With my son starting school this year, my brain has been filled with dreams of the future. Wondering who his friends will be, what kind of student he will be, and what he might want to study later in life. It might seem a little crazy to be thinking about him going off to university or college, after all, he did just start junior kindergarten, but it’s never too early to plan for post secondary education. And the fact is, the sooner you start planning, the easier it is and the larger the outcome will be.
Post secondary education is expensive. From living at home and attending a local school, to living across the country or across the world at a prestigious school, it could cost you a few thousands a year, or hundreds of thousands a year. If you start saving when your children are young, you will be able to help them carry the burden that post secondary education can become. I would never want my kids to struggle with paying off debt right out of school, but I also want them to know the value of a dollar, and that they won’t be getting a free ride.
My husband and I both feel strongly about saving for our children’s future. But we also feel strongly about them paying for part of it too. We both moved away from our home town to attend university, and know how much it can cost. I choose to take out a large student line of credit to cover expenses; he worked while going to school, and only had small loans in the end. We both also received some money from our parents, but it only ever covered a little bit of each year, and that was fine. We didn’t expect our parents to pay for it all, and I hope our kids feel the same.
If you feel like you want to save and save and save to cover all your children’s post secondary education, and you have the financial means to do it, that’s great, but that doesn’t work for everyone. Living on a single income and a tight budget, we simply cannot afford to put hundreds of dollars away each month for each of our kids. But you don’t have to put hundreds away each month for it to add up, especially if you start when your kids are very young.
Even just $25 a month will add up to almost $17 000 in 21 years. Is your kid a little older, maybe you don’t have 21 years to wait; $50 a month for 15 years will give you nearly $19 000!
And saving can and should be as simple and convenient as possible: set up the payments to come out of your bank account automatically. Ours is withdrawn every month, and has been since our fist child was born. We don’t have to think about it, remember to make a deposit or transfer, so we don’t run the risk of missing a month, because every little bit counts.
Did you also know that the Canadian Government will contribute to your RESP too? You can get up to $500 in government grants each year.
If you haven’t’ started saving for you child’s future, consider taking a look at your budget tonight and see where you can pull $25 or $50 a month from and open up an RESP. You kids will be so thankful you did.
I would love to hear from you! Did you or will you start an RESP for your children, and what factors influenced that decision. Join the conversation on Twitter too using #SaveWithRBC.
Disclosure: I am part of the RBC RESP blogger program with Mom Central Canada and I received special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.