MONEY-SMART KIDS


Kids Should Have a Stake in Education

Janet Bodnar

When kids pitch in financially for their schooling, they take it more seriously. Plus: The consequences of a teen's speeding ticket.



I'm writing in response to your recent columns on who should pay for college. I am a firm believer that having a parent fully fund a child's college education creates an entitlement mentality in the child's mind. If children have a stake in the outcome (their money) they will be more motivated to perform and graduate, as well as find a job.

We have two sons who attended private colleges and earned engineering degrees. Both worked in a factory for two summers and earned money during the school year through co-op engineering jobs; they worked and attended school in alternating semesters.

Sure, it took five years to complete their degrees. And, yes, we supplemented the cost of college from education funds that we established at our sons' birth and funded regularly through their first 18 years.

But they both graduated debt-free -- no mean feat from a private school. They had a large stake in funding the cost of their education and have put it to good use through productive jobs.

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Thanks for sharing your experience. I wholeheartedly agree that kids take their education more seriously when they have a financial stake in it.

Consequences of a speeding ticket

Last December my 16-year-old daughter got a speeding ticket coming from a pizza pickup. She was doing 40 mph in a 30 mph zone. I used the experience as an education: took away her keys, and made her go downtown and pay the fine in person from her savings. My goal was to teach her a lesson -- not to speed -- and so far it's been successful.

Unintended consequence: In June the renewal for our car insurance came due, and my company increased the rate for my daughter and her 1997 Camry by $250 a year. When I contacted the company, I was told that the risk for a teen driver who gets a speeding ticket is significantly higher and that my daughter will have elevated insurance rates for the next three years. So teaching her a lesson instead of fighting this traffic ticket is costing a cool $750, in addition to the fine.

My advice to all parents out there: Traffic tickets are not learning experiences. Go to court, talk to the traffic judge, do what you can to get them dismissed ... or stand by for significantly elevated insurance costs.

I can appreciate your reluctance to pay the additional premium. But I think you're to be commended for how you handled the situation. If your daughter turns into a safer driver, $750 will be a small price to pay.




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