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Paying for Your Childrens' College

Posted by clg7067 (My Page) on
Wed, Oct 11, 06 at 10:42

While reading the other thread, I was wondering when this happened. When did parents start paying for their childrens' college?

I'm in my 40's now, but I had to pay my own way with loans, grants and part-time and full-time jobs. My father actually said that I didn't need to go to college "to find a husband". Most of the people I worked with while in my 20's had to do the same, as well.

Of course, now my parents have two houses, paid for, one is in Florida, drive a new Continental and wonder why I don't have a fancy cell phone like they do. I guess I'm somewhat annoyed that they couldn't help out their kids some.

Just wondering what other peoples' experiences were.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Paying for Your Childrens' College

hi girl, looks like you are,where I was, not a long time ago. Perhaps you could use some help.
Jane


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RE: Paying for Your Childrens' College

clg7067,
I did the same. I'm 43, and have 4 siblings.
Financed my college education with grant, student loans and working part time. I was raised by my mom (divorced), and she truely didn't have the extra money. My dad didn't feel going to college was important, at least not on his nickle. He did help me out one semester when I came up short though.

My younger brother went to college as well. He received more support from my parents.

I have no regrets. I feel my folks did their best with their knowledge and resources they had at the time.

-jasper


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Same story for me. My parents put up some money, but it was made very clear to me that I was to assume the lion's share of the responsibility for college. I struggled to work full time and go to college before giving up. The saddest part of it, in hindsight, was that neither my parents nor my "advisor" ever bothered to suggest I go to school PART time. I was too naive to consider such an option! Talk about a "babe in the woods", lol, I just couldn't imagine anything other than full time attendance and out in 4 years. I recall my college "experience" as easily the most stressful, unhappy time of my life. It was just easier to go to work, frankly. Fortunately, I managed to find a trade that sparked my interest and I work in it today. I borrowed money and paid it back, before the term was up.

The helpmeet had all his college expenses paid for. No worries. He was pretty much a screw off until he flunked out and received his induction notice and Viet Nam loomed... then his father called in some favors, and he decided it was time to study.

I don't believe in "free rides", but know several people who received them and were diligent students and made full use of the "10 fingers". I think being required to participate in the financing of college instills a certain amount of respect for the work required and the time required to amass the cash necessary to pay for it. But I don't believe in forcing kids to struggle to teach the lessons, either. My own experience was needlessly difficult. And doubly galling because my mother's education was 100% funded by her aunts, and she always told me I was being a "cry baby" when I happened to mention how hard I had to work to get through a week, the sort of week she's never endured in her 80 years.

I watch friends struggle with college payment now. I see them fail to fund their own retirement accounts but shell out thousands and assume thousands more in debt to send their kids to school. Their kids come home for the summer and DON'T WORK! I don't get that, at all. Of all my friends, only 2 families have told their HS seniors we'll help you go to college, but you have to go to the state university and you have to help with expenses, too. Times sure have changed, huh?


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I'm 59. My parents paid for college. My dad was a janitor and made $100 a week. My mother took in sewing for $1 an hour. I saved every allowance, birthday money, Christmas cash etc. in my college fund. I worked during the summers and in the cafeteria during the school year. My parents paid because they made it a priority in their lives. In restrospect, I think they should have made it tougher for me. I might have thought twice about getting a stupid degree in anthropology.

My neighbor often talks about how hard it was for her to pay for her own education and how badly she ate as a consequence. I asked her why her parents didn't help and she said they were too poor. Her mother was a registered nurse and her father a college professor. They had a big, beautiful home with a water view, a cabin on a lake, 2 cars, a large boat, an airplane, and they went skiing every winter.

My children went through college mostly on grandparent money, so the issue of how we would help didn't really come up. I don't know what we would have done. When we had 4 kids in the house I was lucky to make the hamburger stretch 6 ways.


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The parent funding college for a while may have been in a thread of mine.

The mother of the student inherited some money when her mom passed away. The mother always lived from week to week, with nothing for any emergency. She ended up spending every cent of the inheritance, within a year. She has since lost her house, has no phone, no gas to heat with this winter, is drawing 'her' unemployment out to the last cent, and is not even looking for employment.

