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Parents want to see a good return on investment from sending their children to university, according to an HSBC study.

The report, which surveyed more than 4,500 parents in 15 countries, found parents expect a university education to prepare children for a successful career.

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Nearly half of Canadian respondents (47%) view the ability to compete in the workplace as a key outcome of a good university education, followed closely by income earning potential (43%) and a chance to maximize life opportunities (39%). Globally, competing in the workplace is most important to parents in Mexico (57%) and Malaysia (52%), while income-earning potential tops the list of requirements for parents in India (41%).

Mothers and fathers also appear to have different views on what a good education should provide: at elementary school, skills in core subject areas are more important to mothers (65%) than fathers (54%), and half the mothers surveyed were keen on the income-earning potential of university, compared to only 38% of fathers.

Parents, wherever they reside, have high aspirations for their children when it comes to education. Consistent with the global results, just over four in five (82%) of Canadian respondents want their children to go to university, while just under half (48%) want their child to go on to study at a post-graduate level.

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In Canada, while 40% of respondents believe public schools are just as good as private schools, 26% see value in a private education. Further, while 43% of respondents feel that public schools provide their children with all the necessary skills, 24% feel they aren’t living up to that standard.

Education is a top priority for parents all around the world. Yet when deciding how they would allocate money to support their children financially, parents surveyed in Canada would allocate 54% of their funds towards their child’s education, while parents in the U.K. would allocate the least, at 24%.

Parents typically rely on savings (55%), specific education plans (53%), current income (48%) and, to a lesser extent, investments (34%) to fund their children’s educations. Yet many agree that planning is a difficult but necessary step to make this a reality. Respondents’ top insights and practical tips when planning for their children’s education are:

1) Start saving early: 33% of respondents (51% globally) wished they had begun to save earlier.
2) Know what’s available: 26% of respondents (38% globally) find making choices about schooling and education daunting.
3) Evaluate the options: 29% of respondents (37% globally) would consider private schooling, but each family must discuss and decide on their best path.

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Originally published on Advisor.ca

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