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Pattie Lovett-Reid

Chief Financial Commentator, CTV


ANALYSIS: Graduates today are facing a challenging work environment, with many finding themselves underemployed and dealing with higher tuition fees. You have to wonder, is a university degree still good value for the money? And how do Canadians stack up against other countries in terms of saving for post education?

To answer that question, HSBC recently conducted a global comparison study on the value of an education from a “parent’s perspective” in 15 different countries.

Here are five interesting findings from the report: 

  1. Canadians are some of the biggest savers amongst the western world. Seventy-two per cent have started saving for their child’s education, compared with 65 per cent in the U.S., 53 per cent in Australia, and 46 per cent in the U.K. However, these numbers pale in comparison to parents in Indonesia, where 90 per cent are most likely to have saved for their child’s education.
  2. Don’t expect parents to foot the entire bill. Fifty per cent expect their child to contribute. In fact, 39 per cent already are. That is the highest level of all markets surveyed.
  3. The less money a family has, the more generous they appear to be. Fifty-three per cent of households with income below $65,000 believe helping to pay for their child’s education ahead of saving for their own retirement. For those making over $65,000, that number drops to 39 per cent.
  4. Eighty-three per cent of parents see the benefit of an international education. Canadians, however, were the least likely of all markets to see it as a realistic consideration (21 per cent) versus 35 per cent of parents globally.
  5. A higher education with support from your parents may come with strings attached. Sixty-two per cent have a preferred occupation in mind. Of those, fathers are most likely to be influenced by an occupations’ income earning potential (45 per cent). Mother’s take a more balanced approach, considering income earning potential (40 per cent), the child’s choice (41 per cent) and individual strengths (43 per cent).

By the way, parents also value work placement in a competitive environment over studying abroad. The bottom line is that some form of post-secondary education is key to income success down the road.