Parents and guardians of young children know that the cost of post-secondary education (PSE) in Canada is astronomical. In many cases, the stress of having to fund a child’s higher-education commences the moment the child is born. In some instances, parents, grandparents and guardians make extra-ordinary sacrifices – e.g. giving up vacations – to ensure they have enough savings to fund the child’s education.
It doesn’t have to be that way! Prudent education planning can ensure that you are financially secure to pay for your children’s education when that time comes.
Why Education Planning is Important
One of the most important of life’s gifts that a parent/guardian can give a child is a good education. But it takes careful planning and strategizing in order to accomplish that. Many parents are so focused on tuition, that they often forget that PSE sometimes includes a lot more – student housing, school supplies, travelling/commuting... and much more. That’s why it’s important to plan those expenses carefully, and in advance.
If you haven’t put the appropriate plans in place well before your child is ready for PSE, he/she will likely never get the education they deserve. That’s because the cost of funding it will overwhelm any parent that isn’t planned for it!
What We Can Do For You
Our Education Planning specialists can offer advice and recommendations on a wide range of education planning options, including:
- Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP): This is the most commonly used vehicle that parents/guardians have for saving for a child’s PSE expenses. Contributions made into a RESP account are subject to specified limits, can only be used to fund a child’s education or related expenditure, and cannot be used for any other purpose. Unlike RRSPs, contributions aren’t tax-deductible, but withdrawals are not taxed.
Depending upon the Province or Territory you reside in, the government may contribute or provide funds in the form of grants into the account. Based on your individual or family circumstances, our Education Planning team will recommend individual, family or Group RESP plans that meet your children’s unique education funding needs.
- Using non-registered Savings: You might also use non-registered savings accounts as part of your education planning strategy. The advantage of such accounts is that you are totally in control of how much you save, and when you take money out to pay for a child’s education-related expenditure.
- Saving in a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA): One tool that our experts often evaluate, as a means for funding a child’s education, is for parents to start saving in their TFSA for that express purpose. When it comes time to finance your child’s education, the money – which grows tax-free – can be withdrawn without having to pay any taxes.
- Leveraging Insurance Products: If it makes sense, our education planning experts may recommend the use of certain insurance products to pay for children’s PSE. Depending on how the product is structured, the cash value of the policy could grow tax-free, and can be tapped when the time comes to fund the child’s PSE expenditure.
- Helping you better leverage these tools: Each of the education planning strategies outlined above come with specific rules and guidelines that plan owners must abide by. Failing to follow the rules can leave you open to government-mandated penalties. Our Education Planning experts will guide you through the process of selecting, establishing and managing the plan that’s right for you.