With the Leaving Certificate exams upon us, college is on a lot of people’s minds, especially how to pay for it. Third level education isn’t getting any cheaper. There is a lot to factor in between fees and accommodation, nevermind of day-to-day spending on food and transport.
At Rockwell we know saving is better than borrowing so whether your children are small or doing their exams now, it is always a good idea to start setting aside money for the occasion.
What and how much to save
When it comes to saving money, it is easy to become hung up on the numbers. We have two tips to help with this: firstly, identify your sources of income and secondly, set an overall funding target.
A really good source of income to consider using is children’s allowance. This is income that is unearned and tax free. At Rockwell we know that this money is often earmarked for expenses such as childcare, creches and children’s activities but where possible we recommend committing some of this income to savings. Your employment status may change throughout your child’s lifetime, this means your salary income could vary but your children’s allowance will be consistent.
Setting a funding goal, gives you a target to work towards. People often worry about committing to saving a set amount on a regular basis because they cannot predict changes in their financial situation. The thing to remember here is that you can always readjust your direct debits to suit your changing circumstances. We recommend that you pick an amount that you can easily spare within your financial capacity. Having a funding goal means that when you sit down to look at your finances, you can get a better understanding of the bigger picture. At Rockwell we recommend sitting down with one of our expert financial advisors and examining your budget every few months so you can keep track of your accounts.
Where to save to beat inflation
Something we are all very familiar with at the moment is the effects of inflation. It is nothing new and is something that will continue to have an impact on the economy and the value of money. Unfortunately this means that the money you save today won’t have the same value in 10-15 years when it is being spent on third level education but we have a solution. Work smarter, not harder and use investing to your advantage. We recommend saving your money within a managed fund and utilizing the ability to earn on your savings. In this case you could grow your savings to keep up with, and more likely outpace inflation.
The best way to save is to start early and be consistent
Every contribution to your savings, regardless of size, can make a valuable contribution to the overall account. At Rockwell we recommend that you be proactive and start saving now, every delay is an extra cost.
Best practice is to start early but really the most important thing is to be consistent, whenever you start. It can be tough to make time every week or month to sit down and budget for your savings, that is why we recommended setting up a weekly or monthly direct debit to your savings account.
This gives you one less thing to worry about on your to-do list as a parent and means you can rest assured that when the time comes you won’t have just kicked the conversation and the cost down the road.
Try a College Education Calculator
A college education calculator can be a really helpful tool to get a good estimate of the expected cost for third level education. Zurich has created a Cost of College Education Calculator that takes into account all of your dependents, their ages and their accommodation plans. The results will give you guidance for your final goal and a monthly figure to save in order to reach it by the time your child is 19 years old. This unique tool factors in inflation of college costs too.
If you are a parent or guardian that is looking to know more about setting up or changing their savings funds, email one of our expert financial advisors today on email@example.com or call us on +353 1 296 6120
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