April 24, 2019

"Half of American parents have cut back on their retirement savings to help pay their children's bills..."

"... a Bankrate.com study shows. Parents are putting their kids' car insurance, cell phone bills, credit card debt and health care costs ahead of their own needs to grow their retirement funds. Kids miss out on learning to be independent. 'When you write your first rent check or car loan check it feels so good to be able to face some problem and fix it for yourself,' says one expert."

Those are the subheadlines in a CBS piece titled "Adult children are costing many parents their retirement savings."

I like the way CBS, after referring to "adult children" — which is bad enough — goes on to refer, repeatedly, to "kids." How about "offspring" or "sons and daughters"?

193 comments:

rhhardin said...

Sons and daughters is too binary. Go with fruits of their loins.

Captain BillyBob said...

Bernie voters!

Birches said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ignorance is Bliss said...

How about "offspring" or "sons and daughters"?

I think the term spawn is underutilized

Caligula said...

"Blame the 2008 financial crisis and Great Recession and the lack of substantial wage growth for this dynamic, says senior Bankrate.com economic analyst Mark Hamrick. "

Well, yes, it could be a crisis of insufficient income. But it could also be a crisis of excess or careless spending on "needs" that really aren't.

But, not to worry: soon, so soon, 2020 soon, Uncle Sugar will open doors on that big Free Stuff pantry!

EDH said...

I prefer the word "spawn".

"Something that's unholy and evil."

Birches said...

I'm an older millennial and my parents nor my spouse's parents have helped us at all. My mil occasionally gave us very generous Christmas gifts. Never paid a bill for us, we've been married since 21. Let your children be grown ups. They'll be better off in the long run.

Seeing Red said...

Snowflakes, so many snowflakes, falling from the sky

Michael said...


"Kids" keeps their parents young. It keeps everything happy and so un-serious, whoopee.

Nonapod said...

How about "offspring" or "sons and daughters"?

I think the term spawn is underutilized


I prefer broodlings. It makes them sound like some kind of parasitic infestation.

BarrySanders20 said...

How about the legal term "issue."

We can't retire because of our issue's issues.

Bay Area Guy said...

Yeah, gotta love the kids, but gotta work them hard to become self-sustaining adults.

Seeing Red said...

Non-aborted.

Art in LA said...

Offspring? Progeny? Descendents? Late 20th Century band names! I like kiddos myself. Brood is good too, in the collective of course.

Original Mike said...

We're planning on putting the two grandchildren through college, but we're in the position to do that because we prioritized our retirement.

Susan said...

How about moocher relatives?

Lucid-Ideas said...

@Seeing Red

"Non-aborted"

+100

Winning the internet and it's not even 1100!

Birches said...

@Original Mike

Don't tell your grandkids. The kids I knew who had college paid for didn't work as hard.

Leland said...

I'd include myself. I'm still picking up the tab on automobile insurance and cellular. From an overall family deal, it is cheaper. But only recently was I able to get them off my health insurance, and that was due to Obama extending the age to 26. The same type of initiatives allow automobile insurance to be carried longer, while it used to be required that children be dependent under 18 or in college.

The liberal idea that "big business" shouldn't screw the young by charging them more for insurance and other things, just because of an age and whether they live with their parents or not. But really, a more liberal approach is not telling either side what to do. Yet we are required to carry insurance, and the insurance industry is highly regulated. The result is that children are not experiencing the true liberty and responsibility of adulthood until well into their mid 20's.

I don't feel bad about my kids. It is easier to cover them, because they lived much of that time without debt. Indeed, the only debt carried is their home and, excluding retirement savings which is good, they have over 5 figures saved in the bank. At the same time, my wife and mine retirement is on track to be well funded with a possibility to retire early.

Seeing Red said...

The Chosen

Anonymous said...

My mother and father and their siblings (6 people) produced nine children among them; the nine have produced three; my son (only grandchild of a woman who had four sons) shows no sign of being interested in carrying on the line . . . on the other hand, anything my wife and I and my last brother have will likely be his someday.

Wife and I saved for his college but he flamed out early and we spent the money on ourselves.

He has a job, and hasn't asked for money in a few years.

Narr
It's all good

wwww said...

"My offspring moved to Chicago for a job at Abbott Labs." No one talks like that. In talking, most say son or daughter, or for a group, "our children." Father, Mother, Son, Daughters.

Helping does not equal cash. Spending time with grandkids is immensely valuable.

gilbar said...

adult children

I like it! Sort of like Chix with Dicks!
The New America! Be All that you can Be! {even if it's an oxymoron}




Fernandistein said...

"When someone else writes your first rent check or car loan check it feels so good to not have some problem you need to fix," says some other expert, "that's why these kids are letting their parents pay for their stuff."

Dust Bunny Queen said...

They are adult "children".

Real adults would be taking care of their own responsibilities and not mooching off of their elderly parents. They are acting like dependent children even though they are fully grown adults.

Children learn by overcoming hardships, set backs, disappointments, failures. Shielding your children from all harm is not doing them any good.

Unless they are somehow physically or mentally handicapped or have other debilitating issues, there is no excuse for allowing your children to be mooches. Temporary assistance....OF COURSE. That is what families do. Allowing your children to not become independent.. no excuse.

Their parents have created this situation and allowed it to happen. By being "too helpful" they have stunted their children. Crippled their offspring and created ADULT children.

I don't feel sorry for the parents.

whitney said...

Crotch fruit

gahrie said...

Any bets as to whether these "children" will take care of their parents when they are broke because of the fact that they spent their retirement on the "children"? Or will they expect the government to do that for them?

PM said...

I helped my son and wife get the last bit for their first house. Three months later, they announced my first grandchild is a-coming. Best money-move I ever made.

Fernandistein said...

Shades of Mr. Natural and the Big Baby.

Robt C said...

When my son started his business my wife and I helped him cover his payroll for a few months. He had 6 employees at the time. We got him over the hump. He now employs over 150 people, and we definitely don't need to give him any help!

Original Mike said...

Thanks Birches. Good advice.

We're also limiting what we provide. Enough for tuition at the University of Wisconsin. If one of them becomes MIT material we'll deal with that when the time comes.

And no room and board. They can pay for that themselves or live at home. I did.

Michael K said...

I have five kids. I paid for college for four.

The one who does not have a bachelors is the only one who owns his house.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

Good news, Democratics in government milk the system for millions all while they promise to punish YOU by raising hard working tax payer's taxes.

gilbar said...

We're planning on putting the two grandchildren through college, but we're in the position to do that because we prioritized our retirement.


That's a good idea: IF you HATE your grandchildren!
Otherwise, please think about sending them to a trade school
Typical Worker’s Pay Nears $200,000 at Oil Refiner

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

If you cannot pay for it, don't do it. Try something else. It's all party school and elite bullshit anyway.

Megthered said...

My kids all pay their own. We gave oldest daughter the money for the downpayment on her house because she went to Vegas and got married. Second daughter just went to the county courthouse, so we furnished her house. They never asked for anything, paid their own way through college and are now productive members of society. We retired in our early 50's because of wise investment planning, just like our parents taught us and now we have taught them.

eric said...

Retirement?!

Who needs retirement?!

We have social security! The government will take care of us.

Let's party!

Fernandistein said...

Blobs of differentiated tissue.

Fernandistein said...

When I was younger I was too lazy to ask my parents for money.

Original Mike said...

"That's a good idea: IF you HATE your grandchildren!
Otherwise, please think about sending them to a trade school"


Sure, if that's what they want.

Darrell said...

It's much better when Federal, State, County, and City governments take your money.

Aaron said...

This is old news.

Using the financial crisis or lack of substantial wage growth are just current excuses. The former happened 10 years ago and our economy is stronger than it was before 2007. The later is an old excuse too - inflation-adjusted wages are higher now than they've ever been.

