or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Frugality & Finances › Am I being unrealistic in terms of not wanting to go to college?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Am I being unrealistic in terms of not wanting to go to college? - Page 2

post #21 of 97

I think there are many factors to consider.  What is your dh going to study?  What are the job prospects and typical starting salaries in that field?  If it isn't enough to support you and a few kids on, then you are going to be in a tough spot.  You also are living rent free now.  That's typically one's biggest expense, so while you might be OK on $20k/year now, with no kids and no rent, it might be very different if you had to pay for housing and support kids.

 

Now, I'm not a SAHM, so my perspective is different, but I would never, ever put myself in a position where I had kids and couldn't support myself and the kids.  Marriages fail, people leave, people die, etc.  While we wouldn't have the same standard of living without both our incomes, I could support the kids if I had to.  That is very important to my peace of mind.

 

I work in higher ed.  I wouldn't take out loans for going to college if it weren't to study something that would lead to decent employment.  You can, however, study some things that lead to an associate's degree and reasonable starting salaries, that I think are well worth it.  Many of the allied health fields, for example, make reasonable money with an AA.

 

I don't know anyone who has made any appreciable money selling crafts as a WOHM.  I do know many women who do it, but it doesn't bring in much at all.  Very few people are willing to pay enough for crafts or handmade products to make it a going proposition for most folks.

post #22 of 97

I think your Dh going to college is a great idea.  You would be surprised the difference that even just being able to put "some college" on job applications makes before he completes his degree.  

 

Since you do see yourself eventually going back to school, you might look into taking distance learning classes now.  If you take one a semester for the next 8 years, while you do the Sahm thing, you'll have only about 2 left to get a 4 year degree.

post #23 of 97

It's not crafts, precisely, but my dh brings in decent money as a freelance illustrator.  For years, this was a lot like being unemployed.  He's done much better the last couple years - the long, lean years of building up connections and creating a market for his services have finally paid off.  This means that, although he is a WAHP, he Ws full time AH and doesn't have so much time for P.  Part of his income pays for the daycare that keeps our 3yo dd from dismantling his work computers with her toothbrush and shutting the whole business down.  His long-term plan involves working from 5 am to 3 pm, with a "lunch break" from 7-8 during which he will see the kids off to school.  He's hoping to have that in place by the time our youngest is 6.  Working part time hours has typically been bad news for his business - it means reduced need for his services and a great deal of difficulty finding paying contracts. 

 

While freelance illustration is not precisely like, say, selling one's knitting on Etsy, I think there are some crucial similarities.  Like any other business, it takes time to build clientele.  Once you've done that, you can't really afford to let it go - all those people will find another service provider and you will lose their business and likely not get it back again when you want it.  So even though you are your own boss, you can't really switch from full-time to part-time work at will.  Freelancers don't get employment benefits, like payroll deductions, unemployment and health insurance. 

 

Obviously, this has worked out fine for my family.  I won't recommend against it.  I will say, though, that it works because dh treats it like a business, not like a hobby that occasionally buys some groceries.  As long as you have your eyes wide open going in, you should be able to make it work. 

 

I don't know that you would need a full college degree for that, but some courses in marketing, accounting, and whatever it is you're wanting to do wouldn't hurt.

 

With two kids, your dh should qualify for some decent financial aid.  Almost any degree will qualify him for higher paying jobs.  There are a lot of educational options in the Chicago area.  With his earnings as reported, you're not just saving money by living with family rent-free - in your area, you have no other choice.  It might make your life more difficult for a while, but a college degree will be worth the short-term sacrifice. 

post #24 of 97

If things are tight for you when you're not paying rent, it makes a lot of sense that your DH wants to increase his income. Even off the grid houses have roofs that require repairs, not to mention testing the well water and getting the septic system cleaned out.

 

I agree that taking out big loans is not a good idea. But if he stays in sales, chances are good there will be opportunities in his future where a degree really helps - it might be a higher-level sales job, selling something within a company that requires them, or moving into something like a sales manager/regional manager/director role. He is being pretty smart about it.

