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A Hard Conversation for Parents: Super Bowl Party vs College Fund

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ActionNetwork.com currently posts the under and over line on this year’s Rams Patriots Super Bowl game at 57 points. By kickoff many Americans will know that number and perhaps even made a wager related to it.

Here is a number no one will be wagering on and arguably should know – the average student loan debt for the Class of 2017? According Student Loan Hero, is student loan debt under or over $40,000? If you guessed under, you are correct, but barely. Student Loan Hero reports the average student loan debt for the Class of 2017 was $39,400, up six percent from 2016.

According to LendEDU the average cost of hosting a Super Bowl party is $207.16.

It may be hard to explain to a child how mom and dad have money to host a Super Bowl party but not have money to deposit to a college savings fund, like a 529. Perhaps this one reason why many surveys indicate parents avoid talking to and teaching kids about money.

CNBC shared in a column that CareerBuilder reported 78 percent of full-time workers live paycheck to paycheck. One of the surest strategies to stop living paycheck to paycheck is to place a priority on and get in the habit of saving and investing money. The easiest and most effective way to make that happen is to automate the process. I have heard many successful wealth builders say after automating their savings and investment programs, “I never saw it. I never missed it.”

Related: Kids, Money and Growing up with a Super Bowl Father

Related: Kids, Money, Elton John and Dad’s Poor Habit

Small, daily, repetitive decisions have compounding and consequential impact over extended periods of time. So, big or small, make your choices count!

I grew up in a 7 person, two bedroom, one bath, one TV house without something called “discretionary income.” What that meant was the use of income in our house was prioritized to the penny. It also meant decisions on how to prioritize it were made by those with the most experience managing it. In other words, not kids.

Parents of that era were also faced with difficult conversations. Many, it seemed, were up to the task. That has become crystal clear with age and maturity. “No, you can’t have that.” Or, “yes, you can have that, IF, you work to pay for it.” Those were common expressions.

A wonderful Motley Fool column from Maurie Backman suggests it is time for parents to stop the madness. He asks this question: How much are you willing to blow on birthday parties? The sentence reminds me of what my late parents use to tell us, “you can blow all the money you earn.”

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