by Laura Chiesman
There are about 80 million grandparents in America today. As life expectancies continue to increase so does the number of lucky kids who have multiple grandparents in their lives. Grandparents (and great-grandparents) are key sources of assistance to families and their influence is well documented.
According to a 2014 Fidelity survey, 72 percent of grandparents feel that it is important to help pay for their grandchildren’s college education. There are many ways to accomplish this goal including various types of college savings accounts, contributing to the cause through gifts to the child or their parents, and loaning or paying directly for tuition or other expenses. Each approach will have its own pros and cons that should be explored and understood. We here at our wealth services firm in Satellite Beach, FL know the types and timing of assistance are key, so it is wise to investigate the options with a financial advisor.
Grandparents are obviously very willing and happy to give financially when they can but they look for other ways to contribute too. The gifts of time and influence have value that can’t always be measured and these gifts flow both ways!
College entrance applications place importance on volunteer activities and involving grandchildren in a meaningful cause is a win-win activity. There is time spent together, the child learns about giving to others and the organization benefits! Helping others is a great way to develop skills, compassion and gratitude and these attributes can lead to even deeper benefits. According to Jeffrey Froh, an associate professor of psychology at Hofstra University and a leading researcher on kids and gratitude, research has shown that kids who practice gratitude are “more satisfied with their lives, have stronger peer and family relationships, have higher GPAs, and are less depressed”, this positive news for all.
Help with scholarship searches and applications can result in great financial benefits and also provide opportunities to spend time together on a meaningful project. I love an idea proposed in an article on www.finaid.org – work with grandchildren to research and find scholarships related to family background and experiences by giving them a resume that summarizes all of your affiliations, including past and present employers, unions, military service, memberships, hobbies and activities. Encouraging other members of the family to do the same could result in more scholarship opportunities and certainly will lead to some great dinner table discussions.
Time together, financial, emotional and community rewards, family stories and history to pass on through the years – Go Grandparents! If you have any questions on planning for your children or grandchildren’s college education, one of our WealthCoaches™ at our wealth services firm in Satellite Beach, FL would be happy to discuss the variety of options available to you. Give us a call at (321) 773-7773!