I for Investment

As an erstwhile Banker, the topic is lucrative enough for me to get distracted and start writing on the need for diversification of funds, tenure of and right time for investment. But a glance at the fee-book of the school where the boy’s future has finally been sealed brings me back to reality. We will have to make a visit to collect books (you read that right) from his school tomorrow and like any other cautious parent, I am keeping the documents ready just in case they decide to recheck if we have actually paid the money!. In my husband’s words, they might ask for proof of existing investment in education before deciding on a further amount of investment for education to begin

Until recently, we were a dual-earning family with major areas of expenditure covering luxury travel, books, movies, and gastronomic adventures at multiple restaurants. Then Tuneer happened. Expenses were channelized towards diapers, baby clothes, baby carrier, perambulator, walker and so on.  Next, I decided to follow my passion and ventured into a profession famous for not having a financial prospect (that too, at my age when most of my counterparts have been promoted to the level of AVPs in Banks). It didn’t bother much though. Primarily because Sr. T is usually supportive of my decisions (those that are not related to the child) and I was making some money for my own survival (since my idea of survival is about eating Momos for lunch and dinner).

But we came face to face with the expenses related to education when Tuneer started his preschool last year. Of course, a metro city meant that the expenditures were meant to be high but the one-time admission plus quarterly fee exceeded all our expectations. Well, it was just the beginning of our long-term investments in this field. Once the school admission brochures were handed over, we realized that the new age schools had taken the concept of development a tad too seriously by quoting an exorbitant amount in the name of development fee. 

A probable return on investment eventually and hopefully
A probable return on investment, eventually and hopefully

For nursery admissions, the total cost went beyond a lakh in a couple of schools. This was just the tuition fee, annual fee and admission fee along with the fancy development fee which multiplied as per the whims of the school. Of course, there were other expenses like transport, uniform, and books as topping on the cake. In return, some of them had the sleek tag of ‘international’ in the name of the school and an infrastructure setting that could put any corporate office to shame. Like one of Tuneer’s classmates’ mother said, “These schools have facilities that can keep a child busy the whole day while they acquire a new skill in the form of swimming or martial arts. That leaves the parents enough time for other activities. So, if I have money, I don’t see any reason not to enroll my son there.” She echoes the bitter truth in many a case when parents don’t have enough time to invest in their child.

Both St. T and I have quite unique thoughts with regards to education expenses. I consider this investment akin to a medical insurance policy where we keep paying the premium every year hoping that we don’t need to encash on its benefits (I have decided to be that zen parent with nil expectations from her progeny or so I claim!). My only concern is the affordability of the premium for the next two decades. As per Sr. T, this investment is more like a housing loan where we keep paying the money (like EMI) to the school (like the Bank) by taking money from our salary (as Bank loan) with the hope that someday we will get to see the house built and furnished. And then he looks at me with a wide grin and asks, “Considering your intention of getting back to studies again, I feel that my father-in-law is on a life-long installment mode for a house repair loan.”

Fact is that education has started resembling the format of a business more than the essence of learning. And those who can’t invest are left with a raw deal or no deal. One of the essential criteria in our final choice of Tuneer’s school was also its fee structure that spelled middle class, not the urban elite class. As parents, we only hope that schools also have resources with the intent to invest in the well-being and development of the child similar to our investment in the form of time, efforts and money.

Hope you had a good time reading this because I had a blast correlating finance with admission today. I will return tomorrow with a new and funny post on ‘J’. Until then, you might want to check out my previous posts in this series here.

Author: Sonia Chatterjee

Who am I? An Ex-Banker turned Blogger/Writer/Solopreneur. Any qualifications? A Postgraduate degree in Chemistry followed by Post Graduate Diploma in Management. I am still trying to figure out how and when I can connect all these dots to what I do presently. Have I done any real work? If two years in Market Research and six years in Banking (three different Banks though) as Branch Head can be considered as real work. Where do I live? After a nomadic sixteen years in Delhi, Bangalore & Mysore, I am back to where it all started from - Kolkata. My favorite things - Food, travel, books and my three and half-year-old toddler son What is this blog about? Sonia's musings is an attempt to channelize emotions through words and pictures hoping they touch a chord with my visitors.

