Q: My husband and I are in a bit of a pickle and would love your take on this. We currently own a home valued at $350,000. The homes in our area sell for this amount frequently. Seven years ago we paid $174,000 for the house.
We have two children, ages 14 and 7. We currently pay $10,000 for private school for the oldest child. We are tired of paying tuitions that continue to go up each year and are looking for an alternative.
We have found good public schools about 30 minutes from our current home. The homes in the area are priced about $350-$450K. Is this a good trade off or are we better off staying put and paying the private school tuition?
My husband is self-employed with income around $80K – I am a travel real estate agent with current income of $30K (this could change).
A: In the tax bracket you’re currently in, it takes $18,000 in earnings to pay $10,000 in tuition. And pretty soon, your younger child will need to go to this school while your older one will be in college. That’s hefty.
Imagine if you put away $10,000 a year for the next four years. What a dent in college that would make. But only do this if you feel the public school you’re looking at is comparable to the private school education. My mother put three kids through private schools and never felt as though she wasted a dime.
You also need to consider your 14-year old’s feelings. This child is already in high school, and would have to make new friends and move in the middle of everything. That might make your next two years emotionally difficult in your home. Perhaps it would be better to move after he/she graduates from high school.
Money is only one factor here. Please consider the emotional/family trauma the move would engender and see if now is the best time, or if a couple of years down the road, before your younger one starts high school, might not be a better time.