Written in partnership with Liberty
Just like my age, and sadly, just like the reading on my bathroom scale, things tend to increase every year, like school fees, and much as I'm happy and proud as my son progresses from grade to grade, it's a bit startling when we get the letter from his school every October stating the increased fees for the following year.
And whether you shopped for stationery or uniforms recently or back in November/December, you'll know how expensive everything is (I mean, a stick of 43g Pritt Glue is around 35, for heaven's sake).
Before school, raising a child costs around R1 million
According to the experts, the average costs of raising a child are estimated at a staggering R1 million before they even start grade one.
Also, research indicates that education inflation increases annually by 8% to 9%, which is about 3% higher than consumer price inflation. Based on that percentage, if, let's say, you pay R30 000 for a year in school fees, in five years' time you'll be paying just over R44 000. Five years after that, you'll be paying almost R65 000.
But wait, it doesn't end here. It is estimated that three years of university education will currently cost R300 000 to R350 000 for tuition, books, accommodation, and board examinations and other expenses such as a computer, cellphone and internet access.
A child can cost up to R90 000 a year
But if you had to start configuring a budget, you’ll note that, excluding inflation, your child costs you approximately R90 000 every year. Admittedly, that cost has to take lifestyle factors into consideration, but it’s a basic figure, it doesn’t include holidays, birthday parties or private schools.
So, the question is, what provisions have you made for your child's education, and what happens if you or your partner aren't around to pay the bills? I admit that I don't really have provisions – my biggest financial weakness is that while I have the basic insurance and life policies, my spending and saving revolves around the now, and I'm not always thinking about things next year, let alone when my son is in matric.
Aside from buying stationery on sale and second-hand uniform where I can, and choosing a school that isn't too far away (less petrol expense), I'm unprepared for the future costs. According to Liberty though, there are options to cover you and your kids, and me and mine.
An education policy
Liberty’s EduCator Benefit programme covers expenses for primary school, high school and even Ivy League universities across the globe. The Progressive EduCator policy even gives you money to pay for textbooks and boarding, and not just tuition.
The programme also provides the following
Tuition fees, paid directly to the education institution
Allowances for international study at an approved institution
Supplementary allowance for other expenses associated with education, e.g. uniforms, stationery and textbooks
Achievement allowance to reward a child that excels in a sport or cultural or other activity and represents a South African province
Education for special needs if the child needs to attend an approved institution for the mentally or physically disabled
Guaranteed cover for newborn babies
You can find out more about Liberty’s EduCator Benefit on www.liberty.co.za, or you can ask your financial adviser for more info.