BY FAZAAD BACCHUS
Raising children takes a toll on your finances. I have seen many people making over a hundred thousand per year cry out due to the cost of bringing up children. Still all the same these are the same parents who will be sending their children to universities to do their Bachelors and Masters because that’s one sure way of continuing wealth in the family. Those in the wealthy bracket continue to complain about the RESP rate of returns, the RESP rules and a barrage of problems.
If this is the case for the wealthy, then what to say for the poor? The poor have dreams and ambition for their kids just like anyone else but are not always as fortunate to have the same opportunities. Some families are barely making ends meet and with the cost of living on the rise over the last year, things have become even more difficult. The poor continue to worry about job loss and struggle with depressing thoughts of when can we get out of this vicious cycle. To elevate themselves poor parents need to educate their children, this gives them a chance to get better jobs than they themselves did and thus lift the status of the family.
I have seen many cane cutters of yesteryear whose children have become professionals of today. That I know only too well, having seen my father Teacher Ameer Bacchus who taught at Cumberland Methodist School. He had many kids, cane cutter’s children from Canefield in Canje and they turned out so well.
A change is taking place with the new budget and it provides a little more help to low income families. In the recent budget it was announced that families making less than $30,000 will have an increased benefit. This is not to be misunderstood to the point that if you’re earning more than $30,000 per year you have forfeited any benefits. The benefits reduce on a sliding scale, where the more you earn the less you are entitled to. If you think about it carefully, you may realize that if everyone got an opportunity to have a solid education, what an educated society we would have.
A family with two children under the age of six earning only $30,000 a year would get $12,800 or $1,066 a month. How does this compare with a family who is earning $50,000 per year and have two children under the age of six, well they will receive $10,100 per year or $841 per month. And for a family earning $100,000 per year the annual benefit is now $6,080 and a monthly amount of $506. If this same family was earning $170,000 a year and two had children under six, it would be a different story. They would get $2,090 a year or $174 a month. Benefits are further reduced if the children are between the ages of six and seventeen for all income brackets.
These new benefits replace the current Canada Child Tax Benefit, National Child Benefit and Universal Child Care Benefit. This is a significant help to low income families especially when added to the Ontario College and University tuition student aid. Low income families making $50,000 or less will also be able to benefit from grants starting in 2017(details yet to be provided) and not have to repay.
Education makes a nation and it would do everyone well to put the Government’s assistance towards your children’s future. The figures above represent actual values which can be changed due to other credits applied for; you will need to consult with your accountant or a financial advisor on exact benefits you can claim for.