Younger Widowers and Tuition

A young widow wondered: How can I ever pay their tuition?


My kids’ post-secondary educations were taken care of well before my wife died. Younger solo parents may be far less prepared.

When Mary passed away in 2020, my kids were 27, 25, and 17. Two were old enough to have finished their educations; our youngest, now 19, lives at home with me while pursuing an undergraduate degree.

I was fortunate (and I do count my blessings despite my loss) that my children’s post-secondary education was planned and financed with Mary’s input and wisdom. But when a partner dies and their children are much younger than ours’ were, that’s not always the case.

When your kids are 8 and 5, their university years seem eons away.

I recently met a young widow who I’ll call Pela – just 42, with two daughters aged 8 and 5. Pela’s husband died of leukemia a year earlier before they could cement their financial future as a couple. (Be honest, how many 40-somethings are financially set?) 

Peta was left with a mortgage, very little retirement savings, and nothing set aside for the girls’ post-secondary educations. After all, the university was years in the future. One plus was that Pela had a good job in a high-demand industry with a salary that could support her family.

She was set for today, but not tomorrow – and very concerned about ensuring her girls get the education they deserve. So, we talked.

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