Back to school, back to the importance of education fee planning

Back to school, back to the importance of education fee planning
Ensuring you are prepared financially for whichever path your child chooses is vital.

Dubai - The sooner you start saving for your children's education, the more you'll be able to afford in the future

By Nigel Green

Published: Sun 16 Sep 2018, 8:32 PM

Last updated: Sun 16 Sep 2018, 10:36 PM

Over a million children returned to school on September 1 at the 616 public schools across the UAE, eager to start the new academic year.
Naturally, we all want the best for our children, and providing them with the best education is essential in today's increasingly competitive global job market.
On the subject of education, from primary school to university level, there are endless questions to consider. Where are the best schools? Where will they opt to go to university? How much do I need to allocate to education fees?
If your child is at primary school age, university education seems a lifetime away. No need to worry about that for now then? Wrong; this couldn't be further from the truth. The sooner you start saving for your child/children's education, the less you will have to pay each month and the more you'll be able to afford in the future.
Indeed, one of the principal worries posed by the majority of UAE-based expatriates concerns affordability. Foreign students are required to pay to attend government schools in the UAE and in some cases pass an Arabic language assessment, therefore some parents opt for a private international school.
According to a study carried out by HSBC in 2017 entitled The Value of Education: Higher and Higher, sending a child to school in the UAE - from primary school to university - will cost around $99,378 (Dh365,025), the second-highest in the world after Hong Kong.
As such, a crucial part of a tailor-made education plan is an investment element. In order to reach, perhaps surpass, your desired target, deciding on an affordable amount to invest is key.
Early financial preparation is vital. Even more so if you have more than one child.
University education
With education fees increasing every year, even if certain employers finance a child's education, it is quite unlikely this will continue through to university.
Going back to the aforementioned HSBC survey, parents who wish their child to take a two-year post-graduate degree in engineering, as an example, can expect tuition fees to be as much as $26,400 in the UAE.
Therefore, ensuring you are prepared financially for whichever path your child chooses is vital.
The first aspect of education fee planning is to determine how much it will really cost. Of course, university fees can vary immensely depending on the chosen university/country.
The second step is to start a savings plan. Making regular payments into a dedicated savings plan over an 18-year period can bring the desired results with relative ease. Third, UAE expatriates should make the most of their expat status and enjoy exclusive tax efficient investment opportunities to help towards education fee goals.
Benefitting from an expat status
Residing in a tax-free location means expats in the UAE can take advantage of larger financial rewards. Typically, the majority of expats who come to the UAE don't plan to do so for an unlimited time. As such, it's imperative to make the most of your expatriate status, which can help towards reaching your education fee goals.
There are a number of benefits available to expatriates in relation to education fee planning. As well as tax-efficient savings and investment opportunities, expats could transfer a lump sum into an offshore bond and take advantage of the many specialised structured products.
In addition, there is a vast selection of Offshore Savings Plans available, such as easy access, notice, no-notice, fixed rate and monthly interest. Characteristically, one of the key reasons why expats choose an Offshore Savings Plan is to amass funds as part of an education fee planning structure.
Having a financial strategy in place as early as possible, and seeking advice from an independent, cross-border financial adviser is essential to education planning. Providing your child with the ability to attend university not only gives them higher earning possibilities in future, but enables them to choose exactly what they want to do in life. It truly is the best gift money can buy.
The writer founder and CEO of deVere Group. Views expressed are his own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy.

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