Money

70% of young parents are making this big money mistake

Joel Graham, Julia Braverman-Graham and their daughter on NBC's "Parenthood"
NBC | Getty Images
Joel Graham, Julia Braverman-Graham and their daughter on NBC's "Parenthood"

According to a new survey from Personal Capital, 70 percent of millennial parents say they would prioritize their kid's college education over their own retirement.

Most financial advisers would call that a big mistake.

You don't want to "derail your retirement for your child's college education when they can get a loan or scholarships," certified financial planner Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz tells CNBC Make It.

If you don't set aside enough money for retirement, your child may have to support you in the future, she explains, which could end up being more expensive than student loans.

Lazetta Braxton, CFP and founder and CEO of Financial Fountains, has a similar perspective. "I drive parents to think of themselves first — it's the greatest gift they can give their kids," she told CNBC in 2016. "Because there's no guarantee the kids will take care of them financially or otherwise in their old age."

Be upfront with your kids about how much you can realistically contribute towards college, even if the amount may disappoint them, Braxton advises. The sooner you have the conversation, the more time your child will have to figure things out.

Self-made millionaire Grant Cardone has a firm opinion on the topic: Don't pay for your kid's college education, he tells CNBC Make It.

"If the kids want to go to school, [have them] go get a job, get some money, save some money and go buy the school that they want to go to."

At the end of the day, the decision of whether or not to pay for your kid's education is highly personal. And saving for both college and retirement is more than possible if you start socking away money years in advance.

Just remember: You can always borrow money for college. You can't for retirement.

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