Hmmmmm. The responses to my last post suggest that I was less clear than I hoped. It has been a difficult few months fo me, it is true. No wonder I can't write.
I will probably be unclear AGAIN. Nevertheless, another try.
I was struck by the fact that Sarah's parents had shelled out $20,000 a year for 4 years and that Sarah faces $20,000 in student loans, which her parents are committed to repay. I wondered if--looking ahead from that place almost four years ago--the parents regret the college choice. After all, Sarah is at a medium-level private school and majored in Psychology. So prestige-factor (crucial if one aspires to an academic career) and major (Psych does not necessarily lead to a lucrative career or anything in particular) are lacking.
I further wondered if parents should look ahead to the TOTAL cost of 4 years and figure out how their financial commitment could best be deployed. I did not mean to suggest that Junior be offered a car if he went to a lower cost school. UGH. I knew parents who did that. Bad idea, in my opinion.
I did wonder if parents should think about what they could give their kids with the total cost. Sarah's $100,000 could buy:
1. A BA from a mid-level private college with regional reputation.
2. A BA from a state school, with enough left over to buy a car (AFTER GRADUATION) and a hunk of a house.
I don't think people think like that. Should they?
The reason I am wondering is this. I put away some money in a 529 plan. My children are super test takers and ended up with totally paid degrees from state institutions. The 529 money languishes. It can be used for grad school and that may be where it will go. I can also take the money out, paying a small penalty. The money belongs to ME and Mr. FS.
Yet part of me--let's be honest, most of me--feels that I would like to share the leftovers with my children, both of whom did very well in college and have many options before them. While not $100,000 (don't I wish!), the money could ease their passage into independence. Kind of like a dowry in the olden days.
Do I make any sense this time? What would you do with the 529 money?