My stepdaughter is 17 and will be starting college this fall. Her dad and I want to help her with expenses, but she’s chosen a private university (with the help of her other parents) that costs $250,000 for an undergraduate degree. We don’t want her going into student loan debt, but we can’t afford that kind of money, and she’s really pressing the issue. What do you suggest?
The biggest problem I see is that you’ve got a 17-year-old girl wagging the dog. I can tell you right now this wouldn’t happen at my house. When it comes to the parent-child relationship at that age, the adults tell the children what to do. It doesn’t happen the other way around.
If this child is going to take your money, then she needs to take your advice, too. If she’s not willing to be reasonable and take your advice, then she gets none of the money. There’s no undergraduate degree on the planet worth $250,000. The whole idea is absurd, and somebody needs to say that out loud.
This girl can work, and she can go to a state school and get a great education for about a fourth of that price. Since you’re in Texas, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the University of Texas or Texas A&M. They’re great schools. And at that price range, I’m sure it would allow you guys to pitch in and help out some.
But seriously, a quarter of a million dollars for an undergrad degree? I don’t think so!
Living in your ‘car’
I’ve heard you tell people not to buy mobile homes. We bought one when we moved out of our apartment, and it’s been much cheaper for us. Why do you feel this way?
It’s simple. Mobile homes go down in value. When you buy a house, it goes up in value in the long run. From a financial standpoint, mathematically, when you buy a mobile home, you’re buying a very large car in which to live.
Now, I’m not necessarily against manufactured homes. But the phrase “manufactured home” can mean different things to different people. My test goes something like this: If it’s a type of housing that doesn’t look like it had the wheels yanked off, then it will probably go up in value over the years.
There’s nothing wrong with renting an apartment for a while. When you pay out rent, that’s all you’re losing in the deal. But when you buy a mobile home, you’re losing out with the payments, and you’re losing money every day as the thing goes down in value.
That’s why I tell people not to buy mobile homes!