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Family Financial Planning

It's never too early to start saving for your children's education. Did you know it acts as a tax shelter?

When planning for your children’s future, it’s never too early to start. Whether your saving for their education, a deposit for a home, the means to buy their first car or to save for their wedding, family financial planning will help you accomplish your goals.

Good education has always been the passport to a secure future. A college or university education is very important to success in today’s job market. However, costs of higher education have also increased exponentially. Four years of study at a typical Canadian university can cost close to $16,000 for tuition and books, and if the student lives away from school, the costs will be even higher.

Saving Funds for a Post-Secondary Education

One way to plan for your children's education is to set aside a specific portion of your savings for that purpose. You can create savings programs that are in your children's names. These may include a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) and an in-trust account. An investment of just $200 each month can grow to $60,000 by the end of 15 years.

Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)

An RESP is a tax-sheltered investment plan specifically intended to help you pay for your children's university or college education. You may contribute up to $5,000 per year per child to a lifetime maximum of $50,000.

Benefits of Saving with an RESP

Tax Savings / Tax Shelter

At the time of withdrawal, contributions are not taxed, only the investment income is taxed as a regular income in the student's hands. Since a student is unlikely to have much other income, he or she can expect to pay little if any tax on the funds.

Canada Education Savings Grant

An RESP also receives a federal government grant for a child's education. The Canada Education Savings Grant pays into an RESP a grant equal to 20% of the first $2,500 of an annual RESP contribution you make for each child under age 18. There is a maximum of $500 per child per year and a lifetime maximum of $7,200 in grants per child.

Multiple Beneficiaries

You can name as many beneficiaries as you wish, and change them at any time.

Roll into an RRSP

Even if none of your beneficiaries enrolls in post-secondary education, you need not lose the income generated by your contributions. If the RESP is at least 10 years old, you can roll the income into your own or a spousal RRSP (up to a maximum amount) provided there is unused contribution room.