Save for your child’s education as soon as they’re born

Delaying could see you paying R7 500 per month to be able to cover the rising education costs.

Quoting the well known sentiments of our late president Nelson Mandela:

“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” 

We all want the best for our children and one of the primary ways of ensuring this is by providing them with a good education. However, this goal is becoming increasingly difficult, given the escalating cost of education. 

According to Statistics South Africa, the cost of education has been increasing at around 9% per year over the past 15 years – about 4% higher than inflation (as measured by the Consumer Price Index). Unless your salary also increases by 9% per year, it will inevitably become increasingly difficult – and perhaps even impossible – to afford paying for your child’s education.

If we were to consider the cost of financing a single child’s education from preprimary to the completion of tertiary education (including a one-year honours course), for a child born in 2016 and starting Grade R in 2021, the approximate cost will be as follows:




Education type

Grade R to 12




R 3 091 908

R 1 359 036

R 4 450 944


R 924 655

R 1 359 036

R 2 283 691


The only way to alleviate some of the cost pressure is to start saving without delay! The growth that you will earn on an investment will significantly lower the impact of education fees on your budget – especially in the later schooling years. 

Ideally you should start saving for your child’s education as soon as he/she is born. The later you start saving, the more you will need to save and the bigger the impact on your pocket will be. For example, assuming a net 9% return on investment (after all fees and taxes), you would need to save approximately R1 450 per month (increasing at 9% per year), for a child born in 2016, to cover the above calculated university fees alone (these costs exclude accommodation, books, travelling, etc.). If, however, you were to delay saving to – for example, when your child turns ten, this amount increases to a massive R7 500 per month  – to cover the exact same expenses! Should you have started ten years earlier, monthly contributions would have only been R3 413 per month  by that time – over 50% less! The cost of delay is scary, isn’t it?

Saving for your child’s education should be on the top of all parents’ lists of priorities. The harsh reality is that around 33% of South Africa’s youth, aged five to 24 cannot afford to attend school or further their studies – as per Stats SA’s latest General Household Survey. Do not let this happen to your children! 

There are various ways to save, including unit trusts, endowments, electronic traded funds, tax free savings accounts and others. Ideally, regardless of which investment vehicle you choose, you would need a significant exposure to growth assets such as equity and property in order to achieve that 9% + return. You would also need to spend time in the market as these asset classes can be very volatile at times and can even yield negative returns over the short term. So, the sooner you get started, the longer you will be able to stay invested, the more risk you will be able to take on and the better your chances will be at achieving your saving goals. 

It is highly recommended that you consult an independent investment advisor to assist you in making the best investment specific to your personal profile and your child’s anticipated needs. Having a professional in the field to assist you can make a meaningful difference. 

Ettienne le Roux is an Independent Wealth and Investment Advisor at Reflect Brokers – an authorised financial services provider in Cape Town. Please email him at should you have any queries or require further assistance. Website:


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no doubt written by someone who just happens to sell education investment products! I have a number of problems with this articles – mainly due to the lack of correlation between education and getting a job in sa. best way appears to be an official with the ANC. this is EXACTLY what was the case pre 1994!

– I’m also concerned abt the direction of sa unis – as in


so if you are interested in getting a decent degree need to look offshore and go off shore to get this. I understand that Slovenia (of all places) offers FREE university and lectures in English. to get an offshore degree in aus -think R1million at current exch rate

small problem with Slovenia -“Full-time EU students as well as students from outside Europe whose countries have reciprocal agreements with Slovenia, are exempted from paying tuition fees at public higher education institutions in Slovenia.” that I believe excludes you guys

The only thing that annoys me about future predictions is that they are based on one principle… Scare the hell out of the working class into fruitless savings… from pension to life cover, medical aid to debt repayment… now education has entered the frenzy. The truth is if we can follow all this noise, no one will have any money to live on after a months pay cheque. Tough as it is I say F#$@ the future I leave today…. The children and the government of their time will solve their problems, we solving ours ain’t. Our parents called our time the future didn’t they?

*Income Protection
*Dread disease

The list goes on and on…life is expensive.

But I thought #feesmustfall is the way to go!
There has to be a less alarmist position!

When I was about to be packing for Slovenia!!!

End of comments.



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