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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/i-have-a-40k-ira-set-up-to-pay-off-sons-student-30026468.aspx

Subject:  Re: IRA withdrawal for college costs Date:  5/8/2012  10:15 AM
Author:  alstroemeria Number:  305128 of 308881

I have a $40K IRA set up to pay off sons student loans.

Who suggested you do it this way? If you could afford to do this, why didn't you simply pay some portion of his tuition bills when due, minimizing the loans he needed? I'm assuming if you have a 21-year-old son, you are in your 40s or 50s so I sure hope you have additional retirement savings.

Up till my children graduated from high school, I'd only saved enough for one year of college (being a SAHM for 9 years, getting divorced, and then being low-paid for another 6 years had consequences-). So when my first child started college, I had to save 10% of my gross paycheck to keep up with my share of tuition bills (I made a deal with my ex whereby we each paid 1/3 of each child's college expenses while the child would handle the remaining third. I believe that students should have some "skin in the game" where college is concerned.)

I was lucky to be in my peak earning years, but if I couldn't have afforded it, my children would've had to deal. My first obligation was to save for retirement--something I wish I'd been smarter about in my earlier years (conventional wisdom back then was to put only enough for max employer match into 401k, so I only saved 6% + 1.5% from employer for years. Finally got a clue, but by then I was at a company with no company match at all.

Yes, I realize many, many people aren't paid enough or employed consistently enough to afford decent retirement savings let alone children's college. But it sounds like you were able to save extra (that is, I HOPE that $40k IRA isn't your sole retirement savings-).
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