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Should You Save for Retirement or Pay For Your Kid’s College Tuition?

When it comes to financial priorities, the question of whether to save for retirement or pay for your kid’s college tuition looms large. In an era where education costs continue to rise and student loan debt burdens many young adults, parents find themselves torn between securing their own retirement and supporting their children’s future. This dilemma raises important considerations about the long-term implications of each choice. While the heart may yearn to help, the head must weigh the consequences. Here are four key factors to bear in mind when deciding whether to prioritize retirement savings or contribute to your child’s college expenses.

Key Takeaways

  • Prioritize saving for retirement over paying for your children’s college education, as you have a limited window to recoup costs and secure your financial future.
  • Explore alternative options for funding higher education, such as scholarships, grants, and part-time work, as student debt can be managed, whereas retirement debt cannot.
  • Consider the long-term consequences of sacrificing your savings for immediate college expenses, as it may leave you financially vulnerable in your golden years.


As parents or grandparents nearing retirement, there may be desire to help pay for their children’s or grandchildren’s college education. However, it’s important to consider the long-term consequences of sacrificing retirement savings for education costs. 
Financial advisers recommend prioritizing retirement savings because older adults have limited time to recoup the costs and risk facing financial insecurity later in life. Additionally, there are various options for students to fund their education, such as loans, grants, scholarships, and work-study programs. 
Student debt can be managed and forgiven in certain cases, while retirement debt can lead to credit card bills and personal debt. Slowing down retirement savings or depleting funds could leave individuals financially 

vulnerable in the future, especially with increasing healthcare expenses. It’s crucial to consult with financial adviser and consider the potential impact on one’s retirement security before making any decisions.

Read the entire article – Should You Save for Retirement Rather Than Fund Kids’ College on AARP, written by Lynnette Khalfani-Cox.

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