 

As for you - I personally believe each parents should be within striking distance of every role in the family, and that includes putting food on the table. I agree that a class a semester, if you can swing it, is a great investment in some peace of mind, particularly if it's in something like an allied health field. But do look into salaries and stuff beforehand.

post #25 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by EFmom View Post

I think there are many factors to consider.  What is your dh going to study?  What are the job prospects and typical starting salaries in that field?  If it isn't enough to support you and a few kids on, then you are going to be in a tough spot.  You also are living rent free now.  That's typically one's biggest expense, so while you might be OK on $20k/year now, with no kids and no rent, it might be very different if you had to pay for housing and support kids.


This is what sticks out the most from the OP's post. I honestly cannot imagine trying to raise my children on $20,000 a year, and I oppose getting public assistance just because you don't want to get a job. (Yeah, not PC, but there is it.) Even in a rural area, you're going to be spending at least $400 a month on housing. Assuming you have no tax liability, that's 25% of your husband's pay. If you're in a rural area, you MUST have a car. When you're 20 miles from the grocery store, there's no public transportation, and walking or biking with children just isn't feasible. Begin RIGHT NOW pulling enough out of your husband's pay to cover the additional expenses you'll have when you're independent and then see how that works for 6 months. Then you'll begin to get an idea of whether living off $20K a year is feasible for you.

 

As your children age, they will need and want things, and you won't even have the opportunity to decide on those things. You'll have to say no out of necessity.

 

IMO, you're putting a tremendous burden on your husband and also counting on energy levels and luck to get you through. Whether you can make it shouldn't be dependent on whether you get a chance to make laundry detergent. What if you get the flu? What if one of your girls is really sick or injured? No laundry detergent because you can't afford to buy it and don't have time to make it...

 

If you're planning to live a rural life, I'm assuming you will garden. What about years when there are droughts? What about when you're on a learning curve, and the potatoes you had hoped would help you survive don't make it?

 

I don't think college is necessary if you don't want to go and have goals that can be met elsewhere. I also don't think that you have a realistic picture of what it's like to live on your own because my understanding of your situation is that you haven't ever completely supported yourselves. You're rent-free and also use someone else's kitchen, so you don't know what your energy expenses are. I think it's probably good for you & your husband to sit down and figure out a long-term plan with help from someone who can give you an accurate idea of what living expenses in your area might be. 

post #26 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post

I agree that taking out big loans is not a good idea. But if he stays in sales, chances are good there will be opportunities in his future where a degree really helps - it might be a higher-level sales job, selling something within a company that requires them, or moving into something like a sales manager/regional manager/director role. He is being pretty smart about it.

 


He shouldn't need loans if he makes that little money. He should be able to get grants for pretty much the entire cost of school unless he's going to a really expensive private school (which I think would be a bad idea in this case).

post #27 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post

He shouldn't need loans if he makes that little money. He should be able to get grants for pretty much the entire cost of school unless he's going to a really expensive private school (which I think would be a bad idea in this case).

 

Agreeing:  $20k/year with 3 dependents?  Hopefully most of it will be covered by grants.  Thankfully you're married, because when I was under 24yo and tried to apply for loans as an independent--you couldn't unless you were married or could prove your parents were dead.  Didn't matter if you could show tax returns for you AND your parents showing your independence.  irked.gif

 

But also agreeing to look at the starting salaries of new grads in his field of study.  Then look at the salary ranges without doing any further education.  Are these worth what he will go through to get the degree?  Because having been a working adult trying to finish my own degree with the tail end of it just after my first child's birth, the 15 year journey was HARD.  Doing my Master's was a little different because they're shorter programs and frankly, I wouldn't have finished that as quickly if not for it being a teaching program where they combined all of the classes and got you through 15 credits in a year as if you were full-time; but a lot of the Master's programs are like that.  Bachelor's programs are like that for people trying to finish what they've started (where you already have 60 credits).