Needless to say, funding some college, and buying other stuff, with no money money saved, was not a smart thing to do. I'll bet she is wishing by now that she could do it over again.

Sue


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Our oldest will start college in about 3 years, next one three years later. DH and I both paid our way through school with grants, lots of loans, and part time work. I came from a family of 5 kids so the money just wasn't there. His parents were divorced and neither could really afford to help much. His parents occasionally gave him some spending money as did mine, but mostly it was up to each of us. We've saved some money for our children's college, but not enough. We don't anticipate either being eligible for much financial aid. They both will be required to work during summer breaks once they are in college. Right now we believe it's important for them to focus on school and each plays a sport. Our hope is that the combination of fantastic grades, super test scores, and school and community involvement might make them eligible for some scholarship money if they should choose an out of state or private college. Both kids kind of know that we'll fund a large portion of college if they choose an in-state school. If they choose an out of state or private school, they'll have to contribute more in some way. (having said that, if one of them was accepted to Harvard or MIT--we'd probably find a way to send them ;)
I really go back and forth on this--I know working my way through school made me appreciate it more, but I also know that paying off those student loans made those first few years after college pretty tough financially. Part of me also feels as a parent that I want and have achieved a better life for my children--isn't paying for their college part of that? I don't have the answer.


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I'm the youngest of 9 children, so we were expected to fund our own college plans. My older siblings all either didn't go to college, or went the GI route, except for my sister who is closest to me in age -- she had the best grades, and did a combination of scholarships, loans, and working her way through school -- as did I. It was hard but not undoable.

I just consolidated all my loans, and I'll be paying them off for the next 30 years, which is a bummer (admittedly, my grad school loans are in there, too). It would have been nice to have had SOME support from my parents during my undergrad, but such is life. That's what I get for being born into such a large, poor family :)

Personally, I think parents who pay for ALL of college are fools. They're not teaching their kids anything about what it is like to be an adult. Do they expect their kid to graduate from college and miraculously have gained certain life skills? Those jobs that they hold during college are going to be helpful to them, trust me! Not just for the money that they earn, but the responsibility and the skills that they gain. We've been doing interviews lately at my company -- the kids just out of college that we interview who have never held a job in their life, and the expectations that they have of what working life is like? Painful. Just painful.

If I had kids, I would do the following -- I'd cover tuition, and that's it. If you raised your kid right, then they've been working for the past two summers during high school and have saved some money already. They get a part-time job to cover rent and living expenses, and they're good to go. If I had had someone to pay for my tuition during my undergrad, I wouldn't have had to take out student loans at all (or very little), and could have gotten by working on just 15-20 hours a week. If someone cares about getting an education, it's totally doable. If all they care about is partying...not so much.


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My mom paid for 1/2 of one year of college. She said that if I quit I'd never go back and she wouldn't pay. I did quit, hated architecture and didn't know what I really wanted to do. 5 years later, I went back part-time, working full time, and got my BS in Biological Science and a minor in genetics. I am now in my 3rd year of vet school. Had to quit working because I'm just not that smart to be able to barely study and still do well in school (we are assigned 18-20 credits/semester). DH and I have taken out loans to pay for school and make up my loss of salary. I'll leave vet school with about $90,000 student loans (just for vet school, paid undergrad as I went). But being that I'll make 3 times what I did as a tech, we should have it all paid off within 5 years, at which point I'll go right back into debt to buy a practice.
I don't have to worry about financing my kid's education because my "kids" are 4 dogs, an iguana, and a ferret.


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Meghane, I hear you. Our DD is in her first year of vet school. She seems to spend almost every waking hour studying. I have no idea how anyone could hold down a full or even a part time job that required more than 5 or 6 hours a week and make it thru vet school. We paid for her bachelor's and are helping with her DVM. She is taking out loans to cover her portion. If we didn't help her, she would graduate with over $100,000 in student loans. Payments would be somewhere between $650 and $750 a month for 30 years. That's a tough way to start out. We are fortunate that we have the means to help her. Not everyone is so lucky.


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College tuition/fees have gone up at twice the rate of inflation for many years. It is perhaps possible to pay one's way at a state or community college. But students are graduating with a debt burden beyond anything imaginable when I was in college (70s). As a parent, I will do what I can for my kids, but I will try to be smart about taking on debt myself. I have been giving this a lot of thought because my two children will be off to college soon AND I am a college teacher and witness the kind of debt burden students take on (even at a public institution).


