THE RESULTS of a survey on parents' attitudes, concerns, and preferences for saving for their children's college education has been released by U-Nest. The findings include:
* Parents are willing to sacrifice their own needs, with more than 60% stating they would give up sex for one year in exchange for one year of free college tuition for their kids.
* Parents prioritize saving for their children over saving for retirement, paying off a mortgage, taking a vacation, and paying off their own student debt.
* While 75% of parents believe a debt-free college education will increase their children's chances for success in life, nearly 40% are not saving anything for their kids' education.
* Twenty percent of parents believe their child will not need to rely on scholarships, grants, or other external sources of funds for college.
* Of the parents who are saving for their children's education, the majority are using a checking or savings account--only 18% are using a tax-free 529 college savings plan. For younger parents (ages 18-35), just 13% are taking advantage of saving with a 529 plan.
* More than 40% of parents age 18-35 still are paying off their own student loans, and 61% wish their own parents would have saved more for their education.
"We all know saving for college is hard. It's a huge expense, which is why student debt is out of control--currently at 1.5 trillion dollars--and still growing. This data shows how extreme the problem has become," says Ksenia Yudina, founder and CEO of U-Nest. "The fact that parents are willing to sacrifice their own well-being to reduce the cost of college puts into perspective how large this crisis is, and the toll it's taking on families across the country."
For men, saving for their children is their No. 1 priority, while women prioritize saving for an emergency fund. Both genders indicate that saving for their children is more important than saving for retirement. Some 67% of parents do not have a financial planner or wealth manager to help them strategize money matters, which helps explain why 70% of Americans have not heard of a 529 plan.
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