 

So it will be a while before he even finishes.
 

post #28 of 97

I am originally from Chicago, spent the first 30 years of my life there and did my undergrad there. For starters with a family income of 20K and 2 kids unless he goes to one of the private schools like U of C, Northwestern, etc he won't need much in terms of loans. Frankly he can start at one of the city colleges (community college) and with a Pell Grant that should fully cover his cost. If after he gets his AA or AS he can either transfer to UIC again a state school and by the end he really shouldn't need more than 10G for loans, if that.

 

As far as you, not to be patronizing but at 20 you are still young enough that down the road you may change your mind. At 18 I didn't want to go to college instead I got married and had a baby, that marriage ended not long after my son turned 1 and I had to be able to support myself. It was hard and eventually I did go to college and eventually grad school because while college is no guarantee of anything anymore for the work I do, a degree matters. I also know too many women in my peer group who have had marriages/relationships crash and burn and almost all are struggling to go back to school later in life be it a certificate program or degree. It's hard. So while you need not rush to make a career decision you should stay open to it.

 

Good luck!

post #29 of 97

1) 20k a year is not going to be enough to raise 5 kids on- unless you also own land free and clear on which to make a living with your own hands. Or have a guarantee of never having to pay for housing, ever in your whole lives (and can live under such circumstances.)

 

2) a DH who wants to go to school should be strongly supported. Like others said, help him pick something useful and with the best/most portable job prospects

 

3) Supposing your ultra minimalist lifestyle can stretch things oh so thinly and you can raise the kids on the very low income, your DH cannot retire. He will work until he is completely disabled by aging, and you will be living your old age with nothing- and I don't mean no entertainment/laundry detergent nothing, I mean in the cheapest nursing home out there... unless your kids go to school and do well and can pay out of pocket for said old age. And that is a whole 'nother ball of wax. 

post #30 of 97

I always wanted to be a SAHM, my mother was one, now that the kids are gone she is a housewife. One thing that I knew I had to have was a back up plan, life isn't always fair and I need to know I can support myself and children. I don't worry about Dh running off with another woman, if he dies then yes we have a hefty life insurance policy on him but it won't last forever, and what if he gets in a car crash tomorrow on the way to work and is *just* disabled and unable to work? I did have children young as well, my first was at 20, but I am also an RN. I didn't work for a few years but made sure to keep my skills marketable, and continued my education. I got a job offer in 2009 in my speciality and went back to work *very* part time more to keep in foot in the door then for the money. I couldn't see in this economy turning down a job. I plan to continue like this, some months I work more then I want to, other months I might work 8 hours. I still worry about my mom, their main house is paid off and they have a storage unit business that will be paid off soon but my dad is one that earns the real money. He doesn't believe in insurance, and if he dies tomorrow she will not have enough to live off of for the rest of her life. She has no skills or work experience to make any real money. 

post #31 of 97

ITA with this.  I'm really confused by your post.  What IS your long term plan or do you really think you can live as a family of 7 on $20k a year, indefinitely?  What would you rather he do than further his education?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post


This is what sticks out the most from the OP's post. I honestly cannot imagine trying to raise my children on $20,000 a year, and I oppose getting public assistance just because you don't want to get a job. (Yeah, not PC, but there is it.)

post #32 of 97

I am also confused by this... my DH makes 36,000 a year and we are a family of 5.  We can pay our bills but don't have a lot of extra.  I know we could make it on less, but I know we could not make it on 20,000 a year.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by D_McG View Post

ITA with this.  I'm really confused by your post.  What IS your long term plan or do you really think you can live as a family of 7 on $20k a year, indefinitely?  What would you rather he do than further his education?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post


This is what sticks out the most from the OP's post. I honestly cannot imagine trying to raise my children on $20,000 a year, and I oppose getting public assistance just because you don't want to get a job. (Yeah, not PC, but there is it.)

post #33 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by chely7425 View Post

I am also confused by this... my DH makes 36,000 a year and we are a family of 5.  We can pay our bills but don't have a lot of extra.  I know we could make it on less, but I know we could not make it on 20,000 a year.
 