39 thoughts on “I for Investment”

  1. You said the same what I often say, Sonia. It’s more of a business than learning now, unlike our time. I feel really sad looking at the education system in India today. Recently my brother got his son admitted at one of schools in Gurgaon and I was stunned to know about the fee structure. His words were “The bill is 3 feet long, and my son is shorter”.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Very relevant post Sonia! I feel very sorry to say I am very disappointed with today’s education system. I am not getting any clue where it is going? Only money matters. I remember my school teachers totally devoted to the students. I had that kind of attachment with some of the teachers like they are my second “maa” in the school and they totally deserve that. Teaching is not a profession, it is a service. I feel only who want to serve should come in this profession, not for money. It is a temple of learning. I wish things would be changed.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Education is certainly becoming expensive. Many parents are going for branded schools. These schools in big cities charge a slew of fees. So one lac, all inclusive, is believable but totally unreasonable and beyond reach of many. On top of that, you mentioned that school may ask you proof of payment. Don’t they maintain any record with all the money they are charging? In developed countries, school education upto eleventh is free and everyone must enroll. Here is India, private schools are mushrooming and charging humongous amount of fees. Is quality of education any different between private school and government school? I read somewhere, kid/s from government school in Delhi also scored very good in CBSE board examination.

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  4. Private school education in bigger cities is definitely getting interesting these days – we throw in NRI parents in Bangalore and you know how the fee structure for that school will look like!
    Lovely post that we all parents can relate to….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Tell me about it. With two kids, one of whom is on the verge of higher studies, I am glad that we invested for his future education yet I must say that the expenses are way higher than we anticipated. I can’t stress the importance of investment and financial planning from early on. Both for kids and retirement planning as well. As an Editor of a finance blog, I have become even more prudent in my expenditure and investment. When the kids were born, I took sabbaticals but then got back to earning. I guess it helps when both partners earn especially since we have so many interests that we indulge in and don’t wish to wait till retirement for them. Education is becoming exorbitant by the day, and I don’t really know where this scenario is heading in terms of economics.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. E to sabe shuru . erpor arektu baro hole private tuition fees dekhbe school er theke beshi .plus full year er payment advance e dite habe …tarpor extra curricular.. our country has stopped population explosion very intelligently. First bacchar kharach dekhei r keu second nicchena

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I so agree with you Sonia. Education is more like business today. And also because our generation doesn’t have very many children 🤣🤣 we don’t mind putting in the money for a better prospective future🤔
    I am still unsure whether it is a good investment or not. But I would like to believe in the affirmative.
    Well brought out.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yes, most schools charge exorbitantly and I remember the time when my daughter finished her U. Kg and on the last day of school brought back a fee list for the 1st grade which was so exorbitant that we realized we simply could not afford it. We immediately had to hunt for another school which was within our capacity to afford and she has been studying there since then. She is now in the eighth grade and though the school cannot be called outstanding it is definitely well organized. And another thing I like about the school as far as possible they try not to turn children away on the pretext of not having enough vacancies or other such flimsy excuses.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You’re not wrong. While I don’t have kids of my own, I often get a peek into the lives of friends raising their children and it scares me the kind of fees schools charge. And it gets worse as they grow older with more specialized tuitions and activities, all charging close to lakhs now.

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  10. You have raised a pertinent issue here. Recently I went to Hyderabad and there they had a school that was named VIPs’ International School. Not to mention that it was meant only for kids of parents who have relocated from abroad after a long stint there. In the name of infrastructure and quality education they are almost minting money there.

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  11. Well, that’s the bitter truth and we can’t do anything about it. Your post gave me a hint that we should start saving up now for our child’s future.