Check out The Millionaire Next Door published in 1996, they raised this issue then as a substantial threat to wealth. They called it "economic outpatient care". They also pointed to how it was also potentially harmful to the person they are providing for also. I'm a financial advisor and I've discussed this threat with my clients for 20 years. (The Millionaire Next Door is required reading for my clients.)

jimbino said...

It's about time parents started feeling the pain their progeny as been costing the taxpayer for years. Especially if the kids went to public school, learned no STEM and now can't find a job, wasting my dollars while still contaminating the world.

Carol said...

I got dumped because I tweeted that parents were going on the hook for the kids' student loans. Apparently no one's heard of ParentPlus loans, which have been around forever. They were 12% back in the 80s.

Also I think parents may be cosiging on consolidation loans? or something, because I read a lot of stories back during the recession about parents entering their Golden Years with house debt, credit card debt AND spawn/their own student loans. Oh and taking care of a grandkid.

Like Mickey Kaus says, by the time these trends show up on some economist's peer-reviewed chart,the crash is well under way. But they're happy to explain later what all happened.

Original Mike said...

Blogger Aaron said..."Using the financial crisis or lack of substantial wage growth are just current excuses. The former happened 10 years ago and our economy is stronger than it was before 2007. The later is an old excuse too - inflation-adjusted wages are higher now than they've ever been."

Yep.

wwww said...

The quality of the help depends on the quality of the offer. It doesn't mean someone becomes a mooch. Paying for phones or dresses or travel or cars, or frivolous stuff is different from paying for education, first home, weddings - stuff that sets up a couple for success. Paying for a downpayment on a too-expensive car could trap a kid into a debt cycle. Giving them a old, used car with no debt-- now that could help the "offspring" drive to school or work.

Help does help & it doesn't mean someone will become a mooch. Depends on the quality of the help. Our cousin's father helped him start a business. That business helped him get into Wharton. Wharton tuition was paid by first employer. He's not a mooch & has 3 kids he is sending to private school. Quality & timing.

gspencer said...

"How about 'offspring' or 'sons and daughters?'"

How about "loafers" and "deadbeats?"

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

We can't all be the housewives in Beverley Hills. Of course that's why so many people in Hollywood love democratics. Money for nothing and your chicks for free.

Anonymous said...

We are stealing from future generations of Americans via the federal deficit. These parents are actually paying back what we all have taken.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

"The quality of the help depends on the quality of the offer. It doesn't mean someone becomes a mooch. Paying for phones or dresses or travel or cars, or frivolous stuff is different from paying for education, first home, weddings - stuff that sets up a couple for success. Paying for a downpayment on a too-expensive car could trap a kid into a debt cycle. Giving them a old, used car with no debt-- now that could help the "offspring" drive to school or work"

This. Reasoned help that enables success is not infantilizing your children. My soldier son and my engineer son have no lack of hard work and responsibility in their past efforts. Providing them with a reliable used car or having them on our phone plan hardly turned them into helpless moochers.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Financial illiteracy is also part of the problem of Adult Children and parents who are enablers.

As a retired financial advisor myself...(Hi Aaron /wave) ... I stressed budgeting to my clients for them to be able to save and invest.. I also taught a few high school classes on budgeting, saving and how credit works, by request of the math teacher. Basic financial concepts.

What they deem as necessary are not always real needs and are merely wants. want versus need.

Cell phone? Internet access? Yes. In today's world you need a cell phone to be able to do things like apply for a job and be in contact. BUT...you don't need an expensive $700 'smart phone' and an expensive contract that costs you over a hundred dollars a month. Dollar General has some good deals. Pay as you go. Libraries have FREE internet access.

Clothing? Sure. Don't go out naked. But, you don't NEED designer level clothing. In fact, you can find perfectly good and even designer level clothing at some consignment and thrift stores. Shop at Penny's or Target. Buy on sale.

Car? Maybe. Depending on where you live and what you do. HOWEVER. Buy an older or used car. You need transportation. Not a status symbol or ego trip.

Eating out instead of cooking??. Starbucks everyday?? Buying top of the line computers, tvs, gaming set ups. Get roommates. on and on.

There are many many ways to economize. If your kids don't budget and you are supporting an UN-necessary lifestyle..shame on you

eric said...

Blogger Carol said...
I got dumped because I tweeted that parents were going on the hook for the kids' student loans. Apparently no one's heard of ParentPlus loans, which have been around forever. They were 12% back in the 80s.


I hadnt heard of this. My daughter only qualifies for about $2,000 in loans under FAFSA, which I thought was weird since everyone else these days seems to be 100k plus in college debt.

I don't think we are going to need to borrow money, but it's nice to know the option is there if we need it.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

wwww said: The quality of the help depends on the quality of the offer. It doesn't mean someone becomes a mooch. Paying for phones or dresses or travel or cars, or frivolous stuff is different from paying for education, first home, weddings - stuff that sets up a couple for success.

Agree totally with you about the quality of the offer of help.....with the exception of the wedding. A wedding doesn't need to cost tens of thousands of dollars. The quality of your marriage or success of the marriage is not predicated on the cost of your wedding.

Too much help or unconditional help is not actually helpful.

Mr Wibble said...

The quality of your marriage or success of the marriage is not predicated on the cost of your wedding.

See, I've always heard that it sorta was, but that the relationship was inverse...

Yancey Ward said...

Maybe they identify as teenagers- who has the right to deny them?

Martin said...

No, if their parents are paying their bills, they are still "kids." Even if they are in their 40s.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Correlation between wedding cost and divorce rates.

Also between the cost of engagement rings and divorces.

The best results were for a inexpensive wedding with lots of people. Big assed BBQ, potluck and a barn dance with all the family, in laws and outlaws and friends. Be sure to get several kegs!

Just sayin'

wwww said...

The wedding industry is ridiculous. But, removing barriers to a good marriage is helpful for future stability.

My parents hosted the reception at their acreage, put up a tent, and networked with friends to put on a great party. That's why I don't understand the whole wedding cake kerfluffles. My parents organized all of the food and cake and flowers and music while we lived far away. Smoked salmon and fresh fruit and pasta. It was a great day. We invited everyone -- all relatives, friends, parent's friends. No need to pay by the head for food. A great memory and family event because grandparents and great-aunts and uncles don't live forever.

Marriage is important. And we received china for hosting along with pots, pans, linens. Historically parents set up their "offspring" in households when they got married. New England mothers and female relatives would make linens, bedding, a mattress, clothes, table clothes, baskets for the bride's household. The idea was to set up the kitchen and household. It sets up the "offspring" to start their household and family. Obviously if one can't afford to help they should not do so. But getting set up in a first household is, most of the time, helpful to marital stability and encourages the birth of future children.

The right kind of help is immensely helpful to marital stability. I've seen this dynamic play out with friends. Some get get the right sort of non-frivolous support at the right time. Some don't. It doesn't always make a difference to marital health, but it can.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Remittance men per Mark Twain:

Passengers explained the term to me. They said that dissipated ne'er-do-wells belonging to important families in England and Canada were not cast off by their people while there was any hope of reforming them, but when that last hope perished at last, the ne'er-do-well was sent abroad to get him out of the way. He was shipped off with just enough money in his pocket—no, in the purser's pocket—for the needs of the voyage—and when he reached his destined port he would find a remittance awaiting him there. Not a large one, but just enough to keep him a month. A similar remittance would come monthly thereafter. It was the remittance-man's custom to pay his month's board and lodging straightway—a duty which his landlord did not allow him to forget—then spree away the rest of his money in a single night, then brood and mope and grieve in idleness till the next remittance came. It is a pathetic life.

Anonymous said...

American wedding rituals are almost as absurd as America's death rituals.

Got hitched by an RC-shaman one Saturday noon, had some platters for friends and family at my widerred-ma's place, a few nights in the new hotel-tower out by the expressway, and here we are 42 years and lessee three weeks and one day later.

EVERY couple we know who had big weddings (with one exception, both clergy) are on second or third marriages now.

Narr
My wife and are so alike: hate to admit mistakes

Leland said...

