My Ideal College shares how to not let college debt put a hold on your retirement.

How to Avoid Putting Your Retirement On Hold

A parent recently told me……

“I am facing retirement in less than two years. I wish I put my children’s hopes and dreams into perspective. College kids aren’t the only ones who take out education loans. More parents need to understand the impact of their child’s future on their own hopes and dreams.”

Debbie, Parent
My Ideal College shares how to not let college debt put a hold on your retirement.

My husband and I dream of traveling more in retirement. We hope to get an RV and travel all across the United States. While we are on target, we need more savings to retire. The good news is that we do have 529 plans for our kids, but it’s not nearly enough to cover their entire tuition for a standard four-year institution.

We are not alone. Many parents start college savings plans shortly after their kids are born. Yet, as they get closer to graduating from high school, we realize it’s not enough.

As parents, we are invested in helping our kids find and live their hopes and dreams. I know I would do anything to help my kids live their best life. But how much am I willing to derail my dreams for them?

I have one easy tip for you to help relieve some of that fear. That is to reach a mutual agreement between you, your spouse, and your child about the educational path your child will pursue after high school. The path should drive them towards their career. Makes sense, right? It’s why we pay the $100,000 plus tuition because we expect our children to get jobs in the field their major is in.

Here is why this is so important. A friend of mine has a nephew who had a dream of working in the audio-visual field. My friend and the mom knew the child was not “college material.” The father was fine with the field his son wanted to go into, BUT he was insistent that he attend a four-year institution. The son attended and dropped out a year and a half later. It wasn’t because of the audio-visual courses, it was the other courses required for graduation that he suffered. That year and a half put the family $20,000 in debt. That put a big dent into their retirement fund.

Think about these questions:

  • What are the career aspirations you have for your child?
  • Are they realistic for what your child’s interests are?
  • What kind of financial support can you provide for your child’s post high-school education?
  • How open are you to considering educational options other than a four-year college?

Next, have your child answer these questions:

  • Where do they see their future?
  • What are their career aspirations?
  • If they have specific careers in mind, what about those careers appeals to them?
  • What are the different educational options for that career – four-year college, technical college, certification?

Once you have a clear answer to these questions, have a conversation with your child. Then come to a mutual agreement on a path and start planning for it.

If your child is unclear on what career they are interested in, there are options for you.  Many high-schools offer free career assessments. Some are better than others. You want to make sure the assessment suggests actual jobs versus broad fields and that it’s directly tied to your child’s natural interests.

At My Ideal College, we use assessments that directly correlate a child’s interests into actual jobs. We are able to match your child’s interests based on the research of what it takes to be successful in each role.

Please contact us to help get your child started on the right path and you to your retirement dreams. Give us a call at 678-761-3550 or email us at support@myidealcollege.org.

College is not always the best option for child. Learn how to explore other options.

What To Do When Your Child Isn’t “College Material”

College is not always the best option for child. Learn how to explore other options.

I am in a Facebook group for my local school district. Parents and teachers post items ranging from promoting school events to asking various questions. While most posts get a good number of comments and likes, there was one that got the most I have ever seen – a total of 178 comments so far and still growing. Here is what the mom posted:

“My child has no academic desire. I realize school isn’t their “thing.” What are trades do your kids do? Where do they work? Are they happy?”

This mom is not alone as seen by the many comments written for the post. Her questions are ones that many parents have. Just because your child isn’t “made for college” does not mean they won’t have a happy, fulfilling career. They are good, well-mannered kids who have a different path.

There are kids who go to college because it’s what we expect, then realize maybe they didn’t pick the right path. This is why 30% of kids change their major in the first three years of college and why 40% go to  college for 6 years and don’t even earn a college degree.

I understand why many of us have the mentality that our kids must go to college. That was what was expected when I was growing up. The pathis you go college right after high school. However, times have changed:

  • For some kids going to college is right for them
  • There are also many trade jobs that need to be filled and pay good money
  • There are teenage entrepreneurs who already run a successful business

The point is there are many options. We all have our unique path. It’s no longer the mentality of you must go to college after high school. My son is talking about taking a gap year. This concept of a gap year was unheard of in my teenage years. If you search the internet, you will find many successful people who never graduated from college – Ellen DeGeneres, TedTurner, Mary Kay Ash, Jay Z, and yes, even Steve Jobs. Click herefor a list of 100 successful people without college degrees.

What I loved about the Facebook post is that the momrealized that they needed to create a plan: if not college then what? Benjamin Franklin said

“Failing to plan, is planning to fail.”

This is very true when it comes to your child’s future. It’s our responsibility as parents to help our kids find their path. If we don’t help them plan, they will float through life trying to find their “passion.” Some may say that is just a part of life. But this could also mean that your child is still living at home at age 30 with college debt. I think many parents do not want this for their child or themselves.

Here are some steps to help your child plan:

  • Take a career assessment – This is a fast-pass way to help your child narrow their choices. There many free ones out there. Most importantly, make sure you use one that can accurately match your child to the careers that are the best fit for their natural traits, tendencies, and preferences – like the one I use. You can click here to see sample reports.
  • Write out action steps – once you narrow down the career choices, write action steps to move them towards a specific path. Steps may include talk to people in the career, find out the job outlook for that career, identify the education path for that careers, etc.

You can check out my other blogs about different options – Why Trade School is a Viable Option For Your Child and Tips for Avoiding the Costly Effects of Changing Majors.

As a parent, I know that sometimes our kids have a difficult time listening to us. That is one reason why many parents come to me for help. Kids will listen to advice better from someone else than their own parent. Even if it’s the exact same advice. Click here to schedule a strategy session with me. We can talk about your challenges in how to help your child plan their “ideal college.”

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