I believe from her other posts (and hopefully OP will come back to clarify) that they don't really have any bills. They live in a basement apartment in her ILs house, and they have no rent. They use the ILs kitchen. I'm guessing they buy food but don't pay electricity/gas. They're in the middle of Chicago and so can take advantage of things like public transportation. In short, I don't oppose living in multi-generational family units or even just living with your parents rent-free until you get your feet under you, but in this case, I think it means that the OP doesn't have a clear idea of how much it actually costs to raise a family on your own.

 

WCM, last night, I was thinking about your post. It occurred to me that your husband is in a commission-only sales job but makes barely above minimum wage. (Minimum wage is Illinois is $8.25, so $17,160 for a full-time worker.) Is he good at sales? If he is, then would he consider looking for a better commission structure or better company? It just seems to me that it may make more financial sense for him to seek out another sales job or another job period that will pay a bit more. My BIL is commission-only (and has no degree), and he makes pretty good money. I know those jobs are out there, and maybe that would help you guys formulate a sound long-range plan.

post #34 of 97

Quote:

Originally Posted by chely7425 View Post

I am also confused by this... my DH makes 36,000 a year and we are a family of 5.  We can pay our bills but don't have a lot of extra.  I know we could make it on less, but I know we could not make it on 20,000 a year.

Quote:

Originally Posted by D_McG View Post

ITA with this.  I'm really confused by your post.  What IS your long term plan or do you really think you can live as a family of 7 on $20k a year, indefinitely?  What would you rather he do than further his education?

 

Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post

This is what sticks out the most from the OP's post. I honestly cannot imagine trying to raise my children on $20,000 a year, and I oppose getting public assistance just because you don't want to get a job. (Yeah, not PC, but there is it.)


 


I don't get the impression from the OP that they are planning on living on 20k a year forever, or that she has any problem with her husband going to college, or refuses to try to find a job (like it's that simple eyesroll.gif) if they aren't making enough to support themselves, or sit an home making laundry detergent when she's 50 and her kids are grown forcing her husband to work until he drops.  Her question was "If my husband is able to get a college education and make more than he currently does, would we be able to survive financially if I were to be a SAHM?"

 

There are good arguements in favor of being able to support your family on your own if you have to, but I think a little perspective is in order.   It's a pretty crappy time be 20 and just starting out.   I certainly wasn't making even 20k a year at that age, and the economy wasn't as bad then.  I didn't know anyone who wasn't still dependent on their parents to some degree.  There's nothing wrong with living with extended family (if everyone is happy with that arrangement).  Does it make sense to invest time and possibly money into college right now when she has no plans for using a college degree in the immediate future? Possibly not.  Could they support themselves if her husband made more money than he does right now?  Depends on what he makes.  There's also the option trying working part time, during the hours hubby is at home, if needed to fill in any financial gaps.

 

So- to back to the original question- we have two kids (a third on the way) and live in a fairly rural area.  We could live relatively comfortably on 36k a year if we didn't have student loans to worry about it.  It doesn't make sense to get a college degree if you're not planning on using it for something.  It's fine, at 20, to wait until you have a better idea of what your long term life plans are before you sink a lot of time, energy, and money into something that may not pay off (especially if you hate the idea anyway).

 

post #35 of 97

This is my first post in this new MDC format.....

 

OP, I am more than a bit skeptical/horrified/shocked/confused by your plan.... your deliberate preparing... to fail.  If you had written your OP on another financial forum I frequent, others would have labeled  you (obviously wrongly) as a troll.

 

You are in your absolute prime of life.  At the age of 20, you are physically at your peak.  Your brain is probably at its top functioning capacity for life.  Why would you not want to maximize your potential?