How about "offspring" or "sons and daughters"?

"sons and daughters" is lengthy to say. "offspring" may be accurate and a good legal term, but in casual conversation, it seems nerdy and stuck up. It can also be inaccurate in terms of step-children, which is far more common these days.

h said...

I am retired with children in their early 30s. Not a small number of my children's contemporaries are pursuing "fulfilling" careers in the arts (writers, artists, actors, musicians, jobs in publishing, blogging/internet, jobs in the 'do-good' sector -- including lawyers and MBAs for good causes). And a lot of these jobs don't pay very well. So parents want their children to be happy, and think that allowing (encouraging) the children to "follow their hearts" without regard to paying the bills is part of making them happy.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

Since our public school system is woefully lacking in any basic financial understanding, esp involving saving for the future, I suggest every young adult attend Financial Peace University.

Jupiter said...

"Parents are putting their kids' car insurance, cell phone bills, credit card debt and health care costs ahead of their own needs to grow their retirement funds."

Hmmmm... credit card debt. I don't remember having any credit card debt when I was young. When I ran out of money, I was broke.

Leland said...

Retirement?!

Who needs retirement?!

We have social security! The government will take care of us.


And this is exactly why taking care of my children, even into adulthood, is a better investment than social security. I have a better chance of my children properly caring for me when I need it than the government. I understand that development occurs better when people learn personal responsibility. But the argument that parents should invest more in retirement than children often misses the importance of children in making a life better for the parent at all stages, especially when the parent needs care.

wwww said...

"Also between the cost of engagement rings and divorces."

Yeah but a huge factor is debt. Are these couples going into debt for consumer items that depreciate? Are they going in debt for a wedding reception or the ring? That's dumb. Or are they getting set up by their families with a first house & a wedding and, most importantly, No Debt?

I think expensive wedding are a waste of money. That said, one friend's father paid 50 K for her wedding and a down payment for a nice house. They've got 2 little kids and a healthy marriage and two good careers. No debt, education all paid for.

No doubt Debt can cause stress and divorce. We are seeing those divorces play out with people 5 to 8 years after the wedding.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

My parents hosted the reception at their acreage, put up a tent, and networked with friends to put on a great party. That's why I don't understand the whole wedding cake kerfluffles. My parents organized all of the food and cake and flowers and music while we lived far away. Smoked salmon and fresh fruit and pasta. It was a great day. We invited everyone -- all relatives, friends, parent's friends. No need to pay by the head for food. A great memory and family event because grandparents and great-aunts and uncles don't live forever.

Perfect!!! I sincerely mean that. Everything except the BBQ and kegs (joking). The point is that young people (or any people) don't need to spend enormous amounts of money or go into debt on "things" or events to be happy and successful.

You were surrounded by friends and family and not spending $30 to 40K on a party or trying to impress other people with the most fabulously expensive wedding evah. Not the bridzella.

We had our modest wedding at the local (small town) fairgrounds gazebo and then the reception at the "flower" building, where they judge the flowers at the fair, and in the beautiful garden behind it. Friends, family and yes....a BBQ with Prime Rib and an open bar (no kegger. we were too old for that)

The highlight of the event was a cattle drive that went down the street behind the garden. Everyone stopped and laughed their butts off at the moooo moooo mooooing of the irritated cows. They were probably mad about us cooking up their brethren for the reception. That really set the tone :-D

wwww said...

Hmmmm... credit card debt. I don't remember having any credit card debt when I was young. When I ran out of money, I was broke.

They didn't used to let people get credit cards if they didn't have assets. Now credit card companies give them out like candy on college campuses.

wild chicken said...

"My daughter only qualifies for about $2,000 in loans under FAFSA,"

That doesn't sound right.Back in the day it was always 2500 for direct and much more for stafford. But I was independent by that time.

Last night at Central Committee we learned that college bound high school students here are routinely told they shouldn't have to pay for anything...and a recently retired financial aid officer ranted that students don't want to work at all anymore and expect loans to cover everything..getting a bit spoiled eh?

LYNNDH said...

My Dad paid most of my college bills as an undergrad. I worked for spending money. Yes, it was a good feeling to have my own money. College wasn't as expensive 50 yr ago but then my Dad wasn't making that much money. As Grad student and married, we paid our way. I had GI Bill, worked on campus, and my wife worked. Only time we ever got money (not B day or Xmas) from my parents was when I was out of work and my Mom slipped me a couple of hundred. I paid her back.

Kids today don't ever seem to grow up. They are use to having things paid for them, guess that is why so many are Socialist.

stlcdr said...

"Blame the 2008 financial crisis and Great Recession and the lack of substantial wage growth for this dynamic, says senior Bankrate.com economic analyst Mark Hamrick. "

Total and utter bullshit.

If you panicked during the 2008 recession, and sold low, then yes, you are screwed. Within about 2 years of the recession, the market was back to where it was before the recession. Some stocks were back before then.

Further, markets don't just 'happen' inexplicably. The cause of the market drop, and this so-called dynamic have a common cause. One recovered, and the other didn't.

wwww said...

"Perfect!!! I sincerely mean that. Everything except the BBQ and kegs (joking). The point is that young people (or any people) don't need to spend enormous amounts of money or go into debt on "things" or events to be happy and successful.

Yours also sounds beautiful. It was a perfect day. Beautiful fancy cookies from grandmother, flowers from friends with flower farm, music by their friends and a local band. My mother's friends arranged the flowers. We were lucky we had wonderful people willing to do so much for us.

I pretty much dislike everything about the wedding industry. It encourages couples to go into debt.

Fernandistein said...

Half of American parents have cut back on their retirement savings

"Around half of American households have no retirement savings at all"

Same half or the other half? Or neither.

Henry said...

One of the weirder financial jokes in my life was when my wife went to graduate school. Federal financial aid forms demanded that this married woman in her mid-20s list all her parent's income, as well as our joint income. So we didn't qualify two or three times over. I wasn't even going to bother with the paperwork, but the admissions office demanded that we do it.

mccullough said...

The next financial crash is just going to wipe out retirement savings anyway. Might as well spend it while you still have some.

RigelDog said...

We are in the process of figuring out how and when to completely extricate ourselves from our mid-twenties-children's finances. We have a good retirement-funding plan and are about to save even more aggressively with "catch-up" contributions to tax-free funds--but I completely agree with the idea that parents shouldn't under-fund their retirements to finance their adult kids. OTOH, we are able to supplement our kids' incomes right now as they are building their own foundations in the workplace. We have them on our auto insurance (it's insanely expensive in Phila. area) because it's a relative bargain to work through our plan AND because they are not yet getting the fact that it's a bad idea to only purchase the most minimal of coverage. We have them on our cellphone plan, again because it's so much less expensive than them buying a separate individual plan. Older kid is finally starting to get better career prospects going after graduating with a fairly useless college degree and we will have her completely on her own by the end of 2019. Finally, we are giving our son some money, for this year only, to help him with his rent---he's going through hell at work, his health is suffering, and he can't afford an apartment near his job on his own. It's going to be important for him to be able to put in enormous amounts of time in his job to get through this upcoming year, and adding a commute on top of that is a bad idea. He knows that he has to resolve his workplace problems within a year, or find a more suitable job. Each kid also has the use of our old cars. I have discovered that ALL of our friends are actually helping their kids out in a similar manner.

James K said...

On the other hand, the current over-50 generation is leaving the next generation with $20 trillion in federal debt, which is essentially deferred taxation. And that doesn't even include the future shortfalls in Social Security and Medicare. So maybe the kids deserve it, but they need to know what the future has in store for them.

Lucid-Ideas said...

What about those of us (mid-30s here) who actually do the reverse, and have the wherewithal to help their parents out of jams? It's not a 'grant' mind but car-repairs can be expensive and it is cheaper (0% APR) to pay back your son than it is a credit card company...

Does that make my mother an 'adult child'? Just curious.

wild chicken said...

