LAW student Kym Sweeny declared bankruptcy based on school debt of almost $1/4 million, YET after doing so STILL has a debt to the government of half this amount ($120,000). I have to ask:
What the hell was she thinking?
How much advance planning or ongoing planning was being done while this debt was being incurred?
What advice did she get from the banks to whom she owed the money?
With the average lawyer’s salary under $100,000/yr. in Toronto, this debt load would have taken 20 or more years to pay off. Did she investigate up front to understand this?
Does she realize that financially now she is DONE!! Before she has even started!
There is no turning back from here.
Parents, you must stop forcing your children to go to university. Especially when they do not have a good sense of what they want to do. Ivory towers like this look pretty, but make sure you know what you want to do, before entering. If you do not, do not enter!
A more sensible approach as a parent is to ensure your children work at something that they could enjoy for the rest of their lives, while simultaneously a fiscally responsible approach for you both.
Begin by not doing all their homework for them, let them fall and scrape themselves, let them fail so they understand it is hard work that will get them ahead. Encourage them to explore, on their own, so that they will ultimately live their life, as opposed to you living vicariously through them.
INTERN OVER STRAIGHT-IN
So rather than forcing/bullying them into university/college, encourage them to go and intern in the field they are interested in….. get a summer job in the field, or make sure they have spoken to 4 different people in the field before they embark on a career they might hate or not be well suited for.
CALL THEM OUT
If they are about to make a bad decision, step in and give them information.
My middle son decided he wanted to go to a school where his girlfriend was living. After vetting the private institution he had chosen, I simply said no, that this was a waste of time and money and none of the graduates were getting jobs. He succumbed and did ultimately become a paralegal, graduating at the top of his class and is now working in a field he loves and it only cost him 1 year and $10,000. Not a quarter of a million dollars!
Life is not a race where you put blinders on and charge headlong to the finish line. It is a journey in which your children would enjoy more if they do decide to delay their education and spent time traveling in their country of origin. Soak up the beauty, engage in social interactions and experiences, with people from all walks of life. Otherwise known as living. And oh what a new perspective they will have on life and what THEY want out of it.
LET THEM PLAY
A Funky approach to those of us over 50 years of age is reaching out and talking, with people of any age, engaging with one another, playing on the street and accepting openly parents who actually say NO! And mean it.
I was walked the first day to kindergarten. That was the ONLY DAY!
We played pick-up of the sport of the season in the schoolyard without a single parent watching over us. Walking through the streets and snow with hockey or baseball gear over your shoulder to play shinny/pick-up. And if nobody is there, just throw or kick the ball, or shoot at an empty net. Remember French Baseball? (a chalk square on the wall that acted as the strike zone).
THEY MUST DO IT ON THEIR OWN
If you have the resources to support your children’s education, it MUST be made clear up front that it has to be paid back. Without this, they are going to be like that roommate who in the first semester goes crazy and parties and fails out.
If they do not know what they want to do, they should find out before they spend one penny on post-secondary education. If they want to party……get a job and find out the consequences of too much imbibing the night before. Learn responsibility on your own nickle.
The Mark Twain adage should be put to work before they head off:
How does one get to this point? By searching, questioning and interacting with people with knowledge and expertise. If you find something that you think you might like to do, ask if you can shadow them (follow them around for a day or several more) to determine what it is they do and if you think you would like to do this for 30 years.
The field of law is flooded and it takes particular traits and characteristics to succeed. Do not look at the hypothetical salaries. Look at what you enjoy and the dollars WILL come!
In the end, the insights and growth you secure from working/shadowing or unpaid internships and traveling before you embark after high school will be of far greater value and more interesting, regardless of your decision to proceed with a post-secondary education. If you then decide to go into something you are confident you will enjoy, you will get far greater value from it. It will be absorbed more fully and hence used to the benefit of all in society more thoroughly.