Tips for teaching your children about college (and avoiding student debt)

Most politicians are trying to teach your children that because the cost of college has gone up… you have to take out more student loans.

But that is BS. You have other choices than to purposefully put your children deep in debt.

An article by Russ O’Reilly titled “Students mortgage future for higher education” has a couple good lessons for you and I as parents.

Here is a quote about what politicians are trying to teach your children about student loans.

“The cost of higher education underscored President Barack Obama’s visit to Washington Lee High School in Virginia in May.

“Unfortunately, since you guys were born – which doesn’t seem that long ago to me – maybe it does to you,” Obama said to students, “the cost of going to college has more than doubled. And that means students have to take out more loans.”

I’m not picking on Obama here (almost all politicians say the same kind of stuff), but if that is how you look at student loans as a parent, you are buying into the conventional wisdom that says “just borrow more money… it’s OK… just teach your child to dig a deep, deep debt hole… you have no other choice.”

Is that what you want someone teaching your children? Absolutely not!

Here is what you can do as a parent to help your children.

  • Teach them that college selection is about affordability
  • Begin saving for their college early
  • Have them become experts in college costs and scholarships while they are in high school
  • Let them know that demonstrating an enjoyment for learning and making good grades is a part of their preparation for college

Later in that same article a student was quoted as saying:

“Justin Peroni, 20, of Altoona, a political science major at Penn State Altoona, said he has taken out federal and private bank loans to cover the full cost of his $6,000 tuition and other expenses per semester.

Peroni said he has some concerns about not finding a job when he graduates, but he’s prepared to take more than one job outside of his field of study just to pay his loans back while working toward a fulfilling career.

“I’d rather do something I love and be penniless than do something I hate and have security,” he said

This is a great example of the flawed thinking that student loans foster.

How you live your life isn’t a matter of choosing work you love and being broke vs. choosing work you hate and being strong financially.

The choices your children have to develop a fulfilling and satisfying life run much deeper than those two choices.

Here’s some ways you can help your children make good financial choices.

  • Teach them from an early age how money works
  • Teach them that a home is one of the only purchases where debt makes good sense
  • Teach them the importance of spending less than they earn so they can save a portion of what they earn
  • Teach them that success in a career is about a commitment to continuous learning… long after school is over
  • Teach them that working hard at adding value and making a difference in their work is the key to growing their income

The more active you become in teaching your children about money and work the more likely they are to avoid student debt.

You will be teaching them a valuable lesson in freedom!

Here’s the link to the article “Students mortgage future for higher education