Parenthood is not for the faint of heart. It’s a huge job, and one that these days comes with even more demand. With most families having two parents that work outside the home, mixed with school and activities, a growing to do list, parents face increased pressure to do it all – including their own financial planning.
But Janea Dieno knows there’s help, and encourages parents to find it.
“When you need your teeth cleaned, you don’t do it yourself. You see a dentist!” she says. “If financial planning isn’t in your wheelhouse, you can find someone to help you.”
Janea understands how confusing the financial world can be, especially when it comes to planning for your child’s future. As a financial planner herself, she knows it is a big step to start saving, but encourages parents to start early.
“Save something, anything!” she says. “Even if it’s just a savings account to start, just start with something.”
She also sees a lot of value in committing to monthly contributions, noting that the families she works with who make this commitment see better results.
“Lump sums are okay if you want to top things up, but often when we plan this way, we can end up spending the money on something else,” says Janea. “Setting aside a little every month feels like much less of a burden.”
When it comes to RESPs, Janea encourages parents to do their research and find a financial planner they can trust.
“When you’re setting up an RESP, there are three important aspects to consider,” she says. “First, look for flexibility. There are different rules and limitations for different types of plans. You want a plan that fits your goals, but also one that is flexible enough to suit your needs.”
“Also look for flexibility in how you can contribute,” she adds. “And finally, make sure you know how easy it is for others to contribute to this plan. Can grandparents contribute? These are just a few considerations to have in mind.”
Starting an RESP may feel like a daunting task, but it is worth it – especially because of who is watching.
“My parents had RESPs for my sister and I, so it was never a question of whether or not I would pursue post-secondary education,” Janea says. “For me, one of the best parts of having RESPs for my children is being able to share with them as the fund grows, and telling them that this is there for their future.”
Janea knows that many families don’t talk about money with their children, but thinks it is important that they understand the importance of saving from a young age. Starting an RESP and sharing the financial statements with them will model the importance of saving.
“I think we need to teach our children about the importance of saving at a young age,” she says. “Having conversations about money with your kids will help them understand finances as they grow and have more decisions to make.”
Janea knows that even though most of us know we should be saving, there are still hurdles for many people. This is why she is grateful for READ Saskatoon’s Financial Literacy programs.
“READ is such a trusted organisation. They do so much work with families, and offering a connection to the financial world by taking this right into the community means that parents can get the information they need to make great choices.”