How much should i save for my childs education?

June 16, 2024

Plan now to ensure your child's dreams are well funded

All parents want the best for their children, but due to the lack of planning or knowing how much to save for education costs, where to save for their childrens education costs, it is often unplanned for. 

The long-term increase in education costs is 9% where the long-term inflation rate is at 6%. This means that if you are lucky enough that your salary is keeping pace with inflation, education costs are still increasing 3% per year faster than your salary increases. As you can see, over time education costs become a bigger portion of household expenses, which will also impact your financial independence planning. The only way to combat this dilemma is to know how much you need to save for your childrens education costs and start saving as soon as possible.

This post aims to assist the parents of South Africas future generation with a tool to calculate how much they need to save monthly. We will provide information on where to save and which funds to invest in with the hope of a better future for all. 

After doing extensive research I found that the average cost of education varies between sources. I did more digging and decided to choose 4 public primary schools, 4 public high schools and 4 universities in South Africa (higher education) which are suited for the middle-income class South African. I did not include private education as this cost is exuberant. The calculator can be adapted to your needs and the research is for illustration purposes only.  


The average costs of education in South Africa according to the above sources:  

SchoolingCost range per yearAverage cost per year
Public Primary School feeR11 732.5 R23 429R17 178
Public High School feeR31 520 R47 200R37 355
University / Tertiary DegreeR39 200 R47 000R44 035


The above graph shows the cost range per year and average cost of education in South Africa for public institutions only. For illustration purposes, we will be using the average cost per year in our tool examples.


How much to save for your child's education cost

Lets make an example of Family X, which has a little baby girl of 1 year old. Family X needs help in calculating her education cost from high school throughout university and has saved up R30 000 in a tax-free savings account for her. We use the Finsesh Education calculator to calculate the amount needed to supplement their current savings.


High School:

We use the cost in the tool as per the above average for high school at R37 355 per year, and 5 years to complete high school. There are 13 more years left to invest before their little baby goes to high school, when the funds will be utilised.

When inserting all of family X scenarios in the tool, we can see that an additional R1436,40 must be invested monthly to fund the education costs for high school. In the next section we will look at university/tertiary education costs. 


University/Tertiary Education:

Using the same scenario for Family X as above, their little baby girl has 18 years before she goes off to university to further her studies. Family X wants to plan for 4 years of tertiary education using the average tuition fees for university costs as per the table above at R44 035. The R30 000 that they have saved up was used in calculation for her high school education costs. We turn to the Finsesh Education calculator for help. 

When inserting all of family X scenarios in the tool, we can see that an additional R1381.78 must be invested monthly to fund her university/tertiary education costs.


Summary for Family X:

With the current R30 000 saved in a tax-free savings account, they will need to start saving an additional R1436.40 monthly for her high school education costs and a further R1381.78 for her university/tertiary education costs. This is a combined monthly contribution of R2818.18 to fund their daughters education costs from high school throughout university. 


Where to save for your child's education costs

A tax-free savings account is a great investment vehicle for education cost savings as the maximum contribution of R3 000 pm (R36 000 per year) is high enough when investing in advance as Family X did in the example. Investments can be withdrawn at any time and all the growth in the investment is free of tax, which over time is a great deal not paid to the tax man. Tax free savings accounts are available at LISPs, banks, life companies, investment managers platforms. If you do not have one yet, click on this link to open your tax free savings account with EasyEquities


Which funds to invest in

For long term growth (5 years+) investment needs we would recommend using these three funds available on EasyEquities, We recently published a blog on investment options available on EasyEquities that links to different terms of investment needs if the below funds is not for you or you are nearing the use of your funds and want to reduce risk within your investment.


Recommended funds/ ETF for long term investments: 

Satrix MSCI World ETF (Total Investment Charge (TIC) = 0.35%)

1nvest MSCI World ETF (Total Investment Charge (TIC) = 0.40%)

Sygnia MSCI World ETF (Total Investment Charge (TIC) = 0.69%)

All these ETFs track the MSCI World Index, which covers 23 developed countries' stock markets. This provides great diversification and exposure to great companies at a low fee. 


Join our free forum, post your scenario on the education cost forum and we can assist you in calculation your education saving amount. 

* This is not financial advice, please do your own research on funds. 

* Historical returns are not a guarantee for future performance

Onward to Financial Independence 

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