I had those good intentions from this morning – the ones where I was going to get laundry and housework done. Instead, I worked on the financial stuff, transitioning more accounts over to our new checking and trying to figure out exactly how the patchwork of our budget was going to work. It was dismal work and it was compounded by the confusion going on with our landlord and how we’re going to make our rent payments (not the ability to pay, but the “how” of it – mailing payments… not able to set it up as an ACH on a date that is suitable, all that crap). I think that people who earn a certain amount, like those who earn more in one paycheck than they need to pay their largest bill, don’t understand what it’s like when your paychecks are pathetically small and it’s necessary to take from multiple checks in order to meet obligations. Perhaps they’ve forgotten what it can be like when you have to carefully time everything so your obligations are met.
I don’t know.
Regardless of the confusion, I think we’ve got it worked out now. At least, I think we do. I’m hopeful.
This leads me to that issue that has been preying on us since Brennan was born (over 7 years, sigh). There is all the commentary about how you have to start saving for your children’s college right from the time they are born. I have bad news for those “experts.” If your income isn’t high enough, it doesn’t matter if you save the entire time, you will not have a significant amount to put towards your child’s education. If you’re lucky, you’ll save enough to help with that first semester, maybe even the first year. Kids are expensive and those expenses eat up income.
If there is some kind of thought that perhaps parents will be in a different stage of life when their children head off to college, then yes that would be correct too. We’ll be juggling trying to save something (anything) for retirement, right as our children head off to school. The federal government, in its infinite wisdom, will look at our income at that time and determine that we are able to afford a certain amount towards our children’s costs. This amount will NOT take into account our ages or the fact that without us putting money into retirement we will be working until we’ve turned into dust.
The calculation doesn’t (nor can it) take into account that the majority of our children’s young lives have been spent earning incredibly palty sums that haven’t quite managed to cover all of our living expenses each month.
Todd and I talked about it and (if I’ve already blogged this, I apologize – we can put it down to early dementia) we’ve decided that we’ll get through our degrees first, then, when our incomes are more than they are now – which they will be, if for no other reason than Todd will be working full time in comparison to now – we will put what money we can towards activities, etc., that help our kids with scholarship eligibility.
And yes, I’ve probably brought this up in my blog before because it feels like a familiar bit I’ve written, but there’s more to it.
Here’s what I hope we help our children learn before they head off into the adult world to fend for themselves (mostly – since we’ll be out here as a bolt-hole when times are crappy, much like our family has been for us): I hope that I help them to value getting that education early and making the most of it when they do. I hope I help them to value saving for a rainy day, because those days usually hit, one after another after another, and we are rarely prepared for how bad they are. I hope we help them to think of the future, even as they pursue their hopes and dreams. I hope we help them find balance between caution and preparation and knowing when to take a chance, dancing with a bit of risk.
In the end, though, I know they will make their own ways in the world. We’ll do our best, kiss the boo boos, help them dust themselves off and get back on their feet. We’ll love them and do what we can to let them be true and authentic to themselves.
The rest? Well. I just don’t know. Do we ever really stop learning new lessons? No. And I’m certain they will find the same in their own adult lives.
signing off for now – one thoughtful and slightly pensive moonfire – caught in between…