A parent once 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.”
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 teen about the educational path your teen 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 teen 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, which put a big dent into their retirement fund.
Think about these questions:
- What are the career aspirations you have for your teen?
- Are they realistic for what your teen’s interests are?
- What kind of financial support can you provide for your teen’s post-high school education?
- How open are you to considering educational options other than a four-year college?
Next, have your teen 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 teen. Then come to a mutual agreement on a path and start planning for it.
If your teenager 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 teen’s natural interests.
At My Ideal College, we use assessments that directly correlate a teen’s interests into actual jobs. We can match your son or daughter’s interests based on the research of what it takes to be successful in each role.
Reach out to me to help get your teen started on the right path and you to your retirement dreams. Click here to schedule a complimentary strategy session with me today.