Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Buy a Beach House Instead of Paying Your Kid's Tuition

Often the topic of saving for our child's college education comes up in conversation (bizarre, I know, but it does- with complete strangers) here's the earth shattering news, hold your breath- it's coming- I'm not paying for my daughter's schooling, she's paying for that herself.



When this statement is made I'm received with the same shock I would have received had I declared I was shipping my 18 month old off to Siberia. The idea that a child should work for and hence value their education is foreign.

I find interesting the volumes of successful people that scrimped, saved and scratched their way to financial prosperity that turn around and deny their children of the same experiences. Out of love our children we want to give them everything, but in doing so we rob them of the some of the most valuable and rare lessons children can learn- how to work, how to save, how to decide that there is something you want and to go through physical pain and self denial to EARN it.



(Yes, this is me- I was indeed, a dancing banana)

I didn't sweat in a banana suit all summer so that I could turn around and not have my children work, I worked hard so I could have security and move towards my dream- a house on the beach. And hopefully, with the lessons my children learn by working, saving and sacrificing, they will be able to buy their own beach houses.

There's a level of self esteem that is achieved only through working and self-sacrifice, knowing that you can make it just fine on your own. If we don't teach that lesson to our kids prior to college, or in college- when are they going to learn it?

After getting over the initial shock that a middle class American family doesn't believe in saving for their kid's college we receive a 'Good For You!'. I have yet to hear a person speak to the benefits of parents picking up the full tab for their child's education. If you know of some- I'm open to them, but until I'm convinced- we're saving for a beach house.



(Disclaimer: If your parents paid for your education I do not think you're a spoiled brat that has no concept of work, some of us were not lucky enough to be born with the work gene, you were- congratulations. If you're successful at sports or academics this again obviously doesn't apply to you because if you were really good then you got a scholarship and if you weren't really good and just played for fun- well, you had your reward so then yes this does apply to you, you should have gotten a job and paid for your school because you were a b-rated athlete, come to think about it unless you're the best at athletics what's the point? People that train their lives and then don't make it to the Olympics- talk about an investment with no payout. Why don't they ever show THOSE stories during the Olympic games- the hundreds of people that gave it their best and it wasn't good enough so they had to go into medical equipment sales because that's the only place an ex-athlete can get a job, and their real dreams were never fulfilled and unlike the rest of us who sit back and think 'well I never gave it my all so maybe I could have achieved' these people actually gave it their all and failed, which must really suck, unless they found a new dream- that is the story I'd like to see during the Olympic games- people who wanted to be Olympic athletes, failed and then realized their true calling and joy through selling sports equipment or creating nonprofit children's camps, whichever . And if you never went to college, I don't think you're lazy either, more CEO's come from the school of hard knocks than Harvard so you're cool...you're cool)

24 comments:

Kamilli Vanilli said...

I totally agree. Whenever our financial adviser brings up the idea
of 529 savings accounts, we always say "he!!, no!" Our kids are going to earn it for themselves. We did it, and so can they. It's good for them!

And I'll bet they'll absolutely love going to my beach house in the summers...

chloe said...

As I child whose education was paid for of course I'm not going to say I wished that it hadn't been. What I will say is that I sucked it up in school round 1 and didn't really value just what I was getting. Fast-forward 6 years later to graduate school paid for by yours truly where I was lucky enough to get a scholarship for year 1, and then worked my tail off to get a scholarship for year 2 (you can't actually have a job your first year) and work three jobs in that second year and I will tell you...I valued all of it a lot more. And had I had to pay for round 1, I might have had the foresight to start saving for round 2 so that I wouldn't have had to take out any student loans at all.

All that is to say "Amen!"

Kristen said...

I agree, and not only because I don't have the funds to pay my kids' tuitions, but because I didn't appreciate it my first year when my parents paid for college, but when I began paying for it myself --- strait "A's" (well, almost). I want my kids to have that blessing of purchasing their own education, which they will value all the more because of it.

nrthshore said...

Okay, according to your writing, I should have a beach house.

Salt H2O said...

nnrthshore- you do have a beach house :)

Salt H2O said...

Chloe and Kristen-
I wish I had paid for my own mission. Not that I would have done anything different as a missionary, but I think there would have been a different level of spirtuality and committment if I had made the added sacrifice.

Linda said...

did YOU pay for your own education?

Salt H2O said...

Linda, I'm so glad you asked!

I flipped burgers at the Cougar Eat, managed a juice bar in san diego (dancing banana), worked at a juice bar in Provo, worked in the BYU bookstore while also waiting on tables at Los Hermanos, worked for a start up company in Washington DC (paid for the entire DC experience myself) and my last job while in college- HBLL Security Guard (which I also worked while waiting on tables at Los Hermanos) and I've got some lovely student loans I'm currently paying off. I found the jobs, federal aid and loans all by my very self. I find more value in the lessons I learned trying to pay for college and live on my own than I do in the majority of classes I took

Kristen said...

Kory, I agree with the mission thing. Austin is furiously saving for his mission. In fact, I wonder if we need to help him with one or the other which we should help with. I've decided I'd rather help with college (help does not equal pay everything), and have him pay for his own mission. I think we value more what we pay for. So I hope that this first year of college if we help with whatever isn't covered by scholarships and let him save his money for his mission then he will value his mission more. He still is going to have to work through school and save every penny since right now I don't know how I could help at all. But theoretically, if I had $ to help, it would go first to college, second to mission, so that his own money could go first to mission, second to college. How is that for a long rambling message? I'd like your thoughts on this, since you did both college and mission.

