AS a mother of a young girl, Sian Sharkey is thinking ahead.
The future expense of putting her daughter Isla, who is eight months, through secondary school and college has prompted her and husband Kevin to make plans.
"Since Isla was born we have started getting child benefit of €140 a month. We have not got into the habit of spending it and instead are putting €100 a month into a savings plan," she said.
"I am worried about the costs of everything from uniforms to books. We want some money there so she can have everything she needs when the time comes," Ms Sharkey added.
A hairdresser, Ms Sharkey and her husband, a carpenter, live in Stepaside in Dublin.
Unsure of what to do, she headed to her local Bank of Ireland branch to discuss setting up a savings account. After some discussion she opted for a Life SmartChoice education plan.
This is a regular savings plan linked to the stock market that includes a 25pc loyalty bonus for those who commit to saving regularly for seven years.
In the first years of the plan, Bank of Ireland Life invests 25pc of the customer's initial annual contribution.
Provided regular contributions are maintained for seven years, the investment value of the bonus will be allocated on the seventh policy anniversary.
Ms Sharkey says putting the money into an investment fund, rather than a deposit account, meant she was less likely to dip into it.
Irish Independent Supplement