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I'm 51, female and I was fortunate to go to a private college for undergrad. My parents paid the tuition and I paid books and all spending/travel money. I worked part time jobs every semester and summer except for my first semester freshman year. My grad school was paid by my employer back in the 80's - I went part time and worked full time. I have 2 younger sisters and they had the same undergrad arrangement with our parents. Every ancestor on my dad's side was a college graduate, and in many cases they all had advanced degrees. My sisters and I HAD to go to college - at the time none of us had a choice. We also HAD to go to private schools - don't even bother applying to state schools. Those were dad mandated rules. I know how fortunate I am to have my education and I knew I was fortunate as a teen/early 20's person.

DH is the 2nd of 7, went to a state college, his parents helped with tuition, although they didn't encourage any of the kids to go to college. Only 2 of his siblings went to college straight from high school and their parents helped each. All of them worked either part or fulltime after high school.

We don't have kids, but if we did (and we've talked about this), we would encourage them to get into the absolute best college they could and we would also do our darnest to pay as much of the base tuition and fees as we could afford. Spending money, travel money to/from home, and books would be the child's responsibility. We also agree that kids buy their own cars.

I absolutely disagree that parents who pay their kid's tuition are fools. Kids who don't know responsibility LONG before college aren't going to learn it just by paying tuition. Sharing expenses the way I did can work just fine.


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as a parent, i feel it is my responsibility to help my children as much as possible with college tuition.As others jave noted, many grads come out with huge debts from college tuition..That really is a burden for many years. The 1st step for college funding is to save the moment they are born..We set aside 100 bucks a month for each child once born in a mutual fund..Clearly this won't pay the entire 4 years, but even if it gets you 1 year, that is a solid start..
The one thing you don't want to do as a parent is to sacrifice your retirement for your childrens college education..If you can maximize your 401k, and still find a way to save for college, that is the optimal plan..


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These are my opinions only. My wife and I are paying (most of the costs) for our 2 daughters college (one is a sr. in high school). We both went to college about 40 years ago and it was a different world then. I went to a CA state univ/college and had a scholarship because I was an orphan. But in any event, it was ridiculously cheap. That is just not true anymore. Our state university is about $16K-17K per year for tuition, fees, room/bd and books. So if a student had to take out loans, they would graduate about $65K in debt, and thats for a state school in their home state. Working during the summer, saving and working during the year (at minimum wage) will hardly make a dent in that. For us middle class parents, there's little or no need-based financial aid. If you have a good student, he or she can perhaps get some merit-based aid. But philosophically, my wife and I agree that we want to provide as much of a four-year education as we can for our kids. We agree that this is not an entitlement for them, but something that we want to do for them. We are blessed with two good kids who have always worked hard in school and have taken their education seriously. And they both have jobs and are saving. They are responsible for their incidental expenses, and possibly for part of their other costs for one year, depending on how the family finances go and whether there are scholarships or not. This is how it works in our household and I dont have any misgivings that we are doing too much for them. As I said, I recognize that we are blessed in several ways. Parents facing this issue, whether their kids are in high school or kindergarten, need to educate themselves about college costs, options, financial aid, savings plans, etc. Weve been very happy with our states pre-paid tuition plan. We got in relatively late (oldest already in high school), but weve still saved a substantial amount because of the inflation-proof nature of these plans. Having gone through college selection/application once and now beginning the process again with my younger daughter, Ive come to the conclusion that if the family/student cant afford an expensive private school, its not worth it to put the student at risk of large college debt for an undergraduate degree. Of course there are exceptions to this. Grad school is different, and hopefully the students will be able to handle those expenses and debts, especially if they can get out of undergrad relatively debt-free. Also, dont discount community colleges. If the student/family cant afford a 4-year institution right away, community college is a great alternative. And, there are scholarships at state schools specifically for transfer students from community colleges.