Also, it is true nrthshore, you do have a beach house, or pretty darn close! I want to come visit you at your beach house soon!

Salt H2O said...

Kristen I think you have it right.

cropstar said...

That is the greatest disclaimer I have ever read.

Linda said...

idk, right now i am paying my own way through college via financial aid and working, and it is pure hell. i guess people learn lessons from hard work -- and i've definitely learned a lot from working through things on my own -- but i've been on my own since i was 16 and it is really, really difficult and i just don't wish that on my future children. there are other ways to learn lessons in my opinion. not saying that i would just grant my kids all the money they ever wished for to pay for things, but i certainly would help out as needed (and probably based on grades and such, too).

nrthshore said...

Beach house - okay, so according to your writing it did work. Kristen - I can see the beach/ocean from my house (4 miles), so Kory believes that counts.

PS - consider paying for your kids room and board while in school. They pay for tuition and books, etc.

Salt H2O said...

Nrthshore- what's Freeway?

Salt H2O said...

Cropstar- thanks! I'm totally serious about the olympics thing, I think about that every olympic games.

Linda- this isn't going to make your experience any easier, and I'm not going to pretend to know what it's like to be on your own at 16. Every valuable skill I have, all the self-confidnece I've obtained, anything in my life that I'm proud of- I traveled through hell to get.

The Boob Nazi said...

I got my undergrad education paid for because my rich grandma gave me stocks growing up. (And my parents helped.) I didn't value it any less because I didn't have to pay for it. I don't value my graduate education more because I'm paying for it with loans.
But that's just me. I think that there are enough hardships in life when it comes to money and whatnot, and why should I have been exposed to it when I was 17 and away at college for the first time? I had a part-time job while in college. I worked full time in the summers. But working full time and going to school is something I didn't experience until my last semester of grad school. It was miserable and made me appreciate my parents and what they'd sacrificed to help me pay for college.
I really admire people who worked and paid for all of their own school. That is unbelievably tough.

Salt H2O said...

BN-
I don't expect anyone that is going through or has recently gone through the process to understand the value of their experiences. Give it 10 years and one day you'll wake up and realize- "Hey, I'm financially secure in a world of chaos because I had to struggle"

Alice said...

My parents paid for my tuition. I paid for my books and rent and food. My first two years, I was able to get through with working really hard all summer, and focusing on school during the year.

I appreciated my education, and am grateful to have made it through without student loans.

I hope that I am in a position to help my children avoid student loans through at least their bachelors degrees.

I think it's good to make sure your children know how to work and appreciate their educations, but sometimes I think the benefit of the struggle to pay the bills and keep up on school work is overrated.

Alice said...

(I don't care about a beach house, although I'm sure there are plenty of other things I could find to spend my money on.)

Salt H2O said...

Alice-
I think your situation may be ideal- but then again each case is different. To share the burden with your children is certainly more desireable than removing it from them all together.

"but sometimes I think the benefit of the struggle to pay the bills and keep up on school work is overrated." - In my world, I don't see this benefit rated at all.

From what I see, the problem with up and coming generations isn't that they have had to struggle and work to survive,- it's the opposite.

Tamara Nicole said...

Oh how I love this post! I paid for my college IN FULL all by myself. My family just couldn't afford it with 6 kids. I worked full time WHILE going to college, which was hard but I wouldn't have it any other way. I learned sooo much about time management, responsibility, money management, etc. I think you value things more when you work for it.

When we have kids, since we are doing better than my parents I will help them, but not fully. I'll work it out where they can earn help, but still will have to work summer jobs to help.

Thank you for this!

Salt H2O said...

Tamara-
Thanks for sharing! It confirms that almost all working professionals, well into their careers, that have had to pay for their own schoolsing are grateful for the lessons learned.

Now to master the ability to watch our children grow through struggling- and resist the temptation to rescue them financially.

Steve said...

Interesting post. I paid for every CENT of my education, and included doing so until about 9 years after I graduated, haha. However, I do have about $10K in little SA's 529. I do intend on paying for some, at least, of her schooling. The reason why is because, as you know, working while in school, although has MANY positive attributes, it also was a big burden that did take away time and energy from my studies and extra curricular things that once you miss, are never able to do. My biggest regret (that isn't female related!) is that I didn't do a semester abroad. Everyone of my friends did b/c they had money to. I didn't. Every dollar I earnded delivering pizzas, working at CVS, doing medical studies (OH YES, I don't want my kid doing that!) went to school, eating, and very cheap beer.

My solution to all of this; have the govt continue to you go to school for free, but only if you maintain a 3.0 or higher. :) I know I have your vote, haha.

KELLY said...

I talk about this all the time and people look at me funny. Like you I want to wait until I feel comfortable enough to have kids so that I can raise them properly. I do not want to give them everything because I do not feel that a kid will appreciate it properly. My dad never really pushed me to get a job therefore it was really hard for me to bear the responsibility of one after I graduated college. I will make sure that my future kid learns responsibility way before their first job after college. In fact, I told my husband that it would be better if our kid worked for a year prior to attending college so that they would know how hard the working world is and enjoy college more.