February 22, 2017

Investing in Your Family

I recently read an alarming statistic that immediately hit close to home. For a child born in 2016 (my daughter, for example), it is projected that by the time they start university in 2034, the cost of a standard four-year degree will be around $82,000. Factoring in expenses such as books, shelter, food and transportation, that cost will be closer to $148,000*! 

How on Earth is a family expected to pay for that?!

Investing in Your Family with a Registered Education Savings Plan

With university fees in Canada having nearly quadrupled over the last two decades, the high cost of getting a post-secondary education is an enormous financial stress for families. Luckily, there are options. One of them being a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), the only government-registered investing vehicle in Canada specifically for post-secondary education. 

Investing in Your Family with a Registered Education Savings Plan

In 2008, I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine & Freshwater Biology. The dream to someday be a Marine Biologist was one I had had since I was a little girl. Thanks to some early planning and regular contributions by my parents, a nice little RESP nest egg helped me fulfill this dream.

While many parents may not feel that regular contributions fit within their budget, it is important to look beyond the upfront “cost”. There are so many benefits to starting an RESP for your child as soon as you can. These are just a few:

  • RESPs can be opened with most financial institutions and contain a wide variety of investments, from GICs to individual stocks. 
  • Anyone can open and contribute to an individual RESP for your child. Consider encouraging monetary gifts on special occasions to contribute. 
  • The funds grow tax-free until the child uses the money for school. 
  • RESPs accumulate grants from the Canadian Government. The federal Canada Education Savings Grant matches 20% on any eligible contributions (to a maximum amount). 
  • RESP money can be used to pay for any education-related costs including books, equipment and living expenses. 
  • If the child chooses to defer schooling, the RESP can stay intact for up to 35 years.
  • If the child opts not to attend post-secondary education, the principal contributions plus growth are returned to the owner of the RESP. However, any grants accumulated would be returned to the government.
Now that we have a daughter of our own, it is my goal to one day be able to provide her with a quality post-secondary education, like my parents did for me. While still many years down the road, it is important to my husband and I that our daughter focus on her schooling and not how she is going to get out of debt once she graduates.

To help fulfill this goal, we opened a RESP in Morley’s name shortly after she was born. By making small, bi-monthly contributions to a RESP, we are investing in our daughter and family’s future with the hopes that one day Morley too will fulfil her dreams.

Investing in Your Family with a Registered Education Savings Plan

A RESP is just one of the ways to help pay for the rising cost of post-secondary education. If you require additional support, check out loanandgo.ca for more options.

How do you plan for your family’s future? I’d love to hear!

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by loanandgo.cahowever all opinions are 100% my own. I am not a financial expert but I do strongly believe that investing in your family’s future, including opening an RESP for your children, is a smart decision.

*Information on the real cost of raising kids found here.
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