intentionally NOT saving for your child's college? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 12:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was reading in unschooling about saving for your child's college and I was wondering what everyone is doing, thinks and why?

Do you save for your kids college?
Do you think it is a MUST unless you can't afford to?
Do you intentionally NOT save for thier college for any reason?

Please elaborate....
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#2 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 12:36 PM
 
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We're trying to make sure that we're on sound financial footing prior to saving for the kids' educations again. Right now we're not saving for their education but they each already have substantial sums of money in their names' for college, so it's not a huge deal.

Eventually we do intend to save for their educations again.

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#3 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 12:41 PM
 
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Susie Orman would say, your kids can borrow for college, you can't borrow for retirement. That being said we are saving her birthday/gift money and investing that. I'm sure we will help by me working more and contributing when she is in college.
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#4 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 12:47 PM
 
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We aren't saving right now. We are setting up our own savings and getting started with retirement. I don't think that it's necessary to save for college but I do want to have some money set aside for each of our boys.

Like a PP said (I love Suze) they can get loans and grants for college, you can't do that for your retirement. Take care of yourself then you can do what you can to help the kids.
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#5 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 12:48 PM
 
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My grandparents set up a small trust for him when he was born, and we also plan to save all cash gifts for him.
If we're ever in a position to have more "extra" money we'll probably contribute regularly, but with only DH working for the next couple of years it'll be a while.

I don't think it's hugely important to pay for my child's schooling. My parents weren't able to do it for me and I still made out fine and I've never had to take out a loan.
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#6 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 12:50 PM
 
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I am saving for it because I believe that a fully paid education is the greatest single material gift I have ever received. My grandmother left me some money, my parents saved some, I got a merit scholarship, and I worked part-time during school and full-time in the summers, so even though my tuition was 40% of my parents' annual income we were able to pay it without taking out loans.

When you borrow money, you wind up paying much more in the end. I think it makes more sense to pay up front than to borrow, if you possibly can.

I graduated with a little money in the bank and no debt. That gave me a great start on my adult life. I was able to become 100% self-supporting immediately even though it took me several months to find a job; I just used my savings frugally to pay my bills, and when I started working I continued living frugally so that I could save 20% of my pay. A few years later, my savings enabled me to buy a car instead of taking out a loan to buy a car, so that saved me more money.

I've been able to live almost debt-free (we do have a mortgage) and save a lot and buy everything we really need even though I have a "low" income, just because I started with some money and no debt. It is a GREAT gift and one that I hope to be able to give to my child, too.

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#7 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 12:55 PM
 
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I guess you could say we're intentionally not saving for college, since we don't have room in the budget for it. you do what you can. BUt I think when it becomes available I will set aside some for it. It wasn't something that my parents were able to do, so I've got the student loan debt.

As far as should one do so. I don't know. Sometimes I think college is a must, other times I think it sucks up alot of money and time and the right person doesn't even need it much anyways. I suppose it's not a bad idea to do if it's in one's budget. At the very least the money can be used as a trust fund for when the child is grown.

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#8 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 12:55 PM
 
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Nope, I never saved a dime for my kids education. We will, however, provide them with a place to live (at home or elsewhere) and pay for that as long as they're in school. Tuition and books are their responsibility, through scholarships, student loans, grants, working, or other means. My parents got RESP's for all their grandkids and it looks like many of them won't even be using it.
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#9 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 12:58 PM
 
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We don't save for our children's college b/c we have no intention of them going to college. If they decide that they want to pursue a degree we will surely help them but we aren't encouraging them to. It's just another brainwashing system IMO and a darn expensive one at that. I'd rather see them go to a vocational school and learn a specific trade but we aren't saving for that either as we figure they will be able to work and save their money and will then be more likely to appreciate the education and use their skill.

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#10 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 01:08 PM
 
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We are not saving for DS's college at this point.

I am a firm believer in taking care of our finances first. My mom's financial advisor stressed that we tend to our affairs first and worst come to worst, DS will find away to put himself thru school while illness/age may prevent us from working as long as we expect to.

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#11 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 01:10 PM
 
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Yes, although we are saving for their higher education, whether they choose a trade, vocational school or college. I think student loans are evil, and that the state should provide a basic education as it does in many European countries, but as that isn't likely any time soon we'll do what we can to help our children graduate without debt. I hope to have enough set aside to cover the expenses of a 4 year degree at our local (very good) University. If they want anything fancier than that, they'll have to make up the difference themselves.

I graduated without debts and am very thankful to my parents for that. And I really don't think I'd appreciate my education any more if I was still trying to pay it off 10 years later like some of my friends. When I graduated, my degree cost me about $20,000 - $25,000. When my kids graduate it will probably be more like $85,000. How on earth would an 18 year old be able to save that much money??

