Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Education Investment

My wife and I recently went to our financial planner after the birth of our daughter to talk college savings. Our adviser had a nifty tool on his computer which could calculate estimated cost of attendance at a variety of different types of schools 18 years from now as well as how much we'd need to save each month to hit the mark, realizing that unlike retirement, the window to save is much shorter for college savings.

Assuming our daughter may think like her folks, we had our adviser plug in a 4-year, state school, assuming in-state tuition. He asked what percentage we'd like to help fund. We went with forty percent. As he entered this information and the computer calculated, he asked us to guess how much 40% would be...not knowing, he broke the news....$85,000!!! Again, that's only 40% and that's for in-state. Granted, there is some inflation added in and such, but holy cow, we were surprised!

The cost of higher education continues to rise, especially in times of a tough economy and less funding from tax dollars. I write this as a reminder of the true investment an education is....and that people should remember those numbers as they think about skipping class, being ok with a "C" grade or taking their time getting that degree. If you bought a new car each year, you wouldn't neglect it like many neglect their education. And remember, if you take out loans, you'll be reminded each month as you write those checks.

Pig Flu!

Unless you've been hiding under a rock, I'm sure you've heard of the "swine flu" aka H1N1. While this has been well reported in terms of the general public, college campuses are taking a big hit due to the large numbers of people in close proximity.

It seems like two messages are out there. One being the "it's just the'll get over it" and the other is "WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE." This has made it difficult for folks to take it seriously and some are probably taking it WAY to seriously.

What's my point? My point is wash your hands. :-) Sometimes I am shocked to see the hygiene levels of those out there. Coughing into their hands, rubbing their face, touching door knobs, etc. I would encourage you to think about your sneezing and coughing habits and wash your hands frequently. And, maybe more importantly, manage your time (get good sleep) and stress so you are less likely to get sick. Best of luck....and watch out for those pigs!