Every parent wants the best for their kids, and as a financial planner that leads to a lot of my clients asking about the best way to start saving for college. My first piece of advice is always to make sure you've built a solid financial foundation for yourself first, including getting your retirement savings on track. It's the whole “oxygen mask on the plane” philosophy. You have to stabilize yourself before you can truly help your kids. But if you've already done that and you're able to put some extra money away toward saving for college, what's the best way to get started? Three … [Read more...]
“Thickly Settled.” That’s the road sign that appeared as my wife and I drove around the Massachusetts town where we had just moved our oldest child into her college dormitory. I had never seen such a sign, but my first thought was how “thickly settled” my heavy heart had been all weekend. I knew drop-off would be bittersweet, but the crowded mix of contradictory emotions that had taken up residence in me kept shifting through pride, sadness, joy and fear. Upon second thought, I realized the opposite: my heart was “thickly unsettled.” But I found the metaphor of a family as a … [Read more...]
Hear that collective sigh? That's the sound of high school seniors — and their parents — finally finishing the often years-long college search process. Fortunately, my oldest daughter recently found the right “fit,” a buzzword guidance counselors emphasize for good reason. For many, though, the process can be quite stressful. Here are five big-picture college search tips from the trenches for you and your children. College search tips No. 1: Conduct an 'I-search' before research Long before visiting campuses, encourage your son or daughter to pay attention to what interests them. How do … [Read more...]
Even though our oldest is only in the fourth grade, my wife and I have already started thinking about college for our kids. We’ve done the responsible thing and, a couple years ago, started a college fund for our kids, but that’s where things got tricky. My wife and I aren’t even sure we WANT our kids to go to college, at least not immediately after graduating high school. I know it’s different for everyone, but I definitely wasn’t ready for college at age 18. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, blew off many of my classes, changed my major several times, was put on … [Read more...]
Unless your kids already show an aptitude for working with wind power or healing the sick, you would do well to prep your child for career success now by helping them develop skills that will serve them no matter how their careers unfold.
+ + +I was going to be in newspapers until the day I died. And then I wasn’t. I was going to live my life in press boxes and newsrooms. I was going to keel over well into my 80s while on assignment, probably waiting to interview some prima-donna ballplayer in a major-league clubhouse. I would have died grumpy, which … [Read more...]