The SALT Blog has grown up a lot since we unveiled a new contributor. So, it makes sense that we provide a grown-up perspective, courtesy of Sarah Barker—a mother of three who’s figuring out the financial aid process as she goes along. Check out her story.
Do you hate talking with your parents about money? The feeling is probably mutual, if your parents are anything like me.
I would much rather risk infuriating my kids with the question, “Who was at the party on Saturday night?” versus asking, “Do you have any change from the $40 I gave you?”
For me, talking about money is just plain uncomfortable. I feel like I’m nickelling and diming my kids (and so do they), but hey, $15 bucks change is $15 bucks, right?
THE $750,000 QUESTION
The thing is, I recently had to have one of those hugely unpleasant money talks with the fam—it went something like this: “Kids, you need to know that Dad and I accidently forgot to save $750,000.” (That’s the amount we hoped to squirrel away to fully fund our three kids’ tuitions at their dream schools.) If your family is like mine, maybe you’ve had some of these painful talks too.
Having to save $750K in cold cash to pay for college is ludicrous—and I’m not talking about the singer with a similarly spelled name and his disgusting “Money Maker” song (I know, it’s just a song, just sayin’). However, the reality is that in 2 years, my kids will be experiencing college—all at once.
HAVING “THE TALK”
So talking about money—as it relates to college—has become a new thing in our family, whether I find the subject as distasteful as yesterday’s cold coffee or not. Frankly, for me it’s easier to discuss with my kids why young people should use birth control versus talking about money, but I do digress.
Not being numerically inclined, I have had my head in the proverbial sand about the skyrocketing cost of college. So when my husband recently commented that we needed to come up with 12 years of tuition in a 7-year period, my head popped out of the sand and has been spinning ever since.
I find myself on a journey with my family that I never planned to take, and this one is not to Aspen. Suddenly, I need to know the difference between a Stafford loan and a Parent PLUS loan, as well as how to talk about them intelligently with the family. (Fun stuff!) Maybe you are on a similar journey with your mom and dad, whether you like it or not.
So yes, I forgot to save $750,000 (my bad) and now I need to figure out how to borrow money—or change the college dream. I’ll be detailing my odyssey here as I try to get myself and my family up to speed on being smarter with money.
Money and student loans are very sexy topics, I know—but since my kids won’t spill to me about their personal lives (even though Facebook seems to know every gory detail), at least now we have something to talk about.
Have you had “the talk” with your parents or children? Let us know how it went in the comments.