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Good point Steve, I did community college for 2 years after I started back, then transferred into a 4-year university. MD had a great system where if you get an AA from a community college, you automatically have the General Education Requirements fullfilled for all U of MD system schools AND you were guaranteed acceptance. I took advantage of that for 1 semester then moved to NC. I don't recommend transferring states because you will lose some credits in the process, which will cost money. OTOH, I did establish residency for NC which greatly reduced my tuition. Otherwise I'd be paying 5 times as much tuition. NC in-state tuition is very reasonable, especially considering the quality of education. We're #4 vet school in the country, but by far one of the least expensive, especially among the top schools. So depending on the planned career, you could make a good financial move by becoming a resident in a state with a good program of interest and cheap in-state tuition.


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My parents paid for my undergraduate college, but taught me to earn money when I was VERY young. I babysat, mowed lawns, worked in gardens, and started really working at a family business when I was 14.

I worked part time jobs all through the school year on campus, and found jobs at home every break or holiday.

I agree with kec01 who said that if kids don't learn about financial responsibility LONG before college, making them struggle to pay tuition and everything else certainly is the wrong way to teach them. To me (IMHO) you are setting them up to fail ... if you waited that long.

I paid to go back to school in my mid 30's for my MBA. Best schooling of all of it. By then I had many years of work experince behind me, meant that much more.


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I work for a large private university with tuition and room and board going for over $25,000 a year. Our children go free as a benefit. I could never afford this otherwise and I will see a $200,000 benefit for this.

Most of the jobs here are OK and don't pay a ton (I'm a secretary) but I'll keep it until my kids are done! They will come out of school with no debt!


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Remember also that in the 'olden days' one could get a perfectly good job with a high school diploma. That's not true anymore. College isn't a luxury, or something for only future doctors and teachers--it's a necessity for any kind of middle class existence. Even if you want to be an electrician, you'd better have that degree.

Add that to the enormous increase in tuition, and kids simply can't be expected to go it alone.


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I have to disagree with housenewbie. I work in a very skilled trade and work closely with other very skilled tradesmen in the course of my work. None of the builders, plumbers, electricians I know have 4 yr. degrees (that are related to their trade, lol).

What they HAVE done, however, is serve an apprenticeship, journeymanship, and have then taken the requisite licensing exams to receive their Master's license. To a one, we are all very well paid; but that's because we charge accordingly for the years of blood, sweat, tears we've put in to learn our trades. So I DON'T think college is necessary for success, though it does, indeed make things "easier" for those not so inclined to grunt it out in the trades. (Anyone remember the funny scene in "Moonstruck" when the gentleman sees the house and is stunned to learn it belongs to a PLUMBER? ;) )


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Oh boy, this could be a sore point with me...

My mother had her college paid for by her parents- her father took a second job to put her through college. She's 60 now, so that would have been back in the 1960's that she was going through college. She has always taken that for granted, IMO.

My older brother decided he wanted to go into a professional sport. My parents dumped somewhere in the neighborhood of $200K for him to persue the academics and oportunities to achieve that- I think they wanted the notoriety of having a well known/famous son. The year he achieved his goal and played professionally, he decided it was not his thing, quit, and went to work in a store as stockboy. Well that was money well spent... (sarcasm)

My parents were so focused on brother's big plans that they left me to struggle on my own. I put myself through community college (where I was on the dean's list every semester), and wanted to move on to 4 year university to get some degree in administration. I got no support and did not know how to go about accomplishing my goals. I never did finish college and resent that they poured so much time and money into my brother and so little into me, especially considering he struggled and I excelled academically.

My DH's folks paid for most of his two older sibblings' education, but didn't help with his. Probably because they were getting closer to retirement by the time he was ready to go to college. He never finished a bachelors degree either, it became too much trying to schedule classes around work schedules, and his work schedules became more and more unpredictable.

For our DD, she will have the option of living at home while going to school and we will pay as much of her books and tuition as possible. DH and I have done okay without college degrees (with them we certainly could be doing better), but I intend to give DD the support I didn't get to do whatever it is she wants to do- whether that means getting a college degree or not. If she shows the aptitude and attitude to go after her goals, we'll do as much as we can to help her succeed.

Q


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Chelone - I think you misremember "Moonstruck" The man was no gentleman as I recall and he was surprised that Olympia Dukakis owned a home in New York UNTIL he found out that her husband was a plumber. That "gentleman" also played Marty Crane, Fraser's dad - a very versatile actor.


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He was indeed a gentleman... if you recall his last encounter with the character portrayed by Olympia Dukakis!

