I was very lucky to grow up not having to worry about money.
Both of my parents worked full-time to support the family. We lived comfortably, and we had everything we needed.
My parents were strong believers in not raising spoiled children, so anything I didn’t need, I had to work for.
I got my first job when I was 16, quickly learned a good work ethic and most importantly, the value of a dollar.
When I was a senior in high school and I sat down with my parents to discuss college, it was made clear to me that I would not be joining the majority of my peers in going away to an expensive school.
When I graduated high school, I went to community college for two years and then a state school to finish out my four-year degree.
Even though I went the most economical route, I still went from having no debt to having thousands of dollars of student loans.
But, because I paid for school myself, I got so much more out of it. There are great advantages to paying for your own education:
Paying for your own education promotes financial responsibility.
I wasn’t going to school for parties and beer pong or what many refer to as “the experience.” I was focused on my grades, my part-time job and running on the cross country team.
I know I worked harder because I wanted to get the most bang for my buck. Sometimes, when parents give their kids free money to spend as they please, the kids feel entitled to always have everything taken care of for them.
They’re not paying for school, so what’s the big deal if they skip class and use the textbook money to throw a party instead?
Paying for your own education gets you ready for the real world.
Juggling college classes and a waitressing job was not always easy. I remember bringing textbooks and study notes to work with me so I could study for midterms when it was slow between shifts.
It was hard, and sometimes it just felt like there were never enough hours in the day to get everything done.
Sometimes it was hard to see friends out having fun while I was working my tail off. But, working through college taught me how to manage and prioritize my time.
I am now one of the most organized and deadline-conscious workers at my company and I feel I owe that to the work ethic I developed in college.
You'll appreciate help more when you do receive it.
When money was tight because I wasn’t getting as many shifts at work, I really appreciated when my dad would fill my car up with gas or offer to buy my textbooks one semester.
Some kids expect their parents to pay for all these things. I think our society needs to teach kids they should feel grateful when their parents help them rather than feel entitled to everything their parents give them.
You learn firsthand the value of a dollar and how important it is to budget. It’s naïve to think that one day, adulthood just hits you and you’re suddenly more capable. That’s not how life really works.
I think it is admirable for parents to plan ahead for their children’s futures. But, I strongly believe parents should not pay for all of their children’s college costs. At the age of 18, they are not even “children” anymore; they are young adults.
I don’t think it should be black and white in the sense that parents either pay the entire bill or pay nothing at all.
There needs to be a healthy balance between paying for all of the expenses versus helping them with some of the expenses, and teaching them to be responsible adults.