Retirement or college? According to a newly released survey from COUNTRY Financial, most parents are choosing the latter, saying using savings for their child’s college education is a higher priority than their own retirement.

Forty-seven percent of parents surveyed say college plans are a higher priority than retirement savings. It’s the first time in three years, according to the survey, that parents are putting funding for their child’s higher education ahead of their golden years. Last year, parents favored building their nest eggs over education – 47 percent versus 42 percent.

Parents argue college – despite economic conditions and rising tuition costs – is still a “good investment.” But experts maintain that while it’s possible to borrow for college, it’s highly unlikely anyone can do the same for retirement.

“While saving for near-term financial goals may seem like a good idea in uncertain times, be sure you are not doing so at the expense of your retirement,” says Keith Brannan, vice president of financial security planning for COUNTRY Financial.

The survey also revealed men are more likely to put their children’s education (50 percent) ahead of their retirement (38 percent) than women.