FI Parenting Personal Finance

Quiz: How Much Do You Really Know About RESPs?

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Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. If you open a Wealthsimple account using my links, I may receive a commission (at no extra cost to you). Thanks for your support!

Back to school… and back to RESPs

It’s back-to-school season! That means it’s back to books, tests and worksheets. It’s also back to thinking about one of my favourite savings tools—the RESP!

Wait… are you not also excited about the amazing RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan)? But how can you not be? It’s surprisingly generous, uniquely Canadian, and way more flexible than you may have realized! What’s not to love?

Ah, okay… you’re a little overwhelmed with all the info (and all the misinformation too). It’s tough to figure out what’s what. Well, I’m here to help with that.

Let’s do this the fun way

To help you learn about RESPs (and test those of you who are old pros) I decided to do something fun and different here at Eat Sleep Breathe FI… I created an interactive RESP quiz! 

Note: I created this quiz for free on tryinteract.com (that’s why you see their logo in the corner of the quiz). Be assured that the quiz is completely anonymous—I’ve opted out of all the info-collection features.

Give it your best shot!

Give the quiz a spin and let me know how you did: 

  • 20 correct answers: PhD
  • 18–19 correct answers: Master’s
  • 15–17 correct answers: Bachelor’s
  • 11–14 correct answers: High school
  • 0–10 correct answers: Elementary school

Are you at the PhD level with your RESP knowledge, or do you have some studying to do? I’d love to know how RESP-savvy my readers are—share your score in the comments!

More RESP resources

For those who need to brush up on their RESP knowledge, I’ve collected a list of helpful resources below. Have a listen/read, then come back to retake the quiz. (Maybe you’ll earn that coveted RESP PhD the next time around!)

Podcasts

Articles

Government websites

Tools

$50 Wealthsimple bonus

Open an RESP at Wealthsimple using my referral link to receive a $50 bonus!

Some extra incentives 

In case you need extra convincing to open an RESP, here are two incentives that might help: 

For BC residents

Not all investment services offer the BCTESG (BC Training and Education Savings Grant) but Wealthsimple does! This is great news—Wealthsimple is (in my opinion) the best low-cost option for investing your child’s BCTESG.

In addition, there’s no contribution required to get the BCTESG. That means with the Wealthsimple $50 bonus, you’ll receive up to $1,250 in free money to invest for your child’s future!

For low-income families

Wealthsimple is also offering a special new intiative: if your family qualifies for the Canada Learning Bond, Wealthsimple will not charge you any fees on your RESP! 

Let’s see how this could add up:

  • The Government of Canada contributes $500 of CLB in the first year, then $100 each year after (up to and including the 15th year).
  • This could potentially add up to $2,000 in free RESP grants from the government!
  • Remember: no RESP contributions are needed to receive the Canada Learning Bond.
  • Finally, any family that qualifies for the CLB will have their Wealthsimple RESP managed free!
  • Based on a conservative return of 5%, with no extra contributions, a CLB-only RESP could grow to $3,700 over 18 years!
  • At a 7% return, the RESP could more than double to $4,768!

That’s $3,700 (or more) from free money!

I think this is amazing. For a little bit of time filling out forms, a family could grow one child’s RESP fund to $3,700 (or more)—all from free grant money, being managed for free by Wealthsimple!

Even if your family doesn’t qualify for the CLB, I hope you’ll share this offer with others who might. You could help a child access much-needed money to fund their post-secondary pursuits.

Final thoughts

You don’t need a PhD to realize that RESPs are an incredible way to save for your child’s future. You’ll receive free grant money, tax-free investment growth, and low or no-tax withdrawals. It’s not hard to see the appeal of RESPs!

Even if your child doesn’t use (or use up) their RESP, there are flexible options to transfer or withdraw the money—often tax-free. There’s no reason to delay… open your RESP and start saving for your child’s education today!

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17 Comments

  • Reply
    Tara
    September 17, 2020 at 3:22 pm

    Alright, so I got high school (13/20). Obviously not a pro, but not terrible all things considered.

    All that being said, the more I learn about RESPs, the more committed I am to making sure any kids we have in the future have one. As much as I hate to say it, I really do think school is only going to get more expensive in the future. Which would be bad enough on its own but add in stagnant wages and the reality that, increasingly, the BA is becoming the new high school diploma…I don’t know. I don’t see attaining post-secondary education getting any easier in the future. It’s sad.

    I got very lucky when it came to school, with my degree paid almost entirely through scholarships; without that, the only way I would have been able to access post-secondary education would be through loans. Considering hubby came with almost $50K of loans on his own, I cannot imagine adding more to that total.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      September 18, 2020 at 8:39 pm

      Hi Tara—that’s actually a pretty good score. Some of those questions were tough! I think only the biggest money/RESP nerds would get higher than that. 😉

      It’s true that tuitions will only go up from here. Even though post-secondary in Canada is still much cheaper than in the US, it can still add up to a lot (as your husband has found).

      I’m amazed that you were able to access so much in scholarships. You must be a smartypants! I hope my kids will be able to do the same. (It’ll be nice to have the problem of too much RESP left at the end!)

      • Tara
        September 20, 2020 at 1:55 pm

        It actually blows my mind how expensive school is in the US. I can’t even imagine. Hubby’s degree was mostly expensive because he took the scenic route — part of a business degree, some time off in between, then an arts degree. Of course, as much as I hate paying it back now, I do think it was worth it — it helped him land the job he has now. But it really does make me question whether enough is done to help young graduates in making decisions about their future.

