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How much will your child’s education cost?

Your child’s education is an important investment in their future. But getting it right takes careful planning, which means you need a true understanding of the costs involved.

As every parent knows, a quality education is one of the most important foundations you can provide for your child. But the costs of schooling can really add up over the years – and it’s not just fees; there are plenty of other extras you’ll need to cover as well. And of course, if you have more than one child, then all the expenses will be multiplied. So how much can you expect to shell out for each child’s education – and are there ways to plan ahead so you can reduce the strain on your household finances?

What to expect

The cost of a child’s schooling in Australia varies widely between metropolitan and regional areas, and depends on whether you opt for a private or public education. But even if you send your child to a government school, there are still plenty of expenses that you’ll need to be ready for – like uniforms, books, supplies and after-school activities. In a major capital like Melbourne or Sydney, the cost to educate a child born in 2018 from preschool to Year 12 could cost anywhere from around $72,000 to almost $550,000. That means a family with two children attending private school could end up spending well above $1 million for their kids’ primary and secondary education. And while cites like Adelaide and Perth are substantially cheaper, the projected costs still range from around $55,000 up to more than $400,000.(1)

How to prepare

As with any investment, you should plan carefully for your child’s education. Everyone’s circumstances and choices are different, so take the time to research and calculate how much you’re likely to be paid over the course of your child’s school years. That way you can start budgeting as soon as possible. If you’re lucky, you might have parents who are willing to chip in for their grandchildren’s education – but if not, don’t worry. Here are three things you can do now to cover your family’s education costs without sacrificing your lifestyle.

1. Create a savings plan

By putting aside a little bit of money on a regular basis, you can grow your savings so you’ll have money to put towards your child’s schooling. A simple way to do this is to set up an automatic transfer from your everyday account into a highinterest savings account. Once you get started, you’ll notice the interest compounding over time. As you get into the habit of saving, you’ll find it becomes easier to manage your short term expenses like school fees and uniforms.

2. Invest your savings

While a savings plan is great, it’s important to know that education costs may rise faster than inflation. This means your cash savings might not grow enough over time to meet your child’s future education costs, and you might want to consider non-cash investments as well. By investing part of your savings in an investment bond or managed fund, you may find it easier to cover education costs over the longer term, based on the anticipated growth and earnings from these investments. So it’s worth speaking to your adviser about the best investment vehicle for your situation.

3. Pay down your mortgage

It can be tough keeping up with school fees and other costs when you still have a major financial burden hanging over you. That’s why it’s a good idea to prioritise paying off as much as your home loan as possible before you child starts school, so you’re in a better financial position to manage their ongoing education costs when the time comes. Even if your child is already in school, it’s never too late for your adviser to help you get your finances on track and plan for the remainder of their education.

If you would like to know more about financial planning, call countplus one to book an appointment today on 1300 360 186 or email us at [email protected]

1 Australian Scholarships Group, ASG Planning for Education Index, 2018

Important information

This document contains general advice. It does not take account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider talking to a Financial Adviser before making a financial decision. This document has been prepared by Count Financial Limited. ‘Count’ and ‘Count Wealth Accountants’ are trading names of Count Financial Limited ABN 19 001 974 625, Australian Financial Services Licence No. 227232, Count is 85% owned by CountPlus Limited ACN 126 990 832 (CountPlus) and 15% owned by Count Member Firm Pty Ltd ACN 633 983 490. Information in this document is based on current regulatory requirements and laws, as at 30 January 2018, which may be subject to change. While care has been taken in the preparation of this document, no liability is accepted by Count, its related entities, agents and employees for any loss arising from reliance on this document.