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Having “The Talk” With Your Kids About Paying For School

Parents and their teenaged children are often on very different pages when it comes to what happens after high school graduation. In fact, many times, they aren’t even looking at the same book.

Is Your Family Prepared?

Money is still a taboo topic at many dinner tables across Canada. Open discussion and effective communication should be at the heart of your financial game plan when it comes to preparing for your child’s post-secondary education. College and university costs are rising quickly, but coming together to get an effective strategy in place can go a long way to setting parents and students up for success.

Tuition costs have nearly tripled over the past 20 years. Much of the time neither parents, nor students are aware of what a post-secondary education can cost these days. This is especially true if this is mom and dad’s first time through the system since their own college/university adventure or if very few family members have been fortunate enough to attend post-secondary institutions before.

"College and university costs are rising quickly, but coming together to get an effective strategy in place can go a long way to setting parents and students up for success."
Having “The Talk”

Parents are encouraged sit down and have “The Talk” about money with their child as soon as possible. While some parents want to encourage independence and build character by having their children begin to address their own finances, this can sometimes lead to misunderstandings and confusion. Instead, think of “The Talk” as an opportunity to help your young adults prepare for their future by imparting some hard-fought wisdom and explaining what level of financial support your family unit will be able to afford relative to the overall cost of a post-secondary education.

Topics you might want to cover during “The Talk” include:

  • How much money can you as parents afford to contribute
  • Has an RESP been created?
  • Does your child need help making a budget?
  • Is your child aware of the cost of attending their preferred school and the costs of living at home vs away?
  • Is your child eligible for student loans and when are those applications due?
  • Will a family vehicle be going with your child to university/college?
  • Is a part-time job part of the funding equation?
  • Have scholarships, grants, and bursaries been explored?
  • If other sources of funding are required, like a Student Line of Credit, what are the requirements to apply?

Some great resources to check out before sitting down to have the talk include the RBC Student Budget Calculator and CanLearn.ca.