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  12. I completely agree with you Sonia. Education is the most lucrative business now! I can still get on board with exorbitant ‘development’ fees as long as it goes to the school directly. What I really despise is the practice of paying exorbitant sums to middlemen who guarantee your child a seat in assorted ‘management quotas’. This practice is shockingly rampant in Delhi.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi Sonia! I so much loved reading this post today as I am going through the similar thought process, the only difference is cannot express it the way you do, I love the way your pen just flows….
    Secondly, I am very much into the same situation where my husband is the only breadwinner and I am being a “Jhola Chapp Lekhak” like my mother in law call me on a funny note.. Yesterday my daughter’s school started and we have paid 1.25 lac as her class one fee, I did my MBA in 1.75 lac… No flexibility of Emi, Quarterly payment only two shot payment, Education has clearly become a business deal which is flourishing day by day, ruining parent’s mental health.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. My sister admitted her twin daughters to a preschool 2 years ago, and that was the first time I realised how insane the fee structure it! It is so crippling for parents, isn’t it. Glad you are being sensible and opting for a middle ground.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Education has become a business…just what I was discussing yesterday with a parent whose child goes to the same school as my nephew. The kind of fees they charge for all kinds of weird reasons only goes to show what the schools are more interested in. And, whenever parents raise their voice against the “injustice”–read, charging transport fees during the summer vacations, activity fees and the etc–the school authorities bluntly ask them to shift the child to another school, or use the transport facilities from June, when school re-opens.
    Yesterday, a parent (in the school-books line) mentioned that she already had last year’s unused notebooks, so she would rather not buy any , for which they suggested that if she feels the books cost more, then she is welcome to buy those notebooks from outside–as in not from the school’s tuck-shop.
    It can get so frustrating for parents with more than one child, where there’s just one parent the earning member and lack of sufficient funds for the kids’ education.
    We never needed all these superficial stuff when we were in school! What’s changed so drastically in our world, I wonder!
    I am glad you wrote this post, Sonia. I got a chance to vent out my frustration at today’s school system. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. You have captured the reality very well. As long as we parents come out of “such exp education is the best inv for our kids” mentality this is not going to stop.
    But then as a parent we do fear for worst when our kids are left out of this, right?
    Yes, every parents struggle…

    Liked by 1 person

  17. One of the most famous schools in Delhi had asked me a donation of 7 lakh for admission to class 1. Nicely the clerk had said you are doctors you can easily pay .. one time only and then no tension till grade 12. That time I didn’t know we would leave Delhi in 6 months ! But I had just stomped out of that building

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Agree schools have become more of business centres where loads and loads of money is taken every year. Every parent wants the best for their child. And with such high fees, right from the pre-primary classes, it can be a real burden on the parents. By the time they graduate their fees will touch the sky.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Very interesting connection there! And in these crazy times, very valid too. Everything has become commercialized; one can only pray that schools remain focused on education more than minting money.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Agree with you on a lot of points Sonia. A lot of discussions with friends have led us to the conclusion that people shell out any amount of money in name of good education for their children. But am glad there are also parents like us who would really delve deeper into the second layer to see what exactly schools are offering and how much they are charging. I have my kids going to a v good school which focuses on a lot of right things and is affordable. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Sonia! I need a blogger mom to write about money and parenting! Please let me publish your article too!! Please be a contributor! 😀 So well written. Again, not a mother but have heard a lot about cost of schooling. But I guess a fee structure that spells middle class is a good choice. Isn’t schooling more about developing social skills anyway. And middle class lot is a mighty good lot for peer learning!

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  22. Yupp, I know. I’m not married, have no kids, but I do have a neighborhood stationery store. So parents usually stop to chit-chat. And you know, these school fees, under different heads, aren’t the only expenses. There will be expensive assignments too. Mostly useless ones, beyond capability of the kid’s age, but they’ll have to be done anyway. My Dad says if he had to send us (my sister & me) to school now, he wouldn’t have been able to afford it! And there is another blogger I know in B’lore… she ended up home-schooling her 3 kids.

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  23. Education has become very costly! I dread after reading your article because soon I am going to sail in the same boat.
    I think 2 most expensive thing in our country is a decent education and quality healthcare! Both need huge and timely investments!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Your feelings and related emotions stand so very true to the apathy of our nation. Education is literally out of bounds for majority and we are not even discussing quality right now. On top of it we have the audacity to call ours as a developing nation and dream of rubbing shoulders with the super powers.
    Very aptly chosen topic and gracefully dissected.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Absolutely true, seeing the kind of expenditure we are incurring in schooling and related stuff I often suggest my husband open a school post-retirement. It’s become a business, but who is responsible for this? Not the schools alone, we parents also seek unrealistically high standards from educators.

    Liked by 1 person

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