Can you add money yourself?
Some RESPs let you add money whenever you want while others have monthly payments. Some plans also allow your family and friends to put money in too. That’s why it’s so important to talk to your RESP provider before you open an RESP – so you can decide what will work best for you.
Can you invest the RESP?
Though you can let the money in the RESP collect interest, you can also talk to your RESP provider about investing that money in bonds, mutual funds, stocks or other types of investment options. The right investment can help you grow the money in the RESP faster.
What is the maximum age for the Canada Education Savings Grant?
If your child is under the age of 17, you can apply for the Canada Education Savings Grant.
What Happens to the Money If…?
The money from the registered education Savings Plan can be used as soon as your child is enrolled either full-time or part-time in a qualified educational program. That can include college, university or trade school programs.
But what if your child decides NOT to go to school after high school? What happens to the money then?
- If your child is thinking about going to school later, you can simply leave the RESP open (an reSP can remain open for up to 36 years).
- If you have other children, you could transfer the money to another RESP for them (as long as you have a family Plan).
- You could transfer the money into a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) for yourself (as long as your plan allows you to add the money – and minus any grant money that has been added).
- You could simply withdraw the money (though there may be certain conditions and taxes involved).
It’s important to know that if your child doesn’t go to school after high school any RESP money from the Canada Educational Savings Grant and Canada Learning Bond will have to be returned (including interest earned on grant or bond money).
But the good news is all the money you saved yourself is yours to keep. The money you save will go to your family one way or another. Any interest your RESP made will be taxed when you close your RESP without using it towards education. And the RESP will be taxable once a student uses the money for their education.
Who Can I Speak With and What Should I Ask?
Your RESP provider can help you, but it’s always good to ask questions such as:
- Are there any fees, now or later?
- Do I have to put a minimum amount in? (With some RESPs you do)
- Do I have to make regular payments? (Again, with some RESPs you do) What happens if I miss a payment?
- What are my investment options and what are the benefits of each choice?
- Can I transfer the RESP to another person or provider later – and would there be a fee? (If you have more than one child, you might want to ask about a family Plan.)
- Can I withdraw money early if I need to – and would there be fees or penalties?
- Would the RESP limit the kind of educational program my child goes into after high school?
- What happens to the money if my child decides nOT to go to school after high school or if my child only goes part-time?
- Most importantly: does the RESP provide access to the Canada Educational Savings Grant and Canada Learning Bond?