Since the commencement of the roll out government`s free Senior High School (SHS) policy in September 2017 at the start of the 2017/2018 academic year, several thousands of Junior High School leavers have been beneficiaries. Records show that a much higher number of students will benefit from this policy in this academic year. Under this policy, beneficiaries are not required to pay admission fees, utility fees, science centre fees, computer lab fees, examination fees and library fees and it cover technical, agricultural and vocational institutions at the secondary school level.

The stark reality however is that for some parents, the funds that would have hitherto been expended in the payment of schools fees are quickly diverted into other mundane activities including the purchase of consumables, luxurious items, profligate funeral expenditures and generally living large. Sadly many parent`s whose wards are beneficiaries of the State-sponsored policy are not forward-thinking, hence the diversion of funds into areas bereft of future prospects.

Yet another reality is that SHS is simply a means to an end, not an end in itself; it is only a transit point to the tertiary level of education where access to education is not only competitive but also exorbitant. Stories abound of the many otherwise brilliant students who were left with no other option than bring their dreams of pursuing higher education and becoming productive citizens of our beloved motherland to an abrupt. This was their lot principally because some guardians did not have the financial muscle to pay for tuition and other expenses associated with accessing high education in this country. Some parent`s have had to under-go enormous levels of stress and resort to a borrowing spree so as to fund their wards education.

Now, the question is this: After free SHS, what next? Thoroughly reflect on this question. Be minded that in two to three years time, your wards would have graduated from SHS and would need to further their education.

What next?

As a parent, you do not need to put yourself and your ward through unnecessary and avoidable stress and hassle. Here is a more prudent option: Consider investing in the future of your ward with at least part of the money you would have expended on your child`s education if SHS was not free. Thankfully many banks and financial institutions have well planed account packages specifically for kids and teens. These account packages go by a wide variety of names, depending on the financial institution you visit; Brainy Child Account (Republic bank), Kids and Teens Account (Bank of Africa), Zenith Children`s Account (Zenith Bank), Barclays Junior Savings (Barclays Bank), Fidelity Bright Kids Account (Fidelity Bank), Kiddy Save Account (GN Bank), KidiStar and Trust Account (GCB Bank), My First Acccount (Societe Generale) and several others.  There are also a wide array of mutual funds that are available with investment houses.  Each of these mutual funds have their investing objectives and their associated risks.  An investor therefore needs to be wary of the reliability of the risks including risk of total collapse.  Parents may need to speak to an advisor if need be.

Related: Six Helpful Pointers for Investments

These account types afford parents and guardians in general the opportunity to save and invest money on behalf of their wards. Varied services and conditions apply depending on which bank one approaches.

In the light of the above facts, what will be the prudent thing to do? Simply walk into any bank of your choice to make enquiries about their savings/investment portfolios for children. They will be more than willing to give you a thorough briefing and assist you to sign your kids unto their portfolio. The cost of opening a savings or investment account for wards is typically on the low; it will cost you little to open an account and you will reserve the right to decide on how frequently you will make deposits into this account; monthly, weekly, whichever way, you decide and do well to stick with it as much as practicable. A couple of years down the line, you will be glad you took such a prudent step. Investing in the future of your kids is the way to go; start now and reap the rewards later – when it is most needed.