Choosing a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) provider

With so many options to choose from, be sure to take the time to carefully choose an RESP provider that best meets your needs. The provider will help you choose the right RESP, advise you on making investments, administer your RESP and provide the money when your child is ready for post-secondary school.

Things to think about before choosing an RESP provider

Some providers may charge service fees or set limits on how often you can contribute. Before you open an RESP, ask the provider to explain all the fees, limits, penalties, payment options and all other requirements.

It is also important to ask about the types of plans your provider offers, and the benefits and costs. Investment options will also vary. Providers may invest RESP funds in mutual funds, stocks, guaranteed investment certificates, term deposits or savings accounts. These options carry different risks and rates of return.

Questions to ask your RESP provider

  • Once I have opened an RESP, will I have to pay any fees? If so, what are they for and how much will I have to pay?
  • Do I have to put a minimum amount of money into an RESP?
  • Do I have to make regular payments?
  • What happens if I cannot make regular payments? Can I change my contribution amounts?
  • What are my investment choices? What are the benefits of each choice? Can the value of my investment go down?
  • Can I withdraw money if I need it? Are there any fees or penalties for withdrawing money early?
  • Can I transfer the RESP to another person, or to another RESP provider? If so, what is the cost to transfer?
  • What will happen to my savings in the RESP if my child does not continue his or her education after high school?
  • Does the RESP provider limit the types of educational programs I can use my RESP to pay for?
  • What happens if I close my RESP early?
  • What if my child decides to go to school part-time?
  • Does the RESP provider offer all education savings incentives, including the Additional Canada Education Savings Grant, Canada Learning Bond and provincial grants?
  • Will you provide me with regular documentation on the status of my RESP and investments?
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