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Midlife: Helping Kids With University Expenses

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 8 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
University Expenses Saving For Kids’

Most parents would love to help their children with university expenses, but since many kids head off to study while their parents are middle aged, financial limitations may prohibit them from providing all of the help that would like.

While some in midlife are well established financially, others are struggling to make ends meet. Many at this stage are still raising younger children and some have begun to take responsibility for their aging parents, as well, No matter their individual situation, no parent should feel guilty about their boundaries when it comes to helping their children to further their education.

Planning Ahead

In an ideal world, parents would be able to set aside money for their children’s education whilst saving for their own retirement, but reality often falls short of ideal. It can be quite natural, almost instinctual, for parents to prioritise the needs of their children over their own, but when it comes to deciding about the most sensible way to save, retirement planning should take precedence over kids’ education funds.

Far too many people reach midlife only to realise that they’ve yet to set aside money for their own retirement. Often, they postpone funding their retirement savings accounts until their youngest child finishes at university, but even for those who started their families young, this puts parents well into their forties before they begin to save for their “golden years.” It’s not impossible to save a sufficient amount for retirement when starting that late, but it is certainly more difficult than setting aside a small amount each month over a greater span of time.

Exploring their Options

Okay, back to that ideal fantasy world. Your kids are all brilliant, stellar students and representatives from top universities are lining up outside your door offering full scholarships to your offspring. Not happening? Well, then they’ll just have to pay for their time at university in another fashion.

Fortunately, student loans and grants from the government are available to those who qualify, and most universities offer some help for good students, even those who have been less than brilliant scholars. Bursaries and government grants need no repayment, and payments on government granted student loans don’t begin until students have completed their courses and are gainfully employed. Exploring all options for covering university expenses can help students to fund their education with little or no financial assistance from their parents.

Helping with University Expenses

Let’s assume that you are not so financially blessed as to be able to simply write a cheque and send your child off to get an education. There are still other ways in which parents can contribute, making a university education a possibility for their children.

Accommodation and living expenses for students can add up quickly, so parents who live near enough to their children’s schools can save a great deal of money by encouraging the kids to live at home. Kids often look forward to living away at university, but for many families, cutting housing expenses can make it easier to manage tuition and other university costs.

The Little Stuff Adds Up

Some families are able to cover their children’s university expenses, either with or without the aid of government loans and grants, but for others, smaller contributions are all that they can manage. Providing helpful items such as supplies and computers can relieve students of some of the financial burdens of higher education. Every little bit helps, so midlife parents can take comfort in knowing that their contributions, whether large or small, are helping their kids to brighter futures.

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