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When Should You Start Contributing to RESPs?

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Saving for your child’s future can be a daunting task. But with the help of a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), you can start investing early, making it easier to tackle college and university expenses. 

Here’s an overview of when the best time is to open an RESP when you should start contributing, how much money you should be contributing, and the benefits of an RESP. 

When should you start contributing to RESPs? 

Ideally, you should start an RESP when your child or grandchild is still a baby. It’s recommended that you contribute about $2,500 CAD per year. 

Furthermore, the sooner you start to save, the sooner you will be earning interest, and the more your money will grow. Even savings of $5 a week can quickly add up. 

As of 2022, there are currently no annual contribution limits, so you can receive the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) on the first $2,500 in contributions you save per year, or up to the first $5,000 in contributions. 

How much money should you contribute to RESPs? 

While some types of RESPs require specific monthly contributions, others will let you put money into your RESP account whenever you want; the lifetime contribution limit for each beneficiary of an RESP plan is $50,000. 

This limit applies to all contributions made for each child across all RESP plans for which they are a beneficiary. 

It’s strongly encouraged that you and any others that contribute to the RESP communicate with each other to ensure the contribution limit is not exceeded. 

Benefits of RESPs 

  • RESPs are flexible, and anyone can open an account for a beneficiary. There are two basic types of RESPs: family and individual plans. The major difference between the two is that, with family plans, subscribers can name more than one beneficiary and funds do not need to be shared equally. 
  • Subscribers can contribute any amount to an RESP. However, there is typically a lifetime contribution limit of $50,000 per beneficiary. There are no limits on the number of plans subscribers can establish or RESPs a beneficiary may have.
  • RESPs allow subscribers to get an early start on saving for their beneficiary’s education expenses. In fact, RESPs can be opened as soon as the beneficiary has a social insurance number.
  • Subscribers don’t pay taxes on contributions until the money is taken out. Account holders can make lump-sum contributions at any time or set up automatic payments.
  • Qualifying investments include savings deposits, guaranteed investment certificates and mutual funds. 

Final thoughts

Getting a head start on your children’s education can help ease the stress of the steep costs of quality education. With RESPs you can offset some of that financial burden, helping you and your family get the education they need and deserve.

Tommy Williamson did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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