saving moneyI'm not going to lie. I try not to think about sending my kid to college. It's not just that I'll have to face empty nesting and the end of her childhood and all that mushy gushy stuff that makes mothers weep into their Ben & Jerry's. I'm not ready for the financial hit of college tuition.

I know I will have to get creative to pay for college. But there's at least one new parenting trend I just can't get behind. Crowd-funding your kid's ride to the school of their choice is just a little too tacky for me.

You've heard of crowd-funding, haven't you? It's becoming a popular way to raise money for just about everything these days -- from helping a bullied bus monitor get the money she needs to escape the nasty brats at work to giving a reality star the funds she needs to pursue her dreams as a pageant girl.

All you need to do is write up your plea, upload it to one of the (growing number of) crowd-funding sites on the Internet, and wait for big-hearted people to give you their money.

It's not the worst way to raise money. I've been known to donate a time or two on sites like these, usually for sick kids whose families are struggling with bills.

But a sick kid surprises a family.

College doesn't. So the "sudden" need to reach out to the world to help pay for your child's education is a bit disingenuous.

Most of us hope from birth that our kids will one day go to college. For many American kids, there is no other option. The children are told, "You WILL go to college, no ifs, ands, or buts about it."

That means you have 18 years -- give or take -- to save for college. If you don't do that, well, that's on you! It's not up to the rest of us to fund your kid's college dreams. As the old saying goes, "Your lack of planning does not constitute my emergency."

It isn't just the lack of class that bothers me here, quite frankly. It's the message you're sending to your kids.

Throwing up a website and saying "gimme all your money" tells our kids that it's OK not to plan, that they should expect people to pick them up when they fall.

Sometimes there are nice people who will do that. But more often than not, there aren't. Life doesn't work that way.

Life is about planning. It's about working hard to get what you want, not resting on your laurels and expecting it to come to you.

Still thinking about crowd-funding your kid's tuition? You might want to look at loans instead.

Would you donate to a college tuition site or do you think it's tacky for parents to ask?

 

Image via Phillip Taylor PT/Flickr