Don’t Sacrifice Retirement for Children

June 3rd, 2008  |  Published in General  |  Comments Off on Don’t Sacrifice Retirement for Children

Now that we’re deep into high school graduation season, with thousands of former high school students readying themselves for both the summer and the next four years of education, you might be wondering how the heck you will be able to pay for their education right? Conventional personal finance advice states that you shouldn’t sacrifice your retirement for your children. It goes against every parenting principle you’ve ever felt because it always seems like you’re sacrificing for your children and doing what’s best for them. However, putting off your retirement for something they can handle themselves will put a greater financial strain on your family.

College Loans

Many students have put themselves through school through a combination of hard work, student loans, and frugality. I have nearly $25,000 of student loans from my four years of higher education and that’s far less than some of my friends. Many student loans are very affordable, tax deductible, and enable your child to pay for their own education after they’ve graduated and secure a job.

Retirement Is Long

The average lifespan of an American is close to eighty and if you plan on retiring at 65, that’s at least fifteen years of living you’ll have to fund from your nest egg. Considering your child has many years to pay for their college education, years where they will have little in the way of other expenses, it seems foolish to sacrifice your more valuable retirement years in order to make their young professional years more comfortable. While this may seem selfish, $100 to you in retirement is far more valuable than $100 to someone who will spend it at a bar.

Saving For Retirement Is Rewarded

At a bare bare minimum, you should be taking advantage of all the retirement options you have. Get the employer match on 401(k)s, max out your Roth, and all the other accounts you need. After your future is secure, then think of how you can put money towards your child’s education.