Parenting Poll Of The Week – College vs Retirement Savings

Every parent knows how expensive college will be by the time our kids are old enough to go. The question is, what to do about it? SuburbanMommy and I argue about discuss this on a regular basis. How much we should be saving now for our kid’s college, and how much for retirement?

My position is that I’d love to pay for their college, but I don’t know today how much I’ll be able to afford in 18 years, or what our financial situation will be like then. Stuff happens. So to take money off the table now, by putting it into a 529 account, instead of, say, our own retirement accounts, seems like it could be risky down the road. What if we put too much into the college accounts now, only to realize in 30 years that we don’t have as much in retirement as we need? Will we wish we hadn’t diverted so much money to college accounts?

SuburbanMommy feels that we can do both. Put some money towards college and some towards retirement. If we don’t put it away now we’ll never have it later (i.e. she we will spend it). This is probably the right, best of both worlds approach, and it is what we are doing now.

But I still wonder amount how much is the right amount? The kids can always borrow money for college. I’d rather they didn’t have all that debt, but at least the option is there for them. You can’t borrow for retirement.

Well, maybe I could rely on my kids to fund my retirement. Since they won’t have any college debt, I’m sure they’d be more than happy to help out dear old dad. Oh wait, they’ll be saving for their kid’s college.


Homeschooling Is A Hot Topic

When I was starting out as a bartender while in college, I was given a valuable piece of advice. I was told to always avoid religion and politics as topics, because bar clients, especially after a few drinks, will become very heated and at least half will disagree with my point of view and leave a lousy tip.

Now there is a third topic I know to avoid: homeschooling. I received some very spirited comments to last week’s parenting poll.

The question was whether homeschooling makes sense. As of now, the results stand at 50-50. That’s a true sign of a hot topic, two evenly divided sides.

I still can’t say I understand it, but at least I have a better take on why. Here are some of the comments:

Homeschooling has less to do with gaining a better education…and more to do with curbing the influence the rest of the world has on their childrenChuck

If your child is bullied, molested, poorly educated, has self-esteem damaged????then what – Sade

So it isn’t about the quality of the education, though that is a factor in some cases. Rather, it is an attempt to shield your kids from outside influences or different moral values. I get it.

My response would be that they will be exposed to the evils of the world eventually. Kids need to learn how survive in today’s society. Better to have them learn from the start.

Thanks for the thoughtful comments everyone.

And, as I would have done at the bar, we’ll agree to disagree. Can I top you off? And how ’bout them Giants! (sports is always a safe topic)

Parenting Poll Of The Week – Homeschooling?

I’ve been hearing a lot about homeschooling lately. Frankly, I don’t get it. I’m a live and let live kinda guy, so I don’t mind if people want to homeschool their kids. Knock your self out. I just don’t get WHY anyone would want to in the first place.

I can see if maybe you live in the wilderness somewhere, and the nearest school is 50 miles away, it might make sense to homeschool. Or, maybe if you are, in fact, a teacher, and want to give homeschooling a go, I’ll buy it. But those cases aside, I simply do not get it.

Why would you think you could do a better job that an entire building of people whose job it is to teach? And, in the case of public schools, it costs nothing. Why is this bad, again?

I could do my own dry cleaning. I could make my own clothes. I could cut my own hair. I could plow my own roads. I could deliver my own babies. But I choose to let the professionals do it.

So, I pose the question to you…


Parenting Poll Of The Week – Which Is Worse?

Teletubbies is the most annoying kid show based on last week’s poll. Can’t disagree with that one.

Having been sick the last couple of days, I think it’s worse when I’m sick, rather than the kids. When you are sick, the kids still get up at 5:30am, still whine, cry, fight, and make VERY LOUD NOISES.

Unlike my job, there are no “sick days” included in the parenting benefits package.


Parenting Poll Of The Week – Kids and Television

I was a bit surprised by the results of last week’s poll. Most of you said that 3 kids was the ideal number. Since the average is closer to 2, I was expecting that to be the most popular answer.

This weeks poll is about kids and watching television. I don’t mind my kids watching TV. I usually welcome it. But they also don’t watch very much, which I guess is a good thing.

How about your kids?


Parenting Poll Of The Week – How Many Kids?

According to last week’s poll, girls are harder to raise than boys. Most of you said the main reason was teenage girls and dating.

This week’s parenting poll is to find out how many kids is ideal. Obviously the ideal number of kids is subjective. I think it probably has to do with how you grew up.

If you had a lot of siblings, you probably want your kids to have the same experience. Or maybe it’s the opposite. Maybe you were always fighting for the attention of your parents, and want to be able to focus on only one or two kids.

What is your ideal?