Sometimes it feels like no time passes between the day your child nervously steps through the kindergarten doors for the first time and when they confidently walk on stage to claim their high school diploma. If you want to provide your child with funding for a university education in Canada, it takes a proactive approach – not just idly throwing a few dollars into a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) and hoping the numbers add up. Here are some key steps to successfully fund your child’s education:
Step 1: Know the Numbers
Each RESP has a lifetime maximum of $50,000 per child. This number may seem sufficient, but consider that according to Statistics Canada the average yearly tuition at Canadian post-secondary institutions is just shy of $6,000. With tuition rates rising by year, an average four-year program can be expected to cost $25,000 before a penny is spent on room and board ($48,000 for four years, according to the University of British Columbia) or books, fees, transportation, and personal expenses.
As evidenced by the numbers, a $50,000 contribution to your RESP is a terrific start, but it’s only a start. Supplement this fund with savings in a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) and in-trust account. Your financial advisor can help you come up with other strategies for flexibility, such as taking advantage of the maximum Canadian Education Savings Grant (CESG) with a $2,500 yearly contribution to an RESP.
Step 2: Allocate Your Asset Mix
Every investor is different, and your asset mix will vary depending on your risk tolerance, time horizon, and investment objective. Your risk tolerance depends entirely on your own investment personality. The time horizon is relatively fixed, if your child plans to attend post-secondary school immediately after high school. Your investment objective should include tuition, books, and fees. Account for living expenses in case they go to a school out of town. Share these factors with your financial advisor, and they’ll help you determine the right mix of fixed income and equities to suit your goals.
Step 3: Track Your Investments
If you have an organized education savings plan in place, it is not necessary to obsessively monitor the progress of your investments. The Beacon Group of Assante Financial Management Ltd.’s advisors will make sure your investment growth is on track to meet your savings goals. If market fluctuations affect your target allocation, your advisor can assist with rebalancing to make sure everything is on track.
With these three steps and assistance from The Beacon Group financial advisors, you can meet your education savings goals. Before you know it, your child will be walking up for convocation to accept a well-earned university degree.