Fabulous Frugal Finds

Life Marches On

I look at my May family calendar, and it’s blank. As a household of five, spring is typically our busiest season. Beyond the school commitments, my eldest is in guitar lessons and holds a part-time job, my middle child is in piano and flag football, and my youngest is in outdoor soccer. The spring months usually leave us trying to figure out how to manage being three places at once and now…now we’re all in the same place with an empty calendar. And so, we’ve been at home taking care of all the things on the to-do list that have been there for too long and getting more organized than we’ve ever been. With the September return-to-school still in question I know it’s hard to think ahead to school supplies, let alone post-secondary education right now.

The thing is, it’s here before you know it. This fall, my teenager (who prefers to not be on the blog as much anymore so I can’t share with you his adorable Kindergarten picture) will be in grade 11, and my two youngest – smiling here at Nevaeh’s Kindergarten graduation – will be going into grades 4 and 7! How we went from Kindergarten graduations to having three kids this age is beyond me, but it happened. Naturally, thoughts of post-secondary schooling for our son in the fall of 2022 is top-of-mind and while we’ve done some significant work in saving for our kid’s schooling in the past 5 years or so, but that wasn’t always the case.

If you’re looking to do everything you can to set your child up for success, starting a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) as soon as you can will get you the best results. Once your child has a Social Insurance Number (SIN), they’re eligible to be the beneficiary of an RESP—so you can start saving right away. We did that with our oldest, even though we had very little savings to set aside with my husband fresh out of RCMP Depot and at our first post. I was a coupon-maniac, saving every little bit that we can, and in one year managed to save over $600 just from one coupon-rebate program alone. I was so proud of myself for that! Our income improved through the years, and two more kids came along, and now we had to figure out how to save for RESP’s for 3 kids. It’s not easy, but the benefits are there, including the Canadian Education Savings Grant (CESG). The federal government will match 20% of the first $2,500 of your contributions, up to $500 a year to a maximum of $7,200 over the lifetime of your plan. If you make a yearly contribution of $2,500 into your RESP starting when your child is born, you’ll have maximized the CESG by the time the child is 15. The rules are a little different if you start contributing later, but it’s not too late!

The founders of CST (Canadian Scholarship Trust) believed that all Canadians deserve access to higher education. Their first step was to create an education savings plan to help families overcome the financial barriers to education. Fast forward almost 60 years, and CST brings you CST Spark.

We’re at home now, or if we’re venturing out it’s not far and not for long. We get the essentials taken care of and stay apart, to help stay healthy together as Canadians. Still, things like RESP savings need to be taken care of regardless, and with CST Spark your RESP can be opened online, from the comfort of your own home.

CST Bright Plan provides an investment strategy built for RESPs where together you aim for big growth early, then maintain gains later. What’s special to CST Bright Plan is the rebalancing of your investment as your child ages with the goal of maximizing growth early (with equities) and preserving your gains closer to graduation (with fixed income securities).

Many RESP plans are not like this, and you don’t maximize your benefit to it’s fullest extent doing the same investment year after year. Think about it – the way you invest your child’s RESP contribution at age 15 should be different than the way you invest it at age 5. This is something that never occurred to me until learning about CST Spark, and here I thought I had things pretty well mastered!

If this strategy interests you (and it should!) you can take time right now from the comfort of your own home (heck, you don’t even have to wear pants if you don’t want to) and visit www.cstspark.ca to learn more and help them help you determine the best way to start saving today.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in partnership with CST Spark. All opinions and commentary are my own and should not be construed as investment advice. C.S.T. Spark Inc. is the exclusive distributor of CST
Bright Plan which is sold by prospectus.

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