Being a grown up and acting responsibly is no fun. Not one little bit. One of those “grown up” pursuits that is a real pain in my arse is saving money. It is no fun. At. all. Sometime last year Dear Husband decided to calculate how much college might cost when our boys are old enough to go. Ugh.
He loves to make spreadsheets and is pretty good at it. He made a quick spread sheet of how much college will cost (IF tuition continues to increase at the same rate it is increasing today) and how much we would need to save per month for the next 12-17 years if we wanted to pay for college for them and not take out a loan or second mortgage to do so.
Here is what he came up with:
|Current OU Cost||$69,710||$69,710||$139,420|
|Future Cost Est.||$125,189||$159,777||$284,966|
(This is an estimate. We can only hope and speculate that tuition rates will not continue to increase at this rate. Either way…it will be a lot of money)
We would need to save nearly $1000 per month for the next 17 years. Seriously? !?REALLY?! You want me to put aside $1000 a month for the next 12 to 17 years to pay for college? That got us thinking…how are we going to pay for college and also have enough money to pay our mortgage and take a vacation every now and then? That started us on a “no fun zone” spending kick. But that is a post for another day.
I was fortunate enough to have my grandparents pay for my college tuition. I am/was very grateful for their generosity…it was very important to them that their grandkids go to college. At the time I knew it was a wonderful thing they were doing for me but I didn’t truly appreciate it. Because I wasn’t the one writing the check to the Bursar’s office I didn’t have a real sense of how much money was being spent on me. I just knew to sign up for classes and eventually pick a major. It took me 5 years to graduate because I switched majors several times and didn’t finally declare the one I ended up with until my junior year. When that 5th year rolled around it never occurred to me that someone else was shelling out (yet another) ass-load of money because I was more interested in having a good time and taking classes like ballet and drama rather than buckling down and loading up on classes that would help me graduate quicker. College was fun! What’s the big deal about one more year? How selfish and stupid I was.
Dear Husband and I only assume that our kids will be that stupid and selfish if someone else pays for their college. (It’s my understanding that it is the very nature of a teenager and young 20 something to be stupid and selfish. They know no other way. Bill Cosby liked to call it brain damage) The only way we can possibly avoid such self-centeredness is to have them help pay for their own tuition. Our hope is that if they have to fork over their own hard-earned money they will be more inclined to be more serious about their college career than we were.
So, we made a plan. We have decided to save monthly (however, we are NOT putting away $1000/month). We also decided that we will help pay for the tuition but when the time comes we will break the news to them that they are either going to a) have to get a student loan or b) get a job to pay for the rest. This plan may change…we’ve got 12 years to refine it. But for now that’s what we’re looking at.
I’m seriously curious…if you have small children (or medium size children or children just a few years from leaving the nest)…have you thought about this? Do you have a plan? Does it keep you up at night? Or do you assume that is why God created second mortgages?