A few housekeeping things right off the bat: The below stance has nothing at all to do with the validity of college savings plans themselves; the investments, management fees, etc. The opinions expressed here are based entirely on the idea that your money could be, and should be, better spent. Got it? Good. Here goes:
While they’re not a guarantee, the Mrs. tends to enjoy a pair of handsome bonuses each year. From them we generally budget for a $1,000 contribution to each of the girl’s 529 college savings plans. That’s a grand sum of $2,000 to 529 college savings plans every 12 months. Not last year though, and none for 2012 either. Instead, we used the two grand for 2011 to beef up the 5-year old wooden swing set that calls our backyard home. As investments go, this wasn’t even close.
How does an enhanced kiddie play structure compare against money for higher education you ask? Easy. With the new giant rock wall, fire station pole, and 14″ swoop slide my two girls will spend the next half decade challenging themselves; their bodies, and their minds. With the 2-story ‘treehouse’ skybox, they’ll enjoy even more years of outdoor play with each other and with friends telling stories, pressing leaves, scaring each other, writing bad poetry, doing their version of improv comedy, writing songs, thinking, and dreaming. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some making out in there in a number of years. Better there then behind the mall dumpster, I say. What they’ll each take away from the countless hours of fun ahead of them will trump the single 3-credit class + books their $1000 would get them if they were going to college RIGHT NOW! Forget about 11 years from now for the Bear or 14 years for the Mouse! That’ll probably cover their parking permits for one semester. And as they say on TV infomercials, “BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!”
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[Originally appeared on Out With The Kids]
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