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#12 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 01:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Lusa's Mom View Post
Susie Orman would say, your kids can borrow for college, you can't borrow for retirement. That being said we are saving her birthday/gift money and investing that. I'm sure we will help by me working more and contributing when she is in college.
I too am still saving for retirement. My parents had four kids and no money. from middle school it was expected that we would go to college but they couldn't afford to help with the expense We all (besides my 16 year old sister)got through on student loans, scholarships, the GI Bill and hard work. I am post graduate now and only owe $6000 for everything. It was the best investment I could make. If you can afford to save for college do so- but don't do so at the expense of your own retirement. They don't give cholarships for that!

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#13 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 01:15 PM
 
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In my family, people who want to go to college figure out how to pay for it. Parents may help if they can, but I expect my son to work for his edcucation so he'll value it fully, whether that be outstanding academics to get a scholarship or workstudy while he's in college.

We plan to help him out if needed but only after he's done all he can to fund it himself. This is not a silver spoon family and I'm glad. I think kids who have college paid for by mommy and daddy miss something important.
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#14 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 01:16 PM
 
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I have a very small plan in place for ds1, but it's not a huge priority around here. For a lot of reasons , I'm way behind where I should be at this point in my life, financially...boy, do I wish I'd bought an apartment, instead of marrying my ex back in the early 90s! I really have a lot of work to do to get us into a reasonable position for retirement, etc. I'm 41, and can feel the clock ticking, yk?

We don't have anything in place for the other kids. If and when we can put some extra in the budget, we'll put a bit away, but we're more focused on our retirement/asset building right now. I don't even know if my kids will go to college/university, and I don't care, either way. If they want to, I'd like to help out, but I don't see any reason to fully fund it. If we have space, they can live at home, though.

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#15 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 01:22 PM
 
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There's always setting up a fund and donating yourself when you can. Family can donate too, in place of gifts on bdays and holidays. much better than filling my house with more toys...
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#16 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 01:25 PM
 
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Moving to frugality and finances

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#17 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 01:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by christinespurlock View Post
There's always setting up a fund and donating yourself when you can. Family can donate too, in place of gifts on bdays and holidays. much better than filling my house with more toys...
This is true. I don't know if my mom and stepdad will ever get them set up, but they've been thinking of doing this for the last couple of years - setting up a small fund for each grandchild. I expect they wouldn't bother with ds1, as he's already 16, though.

Their financial situation is pretty tight now, so it may never happen. I've actually thought of setting one up for my nieces and nephews, as well. DH and I are the best off, financially, of anybody in the family right now, so I'd kind of like to help. Mind you, I have no idea if any of the kids in our family will go to post-secondary or not...

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#18 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 01:35 PM
 
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My kids have college savings funds but they aren't something we contribute to atm (my parents do monthly, though). They also each have their own regular savings accounts at the bank that was intended for them to put money they have saved from allowance, birthdays, etc., and for DH and I to contribute when we so desire.

SO, yes, I believe in saving $ for my kids, and in the future when I am working and they are all in school full-time I imagine we will be able to comfortably save for both our retirement and their future. Now, whether they want to use that money for college, as a down payment on a house, for traveling the world, etc., that's completely up to them. There will be no strings attached. While I myself am currently a college student, I am not one who believes college is necessary. DH does not have a degree and he does well, I have plenty of family who have fancy degrees and yet they don't use them and so on. (this has been discussed in many past threads, and I 100% believe you can be successful w/o formal higher education). I used my own "college savings account" that my grandpa saved up ($20k at the time) to buy my first car in highschool, and to help me stay home when my first child was born when I was 21, among a few other things.

I intend to help my kids with college expenses as much as we can, if they want to go. BUT, I don't think parents are by any means obligated to pay those costs. If we still lived in NM when my kids were of college age (we likely won't) they would be eligible for free state tuition. Hopefully we can find something similar in CO, if not, they can apply for scholarships, financial aid and other grants if they/we are eligible and we'll take out loans if necessary.

Basically, I don't feel like it should be 100% up to my kids to work 2 jobs and struggle to pay every penny for themselves, yet I don't expect DH and I to foot the entire bill for 4+ kids (and I don't think that's necessarily the most helpful route based on watching friends, either).

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#19 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 01:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sisteeesmama View Post
I was reading in unschooling about saving for your child's college and I was wondering what everyone is doing, thinks and why?

Do you save for your kids college?
Do you think it is a MUST unless you can't afford to?
Do you intentionally NOT save for thier college for any reason?

Please elaborate....
No.
No.
Yes.

Although there are shades of "intentional." If I had money to spare, I might think, "Why not invest it for my kids' college?" But I don't.

