In an economy that is about to crumble under the average American's feet, parents who are mostly comprised of the X-generation, or the “lost” generation, robbing their retirement funds for their kids' college educations is such a gamble.
As we have seen in the past few years, students graduating college come out to find no jobs to fit the bill. They then are forced to either waste time looking and waiting or take the lower paying jobs that will never even begin to repay the debt they are in. So, what are parents to do? Many are resorting to dipping into their 401-K plans and other retirement money in order to pay for the over-priced college tuition only to be left under a horrible financial burden afterward.
Is this sensible? Is there too much outside pressure to do the irresponsible thing for a responsible reason? CNBC.com reported,
"'The economy is putting pressure on families in terms of whether they're saving, how much they're saving and where they're saving,' said Sarah Ducich, senior vice president for public policy at Sallie Mae.”
What is to happen when the parents of these kids end up needing propping up in their old age or sooner? The hearts of these parents truly are in the right place, but something has to give. An old saying of “robbing Peter to pay Paul” seems to be the order of the day for this “lost” generation who have found themselves in a tough spot when it comes to helping their kids have more than they had. Quite frankly, the economy is not what it used to be, but mindsets have not come to terms with this. The American way isn't to give in or give up making this concept of change not compute to the average American.
Spending more than you have just isn't going to cut it anymore. It seems like the government can't quite get a hold of this concept, and individuals have become accustomed to having the best, even if it means being in debt also.
When the top paying jobs are falling from the workplace, how are citizens supposed to pay for college tuition that costs an entire income all it's own. Anywhere from $20,000-$45,000 can be the price tag for a year for those wanting to give it their full time attention. How are parents supposed to save this kind of money while raising their family and giving them all they need and “deserve” in the process.
Something has to give. Studies have shown that parents are trying to save for college and retirement. So many are saying that they are saving for college through their savings plan. So, where does that leave the average American? Quite frankly, in a tough spot, and some may not be “living in the real world”. They are living on faith, faith being the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.
More than 74 percent of American families with teenagers in the house say they would use their retirement for college. This was found in the report “How America Saves For College” via cnbc.com.
This leaves the nation's families walking on a tight rope that is about to snap. However noble it is to want to give a child everything, times are changing, and it's about time this nation gets in step with the reality of the situation. Colleges and Universities must cut costs, skills acquired through apprenticeships and other means must be acknowledged, and those who choose those means of education must be treated fairly.
Families cannot continue to stretch themselves beyond the breaking point with an economy “bubble” likely to burst very soon. Social pressures must be systematically removed. Parents can participate in this for the sake of themselves and the country. Yes, America's young people should be trained, but in order to see this continue with the problems that are out there right now, it's a must that the thinking go “outside-the-box”.
Class warfare will continue as long as parents sit idly by and accept the unhealthy financial pressures this society has come to see as “normal”. Until parents get involved it will continue. So, there are some things you can do in the meantime to save your sanity. First, change your attitude towards alternatives such as apprenticeship programs and, if you can, save. Begin automatically withdrawing to a savings account or get with a financial planner to see what other options you have.
If you are already putting money into a 529 children's plan, get help. Tell your family and friends about it and accept gifts towards investing into your child's education fund. If time has run out for you, it will be necessary for you to “think-outside-the-box”.
Wherever you are at in this, remember that there is no shame in admitting the cost will not work out for you. Once the number of kids who can't afford college or get scholarships to cover the costs becomes large enough, only then will anything change in our society to fix the problem.
However, America can't afford another “lost” generation. Be an active voice. Encourage local businesses to start apprenticeship programs or accept work for skills. Why does it have to be college or retirement? That is like saying, live now and die later. It's a crazy choice being forced on this generation of parents, but a sacrifice given out of love.
The pressure handed over to the young people is really not fair either as they have all the responsibility to save the family laid on their shoulders. Suicide rates are up as well as addictions to drugs and alcohol as a way to escape the pressures. When almost everyone you know knows some young adult who seemed to have it “all together”, such as a good family and college career path laid out for them, and yet they committed suicide, then something is very wrong.
Could the pressures be too great? Can we stop this madness? You bet! The American parent has it in himself to change the world. After all, it is the American enduring spirit that is shining through when we see parents giving up their futures for their children.
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