"If you panicked during the 2008 recession, and sold low, then yes, you are screwed"

Haha. Reminds me of the project manager who used to drop by my office and talk about his retirement plans hint hint hint. Yes I knew I was on thin ice there but I listened to his ideas.

Then he tells me he cashed out his 401k at the bottom. Trying to give ME advice...

Brian said...

They didn't used to let people get credit cards if they didn't have assets. Now credit card companies give them out like candy on college campuses.

There was a study a number of years ago that found that the first company that offered you a credit card was the one that a person would have the most loyalty to and the one you'd charge the most on.

They were effectively the first to "grant" you adult status and that sticks with you. Hence, credit card offers on every college campus.

BlackJohnX said...

The logical progression from Helicopter Parenting

Fen said...

I wonder if they are in a panic. We have created a generation that can't seem to Adult. They can't take care of themselves at 30. I remember my parents in their 30s, they had just started to take care (financially and caretaking) of my grandparents. It was expected when aging parents and maturing children hit a certain age.

I think we are going to have a lot of elderly growing older but with no family support structure.

Original Mike said...

"[Social Security] is exactly why taking care of my children, even into adulthood, is a better investment than social security. I have a better chance of my children properly caring for me when I need it than the government."

Counting on your children to take care of you? Yuc.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

What I am finding out with my first going to college this fall is that the system is not set up very well for kids who don't have destitute parents but want to pay their own way as much as possible.

My daughter doesn't qualify for bupkis because my husband (her stepfather) has a high income. The high income has only really developed over the last few years so there isn't a lot of accumulated wealth in the form of long term savings, an almost paid for house, etc like some people have at our age. Plus his divorce from his first wife took a large bite out of what there was. We have a large blended family plus the aforementioned freeloading, maintenance-receiving first wife on the payroll, so we are not in a position to write large tuition checks to the university.

Because of our income she doesn't qualify for a work-study job (at her school those are reserved for those with financial need). She will need to go off-campus to work, which is less than ideal for an engineering student who is going to have to put in many study hours to keep up. Living at home to save money is not an option as we don't live close enough to any suitable school. She doesn't qualify for any need-based aid at all. She is going out of state because the best state school, which admitted her to a very competitive major, didn't give her anything for merit and the out of state school is going to cost less after the generous merit scholarship she received. There is no other option if she wants to go to college than for her to take out loans which she will be responsible for. Sure we'll keep paying her cell phone bill; whatever it's a drop in the bucket. But the understanding is that she is going to be employable after choosing a responsible major and will be living frugally to take over both her loans and her living expenses after she finishes school.

One thing we can do for her, and will, is that we are going to buy a modest condo in the city she's going to school in, which we had long talked about doing anyway, and she can live in it free of charge as an upperclassman. She will still have to take out loans for tuition and books, but at least she won't have to go further in debt for room and board, and she can take care of it when we are not using it. And it's an investment and a wise purchase for us which we were going to make anyway. Would that be considered paying her bills for her, to let her live rent-free for a couple of years while she finishes school in a property we own anyway?

Oh, and more about my personal family anecdotes: No one gave me shit, ever. My father could barely be arsed to pay my mother child support after they split, and I was working from age 12 on and bought everything I needed other than shelter myself, and was married and a homeowner with my first husband at age 21. Neither his parents nor my own has ever contributed one thin dime to our adult lives including things for our children. They get cheap Christmas presents from my mom but that's it. When I was in my twenties and making mom friends I was amazed to learn that some parents of married, adult children do things like give them down payments for houses, and pay private school tuition for their kids, and cover the tab to take the whole three-generations clan on vacations, etc. I recently learned that a friend lives for free with her husband and four children in a house her parents own outright but don't need. A lot more of that goes on than I had ever realized when I was younger.

Original Mike said...

"If you panicked during the 2008 recession, and sold low, then yes, you are screwed. Within about 2 years of the recession, the market was back to where it was before the recession. Some stocks were back before then."

2008 was the best thing that ever happened to my finances. Converted the entire IRA to a Roth.

tcrosse said...

I know a guy who actually admits that in 2016 he took Krugman to heart and sold all his stocks, figuring that they were at the peak of the Obama Boom. Now he's waiting for the inevitable crash so he can get back in. It's hard not to laugh.

Original Mike said...

"I know a guy who actually admits that in 2016 he took Krugman to heart and sold all his stocks, figuring that they were at the peak of the Obama Boom. Now he's waiting for the inevitable crash so he can get back in. It's hard not to laugh."

Was his name "Once written..."?

Unknown said...

How about 'mature burdens'?

iowan2 said...

Bay Area Guy said...
Yeah, gotta love the kids, but gotta work them hard to become self-sustaining adults.


This

The free market will sort this out if the govt quits creative negative incentives. Treat colleges like a business. Allow student loans to go to bankruptcy. Put the college on the hook for the value they are selling. Every other business is liable. This will force the colleges to reduce their Price per credit, in order to keep enrollment up. Also, get the govt out of the business of recruiting foreign students by subsidizing them. It's a scam that pushes the cost to US students. Parents and their pre adult children need to come up with a plan for the kid to learn a trade, so they can earn a living. College should no longer be used as a screening tool for jobs that require nothing but a high school education.

Clyde said...

If you teach someone that mooching is okay, and then let them mooch, how can you be surprised when they spend their whole life mooching? Those parents have only themselves to blame. The time comes when the baby birds need to be pushed out of the nest so that they can fly on their own.

Fernandistein said...

Bankrate says "Half of parents financially helping their adult children say it’s putting retirement savings at risk": half of the "helpers" is a lot different than half of all parents with adult children.

A later chart on the same poorly written page claims either that *all* parents with adult children are helping those children, or that the survey is only about parents who are helping their children, and half (51%) of those "helping" parents are "sacrificing" ("Not applicable" = not saving; there is no option for "not helping".)

So "Half of American parents have cut back on their retirement savings to help pay their children's bills" is a fake news fake headline.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I mean, there is almost literally no possible way unless you have a magical unicorn-level combination of circumstances for kids to pay for their own college now. It's not 1985 when you could cover your all-inclusive $6500 a year at State U with a summer job and that savings bond from Grandpa Al. Even state schools cost dozens of thousands of dollars a year. What are kids supposed to do? Answer: take out loans. Which is upstream from them being in their late twenties and into early thirties and struggling to pay loans and parents try to help out by covering car insurance and cellphones and other things that are sort of cheap-ish when bundled into family plans. What's the answer to this?

Pianoman said...

Personal anecdote: When I was 17, I got three speeding tickets in the span of 4 months. Mom's insurance company dropped me, and I had to be put on "Assigned Risk" with AAA insurance. Mom decided that since I caused that problem with my reckless driving, that I would be responsible to pay for it. So she made me pay to put gas in the car, but also to pay my insurance.

Car maintenance then became about 50% of my regular paycheck. I changed my driving "habits" pretty quickly.

After a year of this, I was finally able to get back on my mom's regular insurance and stayed there until I moved out.

"Snowplow" and "helicopter" parents are doing their kids no favors by shielding them from the consequences of their decisions. Sometimes tough love is needed in order to teach a valuable life skill -- especially to snot-nosed 17-year old boys who think they know everything.

Everyone's situation is different, and I realize "the plural of anecdote is not data". But it seems to me that there's way too many parents (and grandparents) out there willing to sacrifice their finances in order to fix problems not of their own making.

Patrick said...

Half of American Parents Admit they Failed as Parents.

Details at 11:00.

Jersey Fled said...

My nephew basically bankrupt my brother in law to go to a college he couldn't afford. He doesnt seem to be troubled by that. When I was growing up, it was pretty much assumed that I was going to college, but my parents never really said they would pay for it. So I figured out ways that I could pay my own way, and did. I'm very proud of that.

