Children's Education: On the Benefits of Games and Educational Toys

Wednesday, 28 November 2012
More than 93 per cent of parents want their children to have a post-secondary education. With the cost of tuition, books and living expenses rising by the month, planning years in advance for these inevitable years of school can alleviate the financial stress of leaving it to the last minute. There are many factors to consider as well when it comes to planning on these expenses, such as if your child will attend out of state, will live at home while in school or will be able to handle a part-time job while attending school. A four-year University program will certainly cost a pretty penny when factoring in the cost of books and supplies.

This cost can take many years to pay off if the fees are funded through student loans, leaving many young students in massive debt, and without a job, on graduation day. It is best to begin saving for your child's education as soon as you can.

According to Acumen Research, 60 per cent of potential University students do not discuss educational finances with their peers or parents until they are around the tenth grade. This is obviously too late to begin saving. Parents should begin by putting whatever they can away when they children are at a young age. Sean Junor, manager for the Educational Policy Institute suggests finding out what your child's interests are as they grow up. Keeping tabs on their interests can provide a bit of a guide when it comes to later schooling. If your child is interested in food, then a culinary school could be what you should be saving for.
Knowing this type of information early on allows you, as a parent, to realize if they will be more likely to attend a local college for two years or an international university studying specialized sciences for eight years, for instance. The cost from one option to the other is a staggering difference. Getting an idea of your child's academic goal will be a great start to knowing the amount of money that will be required.

If putting several hundred dollars a month into an educational account is not feasible, then put away what you can afford, when you can afford it. Junor says, "You've got to start somewhere. The key is to sit down and determine how much you have at your disposal to start saving right now."

Taking advantage of programs such as the Registered Education Savings Plan (RESPs) and the Canada Education Savings Grant early on can also have a significant impact in your end result. RESPs allow for (eventual) tax-free withdrawal. The money put into a Canada Educations Savings account by modest-income families is matched by the government and allows them to begin saving for a Canada Learning Bond. If you live in Alberta, additional programs such as the Alberta Centennial Educations Savings Plan is worth looking into.