Retirement Savings or College Tuition - Part 1

Retirement Savings or College Tuition - Part 1

Heather M. CoulterMany members of the Sandwich Generation find themselves at a crossroads requiring them to choose between saving for retirement and paying college tuition for their children. As full-service financial planners, who build deep relationships with our clients, we’re often asked to provide guidance regarding this common dilemma.



The preflight instructions given to airline passengers by flight attendants provide the best answer to this problem.

The attendant always instructs passengers that, in the event of a loss of cabin pressure, they should place the oxygen mask on their own faces first before assisting others. Loss of cabin pressure depletes oxygen supply. If a passenger does not first ensure that he will remain conscious by putting an oxygen mask on himself, he will not have the ability to help his child or others. Retirement savings represent your oxygen mask.

Take the Road Leading to Adequate Retirement Savings

When given a choice, saving for retirement should trump paying for college tuition. Of course, helping your child earn a college degree, without having to take out a student loan, will definitely give him or her a head start as a working adult. Too many well-meaning parents provide full support without considering the impact this could have on their future financial circumstances and quality of life. Sacrificing in order to pay for college tuition represents a respectable goal, however, it’s not a good idea if you have to neglect building your retirement savings to do so.

In Part 2, we will look at the 6 reasons to choose retirement savings over college tuition.

Call or email about planning for your retirement and college tuition.

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