Save Early and Often
When her first born was only a few days old, Renelle Anderson made an incredibly important decision. While she was looking through a gift bundle she had received from the hospital, she came across a pamphlet about education savings and made the call to start immediately.
“I was a really young new parent,” says Renelle. “We started small. We didn’t have a lot, but we decided really early on that we should start saving.”
Renelle is grateful to have started saving early but knows that many parents are not aware of the many savings options that are available to them.
“One of the challenges I see for parents is not enough information about how to finance post-secondary education for their children,” says Renelle. “It’s not just student loans or scholarships. So many people are not aware of grants available, or the potential to save a little over a long period of time.”
Saving early is important, but so is talking to your children about money. This is something Renelle believes in doing at every age and stage in your child’s life.
“We tend to talk to very young kids about money, but there isn’t enough financial literacy training happening in high school for older children,” says Renelle. “It’s so important to talk to your kids about money throughout their lives. When they get those first part-time jobs, that’s a great time to start talking with them about saving strategies.”
Through her work at Conexus Credit Union, Renelle understands just how valuable it can be to speak with a financial advisor, even when it feels intimidating.
“We are here to help,” says Renelle. “We want to give you advice, not judge you. It is our job to help you succeed in your saving and to help you benefit from the different kinds of programs available.”
If you’re not quite ready to speak with a financial advisor, there are plenty of other great resources available – including organisations like READ Saskatoon.
“READ Saskatoon does a great job in educating parents about those first steps into saving,” says Renelle. “People can also visit the government’s website, and many college and banking websites have fairly straightforward calculators to help you understand what you might need to save.”
Sometimes parents feel intimidated to take that first step because they feel like perhaps it is too late to save enough to make a huge difference. But Renelle says that all parents, at any stage, should be encouraged to talk to a financial advisor.
“Of course, it’s best to start early, but it’s more important to just start,” says Renelle. “When you sit down with someone, we can help you to break down some of the costs, look at your timeframe, and find the best ways to grow your investment at any stage.”
Helping parents find the right fit for their savings is something Renelle really enjoys. As she reflects on her own journey as a parent and a saver, she is always happy to see other parents taking those first steps.
“It is exciting for me to be able to help people get on the right track and to be able to contribute to their success,” she says. “A key part of my job satisfaction is knowing that I’m educating more families and they can apply those savings strategies in other areas of their life.”