It's been a long time since I've watched the movie. But I recall the exchange because my own father was a plumber! ;)

And the versatility of such a talented "character actor" is demonstrated by the fact that I never equated the "Moonstruck" performance with the later TV show! No kidding! Thanks for pointing it out.


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My mom's family all graduated high school but none of them went to college. And in my dad's family (many kids and poor), my dad and most his brothers and sisters did not even graduate high school. While I was in elementary school my dad went to night school and earned his GED. We were raised that we were going to college. We never questioned it as that was what we were always told.

And then the day after my brother (the oldest) left for college my parents split. I think that they did pay for his first year of college and helped pay for books. Through working and school loans he paid for college and managed to purchase a row house with rental apartments (even renovated all the apartments). He graduated and over the years has returned to college (as a student and a teacher) and has several master's degrees and is working on his doctorate (says the proud little sister!).

My sister started college the following year and paid for most of her college costs. She worked and took out school loans while living at home. Parents paid for books and helped with living expenses (car, insurance, repairs). She graduated, worked hard, and has been very successful. Last year I attended her graduation for earning a master's degree (says the proud little sister!).

Being a few years younger then my brother and sister the divorce of my parents changed everything for me. I went from happy middle-class family to a divorce casualty of being the child that neither parent wanted to support. I moved out on my own when I was 15 and worked minimum wage jobs through high school and college. My parents did not pay one penny towards my college, books, or living expenses. At one point I worked full-time and went to school full-time. And then I switched to going to school part-time while working a full-time and part-time job just so I could pay the bills. I graduated with my associates degree and realized I just could not keep doing it (it was mentally and physically exhausting and I was starving!).

I've worked full-time since graduating and though I wanted to return to college my work hours always prevented it. My income has not been nearly what it would have been had I been able to finish college. I know that my parent's divorce cost me more than either of them.

And so now I am 20 years later in the midst of changing careers in hopes of returing to college. I'll still need to work full-time and will need to qualify for student loans to be able to afford to do it.


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I think people have been paying for their kids college educations for a long time though it may be more common now - maybe because a college education seems like more of a "necessity" than it was when I went to college (I'm 49). Part of the reason I think I see more of it now than I did when I was in college is that I'm surrounded by people with much higher socioeconomic status than I was when I was younger.

My parents struggled financially and had no money to pay for me to go to college. I was the only one of my siblings to go. I chose a kind of vocational type field that I could get through in less than four years so I could start earning a decent income sooner - and then continued to complete my four year degree while working. I worked all through high school to cover my expenses including clothing, recreation, etc. I also saved some money for college but I got financial aid, loans and scholarships. My father died when I was in high school so I did get some social security funds as well which was a big help.

DH on the other hand came from a family with a higher education and income level and most of his college tuition was paid for by his parents - though he did end up with a few student loans for some reason. His other three siblings had their entire college educations paid for.

I think if parents can afford to help their kids it's a good thing. I agree with others though who said kids need to take some responsibility and pay for something - and they need to work. I now interview recent college grads for employment and it really shows when kids have been completely taken care of by their parents - they don't have enough real world experience to make it in my company. They still need to "grow up".


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There was never ever any discussions about college when I was a kid. I was on my own at 16, had a baby at 18 and started college at 19. I was a single mom and very poor so I was able to take full advantage of grants. Also worked part-time and had plenty of loans. I graduated with a degree in sociology but at the time of graduation I was working in another field and now I have my own business in that field. My degree has never come into play and I suspect never will. However, the experience of struggling to survive during those years is something I wouldn't trade for anything.

Now my 19yo son is in college and his tuition is paid for and nothing else. I started out paying for everything (tuition, books, car, gas, spending money) until he built up a small "emergency fund" and now he pays for everything except tuition. Luckily, we live in a college town so he lives at home. His choice was to attend a local college and have tuition paid for or where ever he wanted but he would have to pay for the difference in tuition. Also, he has to pay me back for any classes he doesn't pass with a C. So far, he hasn't needed to pay me back.

I always struggle with not knowing how much to give and how much to withhold. I want him to become a strong independent resourceful individual. I truly believe that my experiences made me a "go-getter" and I'm not sure my son values hard work the way I did/do. I guess only time will tell.


