Soon after their babies are born, many parents begin wondering whether it’s too soon to start saving for their child’s college education, but some Circle of Moms members question saving for college when your child is at a young age.
Holly, who paid for her own college education growing up, questions why it's important for parents to set up a college fund for children. "Why must we allow our kids to depend on us to set them up for that time?"
in fact, several Circle of Moms members say that parents should't assume that they need to create a college fund for their child, and give three reason as to why not.
1. Kids Learn Essential Life Skills By Paying Their Own Way
"If you’re doing everything you can to save for your children’s college education, chances are it’s because you think that will give your kids the best start in life," says Circle of Moms member, Meme. Yet, she won’t pay for her child’s college education because she believes her children won’t take school seriously if they don’t pay for it themselves, and that she is teaching her children life lesson.
"I think a child paying for himself creates a strong work ethic, what being an adult is about, especially in respect to money and working for what you want in life, and keeps them from doing whatever they want (when it is all paid for)," Meme adds.
When children are forced to pay for their own higher education, they’re less likely to party their way through school, and instead more likely to learn the value of money, echo moms Sherri and Jennifer.
"Things shouldn't always be handed on a plate,” says Jennifer, "and at the end of the day, they will appreciate what they've achieved more because they have done it themselves."
2. You’re Not Sure Your Child Will Attend College
Depending on how old your child is, it might not be worth the trouble saving up for his college education because it’s too soon to tell what he wants to do in the future.
"Both my kids may not even want to go into university, they may prefer some kind of trade, or pursue other interests," mom Aleks says. If her children do attend college, then Aleks and her husband will foot the bill for housing instead by having their children live with them during their studies. The caveat, of course, being that there are plenty of opportunities for higher education close to where Aleks’ family lives.
"I want my son to go to college or university, obviously, but I don't want to push it on him," says Meghan. "What if he wants to travel the world first, or buy a car rather than use mine? Or what if he wants to marry his high school sweetheart?"
"If my kid has no idea what he wants to do, then damned if I'm going to pay for university while he's figuring that out," says Krista E. She feels it would be better if her son wants to work a year or two to figure out what field interests him. "I want my kids to focus and select their field of study carefully, and to have a plan in place. I don't want them to go ‘just because,’ and wind up wasting their time and my money."
Johnny is another member who doesn't plan on footing the bill for a college education: "If [my daughter] wants to switch majors 20 times and has no goal, I won't fund that. If she needs time to figure herself out, I'm fine with her taking time out to work and travel. A gap year is a good way to explore yourself and the world a bit in my opinion."
3. Your Money is Needed Elsewhere
Even if you'd like to save for your child’s college education, some members say it’s better to put the money to good use elsewhere.
Krista and Meghan, for example, both say they won’t start setting college savings aside until they pay down other debts.
Teresa has only saved up $99 thus far for her child’s college education. “I’ve heard that it's much more important to save for your retirement over your kid’s college fund,” she says.
Meghan agrees, setting her priorities to first get out of debt, and then to set up retirement savings and pay off the loan on her house.
"As parents, we all want a better future for our kids, and a college education seems like a mandatory expense these days. Too often, parents put their children's college expenses above saving for retirement — a costly mistake. The best way to ensure your child's financial security is to make sure your retirement is taken care of, so you're not a financial burden," Meghan explains.
Image Source: Travis Seitler via Flickr/Creative Commons
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.