How to maximize the benefits of an RESP

As you’re rocking your baby to sleep, you think of what she will be when she grows up. A doctor? A carpenter? Maybe a lawyer?

Then it suddenly sinks in just how much schooling will cost for your little one (who won’t be little when she uses this money) to become what she truly wants to be. This is where a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) comes in.

What is an RESP?

An RESP is a dedicated savings plan to help you save for your child’s post-secondary education after they complete high school. Once your child is attending post-secondary classes, they can begin to take Educational Assistance Payments (EAPs) from their RESP.

How can my child get the most out of the RESP I set up?

There’s plenty of ways your child can benefit from having an RESP! Government contributions are part of what makes an RESP such an appealing investment product for parents – and the earlier you start, the more you can benefit! The following grants provide free government funds to help pay for your child’s education.

  1. Canadian Education Savings Grant (CESG): The federal government matches 20% of your RESP contributions, up to $500 each year to a lifetime limit of $7,200 per beneficiary.  
  2. Canada Learnings Bond (CLB): The CLB is available on RESPs for children born after 2003 whose family receives the Canada Child Benefit (CBB). As long as the parent or guardians qualify and continue to receive CBB, the government will provide an additional $100 each year until the child turns 15. There’s also a one-time $500 grant you’ll receive just for opening an RESP! If you qualify, you can get up to $2,000 for your child’s RESP.

What else do I need to know about RESPs?

  • Invest regularly - To see how quickly your child’s educational savings can grow, check out our RESP calculator. Even as little as $25 per week can grow quickly over time with the help of government contributions.
  • If your living room is crowded with toys and your little one has enough clothes to go through multiple outfit changes a day, let your friends and family know that they can give your child an RESP contribution as a gift! Perfect for your child’s upcoming birthday.

When the money in the RESP is withdrawn to pay for your child’s education, the investment growth and government grant portions of withdrawals are taxable under your child but not the contributor. Since your child will likely have a low tax rate while attending school, taxes should be minimal compared to if you took it out. This is why it’s best for the child to withdraw these funds and not the contributor.

So, if you’re still dreaming of starting your child off on the right foot – whether that be towards the goal of being a doctor, carpenter, lawyer or whatever she decides to be – open up an RESP today! Call one of our advisors at 1.866.863.6237 or visit an advice centre near you and we can provide you with an easier way to save for later.