Most of us would agree that the education system leaves a lot to be desired especially where state schools are concerned. If you are lucky enough to have any good state schools in your area, they are likely to be massively oversubscribed. I have heard stories of people going to great lengths to get their child into their school of choice, such as temporarily renting a property in the catchment area to qualify for a place.
The alternative is to think about private schooling for your child. But why would you consider private education? Well, generally speaking, there tend to be smaller class sizes, meaning your child would benefit from greater one to one tuition, highly qualified teachers, better facilities and, most importantly, a great work ethic.
However, the decision to provide your child or children with private education is a major one and should not be taken lightly. Planning for private education, and the school fees planning that goes with it, is a science in itself. The cost can be prohibitive, the magnitude of which ranks as highly as purchasing property.
What do you want for your child? As a starting point, you must consider whether you are looking to fund your child privately through nursery school, primary school, boarding school, secondary school, university, or a combination of all of these. You must also take into account the schools under consideration. Look at your existing financial situation and budget – this will help you to understand the financial implications. Things such as scholarships and bursaries must also be taken into consideration.
What are the options? Funding school fees from your day to day taxed income can be an enormous challenge. There are a number of options available for parents looking to spread the cost of paying school fees. It would be worth speaking to an adviser to find out the costs involved and to help you work out a strategy. These could involve:
- Regular savings. A well-planned regular savings strategy could make a significant difference in planning for school fees. This should ideally be set up well before your child is born. The longer you save, the more chance you will have of gaining capital growth on your school fees plan – which will in turn help reduce the overall cost of the fees when payable.
- Lump sum investments. If you have a lump sum available to set aside to go towards your school fees plan, there are a number of options available to you. Investing early could reduce the likelihood of your having to rely on income in the future.
- Protecting your plan. Once you have determined how much would be needed to fund your child’s education, it is important to put a life policy in place. This will ensure that in the event of death, serious illness or an accident, your plan – and consequently your child’s education – is protected.
Whether or not you believe private education is worth the additional expense is a matter of personal choice. If you want to consider it, however, the most important thing is to have a plan as early as possible. A financial adviser qualified in the area of school fees planning should be able to help you put a plan in place. This would involve helping you work out which schools to consider, how much the fees are and when these would be payable, and then determining a savings strategy to help you achieve your goals. Don’t procrastinate. Get started before it is too late.