Planning For Your Child’s Education

As parents, you want to make sure your children have the best education possible, yet the cost of schooling and university can be extremely high. The money that you spend on your children’s education can be one of your largest lifetime expenses, so saving early is key.

Starting to save early will enable you and your child to select an excellent school or university based on the programme and their academic ability, rather than your financial situation.

The amount of money you need will depend on whether you want your children to go to public or private school and whether they plan to go to university or head to a trade school.

Public schools are a less expensive option, but there are still extras; for example, special text-books, uniforms, school outings and the extra-curricular activities. These can cost between $500 and $1000 each year, depending on the needs of the child.

Private school fees in Bermuda range from $19,000 to $23,000 per annum and tend to increase yearly due to inflation, and on top of that you are still paying the extras.

Now, if you choose to send your children to boarding school in the US, Canada or UK, the cost of paying for those school fees will increase but the extras will be significantly higher as you are not only factoring the extras, but also boarding fees and airfares.

A 2016 Independent Schools Council (ISC) Annual Census in the UK revealed that, for pupils at ISC senior boarding schools, the average boarding fee per term, was £9,968. Fees usually include tuition, most recreational activities, accommodation and food. They may also include basic laundry and text-books, but rarely uniforms. ‘Extras’ will often be invoiced for the next term, so be sure to find out what these may include in advance. Common ‘Extras’ include music lessons, horse riding, private sports lessons including tennis lessons and theatre outings, and it was determined these extras added another £5,000 annually on top of the £700 uniforms plus £3,500 flights annually as well.

Once the child has finished school, they may choose further education at a college, university or trade school. If you decide to fund your child’s tertiary education, then you will need to budget for those fees also.

Annual fees at Columbia University in New York are $75,000 including tuition, room & board, text-books and supplies. If your child heads to Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, the current annual fees are $19,000 including tuition, room & board, text-books and supplies. Both are excellent and very highly regarded schools, however, the fees are very different. Colleges and trade schools are less expensive options and the required funding will depend on your child’s choice of career path.

Saving plans to fund your children’s education will benefit you and if you are considering setting up an education fund, make sure that the investments fit in with the long-term financial goal.

Here are some points you need to think about:

  • 1. Fees—How much is it going to cost you?
  • 2. Scholarships or bursaries—Determine the eligibility requirements.
  • 3. Contributions—How much do you need to invest and how often do you need to contribute?
  • 4. Investment options—What investment options are available?
  • 5. Access to funds—What are the criteria to withdraw money for education?

Providing your children with a good education is extremely important, but also being able to retire financially sound is essential. Make sure while you are tucking money away for their schooling you are also putting away voluntary contributions in your pension plan, so you can both benefit from your hard work and sacrifices.

– Carla Seely is the Vice President of Pensions and Investments at Freisenbruch-Meyer. If you would like any further details, please contact her at cseely@fmgroup.bm or call +1 441 297 8686.