Bad news, kids. When it comes to your parents' savings priorities, funding their golden years is winning over financing your college years.
It's not that they don't want to pay for their kids' higher education, experts say. It's more that they are overwhelmed by the rising cost of a college education and concerned about having enough money for their own retirement.
A new survey of Americans' saving habits finds that 55 percent of parents with kids under age 18 are saving for retirement, compared with 51 percent of families who are putting aside money for their children's college education. But those parents are putting significantly more money into retirement than college savings, according to the latest How America Saves for College survey, released Thursday by student loan giant Sallie Mae.
The survey found that on average, 53 percent of a family's savings are allocated toward retirement, compared with an average of just 10 percent for college.
The survey of about 2,000 parents included families of all income levels, and had a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points. It was conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Sallie Mae.
The study found that 89 percent agree that college is an investment in their child's future, and there's plenty of research showing that, in general, college graduates are better off economically.
Still, experts say many parents seem to be overwhelmed by the cost of college, which has likely ballooned since their undergrad days. A separate Sallie Mae study, How America Pays for College, found that families spent an average of $21,178 on college costs in the 2012-2013 academic year, and it was funded by a mix of scholarships, grants, loans and savings.
"The price tag is often daunting to families," said Sarah Ducich, senior vice president for public policy with Sallie Mae. "When we look at families that aren't saving for college, their predominant feeling about it is they're frustrated, they're overwhelmed and they're angry."