As a parent, you want the best for your child—and that can be expensive. Food, clothes, books, toys, camp, sports, lessons; it all adds up. In fact, 36% of Canadian parents have borrowed or know someone who has borrowed to pay for a child’s extracurricular activities.

With so many expenses, it’s hard to start saving for your child’s future, but it’s essential. The cost of a post-secondary education is high and increasing. Housing prices are also on the rise in many parts of the country—and it’s worth noting that 18% of first-time homebuyers’ down payments are loans or gifts from parents and other family members.

This five-step approach can help you build the savings your child will need to set them on the path towards financial self-sufficiency.

Step 1: Start now

There’s no time like the present when it comes to saving and investing. Starting today gives your money longer to grow. You can also:

Step 2: Save what you can afford

The amount you decide to save regularly should:

The amount you can save, including the frequency, will be unique to you—an advisor can help you calculate it.

Step 3: Get a boost

You don’t need to do it all on your own:

Step 4: Make it flexible

Have a plan in case your child decides not to go to college or university:

Step 5: Prepare for challenges

It’s hard to even think about a child getting seriously sick—but it happens. To make sure you’re financially prepared:

Taking these five steps can help give your child more choices in life and, ultimately, set them up to achieve greater financial independence.

Read more on this topic:

Education at a Glance 2011 OECD Indicators (PDF )  

Five ways to save for your child's education – other than RESPs, The Globe and Mail

Childhood cancer incidence and mortality in Canada, Statistics Canada

Cancer in Children in Canada (0-14 years), Public Health Agency of Canada

Living arrangements of young adults aged 20 to 29, Statistics Canada

A Profile of Home Buying in Canada, CAAMP/ACCHA (PDF)


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