The Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) for Educational Planning

Facts about an RESP

A Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) is a savings plan registered with the government that can help you save for your child’s post-secondary education.

Money invested in an RESP grows tax-deferred. The government helps contribute to your savings with education grants.

Later in life, as your child enrolls at a qualifying post-secondary institution, you can withdraw the funds for educational purposes. The payments made from these funds are called Educational Assistance Payments (EAPs).

Invested income and government grants received when withdrawn from the RESP are taxable. You do not pay tax on the contributions you made using your own money. Then these amounts are taxed in the tax return of the student – usually with little or no tax payable as students generally will be in the lowest tax bracket.

How do RESPs help my money accumulate?

  • Starting to use an RESP for your child early, while they are young, gives you more time for your contributed funds to grow.
  • The Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) will match 20% of annual contributions, up to $500 per year
  • These contributions can continue until you reach the lifetime limit of $7,200 per child
  • Investing your Canada Child Benefit can assist you while saving enough to qualify for the maximum CESG amount

Federal Government-funded education grants

The Government of Canada supports saving for a child’s education by offering grants to a child’s RESP – offering you additional funds to accumulate educational savings.

The Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG)

The basic Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) increases your year by year contribution by 20%, up to $500 per beneficiary each year to a lifetime limit of $7,200 per beneficiary. Additional CESG grants may be available, depending on your income.

Please talk to us for more information about the RESP and the CESG grant as it applies to your province.

Source: CRA

Education’s effect on future income

How parents help shape the financial future of their children

In Canada, the government allows a welcome tax break when you save for your child’s education. As parents, we need to consider the effect that education will have on the future income and lifestyle of our children.

The Internet is bringing many changes quickly: Amazon is replacing many of our once-renowned retailers. Google sweepingly controls business success: who gets to view your website and consequently buy your services is based on paying for Google AdWords. The world has moved into one of the most profound eras of change in human history. Our children, for the most part, are just not prepared for this new reality. The gap to accessing a secure income, or obtaining a job with a substantial retirement pension is widening.

Parents who can see the chaos, the economic uncertainty, the stress and the complexity in the world, know intuitively that the new wave of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) call for an educational revolution. Our children must be able to get a post-secondary education while aiming for higher accreditation in a career known to provide substantial income that keeps up with inflation. Serious financial planning can provide significant funds to go to university or college. The Financial Comfort Zone Study found the following:

“Canadians who establish registered education savings plans (RESPs) for their children are setting their kids up for financial success later in life because there’s a direct correlation between having post-secondary education and wealth”.1

The study revealed the following:

• Among those holding a postgraduate degree (the highest level of education), 23% have investible assets of $500,000 or more, whereas approximately only 11% if the schooling is at the post-secondary level.

• Of those with only a high-school diploma, only 8% have investible assets of $500,000 or more, while 72% have investible assets of $100,000 or less.

Parents can influence the education of their children by fostering the right attitude toward the need for educational training for a financially sustainable future.

“Among parents who gave education a high rating of importance and who had one or more children living at home, 49% indicated they had established an RESP for their children. Similarly, 45% of parents who gave education a medium rating of importance and who had one or more children living at home indicated that they had established an RESP for their children. In contrast, only 15% of parents who gave education a low rating in terms of importance and who had one or more children living at home had established an RESP for their children.” 2

What ways can we plan for our Child’s education? Consider using both the traditional Registered Educational Savings Plan (RESP) and the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) as an educational savings vehicle. A TFSA offers parents another tax-efficient method to provide for education planning.

1 Credo Consulting Inc. and Investment Executive

2 ibid

Education planning has serious financial consequences

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As parents, we need to consider the effect that education will have on the future income and lifestyle of our children. When Steve Jobs of Apple knew he had a short time to live, he became assertively interested and vowed that he would do everything in his power to ensure that his son received a good education.

As the Internet brings many changes quickly, we are seeing many manufacturers moving plants overseas. Stephen Covey, the best-selling author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, predicted a need for technological education several years ago, echoing what we see everywhere: manufacturing increasingly calls for brain work rather than metal-bashing that empower the industrial age — further making a point:

The winds of education reform are beginning to stir once again. Our collective conscience is being nudged. And there’s a good reason. The world has moved into one of the most profound eras of change in human history. Our children, for the most part, are just not prepared for the new reality. The gap is widening. And we know it.

Parents see the chaos, the economic uncertainty, the stress and the complexity in the world, and know deep down that the traditional three “R’s” — reading, writing, and arithmetic — are necessary, but not enough.

Today robotics and artificial intelligence call for another education revolution. This time, however, simply cramming more schooling in at the start is not enough. People must also be able to acquire new skills throughout their careers.

The following grid estimates the effect of educational decision-making on a child’s education. Income and future lifestyle can be severely affected by poor choices. When a child has the capacity and talent for a higher level of educational goal-setting and achievement, this needs to be developed appropriately.

What ways can we plan for our Child’s education? Consider using both the traditional Registered Educational Savings Plan (RESP) and the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) as an educational savings vehicle. A TFSA offers parents another tax-efficient method to provide for education planning.

Using the TFSA for Educational Planning

Canadian residents age 18 or older can contribute up to $5,500 annually to a TFSA in 2018; and $6,000 in 2019. This is of particular interest to those who invest in stocks and equity funds since when the money is withdrawn, there is no tax consequence.

Using the RESP for Educational Planning

  • You can save for a child’s education using the RESP. The Government of Canada will also help you save money through the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG).
  • Your advisor can help you understand what RESP options is available to you in your province.

Using Mutual Funds in your Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)

Mutual Funds allow the investor the same access to securities as the institutional investor—access to stocks and bonds from many different companies. Moreover, mutual fund investments can gain the tax-advantaged benefits if they are registered in one or more of several savings plans offered by the Canadian government.

Mutual funds area great way to diversify your Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). You can start investing in mutual funds for your child’s education long before he or she reaches college or university age. Small monthly investments can add up over time to cover all or part of the following costs: tuition, books, accommodation, a cafeteria food plan or weekly groceries, a car payment plus insurance and gas or public transportation, furniture, a telephone, and of course spending money.

The Canda Education Savings Grant (CESG)

The bonus of the RESP is that the government actually grants you a percentage of your contribution. Thus both your contribution and the government’s grant are invested in the RESP. The added benefit of reinvesting the 20% government grant 1 automatically in the mutual fund creates, even more, potential compounding. The RESP will grow tax-deferred until your student needs it. You can diversify among many types of funds which invest in companies of several international countries. For CESG information click here.

Mutual funds can enjoy tax deferral in the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA). The TFSA is a great investment if you are a member of a pension plan and have minimal if any, room to invest in your RRSP due to a high pension adjustment (PA) factor.

Educational Savings Use You can also supplement RESP savings through the TFSA. After-tax investments grow tax-deferred and there is no taxation on withdrawal. This makes the TFSA versatile for deferring investment taxation, plus avoid taxation upon withdrawing monies for numerous uses. However, the TFSA will not offer the benefit of the CESG.

1 Check here for the limit on the CESG.

Source: CRA