Kids today want everything their parents have after decades of work, and they want it now. We tried not to indulge our daughters too much, and always lived well within our means. My older daughter is much like my wife and I. The younger one, who grew up when we were doing better financially, developed very expensive tastes. I think peer pressure has alot to do with it. I don't think she has a friend who isn't driving a BMW or Lexus. She drives a Lexus herself.

Darrell said...

78% of homeless people don't earn enough to pay their student loans AND charge their Teslas. FACT.

Bay Area Guy said...

When I went to un-named famous college in California, tuition was $1,300/year. And the Professors who good. And they and not woke. No debt to me, no debt to my parents.

Life changes, I reckon. If my kids get to greedy re college, sending them to the Marine Corps for some "pre-college" training.

Jim at said...

I'd be too ashamed to ask my parents for money. At any age.

wwww said...

What's the answer to this?

In the US: if one can, put a lot of $$ into tax-free education savings plans, starting when they are babies.

wwww said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gahrie said...

What's the answer to this?

End the push for everyone to go to college. Get the government out of the student loan business. Fire at least half of the campus administrators to make college cheaper.

wwww said...

Before WWII college was too expensive for a lotta people. Under Lincoln the Morrill Act of 1862 funds a bunch of State Us that are less expensive for more middling class types. Most couldn't afford it.

Many still can't today. More could afford it in the baby boom era and its aftermath. Now it's reverting back to those with $$ get the education & others can go to community college. Not too different from how it was before WWII.

A bunch of second tier places, that were less expensive, will close. Places like Vanderbilt will stay open and those with the $$ will pay for their kids to attend. Exactly how it worked pre-WWII and in the 1800s.

billo said...

Much of my upbringing was transactional. When I was a kid, my parents told me my "job" was to get good grades in school. I was given $10 for an A, $2 for a B, $0 for a C, $-10 for a D, and -everything for an F on a report card, and my weekly allowance was similarly scaled.

My father tried to work his way through college and did poorly. He went to school in the day and worked 10 hours in the afternoon and night at a gas station (back when gas stations did full service and mechanic work). He got Cs and Ds. Then WWII broke out and he came back with 100% disability and the GI bill, and got his way paid through college. He got straight As and became a successful engineer.

He came out of that with the conclusion that if you were going to take hard courses, then trying to work and study was a huge disadvantage. When I went to college, he again told me that he considered my academic career to be exactly that -- a career -- and that he would subsidize me to the degree I showed that I was taking it seriously, again pro-rated against my grades. He partially subsidized me through medical school, though I was expected to take out loans at that point.

About a month after I graduated from medical school, Dad came up to see me. He told me that he was proud of me for getting to where I was, but that he and Mom had struggled hard to support me through it. As far as they were concerned, they had given me my legacy when I needed it, and their purpose in life from henceforth was to spend all of their money on themselves and die penniless. I was now on my own, and I shouldn't be expecting anything substantial as an inheritance. I told him that was fair. I could not have done as well as I did had I needed to work my way through school, and they supported me when I needed it. Go to beach.

Later, after my parents died, I had the unpleasant task of cleaning out their stuff from their house. I ran across some old checkbooks from the period when I was in college. To my amazement, they were spending almost half of their net income on supporting me. And I never had a clue.

But to be frank, I would have been as successful in school if I had to work. Some folk are very good at academics, and they don't have to try so hard. Other folk don't have the talent or self-discipline to do well no matter how much support they get. But there's a lot of people in the middle -- who will do well if they devote a lot of effort to it, but will not do well if they have to split their energy with other things, and end up exhausted in class and too tired to study. I was in that middle (as, apparently, was my father). Were it not for their support, I would not have had the career I've had.

Achilles said...

Kids miss out on learning to be independent.

Baby Boomers are independent.

Totally independent.

Especially when they are looting their kids paychecks.

Achilles said...

gspencer said...
"How about 'offspring' or 'sons and daughters?'"

How about "loafers" and "deadbeats?"

The government pays an absurd number of people not to work.

A lot of stones being thrown between the generations in here.

Do touch my Medicare you loafing kids! And get me my monthly Pension and SS check! Chop chop!

wild chicken said...

"I would have been as successful in school if I had to work"

Yes but how does that apply to the poli sci, education, communications and other soft majors?

I have a useless degree but knew it and was strict pay-go. Plenty of people knew, even waaay back in the 80s!! that it was stupid to become indebted for something like that.

Bruce Hayden said...

I am lucky I guess. Kid got a STEM PhD last year and is making really good money. So whenever I offer to pay for anything, I am turned down. Actually this has been going on since their undergrad graduation, despite graduate fellowships paying poorly. But I will be allowing Ed to pay for a wedding. The problem is that I have decent wealth, so want to shower it on my only offspring, but their income is high enough that they want to do it all themselves. Some kids are just like that. My parents tried to pay for our undergraduate educations. One brother let them pay for two years at Middlebury, the transferred to a state university so that he could pay for it himself. And for decades insisted on sharing ( or alternating) dinner expenses with our father, who greatly enjoyed paying for diner as the patriarch. Part of it though is training. My kid’s mother was proud that she had paid for three college degrees on her own, so tried to instill that in our kid. It worked well enough that the kid had an academic scholarship for 40% of their undergrad education, and didn’t take a penny for grad school. My partner did similar for her son. Now that two of the grandsons are in high school though, they seem to be looking to the two of us for help. Good luck with that. Both she and her son got their undergraduate degrees with performing arts scholarships, and worked to supplement such.

Tank said...

Tank put his kids on the four year plan; I’m paying for four years of college, then you’re on your own. Worked.

Bilwick said...

Pajama Boy's parents could not be reached for comment.

pacwest said...

"Financial illiteracy is also part of the problem of Adult Children and parents who are enablers."

This one thousand times over. Personal economics and budgeting should be required study from grade school on. I was taught financial responsibility before I entered kindergarten and throughout my school years by my parents. Set up a savings program for your kids and show them how to budget for the future. Get them interested in finances. Set reachable goals and make it fun. The kids will lead better lives and so will you.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

Spend spend spend -0 Bernie will tax rape someone else so you can buy a jet ski.

pacwest said...

Not to get preachy, but if you are having a hard time making ends meet (and even if you arent), set up a budget and enter all transactions you make. This simple act will gain you a minimum of 10% without any other effort on your part. It just makes you aware of where your money is going. Kinda like magic really.

elkh1 said...

When my daughter complained how hard her computer classes were and wanted to switch to something else. I said, you can work hard for four years or enjoy your four years and work as a waitress, if you are lucky, for the rest of your life. Your life, your call.

She worked hard, really hard for four years, and is holding a 6 figure job now in SF, albeit that amount almost qualifies her for low income housing over there. But she doesn't have to sleep in her car or poop on the street. And I don't have to cash in my 401k to support her.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Not to get preachy, but if you are having a hard time making ends meet (and even if you arent), set up a budget and enter all transactions you make. This simple act will gain you a minimum of 10% without any other effort on your part. It just makes you aware of where your money is going. Kinda like magic really.

Same thing with dieting. Write every bite down and it's amazing how much more aware you are about how it all adds up.

h said...

If I could, I would make every 20 year old (18 year old??) read the comments by pacwest (make a budget) and elkh1 (future pleasure requires present sacrifice).

Freeman Hunt said...

My father indicated that he would pay for any school I wanted to attend. He wasn't rich, so that meant he was willing to take out a second mortgage and whatnot. I chose and only applied to a school that had already offered me an all-inclusive full ride. Probably disappointed him, but I didn't take on any debt or send him into debt, so I felt good about it. (And it was a good school even if not one of the many ivy-covered ones we visited.)

I see more and more kids who are clearly selective school material opting to start out at community college.

narciso said...

And you there this way:

https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2019/04/meet-the-man-who-wrote-textbook-calling-trump-and-his-supporters-racists.php

Rusty said...

Blogger Tank said...
'Tank put his kids on the four year plan; I’m paying for four years of college, then you’re on your own. Worked."
Yep. Once they graduate the bank of dad is closed.

