There is no substitute for a good education – family environment aside, it's possibly the main ingredient for a successful and happy life. As such, whoever you are and wherever you reside in the world, your children's schooling should be considered a priority when thinking about your future finances.
For expats, education brings a very distinct set of challenges – language, upheaval, choice of institution. But, despite all this, educating children privately, whether abroad or in the UK, brings with it enormous opportunity, allowing young people to enjoy the experience of another culture, another language and a rich panoply of experiences unavailable to peers schooled in their country of origin.
As a parent, grandparent or relative, you will have to address the question of whether you wish children to attend a local or international school, as well as the question of whether you wish the child to become a boarder at home or abroad
This is why it's best to start planning for education fees early. Expats will have numerous decisions to make when it becomes time to send children to school, college and, eventually, university, so it pays to have your education fee planning strategy ready and set up well in advance.
By talking to Blacktower, we can help you plan and prepare for education fees, wherever you are in the world. Our regional advisers are on hand to talk your language – whether you want to set up regular savings, need effective tax planning advice or simply want to discuss your future financial options, we can help.
Boarding schools can be expensive and in some countries may actually outstrip the cost of top British boarding schools such as Eton and Harrow. However, the cost of school fees can often prove to be a sacrifice well worth making as children, even at an early age, begin to sow the seeds of networks that will benefit them throughout life; not to mention allowing access to the kinds of world-class facilities which will enable them to develop skills in anything from theatre and music to yachting and polo.
But of course, for many parents this will not be possible unless you get to grips with education fee planning at an early stage. And the plans need to be sound: without regular savings and a structured fee plan, your child's school and social life could be unnecessarily disrupted – something that is potentially catastrophic if it comes at a crucial stage in development.
On average, education fees across Europe have been increasing at a rate around ten times that of inflation, so it really is essential that, as an expat, your fee planning advice ensures security, so your child can be certain to have the best possible education and school/life balance.
University education is now costing parents more than ever before and the fees and associated expense can be financially crippling even to some of the highest earners, particularly if they have two or more children. In fact, if you have two children, put them both through a private primary and private secondary school, and then seek to send them to university, the total bill can end up exceeding £1 million. These are not financial decisions to be taken lightly.
Of course, limited financial assistance may be available in the form of grants and scholarships and some educational institutions do offer flexibility with fees, but ultimately such assistance can only slightly ameliorate the cost and is unlikely to provide significant relief in the long term.
And, you don't want to be in the position of having to sell assets to fund your children's education – doing this can sometimes put an unfair amount of pressure on your child, just at the time you want them to be free to gain everything they can out of your hard-earned input.
Only by planning thoroughly and well in advance can parents be properly prepared for the challenges they face and the best way to do this is undoubtedly by seeking advice from an independent financial advisory firm.
Blacktower offers an impressive range of innovative and flexible regular saving schemes from both offshore and onshore providers. We are an independent Financial Advisory firm who can help you ensure that your regular savings plans for university fees are suitable for your current circumstances and your future objectives.
Our ultimate goal is to help you reach your targets.