I have twins who are just starting University this coming fall, and aside from this being a very expensive endeavour (who would have thought from double diapers to double University – ouch!), we also want to hep our children to learn about managing their money throughout this experience. We wondered if you might be able to share what you did, because we know you also had twins who both went away to school at the same time.
We really want them to get this education, but at the same time, we think its important for them to contribute and to learn along the way – there are some very important growing up lessons that can be learned – it seems like a good time to begin.
Martha and Rob
Dear Martha and Rob,
Whew! I know this is going to be a tough 4-5 years for you all ﬁnancially and you are so right that double diapers is the least of the cost of raising twins. I applaud you for wanting to expand their learning experience beyond the classroom. I really wish that
ﬁnancial matters would be part of the curriculum in High School. I am hopeful that it will be incorporated eventually in the future. My husband and I managed to ﬁnd a way, with the help of the kids, to avoid them having debt when they ﬁnished University. This isn’t always possible, and even if you avoid it with the ﬁrst degree, its inevitable with the second or third degree.
If you can all collaborate to make that a goal, then it really gives the kids a leg up when beginning their careers. Being straddled with debt for years and years makes it difﬁcult to buy a house and raise a family. Here is what I suggest to most parents facing this dilemma – most don’t have twins so your case is thankfully rare.
Here’s my ideal recommendation:
- I usually suggest that for grades 11 and 12, that the child get a summer job, and that the money earned, be deposited to a special account for University expenses only.
- Hopefully parents would have been doing some pre-planning and have saved enough to cover some of the ﬁrst year’s expenses and hopefully more.
- The child needs to be diligent about looking for free money – there is all kinds of it available that is never used because no one applies – sometimes all you need to do is write an essay to get it – my son received $1,000 and that’s all he did. This is apart from scholarships, which are a bonus. (check out www.studentawards.com)
My next suggestions are based on an ideal circumstance where parent and child are collaborating together, and the child understands that this is his/her education, and therefore his/her responsibility to make some sacriﬁces. Also, this scenario demands that the child is working each summer, which is four months now, not 2 months.
First Year – Parent pays tuition, books, residence costs, while the child pays for outings and other entertainment. Depending on how far away they are from you, parents may choose to bring them home once in the year (Christmas). If the child wants to come
home more often, they should pay for it. Its not easy to be away from home at Thanksgiving and Spring break – these are important decisions for all of you.
Second Year – Residence is usually over and the child shares apartment living – parent pays for tuition, books and rent. Child pays for entertainment and groceries (therefore, learning how to make their money go further – looking for sales etc.)
Third Year – Parent pays for tuition and books and child pays for entertainment, groceries and rent
Fourth Year – parent pays for tuition, and the child pays for everything else!
Do you see the pattern evolving? You, the parent, are slowly giving the child more and more responsibility to pay for more and more – it is a fair deal all around. All kinds of scenarios will be different depending on what your situation is, but you can shape this format if you are all communicating and if your child or children appreciate their role.
Let me know how it goes. This is part of what coaching does. It sets you up for success at every turn, before the crisis takes control.