Yancey Ward said...

My mother showed me how to balance her checkbook when I was around 10 years old. Such simple thing, but valuable beyond belief. It showed me how she kept track of income and outgo, and it was a lesson that I still use today.

gilbar said...

$30,000 marriage!
WOW! what a party!, Everyone will have fun! We'll Be SO POPULAR: For a Day

vs

$30,000 towards a house
Gee! That's Boring! it's Also a down payment in Chicago; Or the whole cost of a house here in West Union

But Parents! IF YOU REALLY LOVE YOUR DAUGHTER, you'll get her the wedding of her dreams!
REMEMBER! You only get married the first time Once!

Leora said...

Balzac wrote about this in 1835.

Tank said...

@Yancey

It’s amazing to me how many people never balance their checkbooks.

Lewis said...

Have one daughter that I had to raid my IRA to get her out of a big financial hole. 40 year old stay at home mom with two kids and newly divorced. No savings or work history or job skills to get anything except unskilled and low paying jobs. One child gets no support from his dad. So I did the only thing a loving and caring father and grandfather would do if financially able (like I am). I'm setting them up and keeping them out of the low rent district. It's an investment in my family's well being which is a far superior investment as compared to going on some stupid retirement trip or using it all up to pay for a nursing home like what is happening to my dad right now. $100K per year it costing him to be there. Medicare takes over when all the money is gone. 5 year look back for any funds not spent on the nursing home. Going to bless my kids and not a nursing home.

Yancey Ward said...

The other benefit for that was it showed me how much different stuff cost- electric bills, phone bills, gas bills, gasoline, mortgage, car payments, clothing, food, etc. I mean, even at that age I wasn't of the idea that things were free, but seeing laid out like that made everything concrete and real. It made me very careful about asking for and expecting things from my parents- I suddenly knew the constraints they worked with.

Seeing Red said...

The kid already knows got the college education so the wedding is not my responsibility.

Yancey Ward said...

And my father showed me how to do the family taxes not long after that- also educational.

Seeing Red said...

On the other hand, the current over-50 generation is leaving the next generation with $20 trillion in federal debt,

The next generation didn’t vote?

Leland said...

But Parents! IF YOU REALLY LOVE YOUR DAUGHTER, you'll get her the wedding of her dreams!
REMEMBER! You only get married the first time Once!


Yeah, my wife and I paid for our own wedding. We split the difference and spent some on a marriage in Vegas paying hotel and air fare for those we really cared to attend. What we saved over the "$30,000" marriage, we put towards a house. We advised our daughters do the same, but their money is their money in that regard.

We tried to do what billo's parents did. We taught them money as part of a transaction, and we supported them. However, we were probably in a better place as they went through college (starting at community college, because it made sense). We did make it clear that if they could afford certain things (e.g. cigarettes, tattoos, driving late at night after parties), then that would be a signal to us that they had enough money and didn't need ours.

DanTheMan said...

>>Now credit card companies give them out like candy on college campuses.

Now credit card companies give them out like condoms on college campuses.

Candy is bad for you.

Anonymous said...

Meh. I strongly dislike it when parents refer to an "adult child" as their "little one". Or "little girl".

So Archie-Bunker laden with sexist stereotypes.
They don't see it? The "child" is too trained/meek to object?
Don't get it.

bagoh20 said...

If that's how you raise your kids, then you get what you deserve for ruining them. They will suck you dry, and when you need them, they won't be there, becuase you made them entitled, ungrateful, and helpless. Good luck with that.

Anonymous said...

I see more and more kids who are clearly selective school material opting to start out at community college.
----------------

People started getting wiser -- and thriftier -- after the most recent economic downturn. Many boats rose, and are rising, but you always have the older family vessels that aren't what they once were.

I admit: I feel badly for a child who has the brains to learn from the best, and settles for whoever is teaching the core classes at the local community college that semester. I think, a lot of people tell themselves that you don't gain more from the worldwide reputation a nationally known, and bigger, school, in a bigger market brings, but in terms of the talents attracted, both in guest speakers, students and faculty -- visiting especially -- you sometimes do get what you pay for.

Like with a better vehicle, or understanding how to drive it, some people and their children are just not ready to swim in the bigger pond yet. You just hope, that after the community college, those talented kids do go on to challenge themselves in places where they will have more opportunity based on their brains, and not their local connections so much.

madAsHell said...

It’s amazing to me how many people never balance their checkbooks.

They said there wouldn't be any math.

Anonymous said...

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I mean, there is almost literally no possible way unless you have a magical unicorn-level combination of circumstances for kids to pay for their own college now. It's not 1985 when you could cover your all-inclusive $6500 a year at State U with a summer job and that savings bond from Grandpa Al. Even state schools cost dozens of thousands of dollars a year. What are kids supposed to do? Answer: take out loans. Which is upstream from them being in their late twenties and into early thirties and struggling to pay loans and parents try to help out by covering car insurance and cellphones and other things that are sort of cheap-ish when bundled into family plans. What's the answer to this?
--------------------

Do you want them independent, or tethered to the family plan?

The sooner you let them support themselves, tough as though that may seem to you, the sooner they start choosing, prioritizing, and paying their own way. It's never too late to start.

Cell phone bill? Car insurance? It sounds like you prefer to pay in the "family plan" than to let them pay their own way on the little things. Like rent. Time to start economizing, and for you to understand: they won't start out on their own as well as they live with you. That's part of being a young adult though...

The sooner they learn to pay their own way, the more independent and stronger, really, they are. Do you want your child always looking to another person, when you are replaced, to pay their own personal bills? Think about that.

(and yes, it is hard economically to be independent. Even/especially those with opportunities in the bigger markets. Resist the urge to carry them, there especially, lest their values become warped living a life they are not financially paying for. "You eat what you kill... Or grow.")

Paul said...

Sorry charlie(s). We send the kids to parochial schools and they both, in their late 30s, are fine financially. And our retirements are MAGA big.

We learned to raise them right so they would be able to stand on their own. Neither is a snowflake. Nether got degrees from college that are useless (one is in Nuclear Medicine and the other accounting.)

And yes, we are to the right of John Wayne in our beliefs.

Seeing Red said...

Go to Jr. College. Get your basics out of your way. That lowers the cost. Don’t reach for the stars. There are good schools around at reasonable rates. It seems a lot of kids are on the 6 year plan anyway, there’s nothing wrong with working or taking a class locally during the summer. It can be done.

Anonymous said...

"Go to Jr. College. Get your basics out of your way. That lowers the cost. Don’t reach for the stars. ... It seems a lot of kids are on the 6 year plan anyway,"


That last sentence? That's the junior college mindset/stigma, right there.
Don't discourage them, lest they lose heart. You don't need to encourage independence, that's natural/instinctual for the age. But don't discourage them, make it harder for them to go...

Millions of kids still do it every year. At 18. Leave home.

Seeing Red said...

Stigma. Only if you want it to be.

Seeing Red said...

Stigma vs debt free.

Fen said...

If a college education is so valuable, why aren't we hearing stories of ghosting classes, ie theft. If I leave my Vette parked with the keys on the front seat, it's getting stolen, because it has VALUE.

So would it really be that hard, especially on these campuses that have over 100+ students in class, to ghost the class? Show up for the lectures, buy and study the text books, do the assignments but don't turn them in. You don't get the paper degree but you do get the education the paper is supposed to certify.

But we don't see that. Is it because the piece of paper is what has value?

Fen said...

I'm just saying, if it's oh so valuable, why isn't it being stolen?

I leave my beat up Honda unlocked every night. It's worth maybe $1500, after about $3000 in repairs. And yet, no one has ever tried to take it.

wildswan said...

The prolifers I knew in former Communist countries told me that you could not survive socialism as a whole person without a family.

iowan2 said...

Blogger Tank said...
'Tank put his kids on the four year plan; I’m paying for four years of college, then you’re on your own. Worked."
Yep. Once they graduate the bank of dad is closed.


