Investing in your child’s future: making your Christmas bonus count

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With the festive season officially upon us, many parents are starting to plan what to do with their annual bonuses. While paying-off debt should be a number one priority, investing in your child’s success should be a close second explains Mala Suriah, the CMO of Fundi. This is especially true if 2023 will be your child’s first year in tertiary education. By planning ahead now, you can potentially give them the head-start they deserve as they embark on this next chapter of their future journey.

While matrics celebrate the end of exams and their final chapter at high school, planning for the next practical stage of their career journey will start this month for most of their families. “How to get a head-start whilst waiting for results is a question many parents will undoubtedly be asking,” says Suriah. “It needs to be asked in the context of factors that have been proven to contribute to student success however, and what is possible for them now – especially if they have an annual bonus they can now tap into.”

Apart from addressing any outstanding debt issues for their children with schools or other learning institutions, she notes that tertiary registration fees are a first consideration that parents should try to plan towards: “Once-off registration fees often fall outside of bursaries or other funding that is available. This is the first contingency families should put in place wherever possible. The second then relates to other critical success factors: how they can help set-up the right ‘ecosystem’ for their child. This is particularly important if he or she will be studying away from home and be staying at or nearby the institution.”

Needless to say, the starting point for “success” often hinges around accommodation. “A student’s accommodation mustn’t just be a space where they feel safe and secure. It must also be a place that encourages their learning. There should be quiet spaces for example where they can study, as well as secure wifi readily available.” Suriah recommends that parents and their children do proper research in this regard. “Platforms such as ours make it possible to view vetted accommodation online and make a decision from there. This is very helpful if you’re not going to be able to visit the accommodation in-person before making a decision – which is often the case. Virtual tours of vetted properties mean that what you see is what you get!”

In a similar way, parents could also consider using some of their bonuses towards purchasing the equipment they need to study effectively, especially given blended learning requirements and preferences. “Having a dependable laptop or similar device is essential for your child’s studies. If they’re able to go into the start of the year with the device they need to do research, take notes and submit assignments, it can make all the difference to how they perform from the outset.”

Suriah notes that many parents will undoubtedly be hard-pressed to stretch their bonuses across competing family needs and priorities this Christmas, and will want to make every rand and cent count: “For those parents unable to make as much use of their bonus towards their children’s education as hoped, the good news is that by allocating a portion of this funding, they can perhaps secure a loan for the new year that can see their children through. There are many tried, tested and efficient solutions available and institutions like Fundi are here to help.”