As spring comes to an end, with it comes a rush of graduations, from high school, college, even graduate school. The focus generally is on the graduate who is marking the completion of an educational and life milestone and though this is not misplaced, it is important not to overlook the new graduate’s parents.
Why the parents, you ask? Well, in the case of a high school graduate, for example, the parents may be looking at several years of diverting spending and assets to funding some portion of college expenses for that graduate while in the case of the holder of an advanced degree, those parents will be heaving a sigh of relief at the end (perhaps) of paying for that advanced education for their graduate. The situation is further complicated where the graduate has siblings, probably close in age, who are going to be attending college or graduate school and will also have significant financial needs.
All the expense of higher education – and we know it is an ever increasing expense with an ever decreasing return on investment – requires serious planning on the part of parents who are or expect to be involved in and responsible for paying for at least some part of the education. Most will have done some planning and saving before the graduation and that will help greatly. However, there will be some who have not planned for the expense or may find the cost of an additional degree to be a surprise or worse.
This is not to say that the graduate is not contributing and in many cases, even if the parents are providing some financial support, the graduate will be burdened with student loans or will work to help pay for that education. In an extended family, grandparents or even uncles and aunts may be able to assist with the project of funding education.
The point is, of course, that we plan for the goals – such as education – that come along and are connected to these milestones. They are much easier to face when we have thought about them and determined what it is that we must do, can do and will do. The ends and beginnings help bring things into sharp focus and perhaps a sense of urgency for needs that now.