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What is an RESP?

An RESP is a Registered Education Savings Plan....which simply means a special savings account for parents who want to save for their child's education after high school. An RESP can be opened for you at any bank or credit union or through a certified financial planner.

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There are a few types of RESPs to choose from:

Family RESPs

You can save money for one or more children that are related to you by blood or adoption, all in one RESP. You decide how to divide the money up between the beneficiares.

Individual RESPs

You can save for one child, with an individual RESP, whether they are related to you or not. Anyone can open and Individual RESP and anyone can contribute to it.

Group RESPs

Group RESPS are a bit more complicated than Family and Individual RESPS. They tend to have higher fees and more restrictive rules about contributions and how the money can be used. Your savings are combined with those of other people and the earnings are shared when it is time to pay for school. You put money into the RESP according to a set schedule and the money is pooled with the contributions of other investors and invested.

There is a three-step process to setting up an RESP and getting started saving for your child's future:

  1. Get a Social Insurance Number for you and an your child.
  2. Contact your bank (or other RESP provider) to open and RESP.
  3. Open an RESP and complete the Basic and Additional Canada Education Svaings Grant and the Canada Learning Bond Applications forms with the bank representative's help. This should all happen in one appointment and they will walk you through the steps.