Certified financial planner Wes Moss provides personal finance advice and accessible investment strategies. His guest post appears here weekly.
Across Atlanta moms and dads are rushing to the mailbox hoping to find something special – an acceptance letter from a prestigious school that will give their child the education they need to survive in this increasingly competitive economy.
“Please, please, please,” those parents pray. “Please let this be the day my little darling gets into the Harvard of kindergartens…”
The competition to get into private preschools and elementary schools can be as grueling as getting into college. And for those accepted, the cost can be well north of $20,000 per year for some schools. A private school education could easily cost more than $300,000 in tuition before the kid even sees a college classroom.
Not many families have that kind of money. But does it matter? What’s the difference whether your child learns to read in a public or private school? Probably not much in the first few years.
So why do people want their children in an elite private kindergarten? In short, to help ensure they can get into an elite private high school, which they hope will improve their chances of getting into a top-notch college. The competition for a seat in the best private high schools is exponentially tougher than for elementary school. Indeed, it can be Hunger Games-intense.
There’s nothing wrong with that. Every parent wants the best for his children. If you have the means, why not give your kids the best education money can buy. But regardless of your financial situation, I urge you to shop schools the same way you shop your other major investments and expenditures – your house, your car, your retirement investments. For $300,000, you need to get the most value you can.
I look at spending on education from a “best bang for your buck” perspective, as opposed to “at any cost.” When considering a school for your kids, go beyond image, marketing and hearsay. Here are some suggestions:
Is private school worth it for your kids?
– By Wes Moss, for Atlanta Bargain Hunter