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"Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)
Old 04-17-2007, 08:22 AM   #1
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"Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)

I can't believe this hasn't already been posted, but a search didn't reveal anything.

I cannot believe this couple. Do they really think that all this is in their children's best interest?

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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)
Old 04-17-2007, 08:49 AM   #2
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)

I read this article in Money magazine and also couldn't believe it. I hope their kids can support them in their old age.
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)
Old 04-17-2007, 08:58 AM   #3
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)

Not that I'm an expert on violins, but surely you can get a quality instrument for less than $18k...
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)
Old 04-17-2007, 08:58 AM   #4
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)

I just don't get what they feel the payoff is here, either for their kids or for them. When the article first mentioned hoping to earn a "coveted conservatory slot", I was thinking Julliard or Eastman or Jacobs or Curtis, or even a program at a large state university. But getting a scholarship to the College of Saint Rose? Do they really feel link that's a satisfying culmination of the years of study and money?
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)
Old 04-17-2007, 09:05 AM   #5
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)

Well, thank goodness they didn't have to sell the horses!

Quote:
But when she suggests that the girls could get by with fewer lessons, Lea rejects the advice, noting that some parents fly their kids halfway across the country to study with the best.
I call this the "spitting in the subway" defense. In the NY subways, there used to be signs that said "Fine for spitting: $500." So the joke goes that the husband comes home from work and says "Hey, I saved $500 today by not spitting in the subway -- let's go out to dinner!"

Lea is saying "Hey, we're saving money by not sending the kids across the country, so we can afford it."

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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)
Old 04-17-2007, 09:51 AM   #6
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)

I read this article too a while back and had no sympathy for this family's "crisis". Lets see now:

1. They spend hundreds of thousand of dollars for their daughter's music lessons and instruments "a $40,000 cello for Cicely and a $115,000 violin for Madalyn."

2. They redrawal tens of thousands of dollars from their retirement savings to help cover these on going expenses.

3. They fail to save $85,000 dollars to cover the tax bill they knew they would have.

4. They have 6 horses which they refuse to part with.

5. The father is the sole income earner of 135,000/year.

Just my opinion but I think they really have their priorities upside down. I think it is great to encourage and support your children's dreams, but this is excessive in light of their financial situation.

On a side note after I originally read this article I googled for violin costs and found few that where more than five to ten thousand dollars. I find it very hard to believe that a student at any level requires a $115,000 violin.
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)
Old 04-17-2007, 09:55 AM   #7
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)

On man, reminds of my SIL .... my neice has been accepted to 4 PRIVATE high schools. They picked "the best" at 33k/year. Sooo, SIL is going back to work FULL TIME to pay for the tikes tuition bills.

I joked that at this rate (ivy league colleges being looked at) they be woking into thier 70's. They couldn't hear that.

Hope my neice doesn't want to be a stay-at-home- mom !
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)
Old 04-17-2007, 09:58 AM   #8
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)

The kids couldn't get into the top nine out of 69 in a secondary school competition, and one of the competitors was Sanjaya. So, they're probably good, but no yo-yo ma's. Sell the equipment, sell the horsies, let them go to a regular college with a good music program. If they're great, then they'll do fine.

BTW, the sax player in my group just got into Berklee College of Music. He's the son of a single mom with almost no money.
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)
Old 04-17-2007, 10:12 AM   #9
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
The kids couldn't get into the top nine out of 69 in a secondary school competition
You would think with all the money spent and natural talent (hmmm), they would at least be in the top nine...
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce
Old 04-17-2007, 10:18 AM   #10
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce

My only thought is,

what a couple of dumbsh*t parents. I'm always amused at the parents that are convinced their kid has exceptional talent in some sport - "She's really good at gymnastics, could probably do it professionally!".

You know what, chances are your kid is just an ordinary one like all the others, mine included.

didn't want to hold her back with a $10k violin? Oh boy I feel for you.

dopes.

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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)
Old 04-17-2007, 11:07 AM   #11
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)

Quote:

The kids couldn't get into the top nine out of 69 in a secondary school competition
Yup, not good news ... apparently these folks still believe what we were all told as kids: "Work hard and you can achieve anything you want." Buuut the reality is my gene pool will not allow me to be NBA player any better than it would allow me to be a surrogate mother.
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)
Old 04-17-2007, 11:14 AM   #12
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)

I liked the part where they said the kids will be able to know what to do with money when they start working, as they'll be able to see there's a right way and the way the parents have done it. When you know you are showing a poor example to your kids....
And very indicative of the kid-centered, it's all about the kid's needs/desires/wants that is so pervasive and so noticeable to the kid-free!
Yuck!

