5 Things to Know About a Registered Education Savings Plan

If you have thought for awhile about opening up a heritage RESP or Registered Education Savings Plan, but aren’t sure whether or not it is the right choice for you, then it’s time to learn a few of the little known facts about these accounts, how they are used, and what problems you may run into in the future. When you have more information, you will be much more likely to make the right decision regarding your savings account.

1. Your Income Can Be Taxed
Many people are surprised to learn that when you set up a Registered Education Savings Plan, or RESP, that your income can be taxed. This can be confusing for some people because money isn’t taxed when it is added to the RESP, but instead the amount withdrawn is taxed. Additionally, parents need to understand that when they set up a RESP they won’t get any tax deduction on the money that they invest. It’s important to advise teens and young adults on the taxes that they will be required to pay when they withdraw money from this account.
2. Children Will Have to Attend a Specific School
This doesn’t mean that children are only locked into going to one particular school to get the benefits from a heritage RESP, which is something that a lot of parents fear will happen when they open these accounts. Rather, it means that children must attend a university or college that has been approved for these funds. Additionally, children will then need to participate in an academic program that qualifies for the funds.

3. There Can Be More Than One Beneficiary
A lot of parents are surprised to learn that they can add more than one child as the beneficiary of a heritage RESP plan. Parents who have multiple children can make it much easier on themselves by adding all of their children to one RESP rather than trying to juggle multiple accounts and savings plans in the future. This also makes it easy to remember how much was contributed for each child.

4. The Government May Help
The government can actually help by contributing funds in the form of grants to RESP accounts. It can be a little difficult to decide how to optimize investments to get the largest amount of money possible from the government, which is why so many parents turn to a financial advisor. Since parents need to work through a number of different decisions and choices, this can often be the best way to get the help that is needed to make the right decision.
5. The Plan Won’t Go to Waste
Parents who set up a RESP and then don’t have a child that qualifies for it or have a child that doesn’t want to use it can easily transfer the plan to another child. This is great, as it ensures that the money won’t go to waste. Even if there aren’t any siblings to transfer the account to, it can easily be transferred to a niece, nephew, cousin, or even friend.