I had a close friend that told his kids he would pay for their last two years of college. I was going to do the same, but the kids took over their own lives around 16. Searched out dozens of little scholarships,top grades opened a lot of doors, summer, night jobs, internships, and skipping a semester to work. My daughter was a RA. She unloaded to me at one point in her last year that she was mad that all of her friends were out partying, she was stuck in studying, and she didn't want to waste money on booze, (I doubt she ever bought a drink, just snowing dad). But in the end, she had a job offer on her second interview, I reminded her of her whining, about not having any fun, when she called all excited about the job. She thanked me.

But the idea of making the kids pay for the 1st two, or three years, makes them have skin in the game.

Quaestor said...

rhhardin wrote: Sons and daughters is too binary. Go with fruits of their loins.

Harumph! Too horticultural. Go with loads.

Limited Perspective said...

Give the kids the guilt of being incompetent so they can be the woke white privilege type and blame blue collar whites for not being woke enough.

Limited Perspective said...

Dump the kids in daycare, preschool, early ed, after-school programs and every available government program so you don't have to make the sacrifice of one stay-at-home mom. Pay for your guilt of not being there when they were kids and needed parents by paying their cell phone when they are 30.

Phidippus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chillblaine said...

The Tiffany Network is trying to meme people into childlessness. Like literally every media receptacle in existence. I guarantee none of these pieces are produced using the frame of 57-year-old men who have no offspring.

JamesB.BKK said...

An "expert" thinks car loans are smart. Immediately suspect. Where's her cv? What about filling out your first tax return and seeing the withholding skim made fixed? That could've been mentioned.

wwww said...

But we don't see that. Is it because the piece of paper is what has value?

Some institutions have programs that allow senior citizens to audit a class for free. But, yes, it is the piece of paper for the resume. You could sit in on a nursing program, medical program or whatever. You need the piece of paper or certification for the interview and job. HR doesn't gamble on empty resumes -- need experience, degree or cert.

Trump International Crime Syndicate said...

Nice. It means they love their kids more than the Republicans whose policies are bankrupting them do.

Trump International Crime Syndicate said...

You don't get the paper degree but you do get the education the paper is supposed to certify.

But we don't see that. Is it because the piece of paper is what has value?


Oh, you're a real sharp one, aren't you?

Any layabout has-been with or without a beat-up Honda can loiter in through a large lecture hall. Passing the tests however prove that you actually retained the material and can apply it.

People with no adult skills other than killing whomever the government tells them to kill are probably not advanced enough to understand this basic concept.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about "ghosting" a class, but I know you can go to an open bookstore on campus at the start of the semester, and see the books stacked on the shelves for the undergrad and graduate classes. I found MBA books, not the textbooks, to read when I was an undergrad, that way. "Rules for Radicals" by Alinsky was one. You have to know what people are reading to understand how they think. I got educated, to say the least, and can only imagine the discussions they were having in their small seminars.

(I guess nowadays, instead of shopping around a campus bookstore, students just point and click, or give their lists to an "Alexa" type to have their orders filled. They don't know what they are missing.)

Anonymous said...

Is it because the piece of paper is what has value?
--------------------

I do think the quality of a college education dropped about 20 years or so ago, when it became expected that everyone -- what we used to call the "non-students" -- in a generation, from cops to business people to ex-soldiers to pretty much everyone middle class, needed to get a college degree.

We just shoved a lot of the education that used to take place in high school into junior college and community colleges, and gave some college degrees to non-students who checked the boxes, did the work, but never really turned on to the life of the mind.

Some college degrees are worth more than others. Some people treat it simply as a ticket to work, instead of really getting educated and learning the true tools of a trade within a lifetime of learning. Those people usually out themselves, sooner or later though.


alanc709 said...

'Trump International Crime Syndicate said...
You don't get the paper degree but you do get the education the paper is supposed to certify.

But we don't see that. Is it because the piece of paper is what has value?

Oh, you're a real sharp one, aren't you?

Any layabout has-been with or without a beat-up Honda can loiter in through a large lecture hall. Passing the tests however prove that you actually retained the material and can apply it.

People with no adult skills other than killing whomever the government tells them to kill are probably not advanced enough to understand this basic concept.'

You, on the other hand, aren't advanced enough to realize how much like an imbecile you are.

alanc709 said...

Twenty years from now, when those parents have to depend on those children for support, those children will expect the government to provide it. The kids will be too busy trying to figure out why they're broke to do anything else.

Trump International Crime Syndicate said...

alanc709 said...

You, on the other hand...

If you stop jerking yourself off long enough, I might actually be able to see what your first hand is actually doing.

Mike Petrik said...

Why are they busy figuring it out? It isn't hard. They are broke because they live way beyond their means, they took on debt for no good reason, and they are focusing on finding some self-indulgent passion rather than starting families and finding jobs. Yes, college debt is a burden, but aside from the choice they made the villain is easy access to loans that allowed colleges to bid up prices. The intentions were good, but the reasoning was risible, and now the same lefty geniuses who thought this was a good idea are aligning with their victims to double down on the same thinking.

MountainMan said...

I paid for all my own college, my parents didn't provide much support. Fortunately, I had an excellent school in my home town, lived at home some, but when I moved out I paid for all that, too. Was a co-op for a while, worked my butt off every summer, and from sophomore year worked at least 20 hours a week part-time and carried a full load. I got married right after I got my BS, my wife and I worked to put me through to my MS, and when I went to work full-time we had money in the bank. But this was all in 1969-74, when that was still possible. I feel sorry for the families of today, college is over-priced and quality has declined, at least that is my impression from recent graduates I encounter.

I was like Tank, put all three of my kids through to a BS (they are now 41, 38, and 36), but only tuition, books, room/board. Anything else was on them, so they all worked every summer and some worked during school, too. They left with no debt to pay. but that was it, they were then on their own. Fortunately they all got good jobs, have homes, big 401(K) balances, and little debt. Both daughters are married - and only wanted small, modest weddings, which were wonderful (and one had BBQ, Dust Bunny Queen!) - and both got their CPA. Son is still single but has a well-paying middle management job in a large company. Only thing we continue to offer them is a helping hand with moving from one place to another or provide them a little advice, but only when they ask, and that has diminished as they have gotten older.

We lived modestly and below our means during our working years and I saved and invested with an eye on retirement from the day I started work. Never cut back on that for 40 years, and certainly would not have done it for extravagant things that no one needed. We now are having a nice retirement and no worries. Fortunately, it looks like our children are taking after their parents and I don't have to worry about them. I feel blessed.

KheSanh 0802 said...

The real problem is that self-financing "higher education " is almost impossible unless you are truly in the one percent. Loans allow the schools to raise tuition that then need bigger loans that then mean a raised tuition again. I believe it was in the WSJ today that I read that for every $ increase in loans available tuition goes up $.60. Harvard will cost this year's freshman $300,000 for 4 years.

When I went to Business School tuition was a couple of grand as well, but they were talking about hiking it drastically then. Just tuition for the 2 year program now is over $150,000.

There is a real financial structural problem in the cost of higher education that I don't see anyone solving. Maybe if the schools were on the hook for defaulted loans they might get serious about doing something.

Makes you wonder when there is a headline in the WSJ today that oil field workers in some parts of the country are being paid $200,000 a year.

Lewis Wetzel said...

I can say with complete certainty that my parents never, ever, reduced their retirement savings so they could help me pay my bills.

stephen cooper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

College-educated WWII vet dad: 1 year before, GI bill after--funny I actually am not sure, as much as I do know about him, if he was on the GI bill; his parents probably could have afforded it anyway--they paid for his sister to go to the same local Passing-for-Ivy as he.

But he went and died young and I went to the state normal school of my mother's family, by then (1971) metastasized into a voracious ESU, which was called many choice things, especially if you had to park across the tracks (Motto: Nolite Ascendare Impedimenta!) I only got in because of my errhhmm outstanding standardized test scores. Trust me, there was NO other reason, I swear, least of all connections. Or g.p.a. Or athletics (I was only good at Strenuous Avoidance).

