Saving for your Children's Education

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What Is The Best Way To Save For Your Child’s College Education?

For many parents, providing their children with a good education is one of the most important things they can do to plan for their children’s future. Education in Ireland can be expensive, so it is important for parents to start saving early. It’s time to not only bring home the bacon but save part of the bacon too.

The Zurich Cost of Education Survey 2022 shows that college students living at home and in rented or student accommodation face staggering costs. You might think the cost of sending your child to primary and secondary school is high, but the expenses associated with third-level education are staggering.

The average cost of putting a child through third-level education during the period of 3-4 years is €60,616 with student accommodation and €61,308 with rented accommodation. It stands at €30,544 while still living at home, which is still a significant amount of money. 

The good news is that there are many ways you can save money for children’s education and planning smart choices is the key. By doing this you might be able to provide your little ones with a good financial start in life.

Regular Savings Account Vs Investment Fund

Children’s investment fund is an account created with the objective of making investments for children. The account’s purpose in this case is to give the child long-term financial benefits, like a college fund or a future savings account.

Your goals should be considered when choosing between a regular savings account and an investment fund. A savings account is only a good choice if you’re seeking a safe location to save your money for short-term goals, such as an emergency fund. An investment fund, on the other hand, can be a better option if you’re hoping to grow your money over the long term for events such as saving for your child’s education.

When choosing the best option between a savings account and an investment fund you need to consider your financial goals, level of risk tolerance, and time frame you want to reach your goal. Remember: to boost your savings, you don’t have to be rich or skilled. All you need to do is get advice from a qualified financial advisor. At LowQuotes we have a highly qualified team of financial advisors that can assist you with this, we will advise and help you to make a decision as to what is the best way to save for your child’s college

We can help you make the right decision about saving for your child’s education as well as providing financial planning advice considering every aspect of your finances and creating a plan to meet your personal and financial goals.

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Investing your Child’s Benefit

Most likely, you have never considered investing your child’s benefit. The payment made to all parents regardless of income received by the Irish Government could be invested to enlarge it. Child Benefit, also known as children’s allowance, is a monthly payment to the parents or guardians of children under 16 years of age, You can get Child Benefit for children aged 16 and 17 if they are in full-time education or full-time training or have a disability and cannot support themselves. Child Benefit is €140 a month for each child.

One strategy can be to put the child’s benefit into a regular savings account in a bank or credit union but there is no interest earned on that money. It’s important to have some kind of return because of constantly escalating costs and living expenses.

By starting early and investing, you can take advantage of compound interest, or interest on interest, to see your investment increase over time. Long-term, this may lead to substantial growth. Investing in the benefit can help your child build a nest egg for their future, such as saving for their university.

If you invest €140 in a fund for 18 years you will have €30,240 saved up. Putting your money in a fund your savings can double. Instead of having only what you deposited €30,240 you may have €66,713. Investing in the child’s benefit can help protect against inflation, as investments have the potential to grow at a rate greater than the rate of inflation.

Regular Savings – you get exactly what you deposited

Child’s benefit

Years

Total – regular savings

€140

18

€30,240.00

Investing in a fund – you get what you deposited plus growth

Child’s benefit

Years

Total

Profit (estimate)

Total

€140

18

€30,240.00

€36,473

€66,713

Obs: The rate of tax on growth and income from ‘Funds’ is 41%.

It’s important to keep in mind that all investments have some level of risk, so before making a choice seek advice from one of our financial advisors. We can help you weigh the benefits and risks and make an informed decision about your child’s education fund.

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Starting to save for your children’s future education in Ireland is best done as early as possible. The earlier you begin, the more time your savings will have to grow through compound interest and investment returns. This allows you to accumulate a more substantial fund by the time your child reaches the age for higher education. Initiating a savings plan at the birth of your child or even before can significantly ease the financial burden of education costs when the time comes.

Child savings in Ireland typically refers to financial products specifically designed to help parents or guardians save money for a child’s future needs, primarily focused on long-term savings or education expenses. These savings products are commonly established to secure the child’s financial well-being, often for education costs, a house deposit, or other significant expenses as they grow up.

