Raising Memories: How We Got Started with RESPs
  

Friday, November 11, 2016

How We Got Started with RESPs

How We Got Started with RESPs
The right provider can make all the difference

Thinking about our kids' future education before they even started school is one of the best financial decisions we have made (but it's never too late to start)! I wrote a bit about that in a previous post with the promise of sharing more details with you, so I'm back today to share the story of how we decided what to do when we were starting out.

Talia & Katrina, each on her first day of Kindergarten

Where to Start

You can set up an RESP through a bank, trust company, or mutual fund dealer, but there are also other RESP providers who focus exclusively on RESPs.  When we started looking into creating an RESP, we did some research and decided to go with a group plan provider because they manage your investment for you and they seemed to be able to provide the best return for our investment (as with all investments, there are no guarantees). We settled on two companies that we wanted to get more information about. Both companies sent representatives to our home but we had two very different experiences with them.

Our Experience

The first representative seemed knowledgeable, providing us with lots of good information about how RESPs work and various government incentives. He spoke quickly, and dumped a lot of information on us all at once. At the conclusion of his presentation, he pulled out his forms all ready for us to sign, giving us hardly any opportunity to even ask questions. We asked for a moment to speak in private and stepped out of the room. He seemed annoyed at the inconvenience of having to wait for us. We like to take time to gather as much information as we can before we make a decision, so we didn't feel comfortable making a decision so quickly. We decided that this RESP provider was not for us.

The second representative was from Heritage, and our experience with him was quite different. He was informative and knowledgeable (as was the other representative), however, he took time after each section of his presentation to pause and ask if we had any questions, to make sure we were following along completely. We were very appreciative of this, as we had lots of questions we felt we couldn't ask the other representative. He was very patient with us, and at the end of the presentation, we again asked for a moment to speak in private. He seemed very understanding and happy to give us a moment to discuss things.  He invited us to sign up, but was more than happy to leave us with some brochures and his contact information when we told him we needed some more time before making a decision.

Immediate Benefits

It was shortly thereafter that we decided to go with Heritage. The process of signing up was not complicated, and because of our rep's knowledge of the program, he was able to maximize the efficiency of our investment and help us receive the greatest return possible. We started with a one-time investment, and he advised us that by splitting the investment between two years, we would receive double the amount that we would have from the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG), had we invested the same amount in a single year. That tip generated $500 (plus interest) for our RESPs!

Our Ongoing Experience

We have been very happy with our investment in Heritage Education Funds. Each year we receive an easy-to-read summary of how our investments are doing, as well as future projections. We have called on a few occasions with questions, and the Heritage staff are always readily available and pleasant to speak with on the phone.

There are a few other things that have made saving through an RESP a great thing, and I look forward to sharing those with you in future posts!

If you're interested in meeting with a representative from Heritage like we did, you can find one near you using this online tool.

Happy Saving!

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Heritage Education Funds. All opinions shared are my own.

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11 comments:

  1. Good for you and for your girls too! This is so important. We have been investing for our girls RESPs since they were toddlers. The closer they get to post secondary the more anxious I get but my oldest has excellent grades and speaks two languages and we max the contribution room out so I am hopeful that - she has enough saved from us, and can get a scholarship too, and that we have a bit of room to add to that with her working as a camp counsellor or something here. So important to find an advisor you trust too.

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    1. Thanks Paula. Yes, scholarships would be helpful too!!

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  2. Wow. Financial stuff can be so confusing sometimes but you did a great job explaining everything. Thanks!

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  3. We have RESPs for the kids, but I just realized recently that I stopped the auto payments while I was on mat leave and needed to start the contributions back up again. Always a good idea to check in on your investments.

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  4. with the increasing education costs, I really fear that even more families will not be able to send their children to post secondary. Saving now is so important

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  5. We already have an RESP for our daughter so I agree that this is super important and not a decision that you can make in one sitting full of overwhelming information. I'm so glad that your second experience was so much better!

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    1. I'm glad you understand (& that we're not the only ones)! ;) Me too!

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  6. WOW, what an awesome tip!! We have RESPs for the nephews with Heritage Fund... I'll have to check with the inlaws if they're maximizing their returns with it. Thanks for the heads up! <3

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Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment- I love reading them! :)
~Heather Lynne

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