I sent my test scores to pa's alma mater but would have fit there like Elvis at
Buckingham Palace, and oh yeah I could only pay the ESU "maintenance fee" (tuition came later) and buy books because I have always worked, and I had his SSS benefits plus VAS benefits until 22 as long as I stayed in good standing. Which turned out to be not that hard, especially since one alternative was service in what a lot of Vietnam veterans I met there called (new word for me!) A Clusterfuck.

Narr
"Tap Dance" turned out not to be an easy 'C'

stephen cooper said...

The Islanders had a good night tonight, Clutterbuck and his pals would much rather face the Canes than the Caps.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Oh,listen, thou, to my tale of woe!
My mother never graduated from high school. My dad dropped out of college to marry my mom. He worked in a factory in the midwest for all of his adult life. I have four brothers and sisters.
When I was ten, my parents divorced. I was shuffled from one parent or another through my teen years. My dad took his own life when I was twenty years old. Left me to find his body, the bastard.
I went to trade school for electronics. I've always made a decent living as a tech. I like to fix broken things. I'm good at it. Got married when I was 42 years old, decided to get a BS by going to school at night. Two weeks after I matriculated my wife was diagnosed with liver cancer. She died fifteen weeks later.
Never had any kids. The wife had a kid from a previous marriage, but he died (of cancer) five years before she did.
Because we had no kids together, and her son was dead, we scraped and saved for retirement. So after she passed I find myself able to retire at age sixty. Aren't I lucky?
My parents did nothing for me. They didn't pay for my trade school (I paid for it by working while I went school). They didn't buy me a car. I bought myself a damn car. They never helped me with rent or anything like that. The only thing I ever got from my parents was $200 when my mother had to satisfy the terms of her divorce from my dad when she sold her house.

narciso said...

Tuition has gotten insanely expensive, what explains a multiple greater than most other good increase

Michael K said...

I see failed molecular biology student, Ritmo showed up.

stephen cooper said...
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stephen cooper said...

Lewis - that comment won the internet tonight, thanks.

stephen cooper said...

I try to put emotion in my comments but I am a mere amateur to what you just did.

narciso said...

I invert the phrase Stephen cooper, I admit o found that quixotic monologue last night a little frustrating

Lewis Wetzel said...

I'm just venting. I have one brother that I am close to. He never graduated from high school, he got expelled because he beat up a teacher. He has worked construction for all of his life, and he has a bad problem with dyslexia, but he is sharp in his own way. He buys and rehabs foreclosed houses, so now, in his mid-fifties, he owns five rental properties. I asked him how the financing worked and it was like listening to a lecture from a guy with a doctorate in accounting. Brother is always saying he is bad off, and I am like "Dude! You own five houses! You have a wonderful wife who loves you! The people you were hanging out with in high school are all dead or in prison! You've made it!"

stephen cooper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stephen cooper said...

Lewis - you are not just venting, I am glad your brother won the fight.

gadfly said...

The reasoning herein is faulty. First we have to assume that parents had retirement savings programs in place - and it is a good bet that the majority do not have sufficient funding programs for retirement in any meaningful way.

But those of us who attempted to put kids through college, even 30 years ago, were up to our eyeballs in debt long before the degrees was obtained. I expected that to happen and loving parents expect it today.

Back in the day, the government-sponsored student programs were quite modest - and we didn't have Obama giveaways and Lizzie Warren student debt wipe-out programs contemplated.

stephen cooper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis Wetzel said...

Gadfly-
Yep. When I went to trade school in the late 70s the most you were allowed to borrow on a student loan was $2300/year. The idea behind raising the limit was that the limit was exclusionary. It kept poor folks out of good colleges & grad school.
We hear horror stories about people graduating with useless degrees and a quarter million in school loan debts, but the average (IIRC) is more like twenty or thirty thousand, the price of a econocar.
If you graduate from college and can't afford to pay your tuition back at $6k/year for four years, you have chosen poorly.

stephen cooper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
narciso said...

Well were not talking Time travel. Clay and Webster and tried to prevent this horrendous split, if the former had been elected in 44, maybe there wouldn't have been the Mexican war, much of the west coast wouldn't exist, but neither would slavery have intruded there might not have been a need for lincoln.

But Polk owen, ams the machinery of death and summery ground slowly.

narciso said...

Unlike in terminator 2, the future was not set (the last film was a muddle)

stephen cooper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
narciso said...

The prophets warned istael to follow gods law, yet Israel did not heed it and incurred the consequences of the fratricidal conflict

Rabel said...

I miss the good ole days when the older generations didn't bitch about the younger ones.

Also, Bankrate puts out a lot of worthless crap. As does the online "polling" company they used here, YouGov.

CBS, well what can you say.

Trump International Crime Syndicate said...

I see that failed human being, Michael K. Kennedy has shown up.

Fen said...

Our Newest NeverTrump Sockpuppet said: If you stop jerking yourself off long enough, I might actually be able to see what your first hand is actually doing.

6.5 6.0 6.0

You need to tighten that up a bit.

I know, I know - troll farms aren't paying what they used to, but still... if you are just going to be pathetic then maybe you should give the violin to a kid who will use it.

Fen said...

NeverTrump Sockpuppet: Oh, you're a real sharp one, aren't you?

Weird how my casual remark about the value of a degree got under your skin.

You screwed up your credit over a Women's Study degree, didn't you? Irony.

Fen said...

NeverTrump Sockpuppet: It means they love their kids more than the Republicans whose policies are bankrupting them do.

It's down to the 2 minute warning. Everyone is huddled around the small tv over the bar. Our boys need to drive 85 yards and then convert the two-pointer to keep our playoff hopes alive. From the desolate end of the bar, Sockpuppet grumps: "We haven't been this fucked since Reagan blah blah blah... ...blah?"

No one hears him. He downs his scotch and tries to get the bartenders attention.

Birches said...

I see a lot of people saying, "well it's just easier if I just..." That's the same thing some parents say about loading or unloading the dishwasher or cleaning up toys or doing laundry when they're children are little. It might be now, but you're depriving them of the experience when they most need it. They're young, they don't have a lot to lose. Let them lose. It will be better in the long run. We've told our oldest she can have a phone in 8th grade. That's about 5 months away now. We were talking about it and I made sure she knew she was paying for it. She has time to save up.

MadisonMan said...

Shedding kids from the cell plan is the last hurdle we have. One kid is currently out of a job -- as of yesterday -- and that's worrying, but he can figure things out.

Anonymous said...

Now don't think I'm complaining about a hard life. There's a difference between a hard life and having shitty things happen to you, even a lot of shitty things. Now my mother, on the other . . .

I was born white, male, and middleclass in the USofA in 1953! I won the lottery, right then and there. Despite some shitty things happening (details on request) that status has never changed . . . by the same token, I worked and/or (usually and) went to school from the age of 11 to the age of 46 (second master's). Then I just worked until 62, when I "retired early."

I now have the resources needed to do some more travel, spend time with a dwindling band of f&f, and fart around on other people's blogs.

Narr
Nope, not complaining . . .

Michael K said...


Blogger Trump International Crime Syndicate said...
I see that failed human being, Michael K. Kennedy has shown up.


You notice he never claims to have gotten that degree. Maybe that is why the bitterness and rage lashing out at those who actually did something with our lives.

Too bad. We are back in CA for the younger son's 50th birthday party,

Carol said...

$100K per year it costing him to be there. Medicare takes over when all the money is gone.

Wrong. MEDICAID takes over, i.e. the taxpayer.

So fucking ignorant...

Char Char Binks said...

IRAs and 401ks are bad investments, anyway. They're supposed to sock away your money for a rainy day, with the assumption that it won't rain until you retire, so you'll never have to pay a huge tax on top of a huge penalty for early withdrawal.