Last week, my husband and I attended our first kindergarten concert for our oldest child. Monkey sang his little heart out and we could not have been prouder. While we were sitting there watching him perform, my husband leans over to me and says: “You realize that we will have a child in kindergarten for six years straight right?”. Wait, what?!?
I hadn’t really thought about it that way before. However, having three children in less than five years means that yes, we will have a child either in junior or senior kindergarten for six years straight. And that got me thinking ahead. While we might only have one child in school right now, fast- forward 17 years and we are likely to have THREE children in post- secondary education at the SAME TIME! And I thought daycare was expensive…
With this revelation, I decided it was time to look at our savings plan for the kids’ education again. Our aim is to be able to assist each of our children with the cost of their education after high school, no matter if they decide to go to university, college or something else entirely. Realistically, we won’t be able to pay for it all (or maybe even half), but having some money saved up is much better than scrambling when the time comes to hand over the tuition fees.
3 Tips To Save For Your Child’s University or College Education
1 – Start EARLY – We set up an RESP for Monkey before he was even a year old. Even if you don’t have a lot of money to put away, the earlier you start, the more it can grow while invested. You can also take advantage of the government incentives for putting money into RESPs and those add up over time as well. Don’t wait until your child is 10 before even opening an RESP, start now!
2 – Contribute Often – Set up your RESP to automatically add money to it weekly (or bi-weekly). It does not have to be a lot of money. Try $10/week to start, and if that that is OK for your budget up it to $25/week or more. By having the money come out automatically, you don’t have to remember to do it, and you are able to accelerate the growth of your investment
3 – Top Up When You Can – Add a lump sum payment into your RESP when you can. There are 2 times of year I try to add a bit of a “boost” to our savings. The first is at birthday time. Instead of toys (which we have WAY too many of), ask family to put money towards your child’s RESP. It does not have to be a lot of money from each person, but when added together makes a nice little deposit into the RESP account. It also has the added bonus of you not having to worry about where you’re going to store more toys. The second time we do lump sum payments is at tax time. I know, I know, no one likes to talk about taxes, but when you get a refund, consider putting that money into your RESP. Not only can you continue to grow that money for your child’s future, but with the government incentives they will give you additional money to put towards your child’s education as well!
That’ is our path to saving for our children’s education, and with the thought of having three kids in university at the same time I’ am glad we’ are starting now!
Take a moment today to learn more about RESPs and the government grants available to assist you in kick- starting your savings for your child’s future. Companies like Heritage Education Funds can help point you in the right direction!