Monday, September 6, 2010

Financial Preparedness: Preparing to Finance Our Kids' Higher Education

I teach the 16-18 year old girls at church and several of "my girls" are headed off to college this week.  It's made me consider how I'm going to finance my kids' college or IF I will finance their education.  Of course, we have been putting money away in preparation for our kids' schooling but I'm not certain that I want to pay for everything.  During my college days, I saw far too many of my fellow students blow their educational opportunity because they took it for granted.  Instead of studying and attending class, they partied, stayed out too late and slept through lazy days financed by their Mom and Dad.

I read an excellent article yesterday in the newspaper in which the writer explained that he pays for half of his kids' college costs.  He said many people balk at this and say, "How can you do that to your kids when you can afford to pay it in full?"  In my opinion, it's a very wise decision.  He used the analogy that by making his children pay for half, they had "skin in the game" and would thus make their money count by working harder.  The article made a lot of sense to me.  Both my husband and I graduated from college.  In addition, my husband completed two graduate degrees.  I was well-prepared at home for school because my parents emphasized the importance of education and taught me to work hard in school.  This focus on academics helped me to obtain scholarship money.  My husband and I paid for our university experience with the help of scholarships, grants, loans (for grad school) and by working.  I believe we took our education much more seriously because we were paying for it ourselves.  I also feel that having to work helped me to be more disciplined in studying outside of class because I only had a designated time to do it. 

What's your opinion?  How can we prepare providently for our childrens' higher education?


Joyful Noise said...

Funny that you should ask what we, your readers, think. You don't know me, and I can't even remember how I started reading your blog, but I enjoy your preparedness thoughts.

We are a middle income family with five children, all grown up and all college educated. The deal we made with our kids was that we would pay their tuition, we didn't want them to not go to college just because they couldn't afford tuition. This deal was for a church school or state college with a decent priced tuition. We also paid their decent priced rent because we didn't want them to sleep in their car. The kids had to pay their own living expenses (that way they didn't do things they really couldn't afford) and also all their books (that way they were more responsible and sold back the books that they didn't need.) If they had to re-take a class due to poor grades, then they had to pay the tuition for that portion of the class. I figure their portion was close to half of their expenses.

We ended up in a little more debt than we probably should have with five kids, but we are pleased that they all have a degree and are contributing members of society.

Lynn said...

I totally agree!!! My husband and I totally had to foot the entire bill for our college and University. Maybe out of necessity for our parents, but it totally allowed us to grow and value our education and finances MUCH better than if it was handed to us. Thankfully we both were on the same page when it came to our own children. They all have paid for their own post secondary educations as well. Either through working through school part time, student loans, or scholarships or a combination of all the above. They honestly know the value of a dollar and it has carried over into their personal lives. They have never come to us asking for help with finances. That in itself is a huge deal to us. ; D

Flying Princess said...

I agree that the kids have to have ownership in their financial situation in college so they can realize the investment that is being made. I think the responsibility has to start before college, though. A lot of kids find themselves on their own and fancy free in college for the first time, but are still funded by mommy and daddy.

Finding out the value of a dollar has to start sooner. I'm not quite sure how much sooner, or exactly how to teach these valuable (hehe) lessons, but I going to do my best.

Preparedness Quotes

"When faced with the choice to buy, consume, or engage in worldly things and activities, we all need to learn to say to one another, 'We can’t afford it, even though we want it!' or 'We can afford it, but we don’t need it—and we really don’t even want it!'" - Elder Robert D. Hales, April 2009 General Conference

"Many areas of the world have experienced difficult economic times. Businesses have failed, jobs have been lost, and investments have been jeopardized. We must make certain that those for whom we share responsibility do not go hungry or unclothed or unsheltered. When the priesthood of this Church works together as one in meeting these vexing conditions, near miracles take place.

"We urge all Latter-day Saints to be prudent in their planning, to be conservative in their living, and to avoid excessive or unnecessary debt."
- President Thomas S. Monson, October 2008 Priesthood Session, General Conference

"Avoid the philosophy that yesterday's luxuries have become today's necessities. They aren't necessities until we make them so. Many enter into long-term debt only to find that changes occur; people become ill or incapacitated, companies fail or downsize, jobs are lost, natural disasters befall us. For many reasons, payments on large amounts of debt can no longer be made. Our debt becomes as a Damocles sword hanging over our heads and threatening to destroy us."
- President Thomas S. Monson, April 2006 General Conference

“We have built grain storage and storehouses and stocked them with the necessities of life in the event of a disaster. But the real storehouse is the family storeroom. In words of revelation the Lord has said, ‘Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing’ (D&C 109:8.)”
President Gordon B. Hinckley

"We need to make both temporal and spiritual preparation for the events prophesied at the time of the Second Coming. And the preparation most likely to be neglected is the one less visible and more difficult--the spiritual. A 72-hour kit of temporal supplies may prove valuable for earthly challenges, but, as the foolish virgins learned to their sorrow, a 24-hour kit of spiritual preparation is of greater and more enduring value.

