Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you could not have missed the headlines regarding the recent college admissions scandal. Actresses, business leaders, and other wealthy parents have been charged with college entry fraud. I think it’s actually quite ironic if you think about it. If you have to cheat to be admitted to a particular school, you probably don’t have the credentials to maintain the academic rigor of that particular college or university. I wonder if the parents who committed college entry fraud ever considered whether the school they cheated or bribed their child’s entrance into, was really the best fit for the child. Did their egos take precedence over rational thinking?
I believe God has a plan for all of us. I also believe he blesses hard work and perseverance. On the other hand, I’ve never heard of a success story from someone who cheated their way to the top. Cheating or lying always unravels at some point. This story is an example of how cheating, bribery, and lying eventually brings disgrace to the guilty party. It also causes unnecessary embarrassment and leaves people with emotional scars for the rest of their lives. Friends, it’s just not worth it.
I hope this sensationalized scandal actually reduces the pressure valve that many parents feel to help their children get a college education, no matter what the cost. I hope it reminds parents that cheating and lying will never benefit them or their children in the long run.
Another issue this story brings to light is the financial pressure on parents to pay for the rising, and often unaffordable, cost of tuition at elite universities. Some parents are sacrificing their sanity and their retirement in order to make sure their children have a prestigious college education. The reality is, there are many ways to obtain an education. Parents, please pause and consider the following:
- Your kids can work simultaneously while attending classes at a university. This may also allow them to get practical real-world experience.
- Do not overlook the opportunity to research the plethora of scholarships and grants available today to your children.
- There is no shame in attending a trade school if your child needs specific skills for their desired profession. Examples include culinary school, cosmetology school, dental hygiene and some nursing programs, graphic design, welding, electrical, plumbing, and a computer technician.
- Many trade professions would allow your child to be self-employed and own their own business.
- Consider enrolling your child in a community college for a couple of years in order to get basics out-of-the-way at a fraction of the cost.
- Encourage your kids to live at home in order to avoid expensive fees for dormitories, or rent for an apartment.
- Attend in-state universities rather than private, or out-of-state schools.
There are many ways to obtain an education without breaking the bank. Just like the cheating scandal, sacrificing your future financial well-being during your retirement years, ultimately ends up punishing the child you were trying to help. If you don’t save and prepare for your retirement years, you most likely will become a burden financially to your adult children.
In a perfect world, you would start saving in your 20’s or early 30’s, and prepare for both financial goals. Parents would have a savings plan for future education expenses for their children, and would also be steadily and systematically saving for retirement. That is the best case scenario. However, many people do not have this luxury.
If you have to choose between saving for college for your children and saving for your own retirement, please choose to save for retirement.
Remember that your teenager or young adult in their 20’s has time on their side. If they have to get a student loan, they have many years to work and repay the loan. However, please discuss options with your kids about different avenues for obtaining an affordable education. Remind your children that it is beneficial to both of you for their parents to have financial security in the future. That is the best possible outcome. For more information on how to best plan for your future, please visit me at: http://www.emilygstroud.com #FaithfulFinance