(?) How not to go broke paying for college??
I really thought this would be an article about how not-rich people can afford college. No!
The way for non-rich people to afford college starts with saving as much pre-tax in their retirement accounts as possible, as well as utilizing every pre-tax program that their employer offers. When financial aid looks at current income and sees no way to pay for college, they can't (and won't) make you pay. We are so poor that Citibank would not even qualify us to co-sign a small loan for our daughter's college (a 55k per year school). We do, however save 2,000/month in our pre-tax retirement accounts, utilize our company pre-tax insurance and health savings programs, and when all is said and done, have very little left.
The down-side, for a typical American, is that we can't buy a new car, a big house, or spend money like there is no tomorrow. In that respect, we really are poor. But college is four years. Retirement is hopefully a lot longer than four years. For middle and lower middle class parents to pay for their children's college expenses is both unwise and un-necessary...and don't expect the college to tell you so.
Our daughter has two jobs in her college town, plus work study and one cheap gov't loan. She'll finish college with $18,000 debt if she doesn't pay any of her loans back before finishing. She'll have decades to re-pay; or when her parents are dead, she'll be able to re-pay them with her inheritance.
If we pay for college, we have no retirement fund and become government wards in our old age. Great. Really now, how many people do you know in this boat? Many, I'll bet. They've swapped retirement for what? The accepted narrative is that they are making a better life for their children. Bull! All they are doing is supporting the collegiate bank debt complex. Don't do it!!
Oh, and by the way, do contribute what you can to the Parents Fund of your child's college. It's not that they don't deserve your support, you simply can't (and shouldn't) afford it.