You can’t beat a bit of Back to School stationary shopping. I remember it well; new ruler, eraser and pencil sharpener; freshly machine-sharpened pencils, a brand new pen and a fresh, crisp, unmarked school bag; new school jumper (no need for new shirts as last year’s still fit, and Mum “isn’t made of money”) and some shiny new shoes that we waited in line for. Returning to school, still a bit sun-kissed from a holiday by the sea, but ready for a new term with new teachers, fresh new books and stories of how everyone spent their Summer.
As we now send our kids back to school and college, ready for GCSEs, a new BTEC course and Year 8, I can’t help but reflect on how quickly their school years are flying by, and how soon university, apprenticeships, internships and jobs will be the thing they’ll be preparing for. IKEA now sell “University Starter Kits” which include, bedding, towels and a great big reusable bag that’s bound to come in handy for those trips to the launderette. And it won’t be long before I’m gathering all those bits and pieces that are so essential when they go to uni – toaster, kettle, frying pan, saucepan, crockery and cutlery for one, tea towels. All those “bottom drawer” things that my mum saved for marriage, and I saved for uni.
Times change, and it seems that the ease with which I was able to afford University – a grant and a very small student loan – is now over with astronomical fees and the need for equally astronomical student loans, leaving our students with astronomical debts to live with for years to come. It all feels far too grown-up for me (a mum of 41 who actually still feels only 21) to have to consider my own kids having their own bank account, overdraft and loan debt…
It’s not just that either. In fact, that is the very least of my fears. Will my children be okay when they leave home? Will they work hard, manage their money well, spend time with good people who will be a good influence on them? Will they make good choices when it comes to their health and safety? Will they be happy?
As a parent, and in particular as a mum, I’m not sure that I’ll ever stop worrying. However, I refuse to be a worrier who doesn’t do anything. Saving for our kids future is really important. It reduces the anxiety and stress we may feel and enables us to encourage our kids to make one of many exciting and ambitious choices for their future.
If we are not able to save, we can, at least, be grateful for the free primary and secondary school education that is available to our children. Our children’s school holds a second-hand clothes sale and anyone who is in need is kindly blessed with uniform, equipment and any extra help. This isn’t the same in developing countries. Many children do not have access to free education (or any education at all.)
Our chosen charity this month is Compassion. Compassion are a great organisation who support children in their pursuit of education. We will be giving 10% of our profits to Compassion this September, in an effort to support the education of children all over the world. Head over to our “Make A Difference” page to read more about the great work that Compassion do, and see if you can make a difference by donating some money or even by sponsoring a child.
Also, if you’d like more details on how to financially prepare for your child’s future, David at Hope Law can help. Contact him here.