I’m a mother of two children. Both of them girls and both of them now grown up. My oldest daughter is working on her Masters and it’s been a gruelling challenge for her. The reason being is that her father and I could not help her out financially.
We moved to Calgary when the girls were just 2 and 4 years old. We had debt and many challenges ahead of us. It simply seemed impossible to put money on one side in the event our children went on to University.
Each year we swore that we would start a savings account on their behalf but it never seemed to come to fruition. I wasn’t really aware of RESP’s as this was obviously many years ago. For some reason I thought their was lots of time and we’d be able to catch up.
Then my oldest started University. She took a year off when she’d finished high school trying to determine whether or not she wanted to go and how she’d make it happen.
Personally, I felt terrible! We were only just starting to peek our heads above water and I didn’t want her to have to share the burden alone. All we could offer her was a free place to stay while she attended school.
Getting through University put a huge strain on her. It took six years to complete her B.A. This was because she had to work in order to help pay for tuition and books. Therefor she was unable to take on as many classes per year as she would of liked. A few classes she had to repeat merely because she was overworked and unable to put as much time and attention on every area as was needed. Yes, she received some scholarships and bursaries and thank goodness for that!! Otherwise it would of taken her even longer.
Given all she achieved, on her own, I cannot tell you how pleased and proud I was on her graduation day!
Then came the next shock. She was moving on to her Masters. Certainly I was excited for her but I also new that in order to accomplish this she needed to get accepted into a program that was going to pay her to attend their University. It most certainly meant out of town and that’s exactly what happened. She’s currently in Manitoba for eight months in her first year working on her Masters.
I know she misses home, her husband, her family and friends and she’s never been away for such a length of time. As her mother I’m split between pride and missing her.
Logo retrieved from the RBC Website
RBC understands all of this and wants to make sure you have all the information you need to perhaps avoid the setbacks, disappointment and sadness that my daughter, her husband and us (her parents) have endured. Their are options out there that are available now that weren’t available 28 years ago. One option can help your savings grow faster and it’s FREE!
That’s right! Their is a Canada Education savings grant that will match up to 20% of your RESP donations every single year. (Up to your first $2500 contributed annually). That means you could receive $500 dollars a year, to a maximum of $7200, FREE from the government. From personal experience, I can tell you that $7200 will go a long way to helping both tuition and book purchases.
I encourage you to find an amount you can handle in your budget and put it away every single month. The amount doesn’t matter. Don’t think it’s too small like I did. It adds up over the years.
For example, you can decide to put away a portion of your tax return each year or part of the child allowance each month if you receive it. Perhaps your family would like to contribute a small amount as a birthday or Christmas gift. Should you receive a bonus at work you could take a portion of that as well. After all, it was a bonus and you weren’t expecting it. You can set up an automatic withdrawal each pay cheque. You determine the amount. Don’t try to go too big the idea is not to miss it. Here’s a great one to consider. Here in Calgary, we return our bottles and milk containers for a refund when recycling them. The cash you get back from this could go to an RESP.
So many ways to just put a little bit aside each and every month. When you’re ready to get started, RBC is there to help you set up your RESP and explain all the different ways that it can be used even if your child ends up not continuing their education.
Disclosure: I am part of the RBC RESP blogger program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.