Kids expect more than parents can deliver for college costs, according to T. Rowe Price's 2016 Parents, Kids & Money survey released Thursday.
Sixty-two percent of children expect their parents to pay for “whatever college I want to go to.” However, 65 percent of parents say they will only be able to pay some of the cost of their children’s higher education. The survey included 1,086 parents and their 8- to 14-year-old children.
Parents are struggling to meet their children’s expectations. More parents have money saved for their kids' college (58 percent) than their own retirement (54 percent). Seventy-six percent are willing to delay their retirement and 68 percent are willing to get a second or part-time job to pay for kids' college education.
Most children are going to have to make up the difference with some student loans, even though the study shows the loans can lead to increased anxiety and financial stress. Parents with their own student loans are more likely to lose sleep over college costs (49 percent versus 40 percent) and are significantly more likely to have credit card debt (67 percent to 54 percent).
"Preparing for college entails more than studying for the SATs and should begin before kids have even started kindergarten,” says Judith Ward, senior financial planner at T. Rowe Price and mother of two college graduates. “It starts with saving for college in a 529 account and having regular money conversations with the children at a young age, so they'll later be able to conceptualize the financial trade-offs involved in selecting a college.”
The survey found that parents who discuss financial topics with their kids at least once a week are nearly twice as likely to have kids who feel they are smart about money (68 percent versus 36 percent). To help parents and their children, T. Rowe Price created two websites, MoneyConfidentKids.com and The College Savings Chill Out, as well as a companion book, Everybody Freaks Out! But It’s Going to Be Okay.