"We are living in the prophesied time 'when peace shall be taken from the earth' (D&C 1:35,) when 'all things shall be in commotion' and 'men's hearts shall fail them' (D&C 88:91.) There are many temporal causes of commotion, including wars and natural disasters, but an even greater cause of current 'commotion' is spiritual." Elder Dallin H. Oaks

“Every father and mother are the family’s store keepers. They should store whatever their family would like to have in case of an emergency…(and) God will sustain us through our trials.” President James E. Faust

“We live in a most exciting and challenging period in human history. As technology sweeps through every facet of our lives, changes are occurring so rapidly that it can be difficult for us to keep our lives in balance. To maintain some semblance of stability in our lives, it is essential that we plan for our future. I believe it is time, and perhaps with some urgency, to review the counsel we have received in dealing with our personal and family preparedness. We want to be found with oil in our lamps sufficient to endure to the end.”- Elder L. Tom Perry, Ensign, Nov. 1995

"Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had their year's supply of food. . . and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have at least a year's supply of debt and are food free." President Thomas S. Monson

"Just as it is important to prepare ourselves spiritually, we must also prepare ourselves for our temporal needs. … We have been instructed for years to follow at least four requirements in preparing for that which is to come.

“First, gain an adequate education. Learn a trade or a profession to enable you to obtain steady employment that will provide remuneration sufficient to care for yourself and your family. …

“Second, live strictly within your income and save something for a rainy day. Incorporate in your lives the discipline of budgeting that which the Lord has blessed you with. As regularly as you pay your tithing, set aside an amount needed for future family requirements. …

“Third, avoid excessive debt. Necessary debt should be incurred only after careful, thoughtful prayer and after obtaining the best possible advice. We need the discipline to stay well within our ability to pay. …

“Fourth, acquire and store a reserve of food and supplies that will sustain life [if local laws permit such storage]. Obtain clothing and build a savings account on a sensible, well-planned basis that can serve well in times of emergency. As long as I can remember, we have been taught to prepare for the future and to obtain a year’s supply of necessities. I would guess that the years of plenty have almost universally caused us to set aside this counsel. I believe the time to disregard this counsel is over. With events in the world today, it must be considered with all seriousness.” - Elder L. Tom Perry, October 1995 General Conference

“Maintain a year's supply. The Lord has urged that his people save for the rainy days, prepare for the difficult times, and put away for emergencies, a year's supply or more of bare necessities so that when comes the flood, the earthquake, the famine, the hurricane, the storms of life, our families can be sustained through the dark days. How many of us have complied with this? We strive with the Lord, finding many excuses: We do not have room for storage. The food spoils. We do not have the funds to do it. We do not like these common foods. It is not needed -- there will always be someone to help in trouble. The government will come to the rescue. And some intend to obey but procrastinate.” - The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.375

“All too often a family's spending is governed more by their yearning than by their earning. They somehow believe that their life will be better if they surround themselves with an abundance of things. All too often all they are left with is avoidable anxiety and distress” - Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

"Be prepared in all things against the day when tribulations and desolations are sent forth upon the wicked." D&C 29:8

"Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine, and earthquake cannot happen here. Those who believe this are either not aquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them." President Ezra Taft Benson

"Fear not little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail. . .Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not." D&C 6:34, 36

"I believe that the Ten Virgins represent the people of the Church of Jesus Christ. . . They (five foolish) had the saving, exalting gospel, but it had not been made the center of their lives. They knew the way but gave only a small measure of loyalty and devotion.

"The foolish asked the others to share their oil, but spiritual preparedness cannot be shared in an instant. . . . This was not selfishness or unkindness. The kind of oil that is needed to illuminate the way and light up the darkness is not shareable. . . . In our lives the oil of preparedness is accumulated drop by drop in righteous living." - President Spencer W. Kimball

“We encourage families to have on hand this year’s supply; we say it over and over and over and repeat over and over the scripture of the Lord where he says, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord and do not the things which I say?” How empty it is as they put their spirituality, so-called, into action and call him by his important names, but fail to do the things which he says." - President Spencer W. Kimball"/>


All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site & will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.