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Do Parents Favor Boys When Saving for College?

It’s hard to believe in this day and age but the answer is yes, according to a recent survey of American families with children aged 8 to 14 sponsored by the financial company T. Rowe Price.  And the numbers are pretty startling:

  1. 50% of the parents who only have boys are saving for college expenses, while only 39% of the parents of all girls are saving;
  2. Among parents of all boys, 83% report contributing on at least a monthly basis to college savings, compared to 70% of the parents of all girls;
  3. 17% of all-boy parents said they would cover all of the college expense, compared to only 8 percent of the parents of all girls;
  4. 23% of all-boy parents are willing to take on $75,000 in loans to send their sons to school, compared to just 12% of the parents of all girls.


It’s also hard to square this data with the fact that women outnumber men in the nation’s colleges by about a 3-to-2 ratio. As the authors of the study point out, not saving an equal amount or more for girls is a definite contributor to the wealth gap faced by women throughout their lives. Indeed, previous studies have shown that women are coming out of college with more debt than men and now we have new insight as to why this is happening.


While we all know that gender discrimination exists, I am pretty surprised that parents are contributing to the problem in such a direct way. My (new) mission is to share these findings with all young couples who engage Artemis in financial planning.  Good luck saving only for Johnny on my watch!

Picture of Leigh Bivings, Ph.D., CFP®, CDFA™
Leigh Bivings, Ph.D., CFP®, CDFA™
Leigh is CEO and Founder of Artemis Financial Advisors LLC. Leigh has a Ph.D. in applied economics from Stanford University and is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®). She enjoys working with clients and strives to give them peace of mind and robust frameworks so that they can make more informed choices about spending and saving and make these choices with enhanced confidence.

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