Mrs. Micah featured a post recently about a sister who was talked into co-signing for her sister's student loans. Not surprisingly this did not turn out well. But it raises an interest point. Many of us are ill prepared for our financial life when we go off to college, or on our own.
Oh sure we think we are. We get signed up for credit card, and maybe even get a FREE t-shirt for signing up! We probably then only use the card for emergencies...no pizza or beer left in the house! Taking our girlfriend out! Maybe even rent once or twice.
Pretty soon that one is maxed, bummer, luckily you get a second one to help pay the first minimum payments. If you are lucky this ponzi scheme keeps up until you leave school and get a real job. Now you are saddled with big student-loans and credit card bills!
Some kids are "lucky." Their parent fit the entire bill down to spending cash and help with those pesky Credit Card bills. They want their kids to have the best start possible. Unfortunately, either situation sets up for potential failure. You either engage in the workforce with pre-made debt chains, or no real sense of how life works.
Our kids won't be like this. First we have made a conscience decision NOT (and I smell the angry emails already) to pay for their education past High School. We will help them with 100% free rent and food, in exchange for chores if they chose to go somewhere close.
Why oh Why you cheap *#$^ !?
Every single kid we knew that went to college on the parent express left school 100% unprepared for real-life, if they graduated at all. They took basket weaving and Klingon 301. They never worked the menial jobs that give you an appreciation for honest work, honest wages.
No I don't want our kids saddled with an insane amount of debt leaving school either. I would rather see them take 5-6 years to graduate and come out 100% paid.
Everyone that I know paid their own way had it hard. But they studied hard and really wanted it. Guess what? When they did graduate they had a huge sense of accomplishment! They, on their own completed one of life's milestones! What independence!
I call this: College the Poor Kids Way!
To do this you can't just throw then in the deep end at 18. You have to make sure they know what they need to succeed in the world. The whys and hows of Credit. The basics of budgeting and money management. Even a bit about investing.
Their first real investment will be in securing more income by having a college degree. Their investment will be in themselves! And what a great investment to make!
Don't think for a minute that this means we don't value a college education. There are way to many studies that show the value of post-High Scool Education. We just believe that giving the lifetime gift of independance, through life experience, is worth 5-6 tough, but managable years.
(please throw tomatoes..they are softer!)