Posted by: laughs4dads | August 4, 2010

Higher (Priced) Education

For just $1,356 a month, you can send your child to a quality private college for four years.

I’m not talking about any old private college. I’m talking about your Harvards, your Yales, your Stanfords…just about any college your kid can get accepted to.

There’s just one small catch. You have to start paying that $1,356 a month from the day your child is born.

That, according to, is how you can manage to pay the estimated $471,194.00 college will cost 18 years from now.

However, as a public service to parents, I’d like to point out some alternatives:

  • You can avoid the inflation built into that estimate by sending your child to college now. By doing that you would also avoid all the costs of: SAT prep; high school spring break trips; buying a recorder so your kid can learn to play “Greensleeves” in Middle School; sports leagues; Valentines Day Cards for every kid in second grade; cupcakes for elementary school birthday parties; nursery school; and Gymboree. The downside of this plan is that your newborn may have difficulty selecting a major.
  • You could instill in your child, from an early age, the good old American values of working with your hands, so that he can go to trade school and become a plumber and make more than enough money to send his kids to good colleges.
  • You could travel back in time and become a Carnarsie Indian in the year 1626 so you could sell Manhattan to Peter Minuit for $24 which, if put in a bank with compound interest would today be worth approximately 50 billion dollars, providing the bank didn’t go under during the crash of 1787 and you could still find the bankbook.
  • You can make your kid pay for college.

Increasingly, this is what money mavens are recommending. They are saying that parents have no obligation to pay for college, that doing so puts unreasonable stress on their ability to retire comfortably, and that the only downside is that your kid may resent you, which is something you may not be able to live with as you loll poolside in your retirement estate in the Bahamas.

They go on to say that your kid can handle the cost of college by working hard to get every possible scholarship penny available, and getting a job, and going to community college for the first two years, and taking out low-interest student loans, which they will likely be paying off for the rest of their lives, making it impossible for them to pay for their kids’ college education or retire.

Plus, you’ll never get to see your grandkids because your children will still be resenting the fact that you didn’t pay for college. In fact, the only way they’ll let you see your grandchildren is if you agree to pay for their college educations, the cost of which, assuming inflation, would require you to be a 384-year-old Carnarsie Indian.

My family took an entirely different tact. We saved up to give Casey a free ride on the assumption that she would become rich enough to return the favor by paying for our retirement. Now that she has decided to become a teacher, it seems as though this plan may have had a few flaws.

But at least she doesn’t resent us. Not for that, anyway.




  1. Casey is extremely talented and I’m sure we’ll all never retire anyway. 🙂

    The best solution is to encourage your kids not to go to college. When the world is awash with bachelor’s degrees, street smart experience will be the valued rarity.

    • People with street smarts need a reason to use it. Middle class America is so boring and lifeless. There’s no challenge; there’s nothing to gain, but when a person puts an objective infront of someone whose bored, aggressive, and powerful, you can expect world changing, future-altering revolutions soon after.

  2. Instead of spending half your salary on lackluster education maybe you should consider home-schooling. There’s no charge for being an able parent and there’s no risk of going into debt for being an idiot.

    • Home schooling college, huh? Quite the concept. And quite the gold star on a resume, I would think.

  3. Only a person educated outside the home would put stickers on their resume. Meanwhile, the home-schooled student is stockpiling gold bars and starting his own company from the ground up.

    The importance of gold isn’t taught outside the home; it’s just a failed concept of sarcasm.

    • Ah, you took me literally. I think you’re beginning to prove my point. Or, one could hope, you’re kidding.

  4. I’m sorry, was decorating your resume supposed to be a point? Because from where I’m sitting the only thing you’ve made is a horrible attempt at being impactful.

    MY point is that there are more important things to be learned at home. How about you drop the attitude and have a real discussion. Or did they not teach you conversational skills in the school you went to?

    • No, you see my reference to a “gold star” was figurative. It was also facetious. These are two terms that might not be in a home school lesson plan. There are no stickers and no adornments (another word for “decorations”); I was pointing out only that a home school degree (if, indeed, there is such a thing) might not resonate with perspective employers as much as, say, one from an actual institute of higher learning, or even from the University of Phoenix.

      The point you were proving was that most children would be better served learning from trained teachers rather than a well-intentioned, though humor-lacking parent (I won’t name names). And regarding dropping the attitude, I refer you to both the title of my blog and my disclaimer; I am attempting only to elicit a chuckle here and there and brighten the day of a bedraggled parent. If you are, in fact, home schooling your child, you may need a guffaw even more.

  5. Oh please! Attacking my idea was your idea of a joke? It isn’t amusing when a person is rude and condescending.

    But anyway…now we’re getting somewhere! I totally get the whole ‘I need a sheet of paper to look good infront of corporate America’ but classrooms that give out those sheets are so limiting. Where does experience come in with formal education if 95% of the time your head is in a book? And truthfully, college kids don’t even go to class or read their books; college is a place for partying and you get a degree by sliding by and brownosing connections. Why go in debt so your child can slack off and be counterproductive?

    With home-schooling you can learn the more important things about life: discipline, morals, values, how to use tools, basic math and english AND you get the experience through hard work around the local area. In the end, what you learn at home is more meaningful than big words. Five dollar vocab is only impressive to people who sit behind desks and don’t truly work for a living.

    Again, I’ll use the example of gold and I’ll even challenge you to this. Go to a university and ask the first kid you see ‘why is gold the most beneficial form of money’…and then go sit in the home of the hermit who has a collection of it under his back steps.

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