Just because she’s a girl, I expect my daughter to have to face more problems in life than boys. A lower wage, less encouragement in math and science, and not arguing are some of the things she’ll have to fight through in life.
I have every confidence she’ll beat them all.
I can’t control many of those obstacles. But like many dads who only have daughters, I pick my spots and do what I can.
One thing that I can control is giving her some financial help to afford to go to college. It’s an area that I never expected bias on from parents who only have boys, but it’s one I’m questioning after seeing a recent survey by T. Rowe Price.
It found that the parents of boys are saving more for their kids’ college education than the parents of all girls.
As the father of a daughter, that’s not how it is in our house.
The survey didn’t detail how much money parents are saving for their kids to go to college, but it had some disturbing facts in how boys are getting much more preferential treatment from their parents than girls are from theirs.
The first is that half of parents of only boys are more likely to have money saved for college, versus 39 percent by the parents of only girls.
Another is that 65 percent of boys say their parents are saving for college, versus 53 percent for girls.
However you read those stats — either money that’s already saved or an amount someone says they’re saving — it’s still a much larger percentage of parents with only boys who are saving for college. Why? The survey doesn’t say.
But let’s take a guess. A wild guess:
These parents are sexist.
Or if not sexist, then at least they have a higher regard for their sons than parents of girls do for their daughters.
Parents of girls lower their expectations
Here’s another stat from the survey that bothers me:
That’s the percentage of parents of only girls who are likely to consider a lower cost college for their daughters.
The parents of boys are only 60 percent as likely to consider a cheaper college for their sons.
So girls should accept a cheaper college? They should settle for less in life? Like maybe earning 79 cents for every dollar a man earns? Excuse my language, but WTF?
Why the hell do more parents of only girls accept this as a solution? They can do better.
More college debt for parents of boys
And a final stat that blows me away:
Almost twice as many parents of boys would take on $75,000 or more in student loans — 23 percent for parents of boys versus 12 percent for girls.
Those are parents taking on those student loans for their children. Parents of boys are also more willing to let their sons take on significant student debt.
Among all parents, the survey found that:
- More parents are saving for their kids’ college than their own retirement.
- 73% of parents are willing to delay their retirement to cover college costs.
- Parents are more likely to pull money from their retirement savings than college savings.
I’ll say this clearly for my daughter to get:
THAT’S NOT HAPPENING HERE.
I won’t pay her student loans. I won’t encourage her to take on significant student debt. And I sure as heck won’t delay retirement, not fund retirement or pull from a retirement fund to pay for her college education.
Financial mistakes are a part of life, but not funding retirement is one I’m purposefully avoiding.
What we are doing about college
What I will do is contribute a healthy amount to her college fund.
My wife and I have been doing this almost since the day she was born 13 years ago. We contribute to it monthly and by the time she graduates from high school the account should have enough money to pay for at least half of her schooling.
Unless she goes to Stanford and doesn’t get a scholarship there.
Then we might have to figure something out.
We’re also encouraging her to work and save her money for school. We often discuss the importance of going to college and how you’re much more likely to earn a lot more money with a college degree than just a high school diploma.
And of course, we talk up the enjoyment of a college education and the fact that you get to be out of the house and away from your parents.
But do we ever discuss how we have such low expectations of her that she should consider a cheaper school because we’re not saving enough for college?
Or that if only she were a boy, then we’d definitely be saving more for her college years?
No. Of course not.
And to the parents of girls who are thinking this way, please go find an educatione fund for your daughter and start contributing to it. Heavily.
Because that girl you’re raising is going to need all of the education and extra income she can to take care of you in old age — unless she suspects you’ve been putting her best interests below a son you don’t even have.