Education is the gateway to boundless opportunities. Knowledge, skill sets and access to competent mentors are key factors in shaping your child’s future. As a parent, your child’s education is most likely to be your top priority. However, planning for the same can be difficult when you’re an expat.
Expats all over the world struggle with concerns of feeling alienated from their roots or not being around for their family – especially their children. No matter how many miles separate you from your loved ones; you would certainly want to be involved in all important decisions concerning your child’s education, wouldn’t you?
So, how can you go about it in a financially responsible manner? Read on for all the answers.
1. Start with a realistic plan
While planning for your child’s education, you must first chart out an achievable financial plan. Here are the two most important steps you must start with:
Assess your financial situation
Start by assessing your current financial situation. Consider your annual income and check if it is enough for taking care of your child’s needs – both current and future. If possible consider alternatives to earn an additional income. Next, take note of all your expenses – again, current and potential and determine how much you owe and own. This will give you a clear understanding of your assets and liabilities. If you have any existing student debt, a house loan, or anything else that requires attention it would be best to consult a financial planner to help you sort out your finances.
Ascertain the cost of quality education
Once you have assessed your financial status, you can move on to the next step and get an estimate of your child’s future educational expenses. From day care to preschool to middle school to high school and then college – how much would all this cost you? Compare educational fees of the institutes of your choice while factoring in risks such as inflation, recession, and social and cultural conditions.
Also Read: Financial Literacy: Educate to Empower.
2. Choose the right educational institutions
Once you have a plan in place, it will be a smooth ride. Most importantly you must choose an educational institution that suits your child’s mental, physical, and social needs during every phase of their life. A good balance of these three ensures a child’s holistic development. Since your child is going to spend most of their formative years in educational institutions, you need to consider the following essential factors:
The importance of well-trained and well-informed teachers cannot be ignored since they are the backbone of any good teaching system. Author Robert John Meehan once rightly said, “A gifted teacher is not only prepared to meet the needs of today’s child, but is also prepared to foresee the hopes and dreams in every child’s future.” Good teachers are found in good institutions. So, conduct thorough research about schools and colleges that have faculty members who are revered, reliable, and reformative.
Healthy environment and access to modern resources
An educational institution must have a positive and healthy environment for the maximum development of your child. This ranges from external factors like social surroundings and access to modern resources, to internal factors like the institute’s infrastructure and day-to-day learning structure. From a very early age, a child learns to inculcate a healthy or unhealthy approach to situations, and an institute’s environment determines most of it.
Apart from an exceptional curriculum, your child must be encouraged to pursue extracurricular activities. This will ensure they have a diverse learning experience. Many schools and colleges offer sports, drama, photography, arts and other co-curricular options. Have candid conversations with your child to learn more about their preferences and make sure you consider these factors while searching for the ideal institution.
3. Provide for the actual cost of school and college
Different schools have different fee structures and high-quality schooling comes at a price. Find out about the yearly fees, any add on charges, and evaluate whether these are commensurate with the facilities provided. If the cost is substantial, it will require some financial planning on your part. International money transfer brands like Xpress Money comes in handy when you need to make a transfer for fulfilling any immediate costs that add quality to your loved ones lives.
Quite unsurprisingly, college costs a lot more than grade school and the vast number of student loan debts is testament to this fact. Most often parents, expats or otherwise, are caught up in paying their own loans, and even before they realise they have to start paying for their child’s college fees as well. That is why it is important to have an estimate, adequate amounts of savings, and the right investments before you pick a college for your child.
4. Start saving and invest smartly
Once you have conducted your research, you will know how much money will be required every year. Factor in inflation and arrive at the amount you will need to save each month for your children’s education. There are many child education saving plans available to choose from and it would be best to put away the required sum in a systematic and phased manner. Expat parents can rely on Xpress Money to transfer and remit funds globally, as and when required, for fees and other education expenses.
Investing smartly is a guaranteed way to increase and amplify your income. In order to get the most out of your investments, ensure you check their risk-return profile before investing. While you are away from your family and working hard, your investments will work for you. With the returns, you can give your child the best education possible.
Life is unpredictable and can take an unexpected turn anytime. It is better to have a solid financial plan in place to tackle them – so that your child’s education is well provided for. No difficulty should stop your child from soaring high and achieving their potential.