This post was sponsored by ASG. BKLK received a gift voucher to write this post however all opinions and recommendations are solely those of the author.
Have you stopped to think about how much your kid’s education is going to cost? Unless you plan for a fancy-pants private school, it can’t be that much, can it?
Public schooling in Australia for one child will cost almost $60,000.
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH! Hang about for a minute… think I’m having a heart attack. How can an Australian ‘free’ school cost that much? That number doesn’t even include university. And I’ve got two kids!
The smart folk from ASG got in contact and prodded me to check out their online calculator, to gauge how many kidneys I will need to sell. I clicked this link here to visit the Education Calculator and had another heart snap (perhaps this one was a stroke as I’m slurring incomprehensibly since seeing the result).
One hundred and fifty THOUSAND dollars for a government-paid education and an arts degree!
That’s just the first kid. It looks like our second son, Little L, is going to be home schooled and then shipped off to a traineeship of unblocking toilets!
And that’s why ASG wanted to chat to me; their whole bag is supporting childrens education and helping parents to save through member-owned financial funds. So I’m going to scour through ASG’s range of education funds and their associated PDS to see if there is one that could be right for this dad, and perhaps you at home too. Get ready for a load of overview info!:
Pathway Education Fund
The newest and broadest option available with contributions from $12 a week or an initial minimum $500 lump sum (with subsequent contributions starting from $250). For use by parents or relatives to save for any level of education from preschool to post-secondary.
Compared to the other funds, this one gives you the most flexibility as you can vary how much you contribute, and withdraw from the fund up to four times a year. It also covers a much wider range of post-secondary pathways, including apprenticeships, not covered by the other funds/program.
Investment earnings are paid to you. The funds can be used for most any educational costs including school fees (the other funds/programs do not allow for this).
Costs: $149 enrolment fee, $52 p.a admin fee, 1.30% p.a internal management costs & 0.30% p.a external management costs.
The Education Fund
Solely for secondary schooling (high school) and the possibility of a post-secondary scholarship. This is saving money for uniforms, camps, sports equipment etc. From $11 per week.
From what I can gather, you get back what you have contributed minus all costs (below). You have two options for payment: across all years of high school (higher monthly contributions) or just the final two years (lower monthly contributions).
All of your investment earnings are pooled with those from other ASG parents who have eligible kids finishing school in the same year, for potential payment through the Scholarship Benefit. Essentially, if your child goes on to higher learning (which must be an eligible qualification) they get paid a share of this pool, for 3 years of study. If your child does not go onto further study then this money is forfeited.
You also have to pay for, and are protected by, two forms of insurance. One is to ensure your child gets access to the Scholarship Benefit if you or your partner die before the full contributions have been paid. The other can cover your contributions for a year in the event of hardship, once you’ve been an ASG member for 12 months.
Costs: up to $149 enrolment fee, $2 p.a membership fee, $36 p.a admin fee, 1.25% p.a management costs, up to $4 p.a to a Contingency Fund & up to $6 p.a to a Family Protection Fund.
Supplementary Education Program
Kind of a blend of the first two funds above, you can choose how much to contribute each month (minimum of $16 per week) or pay in lump sums (initial $1026 payment followed by minimum $500 lots).
If you choose to use it for Primary or Secondary schooling then you will receive your contributions (minus costs) plus the investment earnings. Or you can choose the Post-Secondary option, get the contributions (minus costs) and enter into the Scholarship Benefit pool for up to 6 years of study payments.
You can also have this in addition to the Education Fund, which covers public high school, but you could add this Supplementary Program to cover primary school or a private high school.
Costs: up to $149 enrolment fee, $2 p.a membership fee, $240 initial management cost, $24 p.a admin fee, 1.5% p.a management costs & up to a maximum of $20.40 to a Family Protection Fund.
Future Education Program
This seems to be the Supplementary Education Program but for starting payments before your child is born and it can be set up by relatives of the child. You can change how much you pay (with a minimum regular contribution of $16 a week) and when you want to withdraw from the fund.
The main difference with this program is that you have a lot of options for when you can withdraw your savings and earnings. It is assumed that this fund is started early and you won’t really know how you want to use the funds until the time comes.
Costs: $149 enrolment fee, $2 p.a membership fee, $240 initial management cost, $24 p.a admin fee, 1.5% p.a management costs & up to a maximum of $20.40 to a Family Protection Fund.
ASG School Plan
This is a service solely aimed at helping parents manage school fees and other fixed costs such as camps and external tuition. Rather than paying in big chunks to the school, you can pay fortnightly or monthly to ASG and they then pay the school when required.
You can choose the standard School Plan which just covers the payment service or the School Plan Plus which allows you to earn credit card reward points and be covered by a Protection Against Death Or Disability.
Costs: A service fee between 3.95% and 5.95% of the school fee to be paid, depending on plan type and payment amount.
Which ASG Education Fund is the one to choose?
That’s a big question! Which fund or program would be best for the Hawkins clan? As an avid saver I’m sure that I don’t need the expense of the School Plan but I like the idea of having an investment plan for the boys’ primary school years so the Supplementary Program is interesting. It really comes down to how much Phenom-A-Mum and I can afford to put aside each week; I fear that Phenom-A-Mum is going to want to talk about cancelling my monthly Nerd Block!
Overall, The Education Fund, may be the best choice for us. I’m hoping that both boys will want to go to uni and it’d be great to have invested in supporting them.
Will we invest in an ASG education fund?
I have been wigging out a tad about the prospect of insane expense when it comes to the kids’ schooling and am a serious no-go when it comes to private schools. I first learned about ASG a year ago and was not that interested in what they had to offer. Yet now, as we are only two years out from Little E starting Prep and this cost is a real fear, an education fund is seeming like a good idea. Save now to ensure we don’t get caught out later.
Sure, we could just save in our credit union account and end up with, likely, a similar end amount without the added administration and management costs. But there is an added bonus that I haven’t mentioned yet – ASG doesn’t just offer education funds. When you become a member you also gain access to a range of benefits including the info-packed My ASG website, full of parental and educational resources, and a whole bundle of discounts on learning games, books, parenting clubs, tutors and health insurance. It’s like getting some freebie extras.
I am going to start to juggle the numbers and contact ASG to have a face-to-face chat with one of their representatives (you can book a meeting by clicking here). There is a lot of money at stake, as well as the risk you get with any investment (even though ASG states that they take a conservative approach), and neither you nor I should make a quick decision.
To find out more you can visit www.asg.com.au or call 131 ASG (131 274)
Whatever I end up choosing to do, I like the company’s ethos: “ASG believes that every child should have access to quality education and the opportunity to explore and nurture their interests and talents”.
You can avoid paying the enrolment fee (up to $149) if you join ASG, before 29th February 2016, by using the following voucher code:
The information in this post is general information only and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Please read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for the relevant product to consider if the product is right for you – available at asg.com.au/pds or call 131 ASG (131 274).
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