Millennials know student loan debt. Borrowers under 30 are carrying more than $376 billion in student loans and those ages 30 to 39 hold more than $408 billion, according to 2015 data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax.
For the parents in that group, it’s a burden they wouldn’t wish on the most annoying playground mom, much less their own children.
But when you have limited resources, how can you save for both college for your kids and retirement for yourself?
GET YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT
A recent NerdWallet study conducted online by Harris Poll found that millennial parents (ages 18-34) are prioritizing saving for retirement and saving for college at similar rates. Sixty-one percent of respondents called retirement a top long-term priority; 54 percent said the same of college.
Retirement should have a much wider lead, though, for a litany of reasons. Most notably, those student loans you know so well aren’t an option for retirement. Neither are scholarships, grants or work-study programs—aside from, well, work.
You want to help your kids avoid your debt-riddled fate, but it’s OK—financially prudent, even—to put college savings on the back burner until you’re saving enough for retirement.