Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Not every day in life can be a great day.  I tend to think I have a lot of really fun days in my life.  I just spent a really fun weekend with some college friends.  The weekend before that, I skied with another college buddy.

I love going to the gym.  My job is very satisfying, knowing that my company provides a service that improves medical outcomes and saves healthcare dollars.

This coming Saturday, I will spend the entire day fly fishing with my son.

There are lots of really good days in my life.  But today, I'm disappointed.  Over a year ago, my daughter started talking about transferring to a private high school.  My wife and I warned her up front that we didn't know how we could pay for the high-end schools she was considering.  But, we also encouraged her to give it a shot.

She did a lot of research, a number of school visits, and she finally applied to a single high school - a school that cost $48K per year.

We had no idea if she would get accepted, but a month ago that happened.  Suddenly, the burden switched to my wife and me.  Could we find a way to pay for the school.  My daughter had been offered a little bit of financial aid.  We applied for a student loan and got accepted, but the interest and terms were just untenable.  We went back to the school.  They offered a little bit more financial aid, but not enough to tip things from one side to another.

We spent another week looking at ways we could pull this off.  What could we cut out of our household budget?  What savings of our or our daughter could we tap?  In the end, we realized that maybe we could afford one year of this school.  Maybe.  But, it seems cruel to my daughter to let her even start the school, knowing she'd likely be back in public school a year later.

Today, I had to let my daughter know that we'd run out of options.  I had to let the school know that my daughter would not be attending.

I feel sad for my daughter.  And, I honestly feel like a failure for not being able to make it happen.  But, borrowing $100K for high school, with college still in the future for both of my children, would be really irresponsible.

Sometimes, playing the role of the adult is no fun at all.  And, I'm left wondering about the decisions I've made the past 30 years that might have allowed this to work if I'd done things differently.

Clearly, this is a not a third world problem.  It's not about being able to feed my family.  It's a decision many, many people will never even have the chance to make.  But, it feels like the first really big crossroad in my daughter's young life, and I wasn't able to make it happen for her.

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