If you ever read anything about RESP (Registered Education Savings Plans) you know how confusing things can get. Just who are the beneficiary and the contributor? What is a PES or EAP? Do you have to apply to get the government grant money? Can Grandma open one at the same time as the parents?
Well at last there is a book to answer all of these questions: The RESP Book by Mike Holman (who by the way also writes the MoneySmartsBlog.com). The book is just full of useful information to help you navigate the world of RESPs and better yet he provides examples to help illustrate the complex parts. Perhaps my favorite quote from the book is when discussing the contribution room carry over rules Mike states “Confused? You should be!” Why? Because trust me even I was confused at that point.
Regardless of how familiar you are with RESPs you are likely going to learn something from how they work in this book. In my case I didn’t even realize that I was getting additional RESP grant money of $50/year until I read Chapter 6 and then checked my last RESP account statement. So thanks Mike!
I also really like the section on future post-secondary educational costs where Mike deconstructs those media stories that say we are going to need to save $130,000 per kid for a post secondary degree. Basically those studies assume the absolute worst case scenario to get those values. His estimate is much more reasonable and comes in at $77,132 for a degree away from home and $51, 763 for a degree while living at home in 2009 dollars. With a few reasonable assumptions such as the parents providing $200/month/kid during school and the child works during their summers at school to save $1000 to $2000/year you can easily get by with saving under $40,000/kid. This conveniently was exactly the amount I was planning to save for my kids.
Yet Mike’s book did get me thinking that I could actually cover off a larger portion of my kids’ education costs fairly easily by just increasing my contributions right now (by an extra $34/month in total). So I put down the book and made a call to my bank and increased my contributions so now my kids should have about $56,000 each for post secondary education.
So is the book worth buying? Well the book is just 114 pages so you can easily read it in a weekend and is listed for the low price of $15.99. So yes go buy a copy and keep it around as a reference book. Or if you are watching your spending convince your local library to obtain a copy for you or just go here to try and win a copy.