“I’ll Just Let My Kid Figure Out All His Own College Financing.” Good Idea? Bad Idea?

Some parents try to save a little time, energy, and money by just putting their kid in charge of planning out his or her own college financing.  “She’s nearly an adult; let her figure it out herself and live with the consequences,” some parents think.

Is this a good idea?

 Here are my thoughts on the subject.

Parents, please don’t be tempted to try to hand off responsibility for figuring out college financing to your child, no matter how busy you are and no matter how bright and capable he or she seems to be.

Studies show that before the age of 24, the dorsal lateral pre-frontal cortexes of students’ brains are not sufficiently developed for them to be able to succeed at large scale tasks that require high level evaluation of risk and preparation for the future.  This is an adult task, and doing it for your child will be one of the greatest gifts you can give him as he launches into adulthood.

Will planning for a debt-free college graduation take a little bit of time and some careful planning throughout middle school and high school on your part?  Yes.  But the joy and satisfaction you’ll feel when your child walks across the college graduation stage debt-free, ready to step into a career she excels at and loves, will be worth every bit of the time you took to plan it.

Question:  Would you ever consider letting your child be in charge of planning out his or her own college financing?  What do you think would happen if you did?