Student’s Dream College vs. Parents’ Retirement

by Jennifer Ledwith | 

(713) 553-6557

Parents: Our daughter scored in the top 1 percent of PSAT test-takers and scored in the top 2 percent of SAT test-takers. On top of that, she’s in the top 5% of her graduating class and holds leadership positions in her extracurricular activities. Here’s the thing: these colleges aren’t offering her any money.

Jennifer: What colleges? None of the colleges in Texas is giving her money? What about my college, the University of Oklahoma (OU)? It isn’t giving money to students who perform well on the PSAT anymore?

Parents: Yes, Texas schools and OU have offered her significant scholarship packages, but she has her heart set on going to college in California. Even with scholarships, we still have to come up with at least $50,000 a year for her to attend a California university. We told her that if she worked hard in school, then she could go to school anywhere her heart desired. What can we do?
Jennifer: As a financial planner, I have advised (and sometimes begged) adults to make prudent financial decisions.
You have 3 young children and can afford to drive a luxury car. Buy life insurance so that if something happens to you, your children will have more than a quickly depreciating Cadillac. 
You are almost 50 and live paycheck to paycheck and have nothing saved for retirement. Cook at home instead of spending 30% of your take-home pay on dining out.
Do not take all of your money to the title office when you close on your house. Buy a more affordable home. You do not want to be a homeowner with no savings.
Did these people listen to me? Of course not. Even I don’t always listen to my financial experts. A few years ago, during a tax planning meeting, my accountant suggested that I contribute to a ROTH IRA (retirement account) instead of replacing my kitchen backsplash. What do accountants know about money and decor? Those crimson and cream tiles lift my spirits when I cook. While that home renovation has made me happy, I sacrificed tax-free growth in a retirement account for a pretty kitchen that is deteriorating, little by little, every day.*
As I’ve told your daughter (whom I taught) and my other students: You are valuable, but you are not special. Students, no matter their achievements, are not exempt from the trade-offs of life. [See Full Ride or Dream School.]
But what trade-offs, parents, are you willing to make? Can your investments, debt, income, retirement planning, and future withstand the stress of $50,000 a year for 4 to 5 years?
You are not the first parent who has grappled with these decisions. Join me on September 25 to learn from parents who have been there and done that for their college students.


Session I:  September 25, 2021 |  9 a.m. – 12 noon
SAT Boot Camp for Parents and Students (You must attend this session to attend Sessions II and III)
  • Parent/Student Panel
  • Parents and students: develop a plan for college admissions
  • Learn study, time management, and test-taking skills
  • Learn why the SAT continues to be relevant (even during the COVID-19 pandemic)
Session II:  October 2, 2021 |  8 a.m. – 12 noon 
A FREE proctored mock SAT for students
(You must attend the September 25 session to take the mock SAT.)
Session III: Oct. 9th, 9 a.m. – 10 a.m 
Parent Empowerment Session
(You must attend the September 25 session to attend this session.)

What do the test results mean? Learn how these scores relate to your student’s preparedness for college and competitiveness for scholarships.

* Eventually, I listened to my accountant. I have been contributing to a Roth IRA for a few years.

Article by Scholar Ready


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