Only 19% of Albertans saving for a child’s education

Albertans may want to consider education savings a priority early to avoid saddling their children with enormous debt: ATB

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Mario ToneguzziThe latest ATB Investor Beat indicates that 19 per cent of Albertans are saving for a child or grandchild’s education, but only half believe they’ll be able to save enough to cover the total education expense.

The quarterly survey, which was released on Wednesday, also showed that 10 per cent of Albertans are saving for their own education, with half of current students or recent graduates being dependent on other sources to cover education costs, such as student loans or lines of credit.

“Albertans may want to consider education savings a priority early on to avoid saddling their children with an enormous amount of debt when they graduate,” said Chris Turchansky, president of ATB Investor Services, in a statement. “By starting a savings plan early, even before their child begins elementary school, parents can reduce the burden of debt to pay for higher education.”

The survey, by ATB Financial, said 48 per cent of respondents expect a four-year degree, while living away from home, to cost between $50,000 and $90,000. To cover these costs, over half of current students or recent graduates who responded expect to incur $20,000 to $35,000 in student debt, added the survey.

The survey also found:

  • fewer Albertans are stopping regular contributions to their savings/investments compared to the last quarter;
  • the resurgence of the Alberta economy has instilled Albertans with a more optimistic view of employment and job opportunities compared to the same period last year (47 per cent in the second quarter compared to 33 per cent in the first quarter);
  • the percentage of people saying the drop in oil prices has impacted them fell from 59 per cent in the first quarter to 54 per cent in the second;
  • the top savings goals are: saving for retirement 51 per cent, paying down debt 45 per cent, saving for vacation 43 per cent, managing day-to-day finances 39 per cent, and saving for an emergency fund 39 per cent.

Respected business writer Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald in various capacities, including 12 years as a senior business writer.


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