How it works:

  1. Purpose: Child savings plans aim to build a financial safety net for a child’s future needs, offering a means to save regularly over the long term.
  2. Account Holder: Parents, guardians, or family members usually open these savings accounts for the child. They manage and contribute to the account until the child reaches adulthood.
  3. Contributions: You’ll have to choose the monthly amount you want to save, and it can be as low as €100. We can assist you in determining the appropriate savings goal based on your desired savings duration.
  4. Long-Term Investment: Child savings products may include various investment options, such as savings accounts, stocks and shares ISAs (check with Philip), or investment funds. These options allow money to grow over the years through interest or investment returns.
  5. Tax Benefits: Some child savings products offer tax benefits or incentives to encourage savings, such as tax-free interest or government contributions.
  6. Gift Tax Exemption: Assigning the savings plan to the child before they reach adulthood can provide the opportunity to utilize the small gift tax exemption in Ireland, which currently allows for a tax-free gift of up to €3,000.
  7. Education Planning: Many child savings plans are particularly tailored for education costs, aiming to help cover expenses related to higher education or specialized studies when the child reaches that stage.
  8. Accessing Funds: In most cases, the child gains access to the funds when they come of age, typically at 18. The money can then be used for university fees, a deposit on a house, or other significant life expenses. Parents or guardians can withdraw the money from the policy while the child is under 18, but the money must be used solely for the child’s benefit.

Child savings plans in Ireland are designed to provide a financial foundation for a child’s future. It’s crucial to research and select a savings plan that aligns with your long-term goals and financial preferences to ensure your child’s financial security as they grow up.

The cost of covering your child’s college education in Ireland can vary widely based on multiple factors, including the type of college, course duration, potential inflation, and lifestyle choices.

According to The Zurich Cost of Education Survey 2023 shows that college students living at home and in rented or student accommodation face staggering costs.

The average cost of putting a child through third-level education during the period of 3-4 years is €66,152 with student accommodation and €46,560 with rented accommodation. It stands at €25,844 while still living at home, which is still a significant amount of money. 

To estimate how much you might need to save for your child’s college costs, consider these steps:

  1. Research Expected Costs: Research the current and projected costs of college education in Ireland. Consider tuition fees, accommodation, living expenses, and other associated costs.

  2. Set a Savings Goal: Based on the anticipated expenses, establish a savings goal. Create a budget by estimating the total costs of a college education for your child.

  3. Use a Savings Calculator: Utilize online savings calculators that take into account your expected savings period, estimated rates of return, and the targeted savings goal. These calculators can help determine how much you need to save monthly or annually to reach your goal.

  4. Invest and Save Wisely: Start saving early to take advantage of compound interest and investment returns. Explore various savings options, such as dedicated education savings plans, investment funds, or tax-advantaged savings accounts, to make the most of your contributions.

  5. Regularly Review and Adjust: Periodically review your savings plan and make adjustments as needed. Keep an eye on changing education costs and adjust your savings plan accordingly.

  6. Consider Other Financial Aids: Encourage your child to apply for scholarships, grants, or bursaries to help offset some college expenses.

Speak with one of our advisors to discuss your specific financial situation, long-term goals, and to create a tailored plan to ensure you’re on track to cover your child’s college costs. The earlier you start saving, the more time your money will have to grow, potentially lessening the financial burden when the time comes.

Saving for your children’s future can be approached through both savings accounts and investment funds, each with distinct characteristics:

Savings Account:

  1. Low Risk: Savings accounts are low-risk options that offer deposit protection up to a certain limit. They typically provide a fixed or variable interest rate.

  2. Easy Access: These accounts are highly liquid, allowing you to access the funds at any time without penalties. They’re suitable for short-term or emergency savings.

  3. Stability: Savings accounts offer stability, making them suitable for short-term goals or as an emergency fund. However, the returns may be lower due to the low-risk nature.

  4. Security: In Ireland, savings accounts are protected by the Deposit Guarantee Scheme, which ensures deposits up to a certain amount per institution per depositor.

Investment Funds:

  1. Higher Potential Returns: Investment funds offer the potential for higher returns compared to savings accounts. They invest in various assets like stocks, bonds, and other securities, potentially yielding higher profits.

  2. Risk and Volatility: Investment funds involve market risk and can be subject to volatility. They are better suited for long-term goals, as the value of investments can fluctuate over time.

  3. Diversification: Investment funds provide diversification by spreading the investment across various assets, reducing the impact of a single investment’s performance.

  4. Long-Term Growth: While they offer higher potential returns, investment funds require a longer investment horizon to mitigate short-term fluctuations and benefit from compounding.

When saving for your children’s future, consider a balance between both approaches. Savings accounts can provide stability and security for short-term or emergency needs, while investment funds can potentially offer higher returns for long-term goals, such as funding higher education or other significant life events. Speak with one of our expert award-winning advisor for guidance.

In Ireland, standard savings accounts typically generate interest, which is subject to Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT). DIRT is a tax deducted at source from the interest earned on savings and deposit accounts in financial institutions. The current DIRT tax rate is 33%. This means that financial institutions deduct 33% tax from the interest earned on your savings before it’s credited to your account. (confirm with philip)

We recommend you to always seek professional advise for the most updated information on savings accounts and taxation in Ireland, as tax laws and rates can change, affecting the tax treatment of savings accounts.

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