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Planning for your child’s future

Robin Trimingham says that the earlier you begin saving for your child’s education, the better

“I used to think time was a thief. But he gives before he takes. Time is a gift. Every minute. Every second.” Alice Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll

It’s strange how we constantly wrestle with the concept of time – imaging that we have succeeded in harnessing an intangible concept in order to delude ourselves into thinking that we are in control of our destiny.

We are for ever trying to travel back in time: reflecting on times past, lamenting lost opportunities, reliving arguments.

And for what?

Surely, we would have learnt by now that there is no going backward, only forward.

And yet this is exactly what many of us do over and over again – making excuses for all the occasions that we procrastinated; the places we didn’t go, the things we didn’t do or say, the people that we didn’t see, the fences that we didn’t mend – instead of doing the work required now to achieve better outcomes down the road.

Take your children’s education for example.

Once upon a time a high school diploma and a good work ethic might have been all that was required to make your way in this world, but no longer.

In today’s highly competitive world (especially the online world) the one with the most up-to-date skills wins the job while their compatriots struggle to keep up.

But how can you best prepare your child to work and compete in a virtual environment where things are advancing so rapidly that the job that they will eventually do might not exist today?

Better yet, when should you start saving for your child’s education, and how do ensure that the money that you are putting aside is both safely invested, and growing with time?

It might not be easy to predict what sort of formal education or training your child will need to succeed in the world of work, but there are things you can do now to make sure that when the time comes you can contribute to the cost of this essential education.

As we all know, money – regrettably – does not grow on trees. It takes careful planning and self-discipline to save for the future, but even a small amount contributed regularly over a length of time can really add up because you have time on your side.

Saving requires discipline. You may not be able to save the same amount every month, but every effort should be made to do your best. The trick is not to withdraw from the “Education Fund” because it is very difficult to replace. Unless there is a dire family emergency where funds from anywhere must be gathered, the fund must be protected.

While I’m definitely not an investment expert, I do recognise that adding voluntary contributions to your employment pension fund (which can be withdrawn at your discretion long before the mandatory retirement age) is an easy and typically safe place to invest the fund – usually into a mutual fund.

You can also chat with your bank regarding how to set up your own mutual fund account. It’s worth taking the time to investigate these options with an expert because your typical savings account has a very low interest rate return.

The secret is to determine how much you can save for the fund every month without jeopardising your other financial commitments, and then stick to the plan. Over time you will be pleasantly surprised by how much that little contribution, month by month, will grow. It’s all about time.

To learn more about these and other strategies for saving for your children’s education, join Money Matters, a free webinar sponsored by Butterfield and The Olderhood Group, on Thursday March 17 at 8pm. Register here: https://bit.ly/3twYyc6

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Published March 08, 2022 at 7:36 am (Updated March 08, 2022 at 7:36 am)

Planning for your child’s future

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