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This is an area where many parents unfortunately fall short. The fact is that planning for college is a great opportunity to teach your kids how to look down the road and plan for the future. According to a study published on SallieMae.com, parents who saved for college developed the habit of saving - which was a good financial behavior. Not only that, those who admitted to planning for college were able to successfully save for it.
Many people get hung up on the question as to who should pay for college the parents or the children. This is a good place to start laying out financial planning for the long term with your child. In fact, your kids should be taught to understand that you'll be saving for retirement and can only help with their college costs. This will also help them understand the importance of saving for retirement.
You should also make sure your kids take tuition costs into account when choosing a college or university. He or she might want to attend an elite private university but this might not be worth the money if your child wants to pursue a career that will never pay more than $70,000 or $80,000 in a year. Do the math and you'll see that this just doesn't make sense. Children need to think of college as an investment and not just a growing experience.