“Don’t let schooling interfere with your education.” – Unknown
College. Is it necessary? No. Is it preferred? Yes.
Despite the ever increasing costs, I still think college is a great experience that most people would appreciate and benefit from (if they can do it with little to no debt!) and still give them a much better probability of having a “successful” (read: higher income) career. I will encourage (but not force) my kids to go to college or study anything in particular. All I ask is that whatever they choose to do, they give it their best.
But have you seen what it costs these days and worse, what it is expected to cost? The shock to my system was so bad that I immediately started searching for alternatives like sending them abroad for free study...Germany, free for Americans to study? In English? I can live with that.
Once I got a little over my shock and started to think through this in more practical ways, I sat down with my husband to device a plan of attack. Having over a decade to college, this is really hard to plan. What if they don’t even go to college? Over-funding a 529 would not be that fun then. At the same time, not planning at all and then having my kids want to go to college and having to borrow crazy amounts of money is not cool.
I go back and forth about how much to save for them and with which vehicle. For right now we chose 529s, and we will revisit as the years go by. Of course, the larger part of the plan involves brainwashing our kids into looking at cheaper options for completing their degree – be it scholarships, community college first then transfer, take AP credit classes in high school and graduate early, go to in-state college, go abroad where it is cheaper (or free, like the Germany example above), etc.
Totally appropriate parenting, right?