The Big Ts and College Outcomes
Why can you fairly consistently put any two people into a given situation and end up with vastly different results? The question has fascinated me for some time, particularly as I am privy to the financials of numerous people through work and ministry. I have met public schoolteachers with money to burn and flat-broke corporate executives. Some folks feel blessed by their wealth and others curse the day they came into it. Some walk through hard times with head held high and others with self contempt. Whatever the events in question I observe outcomes of greed and generosity, fear and excitement, success and failure, personal responsibility and others-blaming. Why the differences?
Over time I have come to find that one’s financial results have not much to do with externally observable factors. Rather, how one fares largely comes about due to one’s philosophical view of money. What is money to you? Once I ferret that out then with fair certainty I can tell you the sorts of results you can expect to show for your financial circumstances, whether it involves earning, saving, spending, or investing.
In a similar fashion when we look at the college scene today – the stats, the stories, the trends – if nothing else we note vastly different outcomes across the population of students. Some graduate without a hiccup and some drop out; some credit their degree with a higher quality of life while others strive with careers and debt. Why? And what will your results be? Tell me what college is to you and I can probably answer that question. And for the record: my earlier-held views sure account for my struggles and failures as a student/early graduate.
Continue reading The Big Ts and College Outcomes
Today, in honor of Independence Day, we’re going to have a change of pace from the usual tactical level, immediately applicable financial tip. Instead let’s get philosophical and explore the situation in front of us from a more strategic vantage point. Let’s talk about something you need to understand as you make life choices of all stripes. Let’s talk about valuing your freedom.
Recently I ran across an article/photo essay on the UK’s Daily Mail website which provided a glimpse into a handful of “Peter Pan generation Lost Boys” as captured by the lens of one Liz Calvi of West Hartford Connecticut. The content completely captured my attention, and my ire, not so much for the photographs but for the language used to explain why these young men had all dropped out of college and moved back in with mom and dad. And I quote (emphases mine):
- They “were forced to move back in with their parents, unable to get a job…”
- “You’re almost in this trap, where you have to go to college to get a job…” (but college is untenable due to the costs)
- “But college costs so much money, so sometimes you have to go back home to live with your parents.”
I reacted so viscerally to these statements, and to the representative photographs, because I don’t find this line of thought uncommon at all among the lost boys I encounter with regularity. In writing the following I do not specifically pick on any of the men in depicted in the article. I speak to every young person when I seek to clear something up once and for all with another quote, this one from my mother:
“Nobody’s making you do anything.”
Continue reading Because Freedom
Moving Beyond Just Giving Fish to Kids
∼ Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for the rest of his life ∼
We’ve probably all heard this saying at one point or another. It relates a poignant and pithy philosophy of giving we should all take to heart. Any time someone else needs our resources we can either meet that need from our reserves- just to be back at square one the next day- or we can take a little more time with that person to teach them how to meet that need on their own forevermore. There’s also an unstated but relevant practical corollary to this idea we should note: if men want to catch fish for themselves they not only need the skills to perform the task but also the equipment.
How can we apply these principals regarding men and fish to kids and college funds? Continue reading Moving Beyond Just Giving Fish to Kids
Time to Have “The Talk”
All the time in my roles as financial advisor and college finance nerd I watch students and parents get sideways with each other as the various school bills come rolling in. Particularly, I see kids disappointed in the level of help they’re getting and I see parents disappointed in kids who seem to continue to want more than they can produce. I’m not alone in observing the parent/student disconnect. A recent survey by Junior Achievement noted that half of teens expect to receive parental help for college expenses while only 16% of parents plan to provide it.
The pain of disappointing one another can all be resolved, beforehand, with a simple and straightforward conversation about expectations. Particularly, parents need to outline in very clear terms two things: what the student can expect from the family in terms of financial support and what the family expects of the student in terms of behavior. Continue reading Time to Have “The Talk”
Family Help: Intro
The Temptation & The Fall
Perhaps no single set of financial issues vexes parents of teens more those regarding the funding of college. Decisions to help someone in big ways never come easy, and in this arena parents face immense pressures, internal and external, in addition to their innate desires to get their newly adult kids to a good place.
As a result too many parents fuel their kids’ college careers without much regard to their own needs. In doing so they often ensure their kids don’t have to move back in with them later only to find that later they have to move in with their kids. When parents want to help, how do we know how much is too much? Continue reading Family Help: Intro
A Prioritized Pursuit
Rank: Priority of Priorities
In another posting related to a Chart, I encouraged you to look into colleges with monetary costs as a secondary consideration. That might sound funny coming from a blog dealing with keeping college affordable.
But remember, while you can get anything in life you want, you can’t have it all. Prioritization must be your first priority. Before we get into the actual dollar cost aspects of affordology, let’s firstly address the opportunity cost considerations. Even a cheap experience (money-wise) at the wrong place may prove unaffordable (opportunity-wise). Besides, as we’ve noted, costs are highly negotiable while the other aspects of an experience at a particular college are relatively fixed.
Continue reading A Prioritized Pursuit