 

And I am not referring to being a SAHM. 

 

I fear that willfully choosing to remain uneducated and yes! -unmarketable.... is a sure path to being marginalized to poverty (and I understand that you as a family already meet govt standards for poverty).  And I am not referring to poverty of spirit, vision, joy, la, la.

 

I am in my late 30's.  In a few years (less than 5), I will be able to retire.  I will be able to stay at home with my kids.  Sew as I love to.  i will work a few to 1 day a week b/c I still love what I do (medicine).  But I will be able to do all this knowing that myself and my kids will be safe, comfortable, fed, etc. even if something should happen to my dh.  So what I think you are saying is ... you want to live retirement NOW.  B/c that is how I would describe it.  But retirement needs to be funded somehow.

 

I believe that every citizen has some obligation to their society.  That  means I can use the library, roads, parks.  That means I can benefit from the police, the fire station, public schools.  But in exchange, i give something back.  For me personally, it is alot of money in taxes.  I also work in a field taking care of a population that is a direct pay back to society.  Each person's definition of what they owe will be different.  But my kids are already learning that they definitely owe.

 

I believe that every parent is obliged to their children.  Each parents' definition will differ.  But for dh and I, based on our capacity, it includes a comfortable home.  Warm clothing.  The best education.  Lately here where we live, it has been very cold.  I am thankful that my kids can have warm gloves, down coats, soft scarves.  I like for them to eat organic, local.  We went to a the US Botanical gardens and saw their winter train display, this year's theme being Wonders of the World.  And i thought... wouldn't be nice to see these places in person.  And that is what we would like to do.  What if your kids get sick?

 

but all of this takes money.  It has nothing to do with being materialistic people.  It is acknowledging that there are many wonderful opportunities (and obligations) that we hold.   And being able and willing to prepare and ultimately, enjoy.

 

post #36 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by prothyraia View Post

From personal experience, having large amounts of debt from student loans (hey, college is an investment, don't worry!!! :eyeroll) can severely limit your options, particularly if a) you don't want to work full time, b) you want to be a SAHP, c) your degree doesn't qualify you for anything in particular, or d) you can't find a job.

 

I have a degree, and I regret it deeply (well, not the degree, the debt.  Paying for my children to go to college is not an option at this point because my husband and I will still be paying down our own loans).  I'm in nursing school at the moment- while pregnant and with two young children at home-  because I *need* a way to pay back all the money I've already borrowed (and getting more debt in the process).

 

College can open doors for you- absolutely- but debt closes doors.  Don't commit to the debt unless you have an idea of what exactly your degree will get you in terms of income.

 

I realize the above sound pretty negative about education, which is odd because I'm a complete nerd, but I think it's important to distinguish between *education* (which can be mostly fee) and a college DEGREE.

And also, if I had millions of dollars, I would probably do nothing BUT go to school and study one random esoteric subject after another. :)



I had to check to make sure I wasn't the one who wrote this post. DH and I have degrees, and though we got it from a cheap state college, we are saddled with the debt for a long time to come. The idea that we are supposed to be saving for DD's degree is simply a laugh.

 

In our particular cases (and I know it's not so for everyone) I just don't see what the degree did for us other than saddle us with debt (and delay us from being productive, saving workers for a few years to boot). Oh, I learned a few interesting things and it was fun, but it did nothing for my career. In fact, the apex of my career came before I quit and got my degree (long story, it makes sense if you know it). Now I've worked for eight years for a high school dropout who could not care less about my degree (and in fact he might kind of sneer about it, lol). DH works for himself. Neither of us are in the fields we have degrees for.

 

I do agree with the points that some of us can be in for a nasty surprise if we lose our husbands to divorce or disability or death. However, I would venture to say that keeping up skills/resume (part time work maybe, even just very part time WAHM stuff) might be more important than a college degree (assuming of course that you are not going for a trade or profession).

post #37 of 97


Ouch.

