Parenthood significantly changes our lifestyle. This change begins the minute the pregnancy test is positive, which puts us in total shock and happiness, and continues to the moment when the child heads off to university. As parents, we have invested nearly two decades of our time, money, and love into this young person. It’s easy to feel disoriented when suddenly our back seat is empty and our child is in a whole new place. At the beginning, the sense of loss can feel unbearable but, after some time we can proudly enjoy it.
I remember when my neighbor Emma sent her son Leo to college. She told me, “Finally, we’re empty nesters! Now it’s all about my marriage, friendships, work, hobbies, and passions! It’s about what we’re going to do with the rest of our lives.”
I was really happy for her and her husband. Emma started to post more pictures on Instagram of her trips, new outfits, incredible yoga poses, and the amazing food and drinks she was enjoying. “Hey, everybody’s doing it! Why shouldn’t I?” laughed Emma.
However, one sudden day, like a bolt from out of the blue, her son appeared at her door. With a wide-eyed, innocent gaze on his face, like Puss in Boots from the movie ‘Shrek’, he complained about how hard it was to afford to live on his own. While he hypnotized Emma with his big eyes, his foot pushed his bag inside the house.
How did this happen?
The main reason college students live at home is, of course, money. Dorms are expensive, and they’re not getting any cheaper. Room and board costs make up the largest portion of a student’s total college bill and are second only to tuition. But planning ahead can help parents cope with this new stage of parenthood. According to College Board, the average room and board costs for the 2017-18 school year were around $10,000 for public four-year colleges (in-state or out-of-state) and $12,000 for private four-year colleges.
Living with an adult child can be hard on parents. Whether your child is contributing his fair share or driving you up the wall with irresponsibility and attitude, you’re bound to lock horns from time to time. When Leo moved in, he became a typical video gamer/couch potato/slacker living in parents’ basement. When Emma invited me over for dinner, I was shocked at how immature Leo was–he didn’t even said hello to me. His mom complained about the time she spent on grocery shopping, cooking, and the non-stop laundry. There was not enough personal space. They missed having their house to themselves and doing things on their own terms and schedule. Leo would use everything from Q-Tips to table salt, thinking they magically appear there. He was treating the house like a hotel–fancy hot tub, clean, organic food, free WIFI, and cable TV. Emma regretted she hadn’t had a better college savings plan. To cheer her up I quoted the inimitable Will Smith, from the original Men in Black movie, “…and move out’cho momma’s house, boy, you like 40 years old!” he shouted as Will reprogrammed a “man-child” to be more grown up. By the end of the evening we laughed about it, but as for myself, I decided to tell others about Emma’s situation so us parents can be more prepared and set up college funds for our children.
Don’t let this happen to you
College is a transition to adulthood. When young adults attend college, they develop problem-solving skills like responsibility and resourcefulness. In addition to financial woes, moving back home can lead to arguments between kids and their parents and can potentially damage their relationship in the long term. Parents who prepare for these challenges beforehand have a better chance of avoiding these hardships. That’s where the 529 plan uses its superpower to cover all qualified higher education expenses. We live in an amazing technological era, where pictures of newborns are shared with family and friends in seconds, where we can find any information by saying “OK Google,” where we can place an order for a latte from our cell phone, and now we can open a college fund by using the U-Nest app. It’s a financial app that allows you to open an account and start saving for your kids’ future, tax-free in only five minutes.
You no longer have the excuse of being busy between work and kids when you have a simple solution available at your fingertips. You can download it today at the Apple Store to start saving for your kids’ successful and independent future. Download U-Nest here.