Education Plan – Dos and Don’t s

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When doing finan­cial plan­ning, one of the most impor­tant top­ics of dis­cus­sion is how to create the right education plan for your child..

The cost of edu­ca­tion is on the rise, advanc­ing far in excess of the infla­tion rate. There­fore, it is essen­tial to plan for the future by starting an education plan for your children as soon as possible.

As a par­ent of a naughty 4-year old, the first thing I did when he was born was to start an education plan to help me save for the higher education fees that I would have to bear around 18-20 years later.

I started the education plan with the pur­pose of having a dis­ci­plined monthly com­mit­ment – an assur­ance, that by the time my son is of ter­tiary edu­ca­tion age, there will be a sum ready for him to pur­sue fur­ther stud­ies, whether locally or overseas.

When to start your child’s education plan

Some may ask how soon they should start the plan­ning process. The sim­ple answer is as soon as pos­si­ble.

Starting an edu­ca­tion plan­ involves an invest­ment strat­egy that specif­i­cally addresses the edu­ca­tional needs of your chil­dren. It’s impor­tant to start sav­ing early to reduce the funds required by tak­ing advan­tage of the power of com­pound­ing over time.

Important Factors to consider when starting your child’s education plan

Plan ahead when starting an education plan 

Designing the right edu­ca­tion plan­ is a long-drawn process; the time period could range from 15 to 20 years. Start to pri­ori­tise your finances early to give your­self a head-­start. This allows you to ben­e­fit from the com­pound­ing effect of money and the flex­i­bil­ity to change course accord­ing to your lifestyle changes.

Your invest­ments will also ride out the volatil­ity of dif­fer­ent mar­ket cycles over a longer period.For exam­ple, my wife and I started our son’s edu­ca­tion plan even before the birth of our son, and we worked out the finances and the amount that would be needed to fund his future edu­ca­tion. We took into con­sid­er­a­tion whether we wanted a local or over­seas education. We had to rework our pri­or­i­ties and expenses to cater for this change.

Invest­ment options for your education plan. 

One of the most pop­u­lar choices among young parents is to buy an endow­ment education plan. This is a prod­uct that cov­ers two objec­tives – sav­ings and pro­tec­tion.

For exam­ple, a 30-year-old par­ent plans to buy a 20-year edu­ca­tion plan for his new­born baby boy. His monthly pre­mium of about $450 (for sum assured of $100,000) would poten­tially bring him an approx­i­mate pol­icy matu­rity value of $200,000. Even if this par­ent is to just set aside $100 each month towards such a plan for 20 years, it is likely to gen­er­ate a pol­icy matu­rity value of approx­i­mately $40,000 – enough to cover tuition fees in a local university.

On the other hand, par­ents who are savvy with finances will con­sider starting an education plan that par­tic­i­pat­es in the equity mar­ket for a poten­tially higher upside. Some will go for high div­i­dend stock while oth­ers look to cap­i­tal growth. Regular savings plans with offshore funds can cater to those who wish to par­tic­i­pate in the mar­ket with­out hav­ing to actively man­age the port­fo­lio.

Cou­pled with a protection/savings and invest­ment strat­egy, this can be an ideal choice for par­ents to achieve their goals. There­fore, early plan­ning pro­vides flex­i­bil­ity and the oppor­tu­nity to opti­mise risk return on the strat­egy cho­sen. We chose a savings/protection education plan while putting aside funds to invest reg­u­larly in the mar­ket in a few hand-picked high-dividend stocks.

Protect your education plan.

Many couples overlook the protection aspect when starting their child’s education plan. Life is about eventualities and risk. The risk of dying to soon and leaving your family to fend for themselves and the risk of living too long and having to save for your expenses. While the savings education plan takes care of the ‘living too long problem’, parents should take out a separate term insurance that ensures that their children can have the best education even if they are not around or die too soon for any reason.

Being dis­ci­plined with the education plan. 

Not every fam­ily can afford to invest a lump sum to finance a child’s edu­ca­tion years down the road. There­fore, hav­ing the dis­ci­pline to save on a monthly basis, often through a reg­u­lar savings/investment plan, is a good strat­egy to begin with. Stay focused as it is often easy to find excuses to dip into the sav­ings if you do not have a ded­i­cated account or strategy.

There is a sense of com­fort and peace of mind know­ing that children can secure their pre­ferred edu­ca­tion choices down the road. All it takes is early plan­ning, a com­fort­able and real­is­tic sav­ings and invest­ment strat­egy, and more impor­tantly, dis­ci­pline in keep­ing to the finan­cial com­mit­ments set aside for the edu­ca­tion plan.

About the author

Amit is an Independent Financial Advisor, based in Dubai since 1997. He is part of the prestigious ‘Million Dollar Round Table’ (MDRT), which is an elite club of the best financial advisors worldwide.

He has authored the ‘6-Step Financial Success Guide’, and the book ‘Creating, Preserving, Distributing Wealth’.

He helps business owners and professionals ‘Create A Second Income’ through investments.

Amit Mitbawkar

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