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