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GET LAZY WITH YOUR KIDS COLLEGE SAVINGS

Let’s be real, saving money isn’t always easy.

I know, some people are born savers and for others it’s hard work. But I’m not referring to natural inclinations. Even for those who come by it easily, there is another factor that can make saving money a challenge: there are so many darn things that we need to save for!

Anytime you read articles from professional financial planners, you’re given “the list” of savings priorities: Retirement, major purchases, an emergency fund, saving for travel or vacations and your children’s education all make the grade, as well as others.

The reason that the vast majority of us need to save in the first place is that we have limited resources, and so the concept alone can feel like a formidible task!

Because of all of these competing priorities, I’m for anything that will make saving money easier! I call it being a LAZY SAVER.

Now, there are several ways of living up to this great title and I’m going to share one with you today!

Here it is: Give your children the opportunity to contribute early to their own education.

Like many parents, Mrs. Mystery Money and I have been setting funds aside for our children’s education since they were pretty young. For different reasons which I’ll detail in a future post, we haven’t always contributed the maximum allowable amounts. Thankfully, due to consistency (regular monthly contributions), the power of compounding dividend income, and time (15 years and counting), we’ve set aside a pretty decent sum.

Still, the prospect of putting three kids through some (currently unknown) level of post secondary schooling is somewhat daunting.

Now, I tend to be a processor. That is, I like to mull things over. So, a couple of years ago, while giving all of this WAY too much thought, wondering how we could boost our college savings while maintaining our other priorities, it occurred to me that there was an easier way to do this!

Here was my plan: As soon as my son obtains his first part time job, (and eventually his two younger sisters), he could begin to contribute his own funds to his college savings. We, his loving parents, would maintain our current level of savings and his contributions would provide a welcome boost.

Hey, I know what you’re thinking. This isn’t rocket science. And I realize that most of you would not have required the same level of ‘mulling’ as did I to come up with such a simple idea. 🙂

However, how many parents are doing this? In my experience, not many are asking their younger teenagers to share the responsibility of college savings until soon before or even during college.

This week, my son will be pounding the pavement as he begins his first official job hunt. He’s excited about the prospect of earning a ‘real’ pay cheque, and having something which was until now foreign to him; disposable income! Along with getting his driver’s license in the coming months, it’s a big step towards becoming more independent.

And….he’s on board with my plan! But I haven’t made it a big ask. We’ll sort out an amount, it may be $25-$50 every couple of weeks. I may even loosen the purse strings a bit and come up with a matching arrangement.

The benefits are significant. By starting to save earlier on, he’s removing pressure from himself down the road while he’s in college. It will also reduce the need for student loans which I hope to keep at an absolute minimum, if not avoid all together.

In short, giving our children the opportunity to contribute early on to their college education is a GREAT way to not only be a LAZY SAVER ;), but it instills in them important savings habits while encouraging them to share ownership of their future education.

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  1. Great plan. Seems like a simple idea, but as you called out, I’m not actually making my teen contribute to his college fund. We make him save 50% of all money he gets, but the money isn’t earmarked for anything specific. We’re just trying to instill good habits.

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