With schools opening and closing throughout last year and the opening of schools delayed to 15 February this year, it is difficult for parents to plan and make decisions regarding the future of their children’s education. Some parents might consider home schooling as an affordable, perhaps more safe or convenient option, while others feel it is better for their child to repeat last year’s grade. In addition, tertiary education is expensive; according to Old Mutual a BCom degree cost as much as R 76 300 per year in 2018/19 at the University of Stellenbosch. What to do from a financial planning point of view? Charles Makondo, National Sales Manager at Iemas Insurance Brokers answers a few questions about investing in your child’s education and why it is so important.
Should parents still invest in their children’s tertiary education?
Yes most definitely. As the saying goes, “this too shall pass”. Not saving for your children’s tertiary education will do more harm than good in the long run. While it might be tempting to do so to save money, it will make it difficult for you to ‘catch up’ on saving. My advice is keep saving for their tertiary education even if you decide on cheaper online high school or tertiary education, the return on their earnings potential will be worth it in the long run.
Is this financially possible during these uncertain times?
If your financial situation changed and it is difficult for you to save for their tertiary education, then you will have to consider alternatives without compromising their education. One option is to cut school fees by moving them to a more affordable school, online schooling or to home school your children. There are many savings and educational plans available – even from as little as R 250 a month; you can afford to save for your child’s tertiary education or you can also opt for a tax free investment.
What if I lost my job and cannot save for my child’s education anymore?
Fortunately, education is an ongoing journey. If you cannot send your child to university or college straight after matric, then they can always take a gap year and even get a job to save up for their tertiary education or study part-time. There are also various loan products and bursaries available – speak to your financial service provider about study loans and contact the tertiary institution your child wants to enrol at regarding bursaries.
What else can parents do to support their children?
Apart from planning financially for your child’s future, it is important to also provide them with emotional support. It is as hard for them (or perhaps even harder) to adapt to the uncertainties and ‘new normal’ that we are currently facing. Make sure that you create a routine for a sense of stability and security and also remember to have fun and make the most of their childhood. You can also make use of counselling support that is free of charge. Iemas, in partnership with Global Choices, offer counselling and support services at no cost to Iemas members. Call Global Choices on 0861 887 887 Monday to Friday between 07:00 and 21:00.