I do not think it is wise to save money right now. The value of the dollar is guaranteed to drop significantly going forward, and every dollar saved now will be worth far less than a dollar when it's needed, unless you are VERY shrewd investing (and even then, I think unconventional investing will be the only way to preserve the value of your wealth).

I do not think college is likely to be a good investment for my children. I am going to encourage them to get life experience in fields they are interested in, and if/when they are ready, to only go to college if it's effectively guaranteed to pay for itself. Otherwise I will consider it an expensive luxury.

I enjoyed college. A degree was convenient when I applied for jobs, but my DH did just fine without one. I cannot believe I spent so much money on a fun and interesting 4 years. I wish my parents had helped us put that money into a good living situation instead (land, house, etc). This is what I will encourage my kids to consider.

I don't think college will be essential in the world my kids will grow to inhabit. I think more and more people will be giving it up as a luxury. I think my kids will go farther jumping right in to a useful craft or profession that does not require an expensive degree. Yes, they may need training or apprenticeship, but I don't think an $80,000 piece of paper is the best way to go about that - for most professions. For some, it is a necessity, and it does pay for itself, and I will support that, but I will not save for it because I don't think it's the likely route.

Yes, I know this is a radical view. I assume I'm ahead of the curve. I think it will become more and more common.

We unschool also, so that affects my perspective on this. And both my dad and DH don't have college degrees and managed well in professional fields.

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#20 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 01:39 PM
 
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Nope, I never saved a dime for my kids education. We will, however, provide them with a place to live (at home or elsewhere) and pay for that as long as they're in school. Tuition and books are their responsibility, through scholarships, student loans, grants, working, or other means. My parents got RESP's for all their grandkids and it looks like many of them won't even be using it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Elsa View Post
In my family, people who want to go to college figure out how to pay for it. Parents may help if they can, but I expect my son to work for his edcucation so he'll value it fully, whether that be outstanding academics to get a scholarship or workstudy while he's in college.

We plan to help him out if needed but only after he's done all he can to fund it himself. This is not a silver spoon family and I'm glad. I think kids who have college paid for by mommy and daddy miss something important.
:

When my children are children I care for all their needs. However when they are adults, though I will support them in many ways, I view it as a disservice to hand it to them. Is a higher education important? I suppose that depends on the person and situation. My child can make up their minds for themselves. Their adult life is not my responsibility. I also plan on staying out of it in other ways.

So in short- we intentionally are not saving for their education. We do plan on saving as a gift to them when they leave us (it's always nice to have a little something).

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#21 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 01:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by amyamanda View Post
No.
No.
Yes.

Although there are shades of "intentional." If I had money to spare, I might think, "Why not invest it for my kids' college?" But I don't.

I do not think it is wise to save money right now. The value of the dollar is guaranteed to drop significantly going forward, and every dollar saved now will be worth far less than a dollar when it's needed, unless you are VERY shrewd investing (and even then, I think unconventional investing will be the only way to preserve the value of your wealth).

I do not think college is likely to be a good investment for my children. I am going to encourage them to get life experience in fields they are interested in, and if/when they are ready, to only go to college if it's effectively guaranteed to pay for itself. Otherwise I will consider it an expensive luxury.

I enjoyed college. A degree was convenient when I applied for jobs, but my DH did just fine without one. I cannot believe I spent so much money on a fun and interesting 4 years. I wish my parents had helped us put that money into a good living situation instead (land, house, etc). This is what I will encourage my kids to consider.

I don't think college will be essential in the world my kids will grow to inhabit. I think more and more people will be giving it up as a luxury. I think my kids will go farther jumping right in to a useful craft or profession that does not require an expensive degree. Yes, they may need training or apprenticeship, but I don't think an $80,000 piece of paper is the best way to go about that - for most professions. For some, it is a necessity, and it does pay for itself, and I will support that, but I will not save for it because I don't think it's the likely route.

Yes, I know this is a radical view. I assume I'm ahead of the curve. I think it will become more and more common.

We unschool also, so that affects my perspective on this. And both my dad and DH don't have college degrees and managed well in professional fields.
I have had the same thoughts and am inclined to agree. There was an article in the NYT called something like "The Value Of Working With Your Hands" that I loved.

I also agree that *if* we had the money to spare (say some unknown rich relative died leaving us millions) we'd consider it.

