Angella Dykstra: She Makes Cents


The Smart Way To Plan For Your Kids' Educational Future

A Little Money Saved Now Can Go A Long Way Later On

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My husband and I come from middle-class families. There were no trust funds, or people in our family able to fund our post-secondary education. He took out student loans to go to school and get a certificate in Wood Products Manufacturing, and had a great career trading lumber until the market crashed. (Side note: He is now the Director of Childrens & Families at our church. Life is weird.)

I am a Chartered Accountant and went about it in a roundabout way. I took some accounting courses while attending Briercrest College, then found a job at a C.A. firm. I took prerequisite courses, wrote the GMAT, then went through the C.A. program and wrote the (four-day) final exam to get my C.A. designation. I didn't have student loans, but money was tight living on an articling student's wage and paying for all of my courses.

When my husband and I started having kids, we wanted to do as much as we could to help our kids when they graduated from high school and wanted to attend post-secondary school. We read up on RESPs and it was a no-brainer, especially because the Canadian government matches your contributions to a certain limit.

The Government is giving you money, friends. This is a rare event.

We signed up with a company because a family friend represented them. He has since retired, and we've been wondering if we could do better for our kids (and ourselves).

It turns out that we can, thanks to giraffe & friends. We recently stopped our regular payments with the old RESP company as my husband and I both changed career directions and things were tight for a year or so. Now that we're both settled in our new paths, we now know how we're going to move forward in saving for our kids' education.

For you new moms out there (and you who have older kids, but haven't started RESPs yet), I want to help you understand why RESPs are important, and I want to help you navigate all of the information out there. If you ask any of my friends — especially those who had babies when I did — I preach the necessity of RESPs often. Very often.

A few things to consider:

How much does post-secondary education really cost?

The interactive post-secondary cost calculator on this site is a good one to start with. When I entered my info on the site, it told me the current average cost is $5,000 per year for post-secondary education (which seems low). An education in Law came in at over $10,000 per year and Dentistry was off the charts at $17,324. The true costs can be overwhelming — and probably higher than the chart says — so just take a moment and breathe.

Save what you can afford to save and that's better than saving nothing. Any little bit will help your kids when they go to post-secondary school.

Fees and risks to watch for

Some RESP providers have hidden fees, but giraffe & friends do not. They sell one plan and it is all done online. That keeps their costs down and means more of your savings go directly to your child's education.

Very few RESPs are guaranteed not to take a dive in value (i.e., when the market crashes). giraffe & friends is different.

Most RESPs don't have a guaranteed outcome and your investment will be subject to stock market fluctuations. With the giraffe & friends 100% guaranteed RESP, you don't run the same risks. Your personal savings are 100% guaranteed to grow at about 2%.

You can also insure your contributions against the unthinkable (death or permanent disability).

It's easy to purchase a giraffe & friends RESP

You don't have to fill out oodles & oodles of forms to start contributions. This has been one of our major frustrations with our current RESP provider.

giraffe & friends has flexibility in how you contribute. You can make a lump sum payment, or schedule easy to manage pre-authorized payments through your bank account or credit card! It's about darn time that somebody made it easier to contribute to RESPs.

You have babies/toddler/children who will grow up to be high school graduates who want to pursue a higher education. (It goes by far too quickly, friends. My oldest is in MIDDLE SCHOOL.) You want to do whatever you can to help them when they get to that point and this is a no-brainer solution.

Do you contribute to RESPs? Do you have any questions about them? I've been convincing friends for eleven years now as to why they need to contribute, so I can answer any questions you have. Fire them at me.

Time flies by in the blink of an eye. One day you’re worrying about sending your little one to preschool, the next you’re sending them off to college. That’s why it’s important to invest in an RESP now.

Start saving today with a giraffe & friends' no-fee, worry-free and 100% guaranteed RESP. giraffe & friends helps you sleep easy with guaranteed growth, easy-to understand language, and the powerful boost of government grants.

Visit the ‘How To Plan For Your Kid's Future’ page and learn the best ways for parents to save money, when you should start saving, and more.