How Not to Save Money for College February 1, 2010

How Not to Save Money for College

How should you save money for college?

Put money in a savings account?

Rely on student loans?

Invest your money?

Purchase a CD?

Or… pray and just *hope* everything works out?

Reader Roman received the following survey results from his bank.

Prayer ranks 3rd!… and it could very easily be 2nd.

Now, when people wonder why so many Americans are in debt, I have a new answer for them.

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  • Richard Wade

    Will Liberty University accept prayer I.O.U.’s or do they still require cash like everybody else?

  • JD

    That’s only part of the debt problem though. I deal with people in debt that would eat out instead of eating yesterday’s leftovers. As far as I’m concerned, people in crushing debt don’t deserve to eat out like that.

  • Chris

    it worked for my parents :/

  • Darwin’s Dagger

    I don’t know. Might actually be a more reliable way of financing your education than depending on banks and other financial institutions. All the damn Wall Street bankers seem to have done was make bad loans and hope everything would work out.

  • littlejohn

    It’s funny, but surely they don’t mean “pray” in the literal religious sense. Do they?

  • Sackbut

    I assume they mean “pray” in the sense of “hope”. Lots of people are hoping for generous financial aid packages and have few other resources designated.

  • Dan


    If not in the literal sense, what other sense would you be thinking? Do you think it means they’ll just hope, without actually asking a god?

    It’s a good question, I’m asking honestly about it. You may be right. I don’t know.

  • Jer

    I wonder if the numbers would have been different if that option had been reworded as “win big playing the lottery”. I’ve known a lot of people who use “pray for money” in that way, so I wonder if the folks who answered it that way really thought it was the best way, or if they thought that the other options were more ludicrous in their situation.

    IOW – this might not be a measure of religiousity as it is a measure of general financial hopelessness. (Conflated a bit with religiousity – I’m sure there are some folks who would feel that it would be showing insufficient faith not to give that response to a poll if it’s available, even if they have been scrupulously saving for their own kid’s college fund ever since the kid was born).

  • I am officially using WTFSM for as many things as possible from now until the end of ever.

  • Karmakin

    Not to go all political or anything, but the fact that an overwhelming majority looks at investment as the best way to save makes it very difficult to handle things such as the current financial system meltdown.

    Too many people rely too much on it.

  • I do have recollections of church sermons where the pastor said that God provides what people need and that the “proximal” cause of the provision may be from something like a will or scholarship, but the ultimate cause is always God. With this mindset, if you manage to go to college at all (no matter how you pay for it), it is because of God so you should thank God. If you don’t go to college for what-ever reason, then it is probably because God has some other plan for you so you should also thank God. It’s the idea that you should always thank God no matter what life throws at you. This viewpoint, although it doesn’t help anybody or have any basis in reality, is crafted to help the churches as God’s organizational structures. It helps employ the people managing and facilitating all the “God thanking” going on.

  • Alien

    I am a USAA member and I strongly suspect this was either a poor choice of words or worded to encourage people to use a real investment method. USAA is clearly trying to sell financial services here, which they can’t do if god was really going to give financial aid to everyone. Surely everyone who has prayed for stuff in the past has had ‘unanswered prayers’. In this specific use, I read the survey question to be “Pray I can get money because I didn’t invest properly”, implying that financial aid is a long shot and/or out of your control, with the intent that people will then be motivated to invest now with USAA.

  • Moxiequz

    I’m a USAA member as well and I agree with Alien – this was just a poorly worded question trying to be humorous for the purpose of selling USAA’s financial services.

  • Noir the Sable

    Another guy saying it’s just a poorly worded question (or a jumped-the-gun interperetation). It really isn’t wise to assume everything that kinda sounds religious to actually be religious.

  • The Vicar

    I wonder what sort of response they would have gotten if they had separated that into two choices: “Work really hard so you can get a scholarship/financial aid” and “pray”.

  • Luther

    How are Churches like Big Banks?

    They both pray on the poor and middle class.

  • muggle

    I’m just wondering why my daughter’s option — apply for financial aid wasn’t there.

    Of course, she might be going the loan route next fall if I can no longer work and it ain’t looking good.

  • Happy that I have HECS/HELP rather than having to resort to prayer to fund uni.

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