career, college, credit card debt, life skills, money, motivation, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults, parenting young adults, teaching financial responsibility

Real World Experience Results in Focused College Education

Today, this proud mom has great news to share.  I have written previously about what happened when my oldest daughter ended her college career at 19.  The short version is that she ended up moving out on her own shortly after.  (for the longer story, click here). Well now, nearly a decade after her initial college career ended, my beautiful, feisty, and fiercely determined first-born graduated with her Master of Social Work degree!  A couple years ago, she was the only one in her immediate family without a bachelor’s degree and today she is the only one with a graduate degree.

I share our story because I hope that our experiences can be helpful to other parents who don’t know what to do when things do not go as planned. I learned a long time ago that I cannot make my kids follow the dreams that I have for them.  All I can do is plant the seeds, water them and then accept what is.

How did this happen? Well, she spent a few years out in the real world figuring out how life works.  She stayed gone long enough to earn a degree at the University of Hard Knocks, but she found out that her degree didn’t really help with a career.  When she decided to return home a few years later, she started to work her way through community college.  After the momentum started, she had an epiphany about what she wanted to do with her life.  By this time, she was 25 and had a much better idea of who she was and what she wanted.

To say that I am proud of her milestone would be an understatement, but I’m equally proud of the way she did it.   She maximized her block tuition by taking the full load which helped her to get done more quickly while saving money. She almost had to wait an extra year to graduate due to the timing of one mandatory class.   I was pleased to see her out-of-the-box thinking after she took the initiative to approach the professor and ended up with an alternative solution which allowed her to graduate on time!

If I had tried to force, manipulate or guilt her into getting a degree when she was younger, she may have done it.  But would she have chosen (and paid for) a degree that would never be used?  Might she have incurred college debt that would take decades to pay back even though the degree was not needed for the career path chosen?

If you find your family in a similar situation, don’t be discouraged.  Just because college doesn’t happen right after high school doesn’t mean it won’t happen at all.  It may be that they will end up in a career that does not require college.  If not, I say from experience, that college has no age limits.  It’ll still be there when they are ready.   And with any luck, they will be working at a company with generous tuition benefits!

For more stories about raising independent and financially savvy young adults, click here .

Adulting, career, college, life skills, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults, parenting young adults

Helping Them Navigate the Waters When They Go Away to College

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Most of us think of college as a place to go earn a degree that will help us demand a higher salary.  There are, however, a few lessons that are not taught in the classroom.   You, as the parent, might be able to lessen the shock by including some of these points in a conversation before move in day.

Food does not magically appear in the refrigerator

Many parents are so thoughtful and efficient that their children have never experienced the catastrophe of pouring a bowl of cereal only to find out that there is no milk.

Continue reading “Helping Them Navigate the Waters When They Go Away to College”

Adulting, career, Financial literacy, life skills, money, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults, parenting young adults

Questions To Ponder Before You Decide To Send Your Kid To College

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In earlier generations, college was neither necessary nor expected of every single person who graduated from high school.   However, today it is rare to speak to a parent who isn’t trying to find a way to prep their kid for college and figure out how it will be funded.  While college can be a great tool for many, it is not for everyone.  Here are a few things to think about before making the decision to invest in a college education. Continue reading “Questions To Ponder Before You Decide To Send Your Kid To College”

career, job skills, life skills, money, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults, parenting young adults, teaching financial responsibility

The Cash Register Told Me To Do It


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My first REAL job was in a grocery store. At that time, there was at least one register that required the cashier to count back the money. For me, that was the fun part. But I’ve always been a math nerd. I have vivid memories of playing Monopoly when I was 7 and I ALWAYS had to be the banker. Within, the last couple of years when I played Monopoly again, imagine the unspeakable horror I felt when I saw people using a CALCULATOR to count their money! This leads to a pet peeve that many of us have along with a solution to the problem. Continue reading “The Cash Register Told Me To Do It”