I remember when my oldest was an infant and complaining how much everything costed from diapers to formula to clothes, etc. It felt overwhelming. Around that same time, a friend noticed how tense I was and told me that “Somehow, everything seems to get paid eventually.” This actually calmed me down because to date, this has been true. Somehow, some way, things got paid. There is some debt here, some savings there, but the bills that came in when my kids were smaller are no longer bills that I owe. Maybe you can relate.
We all know how stressed we get when dealing with finances. The emotional reaction can make these situations worse. But, excluding a mortgage, have all of the bills from several years ago been paid? Is the debt you are incurring more recent and not from 2012? If so, allow yourself to breathe and realize that the bills of college will somehow, some way, get paid. The debt may last longer, but the plan that had worked before, will likely work again. If you are unsure, talk with people who have been through this and find out what they did to gain some control over that debt.
These are some of the things that I did that have worked thus far.
- Seek out people who problem solve rather than those who will complain. Seek out people who focus on how to get out of debt rather than those who focus on ONLY the debt.
- Make a plan and follow it as closely as possible. You may have to deviate from time to time, but stay as rigid as you can.
- Learn early on who gives scholarships and discuss with your child the importance of these.
- Come to terms with the reality that this is just going to be a trying time. It is important to remember that you have gotten through trying times before.
Michael J. Pollak, PCC, LICDC
Director, Dual Diagnosis Program