5 months ago
Thursday, April 2, 2009
I want to be a good parent, but I don't feel I am reaching my goal lately. Oh hell, let's be honest, I don't know if I have ever felt I was reaching that goal. I am here for my kids. I provide for them, I am able to take off and do things with them. I am involved in the community and everybody knows they are my kids, so there is a good level of safety. But I always have this nagging fear that I am the thing that ruins any hope of a future for my kids.
Sure they have food, clothing and shelter. They have the best medical, dental and vision care that can be found in this neck of the woods. They are loved and they are held to high standards of school performance, and they suffer consequences (grounding) if they do not meet those standards. They are provided with a variety of entertainment options and their friends are constantly in my house, eating my food and watching my big ass TV with Cartoon Network crap rather than football.
But that is today. Tomorrow they will need to go to college to get an education so they can be happy successful adults. Sure, you don't have to have a college degree to do that, you might be special and smarter than the average bear. On the other hand, who the hell is dumb enough to count on that?! No, they need a paper ticket to get into the game and make a life. And that is where I will fail them.
Sure I have some money put back for their college. But it is no where near enough! Holy crap I barely have enough set back to send one kid to a state college, I have no idea what would happen if either or both of them decide to go to bigger out of state schools. I can try to save, but it is not realistic to save enough on my middle class income. I do, however, make just enough to assure they will receive no help from the Government other than loans! So while all the other kids are skipping off to a new life of productivity, my kids will be looking at huge loans before they even get a chance at graduate school. What if they want to go into medicine, law, or some other expensive school?
So I talk to my father about these fears. He chuckles and tells me its good to have to earn your degree. But I actually graduated from college. Its a lot of hard work and it is damn hard to concentrate when you are concerned about the next meal or where you will sleep. And THAT could be my kids future because I make a little over the cut off line for student aid. If you make $75,000 or below, your kid gets a free education. If you make above that... you will wish you hadn't. Well, your kids will blame you because their life involves shaking the french fryer at McDonalds while the classmates that copied their homework are driving off in new cars. OH you KNOW I am going to be blamed for that!
So my Dad calls me today. "I been thinking about this. I got a bunch of money in an IRA that needs to come out. We need to find a way I can move it to a college savings plan and not pay taxes on it."
OK readers, any ideas from you guys...? Any...? Any at all? Really, I would entertain any ideas on how to do that. Honest!
So we discuss many options and end the conversation in frustrated silence. I share the problem with my co-worker who says, "Why doesn't he just give you the money and you pay the taxes on it? You would get a 4-1 return." And as simple and brilliant as the solution seems, I don't think my Dad would ever agree to it. It's not the providing the money for an education that appeals to him, it's the screwing the government out of taxes. And you know what...? In 20 years that's somehow going to be all my freakin fault too!