As an occasional panelist on The Real Life Survival Guide, my role is to “get real.” So here goes.
In our discussion about “surviving” being parents of college aged children our panel covered a wide array of subjects with some depth and much insight. Mostly, we talked about how to help our kids navigate through the college experience and help them grow into adulthood
It was all appropriate and the children should always be the priority, however, we did not go deeply into how we as parents can survive the MONEY situation.
Seriously people, this is a big deal!
Admittedly, I might have been the only panelist who has this concern but… as a divorced, still single, self-employed (read one income and financial roller-coaster!) person…I am buried in college tuition debt. Forever.
Unless, I hit the lottery or marry a fairy princess (a guy can hope, can’t he?).
Increasingly, my situation is representative of so many Americans. We want the best for our children and find it impossible to say no; they must reach for the stars.
But what the kids don’t yet realize is…
There’s a very good chance they’ll be reaching for my wheelchair as they take care of me toward the end of my life, rather than me living in a fancy retirement community designed by Duo Dickinson.
Since this, after all, is The Real Life Survival Guide, I have some advice for parents whose children are not yet college age.
Bring balance to the college finance equation and determine your bottom line. Specifically, make sure your kid has at least some skin in the financial part of their higher education and let him or her know exactly how much you are willing to spend.
If you’re like me and want to give your children the sun and the moon, but cannot afford to do so, you’ll be glad you did.
And so will your kids. Eventually.
That’s what I call real life surviving.
Jon Crane operates Critical PR, a public relations firm that provides communications counseling services to organizations and individuals that are in the public spotlight, handling sensitive communications issues, or seeking to influence policymakers and/or public opinion.
Jon’s most recently completely project was handling the media campaign to repeal Connecticut’s death penalty.
Jon is a former news anchor at WTNH-TV in New Haven and appeared as one of six “contributors” to the nationally broadcast PBS television series My Generation hosted by Leeza Gibbons.