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#22 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 01:44 PM
 
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We are saving for our kids college, they have a 529 plan but I don't think it's something you must do.
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#23 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 01:47 PM
 
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DS has an account that his father set up so that he and his family can deposit money. This really has cut down on the friviolous gifting. I have asked my family to give savings bonds and all money gifts go into his savings account. I didn't want a traditional College savings account because as some of the others said College is not for everyone. We are choosing to pay off our debt, pay down our mortgage, get a good amount in the bank for retirement and other things. If everything works out as planned we will be financially sound enough to be able to assit when it is time for post secondary school.
I worked my way though college and came out with less than $8000 in debt. My parents assisted me for three years and when my sister graduated they helped her for three years. I felt a huge sense of responsibility because I was paying for my schooling. I learned how to budget time, money and plan ahead. I had everything paid off by 2002 using an AmeriCorps NCCC education award.
I will help if it is needed, but I would like my children to feel the responsibility of paying for something that they feel is important.

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#24 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 01:49 PM
 
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I think saving for college should be near the bottom of the priority list in a person's household budget - well behind essentials (food, housing, transportation), getting out of debt, saving for retirement, and having over all financial stability. If you can't afford it, you can't afford it, and I don't think anyone should feel bad about it. There are a lot of alternative ways to pay for an education including community college, GI Bill (which has been generously beefed up and now offers benefits equal to what returning WWII soldier's received), going part-time, etc.

That said, we can afford it so I do have college savings in our budget - my plan is to save enough to send DS to the best public school in our state. If he wants something more expensive when the time comes we will talk and he can come up with a plan to pay the difference.

College savings is important to me because both DH and I were very talented students and really struggled to pay for school even though we both had pretty good student jobs. We both feel we were distracted from our educations. And we ended up with loans that significantly limited our freedom after graduation to do what we wanted. Fortunately they were not the crippling amount I see many have, and they are long paid off, but they were still a burden and directed our career options to an extent.
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#25 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 02:00 PM
 
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Well my son is a year away from college and I never saved anything and I do regret it. He will be a senior this fall so we have already started looking at schools and even a cheap in state school can be rather costly. My ds is a great student with an extensive resume (drama, he will be senior class president, etc) so I feel pretty confident that he will get some scholarships.

That said even doing modest guesses on what he may get will probably still cost anywhere from 5-10K after all loans and scholarships are factored in. He already knows this summer is his last relaxed summer, that next summer he has to work but realistically considering what jobs pay at minimum wage, its not like he will earn enough to cover whatever is not covered by assistance.

Why didn't I save? Well I was 19 when he was born and struggling, heck I put myself through college and grad school and have a boatload of my own student loan debt. Debt that really is an albatross around my neck at this point in life.

However if you can't afford to save, you just can't so you figure out a way to make things happen. I know many times these types of dicussions on MDC are folks who have small children. I would be interested in hearing from someone who who didn't save and whose kid clearly was headed to college...how did you handle that?

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#26 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 02:02 PM
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While I agree it comes way down the priority list and after retirement savings, a lot of posts in f and f talk about how their student loans have really hurt their future so if we can avoid that for our kids, we will.
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#27 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 02:07 PM
 
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i am not just assuming that my child will decide to attend college. however, i do set aside money as i can for her, as of now it is not much (she is one) but i hope to eventually save a substantial amount, which she can use for any number of things once she is older. not just for college, though.

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#28 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 02:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by EnviroBecca View Post
I am saving for it because I believe that a fully paid education is the greatest single material gift I have ever received.
I agree. The fact that my mommy and daddy paid for my college tuition was a HUGE help to me. Did it turn me into an entitled snob? I don't think so. It did however allow me to start my adult life without student loans hanging over me. It improved my standard of living. If I had been paying on student loans after I graduated, it would've made it quite difficult for me to buy a house or be a SAHM.

And even though I've been a SAHM for most of my post-college years up to this point, my degree has made me more employable and allowed me to find a job more easily when I did decide to go back to work. Quite honestly, one of the reasons I've decided to go back to work is because funding my children's college education is a priority for me, and we wouldn't be able to do that 100% on only DH's income.

New signature, same old me: Ann- mama of 2 boys and 2 girls, partnered to a fabulous man.
I'm an unintentional weasel feeder and I suck at proofreading.
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#29 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 02:14 PM
 
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Do you save for your kids college?
We haven't. We haven't really had extra money to do so.

Do you think it is a MUST unless you can't afford to?
I think it is nice to give your child a financial start as they enter into college or whatever they choose to do after high school. I don't think it is a must unless college is something you demand and pressure your child to do.

Do you intentionally NOT save for thier college for any reason?
A relative has already taken care of a college fund for dd.

Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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#30 of 324 Old 06-09-2009, 02:15 PM
 
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Saving for college is absolutely a priority in our home. I agree with a pp in that a debt-free college education was the single best gift our parents gave us, and it's what we are trying to do for our kids.

If I wasn't prepared to at least help my kids significantly with college, I wouldn't have had kids in the first place.
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