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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce
Old 04-17-2007, 11:34 AM   #13
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce

Amen, Sis. : Sometimes I wonder if DH and I should adopt just to have one more sensible person out there...it just seems so darned hard to buck the trend of idiotic parenting.
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce
Old 04-17-2007, 11:36 AM   #14
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce

Yeesh! When I was in high school I took up the contrabass clarinet - an unusual instrument, much more expensive than a regular clarinet (all of $1k). The school bought it and loaned it to me. I doubt they can afford to do that kind of thing anymore, though - lots of schools can't afford music programs, even.
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce
Old 04-17-2007, 11:38 AM   #15
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce

Hm. In Sydney one time my cab driver was a Julliard grad who chose the best-paying gig he could get after school (Sydney orchestra) and well he was still driving a cab to make ends meet. I think he was a string player too.

it is funny b/c my nephew has won some competitions and been invited to a regional youth orchestra (musical family, he's a cello player) and I can assure you his cello cost a fraction of what these folks paid!
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce
Old 04-17-2007, 11:49 AM   #16
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce

My brother was a piano prodigy (I mean that quite literally)--I don't think the parents ever spent more than a couple thousand total on music stuff/lessons for him total over 18 years. When he got into the higher-end electronic keyboards, he was always expected to pay at least half (as was I for the big-ticket things I was into), which gave him/us work ethics. He got his degree in engineering, works a good job to pay for his toys and also makes a pretty good side living playing gigs around the town where he lives. Unless you're amazingly talented, hard-working, AND well-connected, that's about as much as you can realistically hope for with a musical career.
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce
Old 04-17-2007, 11:57 AM   #17
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce

Quote:
Originally Posted by mclesters

And very indicative of the kid-centered, it's all about the kid's needs/desires/wants that is so pervasive and so noticeable to the kid-free!
Yuck!

Sarah
Oh, but it doesn't have to be that way. You are free as parents (like us) to go with the 'old fashioned' model of child raising where your kids aren't in a million organized activities, where they go on bike rides and play with their stuffed animals (my 2 daughters). What ever happened to just being a kid?

The parents in this story could do their kids a much better service by sitting them down and laying out the finances, explaining what stupid decisions they are making.

But then I suppose if they had the knowledge to do this, they wouldn't have gotten into this situation in the first place.

- John

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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce
Old 04-17-2007, 12:05 PM   #18
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce

Offtopic but the child-free might enjoy this commercial:



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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)
Old 04-17-2007, 12:27 PM   #19
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a cello)

it's one thing to expose your child to enriching activities and opportunities, it's another to throw money at a dream (and not even that well defined one either) and hope for the best -

in the mean time - do these girls have a well developed social life and circle of friends ? they are homeschooled and likely practice 4-6 hours per day...

they may wake up one day and see a childhood irrevocably lost...

like OKlib said, if they were real prodigies and not manufactured ones, they would have figured it out w/ out all the coaching etc.

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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce
Old 04-17-2007, 01:02 PM   #20
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Re: "Exceptional costs of exceptional kids" (or: blowing your retirement on a ce

I see this all the time in my upper middle-class neighborhood where parents are wasting money on instruments, voice lessons, dance lesson, etc. so that little Chad or Heather can become the next principle dancer at the Joffrey Ballet, Yo Yo Ma, etc. The reality is that making a living as a singer, instrumentalist, dancer, etc. is a literally a one-in-a-million shot, even more unlikely that playing professional sports. If you are not the best, you might as well forget it as a profession (even second best does not count).

My son plays cello and is quite good (so everyone tells me, I have a tin ear). We spent $4000 on a cello and $300/month on weekly lessons with a professional cellist (note he only makes $75/hour) and my son enjoys it. Occasionally, we splurge and his orchestra has played in China and Chicago. We are encouraging him to get a degree in a professional field, and play semi-professionally on the side if he wants to continue. I know lots of people who do this.

These parents are nuts, IMHO.

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