Save for retirement, don't pay your kid's college tuition

Money magazine is reporting on a common problem faced by parents today: whether to save for retirement or to pay for college for their kids. As our culture increasingly values material goods more than ever before, "savings" is becoming scarce for many. And kids aren't immune from wanting name brand clothes, the latest gadgets, or any of a number of expensive hobbies. Those all eat into retirement savings and college savings, too.

Although some parents are saving for their kids' college educations, many are finding they're far away from what they'll really need to send their kids to school, especially if they have multiple children who are college-bound.

So what options are parents left with to finance college? Borrowing against home equity is one option that parents often turn to, yet most don't have homes worth enough to pay for the full college bill. And whatever they do borrow must be paid back, putting the long-term financial health of Mom and Dad in jeopardy.