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My parents promised to pay for college but were not in a position to do so. I went for three years, accumulating two years worth of credits (and some debt), and dropped out. I now run my own business in a field where a degree is expected for corporate employment but out in the trenches it's the wild west.

I dropped out because I am lazy. I was working full-time and just didn't have the study habits (I was the world's laziest high school student) to both work and study effectively.

I discovered that higher-level classes assigned homework seemingly making the assumption that you would have three hours or more a day outside of class to devote to your studies. I didn't...I had less than two hours total for ALL of my classes.

I have a great deal of admiration for those who worked their way through school, and a bit of scorn for those contemporaries of mine who talked about how hard school was but who ate, slept, partied, drove and studied entirely on their parent's dime.

As someone who has interviewed "soft" college grads, I'm absolutely astonished at what some of them expect to be making (more than me!) and what position they should have (mine!).

I think working is definitely an important part of going to college, and college summers. It will be a rarely driven individual who can actually work full-time and successfully graduate, so there needs to be a balance--but that part-time job will open eyes to what the working world is like for a lot of their fellows.


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My ex- went through Univ. on scholarship from her Dad's aircraft plant, that had closed down shortly after WWII. She achieved top marks, so may have merited other scholarships through some of her 4 years at Iowa State and Cornell. She, a canny Mid-westerner, graduated with some cash on hand.

I had 3 yrs. at Univ. of Saskatchewan, provincial school, so low tuition, especially back in the late 40s, then 3 yrs. (liberal Protestant) seminary, minimal if any tuition.

Dad agreed to cover my costs, but I knew that he was saving to put down payment on a farm, or, later, to pay off mortgage, so, after spending first summer at home, worked during the summers, two of them (required) as summer student minister in small churches (only open in summer) and two doing other work (that paid better).

Had several money-raising tasks during the school year, including a stint of 3-students to a room (usually 2), managing the phone room, waiting tables, acting as agent for a laundry, cutting hair, etc.

When I asked Dad for money, I always got it.

He said that if we wanted to farm, we could farm with him, and have it when he retired, or if we wanted to go to school, he'd put us through as far as we wanted to go (as long as we played fair and kept our nose to the grindstone, implied).

But that would be all that we'd get - the ones who stayed on the farm would get that.

In the event, on his death, farmer brother got more land, but I and my dead brother's kids got one piece of land each, and the financial assets were split equally.

As the ex- and I had split when our kids were small, we each contributed to their three/four years of Univ., about 1/3 by her, 1/3 by me and 1/3 by the kid involved, I think.

Neither of them actually followed through on the field in which they were trained, son in journalism (he went into sales for a time, later entertainer), daughter in hotel management (getting B. Comm.) she worked as liaison between her school and potential employers, fundraiser for women's shelter, office manager for agency helping stop bedwetting (90% success rate, but co. went broke - a shame!). More recently a coach for disemployed/downsized/outplaced/redundant (i.e. fired) people.

They have recently received a leg up financially in the world from their mother's estate - she was 9 years younger than I.

Good wishes to all of you for effectively managing your money, not only currently, but as you deal with the lifelong needs of your family.

Better that you boss your money than the only alternative that I know of ... having it boss you (spoken by someone with 20 years' or so experience as a personal financial advisor)!

ole joyful


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CLG - parents started paying for their kid's educations when Dr. Spock said they had too much guilt laid on the kids.

I'm 55.

My folks paid for my education.. Daddy made sure I didn't go to the local vo-tech high.. hadda go to catholic school. Daddy made sure I went to college... first to do so. He did whatever it took to keep me in there.

I had a job since I was 16, turned over all my paychecks to my folks,,,, probably were used to my tuition at high school and college.

College was a heck of a lot cheaper when I went.. State school and wonderfully funded.

OK, so today I'm able to fund kids. I chose to open tax free muni accounts for my cousin's kids. Funding wasn't that hard, taxes are nill, and yet I get no thanks whatsoever... not even birthday cards. By the time these kids get to college, most of their expenses will be "there". I quit contributing when I got no thank you's or any acknowledgements.

Their parents are of the Spock generation... no consequences. If you do something bad,,, you get a time out. You don't go to prison for murder because you might not have had 'good' parents.

Lotsa crap.


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