Marolt: Buy two mores years of life and get the college education for free |

Marolt: Buy two mores years of life and get the college education for free

Roger Marolt
Roger This

How much would you pay for an extra year of life? Ten thousand dollars? Fifty? A hundred grand? Let’s assume it’s not magic. We wouldn’t just tack on one more year to the end but rather make you live longer by improving and preserving your health incrementally along the way.

Of course this will be a popular offer, so we have to limit it to two years per customer. Costs will vary, but the average price of this life extension runs about $120,000. What do you say? We got a deal?

Unfortunately this is a limited-time offer. You have to decide while the kids are young. Offer available only to adults with children. Void where prohibited by law (China?). Results may vary. What’s it going to be?

But wait, there’s more! Federal and state grants and loans are available to help defray and/or defer the cost of this amazing offer. And that’s not all. There’s merit money available from private institutions, too!

Act now, and we’ll throw in a free college education for your kids!

You heard me right. According to new research by Esther Friedman, of the RAND Corp., and Robert Mare, of UCLA, parents can extend their lives an average of two years by paying four years’ worth of tuition to any college or university, and their kids get to go to school there as an added bonus. Fine print: The kids must graduate for the deal to be effective.

Wow! College — it’s not just a status symbol anymore. It can actually make your hair gray longer!

Too good to be true? No, it’s totally legitimate. This is an incredible deal, especially if your kids were planning on going to college anyway!

It sounds unbelievable and new, but it’s been going on for years. According to a story in The Washington Post: “Friedman and Mare examined more than 25,000 individuals tracked in the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative sample of Americans aged 51 and over, from 1992 to 2006. They found that the effect of children’s education on parents’ life expectancy was not just coincidence — it was robust even after controlling for the parents’ own socioeconomic resources.”

The crazy thing about this is that it doesn’t seem to work as well if you go to college. For some reason, it’s your kids who have to attend to make it work. Go figure. Better yet, have your kids go figure.

Forget the bucket lists. Forget regrets and repentance. Who would have guessed that from now on the most popular deathbed wish will be that they sent their kids to college?

The experts seem to think that it has something to do with better-educated kids knowing more about healthy eating, exercise, medicine and such and then influencing their parents about these things. Or it could be because college-educated kids earn more money and are generally able to be more flexible with their time so they can spend more of each to attend to their parents’ needs. Or it might be some other factor. It could be something as simple as just needing more time to payoff their children’s student loans; modern Darwinism — survival of the fiscally fittest. One thing we do know is that it is not coincidence. There is statistical correlation that proves cause and effect here.

It turns out that buying an extra two years in this manner is nearly as effective in prolonging your life as is running every day. Who knew? Turns out that defying death is the same as solving every other problem in life — you either work really hard or throw money at it.

The biggest problem I see is that kids have gained a lot of bargaining power. Son, you’re going to have to take out some loans in your own name to get through college. Fine, I’m not going. It’s your funeral. Sweetie, I think you should get a job to help defray costs. Too bad, I won’t go then. Mom and Dad, I’m going to need a new car to get around campus … a bigger apartment … a new wardrobe. You get the idea.

It was probably better when we didn’t know about the cause of extending our life spans by the effect of sending our kids to college. It’s stressful. It’s an added variable in the equation that might skew future results of the study. Of course we’ll all be dead by the time those results are in. Better to be safe — send the kids to college.

Roger Marolt thinks prepaid tuition plans are looking better and better. Contact him at

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