RESP Account – 20% Match, Take Advantage

Registered Education Saving Plan (RESP)

I was working at a client’s house and somehow the topic of RESP’s came up. He/she mentioned they don’t like mutual funds and keep their kids school savings in a savings account. They explained that they won’t lose any money in the market that way.

While that is certainly a possibility the reality is with these low interest rates, inflation is killing them. I don’t know any savings account paying more then .5% at the moment. They are also missing out of the government rewarding you for saving for the beneficiary’s schooling.
The government will grant you $500 for each $2500 you put in per kid per year. Yeah that’s a 20% gain!

RESP school funds

Your kid/kids probably wont be attending post secondary school for 15-20 years from now. So if the market does go down chances are it will recover before then. The market over the long term is always setting new highs. While the past results can be different in the future, I wouldn’t bet against it. As your kids get near the age where you feel you will start withdrawals switch to a more conservative investment.

Anyways more on RESP’s, from what I understand the lifetime grant per beneficiary is $7,200. That means if you max your $2500 per year after 15 years the government wont pitch in anymore.(by that time though you should be o.k)

There is a maximum contribution of 50 thousand per kid. You can do it all the first year but the government will only throw you $500

Say something happens and you didn’t toss the full $2500 in one year. The government will allow you to carry over unused contribution room but they will only allow one previous year’s worth of contributions to be used each year. (Keep in mind the contribution limit was only $2,000 prior to 2007.)

Setting up a Resp Account

There are many resp accounts out there and you can even buy your own stocks in the fund. Personally we decided to setup a direct investment resp account and buy our stocks our self’s. This eliminates all those fees that drag on your kids portfolios over time.

Go into your local bank branch or head on over to questrade  to start an resp account today. Setting up an account is simple and fast but a sin number for each child is required.

We buy and sell stocks in our dividend portfolio with questrade and Rbc. Questrade fees are some of the lowest in Canada and charge $0 commissions on etf purchases.  *Affiliate link*

Feel free to check out our dividend portfolio and see what we currently hold in our kids resp account. New Capital contributions, dividend raises and drips can really propel the portfolio.

Compound Interest is the 8th wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it….. He who Doesn’t… Pays It – Albert Einstein


Can You Withdraw For Personal Use?

The money you put into your RESP has already been taxed, so you can withdraw that money at any time without penalties. All the government grants and interest you made over time will be taxed at the students tax rate. (which should be low as they are in school) If for some reason your kids don’t need it, you can pull it all out. Again all your contribution $$$ you put in would be tax free but the interest and grant money will be taxed at your tax rate plus 20%.(govt wants their grant money back)

Keep in mind, RESP accounts can remain open for 36 years. So you may not want to close the account, maybe later on they will want to return/go to school.

Also if you have more then one kid you can setup the RESP family plan and divvy the RESP between them.


These are the basics and Ontario may be different from other provinces, for the most current rules and regulations be sure to check out the Government of Canada site on RESP’s. Government of Canada RESP

We all know the costs of schooling are expensive and keep increasing. I can only imagine how much it will be once our kids go to college/university. Start contributing today, your kids will thank you in the future.

Government’s will happily take your money whenever they can, why not get some back?


2 Responses

  1. You are definitely right. If we can take some money back, we should. I have two kids so I make sure that I contribute the full $5K every year. Nothing beats free money.

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