FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Yet another sign of how the troubled economy is forcing Americans to make tough choices:
A new study shows almost a quarter of parents plan to raid their own retirement accounts in order to pay for their kids' college education.
The Sallie Mae survey, conducted by Gallup, shows 24 percent of parents say they plan to save for college by dipping into accounts like 401(k)s, IRAs and pension plans.
Twenty-four percent. This is the money that people have set aside for their golden years.
Experts call the trend disturbing and a "desperation move." And it can be risky. That's because there are tax penalties and other fees if you withdraw money from these accounts early. There also are restrictions on how quickly you must pay back money you borrow from a retirement plan.
Financial experts point out that there are other options - like 529 college savings plans - that can be spent tax-free on college education.
Nonetheless, the survey finds that despite the shaky economy, education is still a priority for Americans. Sixty percent of parents say they're saving for their children's college education. By the time their children are ready for college, most parents will have saved close to $50,000.
The most common way parents say they're saving for college are CDs or saving accounts, followed by investments like stocks, mutual funds and money market accounts.
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Curt in Avon, Indiana writes:
Don't know what that means, Jack. I worked full-time and went to college part-time and earned my B.S. in six years. I think that adult children need to take care of themselves and should not be such a burden on their parents. Blowing your retirement money on your kids is stupid!
Peg in New York writes:
It means the kids will need to make vast amounts of money to pay for their parents' retirement.
Parents will now have to work more years to make up for the money lost. Thus the graduating students will have fewer jobs available. A vicious cycle indeed.
We have no choice. Even by using money that should be in retirement, our son will be strapped with over $50,000 in debt after four years in college, not including the loan we, as parents, took out. At a price tag of $40,000 per year, where else is the money supposed to come from?
Pat in Michigan writes:
There are a lot of cheaper colleges in this country. We have become so label-driven that it has seeped into our culture in the field of education. An "A" is an "A".
That is moronic to say the least. You can borrow money for college. You can't borrow money for your retirement.
Shawn in Florida writes:
Not a good idea. In spite of what most seem to think, it is not a parent's duty to put their kids through college. My parents didn't. I got financial aid and loans that took me ten years to pay off. I am flat broke in this economy and if my kids want to go to college they will have to pay themselves.
We have tougher times ahead in the next 3 to 5 years. We have not hit bottom as of yet.