Analysis: KALEMBWE SAKUBITA
WITH the start of the third term for most Zambian schools opening next week, you have started considering the cost of your child’s school and tuition fees for the next term.
While families have a number of financial commitments to attend to every month, this is the time of the year when school funds are often moved to the top priority to ensure that the family is financially prepared for the expenses that accompany the final term of the school calendar.
Among the so many reasons why you should save money is the need to prepare for your child’s education. You, like many Zambians, have stayed awake before at night figuring out how you are going to pay your child’s third term tuition fees. So you have reason to save money for their education.
You want to give your child access to quality education to secure their future. You also want to avoid paying for your child’s education with funds that could help increase your investment or retirement savings.
Saving for a child’s education requires careful consideration and proper planning. Below are tips for you to ensure that you have planned appropriately for your child’s education costs this term:
For saving to benefit you, start early: You should start saving for your child’s education as soon as you possibly can. Many people do not consider, or are not aware of, the great advantages of compound interest, and how accumulated savings grow over several years when invested properly. By investing from an early age, you will eliminate the financial worry of not having sufficient funds to give your children the best education possible, as the funds in your investment will grow every year.
The best way for you to ensure you are regularly contributing towards your child’s education is to open a dedicated savings account and set up a monthly debit order towards it. This way you will automatically save money every month towards this cause. However, you must have a strict rule in place to never withdraw any money from this account if it is not related to your child’s education.
Also do take the trouble to explore ways to get discounts from these education institutions: It is advisable to do some research and contact schools to find out whether they offer financial incentives that could result in long-term savings – many schools in Zambia offer a discount if the fees are paid as a once-off amount in advance. Some also offer a reduction when there is more than one child attending the school. These types of savings can make a big difference over an 18-year period that your child will be in school.
The ideal situation is to include education funding in your financial plan: It is important that you include education funding in your overall annual financial plan. These expenses have to be accounted for as part of the monthly household expenses to determine how it will affect your family’s overall financial position.
With the cost of education increasing every year, you are faced with increased expenses for the privilege of sending your child to school. School fees are a big financial commitment, but with the right information and planning, families do not have to see this expense as a financial burden – education is a ‘basic’ need and not a want.
The author is FNB Zambia consumer educator.