You want your children to have the best education possible, yet school and university expenses and fees can be costly. The money you spend on your kids’ education could be one of your family’s biggest expenses. Starting to save early will help your children have a high-quality learning experience:
Work out how much money you need
How much money you need will depend on whether you want your children to go to public or private schools.
The cost of going to university or college can also vary. If your child is eligible for a government loan available to tertiary students(e.g HELB ) they can choose to defer payment of university fees. Even if they don’t pay fees upfront, your child will have to pay for books and materials, transport costs etc. Contact the university or college and find out how much each of these things will cost each semester, so you have an idea of how much money you will need to save.
The earlier you start saving for your children’s education, the better. Education costs are usually a long-term goal that can take more than 5 years to achieve.
Never feel pressured to sign up to an education fund. If you are approached by a promoter you should ask for time to carefully read the documents.
To help you reach your goal, you could put your savings into:
- Term deposits
- Savings accounts
- Education funds
Before you decide to put your money into any of the saving options above you should consider your other financial obligations. For example, you might be better paying off your mortgage or paying down your debts first, before you start saving.
Education funds are special funds to help save for children’s education. If you are considering an education fund you should check the following to make sure these funds fit your long term financial plan.
Here are some questions to ask before you invest in an education fund.
- Fees – What fees will you be charged?
- Contributions – How much do you need to
- Investment options – What investment options are available, and do the suggested timeframes for these options meet the timing of your children’s education needs?
- Access to funds – What criteria need to be met before you can access your funds? What happens if your circumstances change, and you can no longer contribute to the fund – do you lose all that you have invested? How difficult it is to withdraw your money if your children’s priorities change? For example, what happens if your children decide they don’t want to do tertiary studies?
Talk to your children about saving
Let your children know your savings plan. It’s important they understand the benefit of long-term saving. You could even open a savings account and teach them to deposit their pocket money in it.