        Haha I don’t know if I would go quite that far but I was pretty good at the whole school thing. The school I ended up going to was not my first choice, but a full-tuition scholarship was too good to pass up. I think it was a good fit, though — it gave me an opportunity to go somewhere new and I really enjoyed my program. Plus graduating debt-free was nice (I took out a $9K bank loan in first year to stay in residence but paid it off before graduating). No complaints!

      • Chrissy
        September 21, 2020 at 4:50 pm

        Hi Tara—US education costs are unbelievable. It’s even more shocking to hear that many of these schools are financially struggling during COVID, with revenues down. Where did all those high tuition fees go?! Do they not save for a rainy day? We could teach them a thing or two about good money management!

        I also think more could be done to help young people make better decisions about their post-secondary educational and career choices. A series of wrong or sub-optimal choices can really set a young person back and affect the trajectory of their lives.

        I am amazed that you received a full-tuition scholarship. That’s like winning the lottery!

  • Reply
    Darlene
    September 18, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    Hi Chrissy,

    Great article! Do you know if wealthsimple let’s you transfer resp accounts over instead of first depositing $500? When I click on your link it says you have to deposit a minimum of $500 to set up an account. So just wondering if I can transfer the money in my resp with CIBC instead or must I do both? I tried to open an resp with Questrade but unfortunately they can’t do resp grants. So I was stuck keeping it with CIBC, I did choose a index fund but it still came with a 1% fee. 🙁
    Wealthsimple fees are less and I can choose any index fund with them right?

    Hope you guys had a great summer!

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      September 18, 2020 at 8:43 pm

      Hi Darlene—it’s so nice to hear from you again! I believe a transfer-in would still get you the bonus. I will reach out to my Wealthsimple contact and let you know as soon as she replies. 👍

      (PS We also have an RESP at Scotiabank for the same reason. I only recently found out that Wealthsimple can hold the BCTESG, so we’ll be transferring to Wealthsimple soon. I also like their SRI funds, and am excited to put a bit of money into those.)

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      September 18, 2020 at 9:13 pm

      I forgot to answer your last question: yes, Wealthsimple fees are less and they invest in index funds for you.

      They charge a 0.5% management fee and MERs for their index funds range between 0.10% and 0.14%.

      In total, you would be paying 0.6%-0.64% to invest in index funds with Wealthsimple.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      September 21, 2020 at 7:14 pm

      Hi Darlene—I received a reply from Wealthsimple and they said: “Yes, transfers count as a deposit and the cash bonus will be honoured!”

      • Darlene Rancourt
        September 22, 2020 at 1:47 pm

        Awesome! Thank you! 😊

  • Reply
    Ana
    September 19, 2020 at 11:45 am

    My score was 10. Do you accept retakes or can I do extra credit work to bring up my grade? 😉

    It was a clever way to learn something new. I tried answering the questions comparing it to the U.S. 529 Plan. With a few differences, they both meet that amazing financial goal of having money ear marked for education (and not limited to just university studies). My kids’ accounts are slowly growing into real tuition money. It’s a good feeling to know they have that head start. Thanks for a great read.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      September 21, 2020 at 4:53 pm

      Hi Ana—10 is a very respectable score for a non-Canadian! I loved that you compared the RESP to the 529 Plan.

      I find it interesting that very few US bloggers and podcasters mention this plan. I wonder why that is? From what I can tell, 529s can be quite flexible and generous, and can even be used to pay for private elementary and high school! I don’t think I’ve read an article on your blog about 529s yet—maybe an idea for the future?

      Thanks for taking the quiz and sharing your results!

  • Reply
    Ellie Auras
    September 29, 2020 at 10:05 am

    I got a high school score (14/20). Which is pretty much what I was expecting. Ironically, it’s my new to Canada husband who understands our financials best – I’m still trying to catch up.

    I’m relieved to find out that our kids will be able to go to University abroad & the RESP still works! We are really hoping that our kids will decide to go to Germany for uni – since they will have the language requirements down.

    Awesome article; fun quiz – thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      September 30, 2020 at 8:28 pm

      Hi Ellie—14/20 is really good! Some of the questions were tricky. 😜 It’s great that you’re making an effort to understand your finances. I wish my husband would get more involved, if only for his own sake! I worry for him if anything happens to me.

      It’s wonderful how flexible the RESP can be. It would be amazing for your kids to one day study abroad, especially if they can already speak the language. Thanks for stopping by and taking the quiz!

  • Reply
    Reverse The Crush
    October 1, 2020 at 3:48 pm

    Thanks for sharing about RESPs, Chrissy. RESPs are not well known, but they have so many advantages for parents. Free money… I used to know more about them when I worked as a mutual fund advisor and stock broker because I had to set them up for clients. My knowledge has faded since then, so thanks for the refresher. Hope you’re doing well!

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      October 6, 2020 at 10:45 am

      Hi Graham—it always impressed me how quickly bank and brokerage representatives could whip through those RESP forms with us. I guess you do get to know the ins and outs of RESPs pretty quickly when you deal with them a lot!

      Thanks for coming by. We’re doing great. I hope you’re also well.

  • Reply
    Maria @ Handful of Thoughts
    November 18, 2020 at 4:07 pm

    I got 17 although I feel like I could have got higher had I actually read the questions properly – haha.

    Great post Chrissy – super informative.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      November 20, 2020 at 8:58 pm

      Hey Maria—17’s not bad! Some of the questions were a little tricky. I know you’re quite the RESP expert, if only based on your super-comprehensive post on the topic!

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