#2 College, For Life (Paying for college)

Home alone tonight, my wonderful wife is in Gatlinburg for a “girl’s weekend” with a great friend. So, bachelor weekend, just me and the four dogs. Kind of nice, relaxing, lots of time to think.  Took a long walk to the lake today with the dogs, relaxing. Content.  I’m enjoying this blog, my second entry only 4 hours after the first.

Picked up the mail on the way back home, sorting through it now. Vanguard statement informs that the balance of our entire (18 years in the making) college fund is down to $7,210.25:


Look like we’ll make it through 2 1/2 years of college, then cash flow the rest from our emergency fund. We’ve known this was coming, and have made healthy contributions to the emergency fund to accommodate. So, is it emergency funds, or college savings?  A bit of both, with extra buffer having been added for emergency use the last 2 years, knowing our “safe” level (4-6 months of living expenses) would need to be protected when we started paying for college directly from the fund. So, it’ll be at almost 12 months of $$ when we need to tap into it, and should bottom out at ~4 months when our daughter graduates. Then again, there’s always the real risk of that 5th year….

So, would we pay her full ride in hindsight?  Absolutely. No Regrets. My parents planted that seed a lot time ago, and now it’s my turn to pass it on. “We’ll cover you 100%, no matter how far you decide to go,” said my Dad. “But once you’re done, you have to be on your own in 90 days or less.”

Generous and fascinating offer, I took it.

Now our daughter faces the same. She, too, took it. My seed sprouted well. On day 29 after graduation, I started my career (saving 15% of that first paycheck into a retirement account) and haven’t looked back. I hope and pray the same for her. It’s the least two parents can do for their child, if they’re financially able. We protected retirement first, and built a plan to be able to fund her education. She now receives the same blessing I received 30 years ago; a chance to start life with a clean slate and a solid education.  Financially, we’re able to handle it. What more can you ask?  I hope some day she passes it on to my grandchildren, but that will be her decision, in due course.

30 years from now, I’ll look at our retirement strategy in much the same way.  Did it work as planned?

I hope you’ll join me in the journey.

Written April 10, 2015 7:46 pm


  1. Several comments:
    1) We too have a website – taken for crass commercial reasons, to advertise the Sand Bay cottages. But I can’t remember the name and have never used it. Son-in-law Greg Woodard reserved it for us maybe 5 years ago.
    2) I too have found writing things down is fun. I started a diary about 14 years ago, but have lost major parts of it as computers freeze and destroy their content. About three years ago i joined an informal memoir-writing group of nine folks here in town. We meet bi-weekly and read each other the short (no more than two page) essay we have written. then we critique each others’ work in an effort to improve our writing and ultimately to help future readers stay awake.
    3) It’s possible that Jackie should not leave you alone for whole weekendsin the future.
    4) Delighted that you plan to enrich your manifesto for 30 years – but I think I’ll stop following your thoughts sometime before that. YOU GO FRITZ!

    1. Uncle Carl!! So glad to see you out here! I’ve been told my entire life that “you’re just like your Uncle Carl”. Who’d have known we have similar interest in journaling?! Great idea on the “memoir writing group”, I’m hoping to find similar fellowship with other bloggers in time. LOVE point #3, who’d have thought a weekend alone would lead to this!! Ha-ha. If you’d like, please sign up for my emails (there’s a place on the website to do that). At some point, I’m going to figure out how to send out emails to the folks on my list as I update my blog, push is always better than pull in my mind. Thanks again for your comment!!

    1. Ironic you asked that – she just got married LAST WEEKEND!! We covered all of her wedding costs, it just seemed the right thing to do as our “last gift” to her before she “left” our family to start her own! She’s 100% on her own now, and moving to Seattle in October with her husband!

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