“Kwaku’s off to college in the US next week!” Aunty Pam, his proud mother, happily announces to the room with a big smile. “He’s been accepted at four top colleges, I’ve never been this happy.” Adwoa, my wife, turns to me with this look on her face, which I immediately understand – exactly what we’ve been discussing lately.
Kwaku started out a brilliant kid; he was in the same school our young daughters are in now for a few years but Aunty Pam insisted on moving him to a more expensive school with world-class facilities even though the fees were steep. This has definitely paid off – considering the financial aid and top colleges his brilliant grades have attracted.
So why is Adwoa hyperventilating? I have taken a position and no one’s going to make me shift positions. I’m certain we should brave it, cash in on our savings today and send our lovely pumpkins to a proper international school. A new one opened recently and the neighbours have all started moving their kids there. They teach electives like music and have extra-curricular activities like chess and swimming. The students speak impeccable English and are confident problem solvers, not rote learners. With this great start, in the next few years, our daughters’ stories won’t be very different from Kwaku’s.
Adwoa has had enough of this, she can’t take it anymore, she’s hyperventilating “Oh I’m tired of drawing your attention to the risks. If we stick to that your plan but unfortunately our daughters don’t qualify for financial aid, we’ll have to pay their college fees through our noses and with all our savings gone to their primary and high school education, God knows where we’ll find the money. Let’s not switch schools. Let’s save the money. We can get them extra tuition if they need it. If we continue to support them, they’ll make it to college and we’ll be able to afford it with or without a scholarship.”
We’ve been at each other’s throat for a few months because of this; Adwoa’s argument makes sense but there are risks there too. I’m no longer sure of what to do.
Life does throw all sorts of situations at us where the seemingly obvious choice could be the wrong one. What matters in such instances is our ability to make informed decisions. For instance, although we are likely to steer clear of loans, there are countless times when going for a loan instead of dipping into your savings will leave you in a better financial state. Yes, it sounds counter-intuitive but there are countless times when borrowing rather than spending out of your savings is the single most important decision to ensure your savings goals are not missed. So if you are battling with a dilemma that could have financial implications you’re not too sure of, reach out for some advice. You can get in touch with a relationship officer at Petra today to help you explore how to take advantage of the numerous opportunities around you without compromising your ability to be financially secure now and in the future.
- Petra Trust provides pension, provident fund, high-performing savings and tax-efficient discretionary savings products to both institutions and individuals.
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