SAHPs are not deliberate failures wasting their potential and enjoying a life of ease and retirement while giving nothing back to society.

I'll leave it at that for now.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by p.s View Post

........


OP, I am more than a bit skeptical/horrified/shocked/confused by your plan.... your deliberate preparing... to fail.  If you had written your OP on another financial forum I frequent, others would have labeled  you (obviously wrongly) as a troll.

 

You are in your absolute prime of life.  At the age of 20, you are physically at your peak.  Your brain is probably at its top functioning capacity for life.  Why would you not want to maximize your potential?

 

And I am not referring to being a SAHM. 

 

.....(snip)..... So what I think you are saying is ... you want to live retirement NOW.  B/c that is how I would describe it.  But retirement needs to be funded somehow.

 

I believe that every citizen has some obligation to their society.  That  means I can use the library, roads, parks.  That means I can benefit from the police, the fire station, public schools.  But in exchange, i give something back.  For me personally, it is alot of money in taxes.  ....(snip)......

post #38 of 97
Yikes! I agree with prothyraia. And I have an education. But there are no "jobs" that I want. I'm happy with what I do. I think eventually I might like to finish my B.S. (less than a semester left!) but that's more of a hobby. That post is horribly offensive, IMO. If I were living retirement, I would have a heck of a lot more free time and less responsibility-at least in comparison to other retired folks I know.

It depends on where you live, but $20k is doable. We lived on waaay less than that for awhile. Not always happily, but it was doable. It helps if you live in a low COL area. Also, here in IL you can make over $100k and still get public assistance with medicaid. I am perfectly fine contributing my tax dollars to that and supporting SAH parents. smile.gif
post #39 of 97

I think everyone should at least learn a trade.  A 2 year degree is more than adequate in most situations to be employable enough (and have enough earning power) to support a family.  While it is admirable (and hard work) to be a good homemaker, what would you do if something happened to your husband or you split up?  How would you support your kids?

 

I think at 20 you are thinking very much in the here and now.  While nobody likes to think of the "what ifs" they are very real.

post #40 of 97

 

I have 2 years of graphic design in college, I need several more years in university to be respected & make money in the field.  I had 2 years under my belt when I started working for 2 years to save money for the next step of my education when I found out I was pg with my first.  My husband managed an auto shop and made horrible money and we were extremely poor when my oldest arrived.  I took my 6 months of maternity leave from my minimum wage job and then went back to work. Child care was extremely expensive which meant I was bringing home about 100 bucks a week after child care, tax and transportation to work.  We had a very high needs baby that made us nervous to leave with anybody (He's autistic and screamed all the time and rarely slept).  
 
At the one year point we made choices to make our situation better instead of stagnant.  I stayed home to eliminate our worry with child care and my husband worked to get a trade.  It was a good way to continue to make money and work toward a better life for our family. In the beginning, as he worked to get his trade we were living in financial poverty but we were sacrificing & working toward a goal.  We were steadily holding our head above water when my twins arrived 4 years after #1 and we were very comfortable when #4 arrived 2 years after the twins.  Now we're very financially secure, no debt, comfortably dealing with the costs of children as the get older and planning retirement for when we're 60.  Being a plumber may not be a dream job but it's good money, honest work and given the qualifications my husband has collected along the way, it's probably one of the most secure jobs ever.
 
Now that my children are between 4 and 10, I'm seeing more education for me in the near future.  It was a bit of a gamble on my part, putting a lot of faith in my husband in order for me to put my education on the back burner, but it has worked well for us so far.  My husband works hard out of the home and I work hard at home and together we make it work.
 
Whatever choice you make, keep in mind that raising infants and toddlers is the cheapest point of raising your children. Things get expensive and financial stress can destroy a family.  Whatever choice you make you need to keep "forward" as your goal.  How you move forward is up to you.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Frugality & Finances
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Frugality & Finances › Am I being unrealistic in terms of not wanting to go to college?