to finish as soon as humanly possible. I knew that if I stayed only one extra semester, there would be all kinds of addition costs like housing, food, travel, books, tuition, etc. I will be glad to graduate in December and start my career.
5. Parents Can Invest in Their Own Retirement for More Gains
This is a no brainer. If you are not saving for your kids college, you can use that money for other things. It could be home improvement, vacations, or adding to your retirement accounts. By placing the extra money in your retirement account, you can save less per month and have more when you retire. Just take a look at what the power of compound interest can do.
6.They Will Learn the Value of Money
Have you kids ever asked for something? If you have kids, the answer to that question is yes. What happened when you told them that they couldn’t have it? They cried bloody murder because they really had no idea what the value of money was. They figured that they could have whatever the wanted. Having them be responsible for their own costs will make them appreciate the value of money more.
7. It May Encourage Them to Do Better in High School
If your child knows that they will have to pay for college themselves, they may be more inclined to succeed in high school. This in turn may help them get scholarships to reduce the amount of tuition that they will have to pay.
8. Because College May Not Be for Them
This is true for many young adults. I have known several people that dropped out of college early in their career for something else. College just was not for them. Whether it was the classes or some other thing, they found a true passion somewhere other than college.
9. You will Pay No Fees if They Do Not Go to College
If you saved money in a 529 plan and they dropped out or received scholarships, etc, you would have to pay a 10% fee just to get the money out. That could be a huge chunk of change if you have been saving for awhile. You will also be taxed at your income tax rate for any of the gains.
10. They May Be Less Susceptible to Drugs and Alcohol
I have seen many people who have struggled in college because of drugs and alcohol. I do not really know the statistics about the relationship between alcoholism and who pays the tuition, but I imagine there is some (even if slight) correlation between the two. If the student is more focused on their curriculum, they may be able to stay away from these growing college trends.
Once again, I am not telling you to stop contributing to your 529 plan. I am simply just giving some reasons why it may help them get a better grasp on life if they paid for it themselves. You many want to have a combination of them paying for some themselves and you contributing some. My professor in college had a great plan for his kids. He told them that they would cover the costs for them to go to an in-state public school. If they wanted to go elsewhere, the rest would be on their dime.