Over the last few weeks, we’ve taken a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of helping your child pay for their university education. I’ve received a lot of inquiries as to what the right balance is in regards to being supportive or not, so I figured I would share with you my thoughts on the matter as well as what I plan to do for my children.
I believe if you can help out your children without having it impact your financial goals then you should, by all means, support them. Being able to start their working lives debt free will give them a great opportunity to succeed financially.
Before helping my child pay for university, I will want to make sure they have an understanding of the value of money. I won’t get into a rant as to why personal finance doesn’t play a larger part of the high school curriculum, but I think it is of utmost importance all kids have an understanding as to the role of money in society. This is a large investment on my part and I don’t want it to be treated as a free ride. If it’s simply a handout, then guess what? It’s going to be treated like a handout.
I realize some kids have different maturity levels, but I plan to encourage my child to leave the house once they start attending university. There is something to be said about renting a home with your four closest friends and figuring out how to be an adult. You don’t want to raise a 25-year old who’s always lived with mom and dad and doesn’t know how to cook or do their laundry. It doesn’t matter if it’s a part-time job, a side hustle, or playing poker they will have to figure out how to support themselves. I’m not a believer that university is a 24/7 commitment. If Mark Zuckerberg can create Facebook while attending Harvard, then I’m sure my child can find the time to flip burgers a few times per week.
In regards to supporting my children, there will be some parameters in place as I don’t plan on writing a blank cheque every year.
No fluff degrees
YouTube is a wonderful resource, and my child can learn as much as they want on medieval history without it costing me a dollar. If there are no job prospects after the completion of a degree, then what was the point of paying for the education?
Have a plan in place
I’m not against my child working or traveling after high school. I’d rather they have an idea as to what they are passionate about before committing to a program. I don’t want to pay for three years of business school only for them to change their mind and start from scratch in a new faculty.
Bad grades are on them
If a course needs to be retaken, then it’s going to come out of their pocket. Hopefully, this serves as motivation to do well in school.
Let me know your thoughts and how you plan on supporting your children through university.
Marc Sabourin is a Winnipeg based Financial Advisor and Retirement Specialist with Harbourfront Wealth Management. His focus is on helping pensioned employees achieve their retirement goals. He draws on his real-life experiences to explain strategies that are often presented as intricate. He believes financial literacy is an integral part of one’s financial well-being and his goal is to make learning about these topics fun and enjoyable.